Writing, supposedly, it’s something that comes from our soul, something personal and almost magical, but, when a person decides to dedicate their life to it, they should keep in mind that writing is much more than typing away on your computer keyboard, or scratching your pen or pencil on a paper. Writing, fiction or not, needs a whole lot of work, organization, and research that takes a lot of time and ends up making all the difference.
When we’re talking about writing fiction, the first thing to do is to organize the story, finding a way to summarize the main idea in a sentence, or at most one paragraph. This one should contain the starting point, the early events, the conflict and its resolution. Do not worry about details, neither the time or place of the story, neither the characters names matter. These details are only important if they become decisive for the course of the story.
Then, you should create the main characters. Think of them as people you could, eventually, know. Make a small text where you put everything about them: a quick life story, ambitions, and desires, fears, conflicts, unique features or philosophies of life. Try to picture your characters in your mind and then describe them as thoroughly as possible, physically and psychologically.
For many people, the next step is to make a little summary of each chapter and, from there, start to write the story. But not me. Actually, the way that looks more efficient for me to create the story and all its adventures is opening up an excel document, or equivalent, (and yes, I know you hate it and you don’t know how to work with it, but it’s important to learn, now) and there I write the main scenes of the book. Done that, each one of them will unfold itself into new scenes. For example, How do they get there? Why? Where are they going now? What they did between the scenes X and Y?
In the end, you have a simple outline of the story which you can modify, increase, decrease and manipulate as you like, without much work and being able to frame your changes in the big picture.
When all of this is done, I divide the scenes into chapters (normally, at this point I make some more changes, I add some scenes and cut out others that seem pointless), so the different chapters keep similar sizes.
Why all that? Because nothing is more annoying for the reader than incongruences and moving forward and backward in a story.
At the end of each step, I revise the previous and when I’m done, I revise again. It’s almost impossible not to make any alterations. And if, by any chance, you do not feel that need, be careful, because it could mean that everything is perfect the way it is (which despite your abilities is quite unlikely) or, it means that something is wrong but you can’t yet figure out what is.
And in the end voilà! A new story to make your readers dream and smile.