Jump Start Your Story

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Welcome to our brand spanking :new: Quarterly Resource Feature!  That's right, four times a year we're going to invade your inbox with some pointers, guides and tutorials to assist you in your writing adventures and there's nothing you can do about it!  :giggle:

For our first feature, we're going to keep things simple and work with the basics of starting your story.  It should be obvious that a story starts with an idea.  But how do we get from a basic idea to a full blown novel?  Well, there are lots of answers to that.  Here are just some:

How to Write a Novel

How to Write a NovelOr at least how I plan to write my novels. Right now I'm tweaking a novel for release (aka Fine Drafting it). No matter how essential this step is, fine drafting a book doesn't feel like real writing, so I thought I would flex my writing muscles by trying to recapture what it took to bring this book into existence. What burbled up from the morass seemed about as wiry as Jeffy's run through gangland in the Family Circus cartoon that never made it to print (ask your parents kids). So. I decided to iron the process out and streamline the steps into what you might call "Ikea Instructions for Writing a Novel" a short simple guide to the mechanical side of bringing a book together.
One word of warning though, some of this is untested advice. It is a combination of the way I did it as well as the way I now see that I should have done it. Whether or not it actually works I won't know until after I write the next book. So take what you read here with a grain of salt.

BarbecuedIguana not only explains basic plotting, but also covers the entire writing process in this compact deviation.

Planning the Evil Plot

Planning the Evil Plot
A half-guide, half-narrative on writing a story
brought to you by Super Editor

Before I start writing, I like to have some idea of where I'm starting, where I'm going, and how I'm going to end up there. Let's say that I want to write a comedy about an author who suddenly changes places with her Mary Sue. I usually jot down some basic ideas:
Sarah, the author: ~13 years old, average-looking, glasses, rather tall and gangly
Ellemere, the Mary Sue: ~16 years old, long flowing hair, violet eyes, etc.
Forrest (Ellemere's love interest) : ~18, stereotypical pretty boy who is too dark and broody to make a good love interest
Leon: ~17, Ellemere's somewhat dorky friend who falls in love with her but is cast off to side in favor of Forrest
Tangent: For those of you who are confused, the ~ symbol means "about." I think it comes from math.
I like to draw, so I'd probably make doodles of these characters too. Drawing characters is a great way to develop th

One of the most thorough plotting resources I've seen in a very long time.  MissLunaRose not only gives an in depth look to her process but uses a dummy plot to make it easier to understand.

PreWriting and Brainstorming

Pre-Writing and Brainstorming.
Writing is a multi-step process.  If Shakespeare were to just write whatever he wanted to with no prior planning, well…we probably wouldn't know who Shakespeare is today.  Writing takes time, thought and a lot of organization in order for it to come out as one, cohesive work.  In the midst of your random scribbling, many of your ideas may seem to be jumbled and in-cohesive.  This makes it hard for you to really get your ideas in motion.  How do you fix that?  Well, the ultimate way to ensure flow with writing is to undergo Pre-Writing and a little organized Brainstorming.
There are several, critical points to Pre-Writing.  For each point, write down whatever it is that entails of it.
:pointr: Purpose
~Why are you writing?  Where do you plan to take your writing?  Make sure you have a deep reason as to why you are writing.  Wi

A different starting approach that uses target audience and style to start the brainstorming process.  Dissension-7 uses a "bullet style" brainstorming technique to get ideas onto paper.

Now that the ideas are flowing, let's get some strong characters to start acting out the scenes.  Heros, Villains, Love Interests and Monsters galore.  Creating new characters can seem daunting especially if you're just starting out, but even well seasoned writers have trouble hashing out a good character.

While everyone has or should have their own process to creating characters, here are some well thought out processes.

To Create Your Character

To Create a CharacterAre you starting a story? Do you have an incomplete, flawed, or no character at all? It's happened to me many times and in my struggles to perfect my creations, I have learned a few things. I present you with seven easy steps with a challenge each to get you thinking.
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Let's start…
Step 1: Past
When creating a character, you must first establish a past. Even a person with amnesia has a past, they just don't remember it. Pasts are important, they show what shaped the person and why they are the way they are today.
If your character has a scar, why? If they have amnesia, why? If they have a phobia of water, why?
Remember one thing: there is always a reason.
Challenge: Write a brief story (vignette) of your character's past to familiarize yourself with the way things were.
Step 2: Appearance
You may have a certain idea, a vague idea, or no idea at all as to how your character will look. First, think of their

A simple 7 step process to creating real characters that are a perfect fit for your story.  WarriorLoverInc does an excellent job of explaining why each step is necessary, but also gives you a challenge to help build a better character with each step.

Knowing Your character

Knowing Your CharacterIn a story—whether it be told on stage, on screen, or in print—knowing your main characters inside and out helps create a well rounded and interesting plot. It also makes writing them easier too. In this guide, a companion to To Create a Character, I'll attempt to help put skin and flesh on the bare bones of a character, to create "character," and to discover things about them that you—the creator—never knew.
Exercise 1: Interviews
One of my favorite ways to get to know my character is to interview them as one would a celebrity. The interview can be general, just asking about their life, likes, pet peeves, etc. or it can be prior to or after a significant event (i.e. just saved the world, just won the World Cup, recently defeated by protagonist, etc.).
Here's a list of interesting things to ask your character:
- Do you have any pet peeves?
- What do you think of [insert character here]'s opinion on y

An expansion on To Create Your Character, WarriorLoverInc challenges you to get to know your character better.  What drives and motivates them to do what it is they do?

How to Create a Character: Protagonist Edition

How to Create a Character: Protagonist Edition.
Have you ever caught yourself reading a book, manga or watching a TV show and wonder how the creator could come up with such a realistic character?  Well, whether it'd be an anthro, anime or real-life character, characters take time to think through.  In this tutorial, I will tell you just how to create that realistic and believable character!  You can also use this tutorial to think through the characters you've already created in order to re-vamp their appearance and personality!
There are 3 important aspects to a character, they are: personality, design and purpose.  Characters lacking one or more of those aspects may come off flat and boring.  Personality is how the character acts and interacts with other characters.  The personality is what gives your audience feelings for your character.  Design is another important aspect.  Their de

Dissension-7 created an easy to follow guide on creating your protagonist and how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

Next Time On Resource Feature

Like I said at the start, this is going to be a quarterly feature.  Our next topic will be Research.  If you have or know of a guide/tutorial you think would be appropriate, please leave a comment or drop a note!

Quickie Announcements

:bulletwhite: We are currently in dire need of beta readers.  In a very bad way.  We have lots of authors in the fantasy, romance, and historical fiction genres.  If you're interested and have the time to dedicate to at least one author, please send a note to the group with a completed Beta Reader Survey

:bulletwhite: SolutionsSanctuary's May Contest is about Navigating dA.  Check it out and submit a tutorial!

:bulletwhite: Both FocusOnLit and WritersInk are hosting chat events within the next couple days.  Check out their most recent blogs for the details.

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pixiepot's avatar
This has been featured here! Have a great day! :love:
crimsonzettaIV's avatar
Invade my inbox please!!!!!!! These are awesome, can't wait for more:D
willyamPax's avatar
Lhmac's avatar
Brilliant! Now we must read them or else :P
Carpe-Diem-Et-Noctem's avatar
I'm so adding this to my fave's.
I'll read this all once I've gotten the time. :}
MafiaVamp's avatar
Wonderful resources! Thank you :heart: Also, there is a way to unwatch journals, so we could do something about the invasion of our inboxes. Not that we would, but still. ;P
inknalcohol's avatar
Thank you!

You'd better not try evading our journals. We will know. And we will hack your account and turn us back on. :evillaugh:
MafiaVamp's avatar
Now I'm scared for life... Must watch every step... :paranoid:
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