Tag Archives: genre

Planning: a story is more than an idea

When you start to think about a story, what you usually have are some episodic ideas. Despite their quality, those ideas are not a story, even less a novel. Those need a plot and a structure.

I’m not saying that your ideas are not necessary. Every time you have an idea, you should take note of it with all the details, situations, and pieces of dialogue. It might be useful when you have the actual story. Some of those ideas you’ll use, some you will not. You’ll never know which ones are good enough at the moment they occur to you, so write them all down.

Major steps of planning

Writing a good story or novel takes some planning. Planning a good story takes some hard work.

When preparing your story, make sure you have all the main points worked out before you start writing the first draft. For that, you can’t neglect four important steps.

1. Know the genre

First of all, you must know the genre you’re trying to write in. There is no other way of doing this than read a lot of books in that genre. Study them.

Observe their structure, realize what they have in common, the distribution of the scenes, the rhythm. Try to find out why is the book interesting (or not). The most you know about it, the better.

2. The conflict

No conflict, no story. The most critical part of your story is the conflict. It is what makes your audience interested and catch your readers.

There is no story without a conflict, which makes it a massive step towards your goal. Take all the time you need in it. Do some research on tips and good practices. The conflict is the center of everything, and you need to think carefully about it.

3. Organize your ideas

Remember those ideas you wrote before? The ones that came into your mind in the most unexpected places? That’s right. It’s time to get and organize them.

Reread what you wrote, improve the best ones and try to see where (if) they fit in. At this point, you are already working on the actual structure of your story. Start choosing what goes in each chapter.

4. Go deeper into each scene

Before you start writing the first draft, retake a look at your former ideas. At this point, the best ones should already be scenes for your chapters.

Observe what you have now very carefully, and go deeper into each scene. Add descriptions, dialogues, and other essential details. That will make your life easier when it comes to the time to start writing.

Outline

Outlining your story is, without a doubt, a great help. There are, nonetheless, authors that refuse to use an outline. Well, that’s okay, it’s not exactly mandatory, but it will definitely, make your work faster and easier.

With an outline, you can try ideas, explore them without making them permanent. It allows you to explore more without so much commitment.

The outline gives you the possibility of not being stuck at one point. You’ll always know what to write next, and as you’re writing, new ideas will keep coming to your mind. All of them help to turn the original plot even richer.

Inspiration is hard work

Many people think that a great writer has a stroke of inspiration, sits down at his desk and write the next Nobel Prize nominee. That’s far away from the truth!

Inspiration is the fruit of several months (sometimes years) of hard work. The good news is that, in the end, you might have that masterpiece after all.

What am I supposed to write?

Have you ever asked yourself if you should write about something or if it is a bad idea? That’s probably one of the major unanswered questions of every writer.

It’s complicated to decide on what you should write and how to go about it. If sometimes you have some sort of inspiration, at other times, you might sit down in front of your computer (or any kind of blank page) and have no clue as to how to fill it up.

There is no simple answer to this question though. I guess it doesn’t really matter, since you need to keep in mind your particular audience and its characteristics or traits.

Genres

Each genre has a specific type of audience, that’s a fact. But, even more importantly, each genre tends to elicit some specific reaction out of its readers. Someone will choose your book by the feelings they believe they’ll achieve with it and that’s, for the most part, determined by the genre. So, you must know, really understand, the genre you choose and what people seek within books in that genre. Then proceed to write accordingly.

The story means what the reader wants it to mean

No matter what the story means to you, the reader will give it a significance of his own and you should take this into consideration. He or she will feel the story according to his or her life experiences and their own particular vision of the world.

Don’t worry. This is often a good thing! Your readers and their emotions will turn your words into something lively, filled with deeper meaning.

What should my major concerns be?

As was said before, the genre you write in makes all the difference, yet, there are some points you can take into consideration.

Characters should be deep and raise or elicit some feelings in your readers. Most of the readers want to feel as though the character could be a friend of theirs. So, it must be somehow realistic, making them feel like that particular character is indeed alive.

You should promote curiosity. The best book is the one you can’t seem to put down. Try to provoke that kind of situation within your story. Make your readers curious enough to the point they want, or even feel a need, to know what happens in the next page.

They often want to feel. Be attentive in your descriptions with the characters feelings and write it down filled with little details, so your readers can feel along with them. When reading a book, people like to be immersed in a new reality. You must make that worth it.

 

A book has within it something magical. The imagination is unique and when shared with other people it can give you something wonderful. Use it in your favor and attract your audience through something wild or unexpected.