how to start a story

So you have a great idea in your head and can’t wait to start writing. But as soon as you get in front of the computer, all of a sudden your mind goes blank. Has this ever happened to you? If you want to know how to start a story or an article, keep reading.

Whether you’re a blogger, a writer or a student, starting a story is the essential first step of writing. I know, because I deal with it every day! Here is how I approach starting a story.

1. Start Writing

The most important part is to actually begin the process of writing. Sit at your desk and tell yourself, that until you’re done writing to your satisfaction, you are not going to get up. This is a great motivational tactic that I use to get going.

Begin by freewriting. Freewriting (also called stream-of-consciousness writing) is a continues writing for a set period of time. It produces a raw synopsis of the story. It will help you get the main idea out on paper. Freewriting doesn’t need to be perfect. Five hundred or so words of loose writing should be enough to warm you up and get you inspired.

2. Write What You Know

You may not yet have the whole story formed in your mind, but you do know the essential parts. Start by writing those down, or by writing a simple outline first. Writing the outline will help to organize your thoughts and ideas that you can further develop as you continue writing.

Get to the action quick. Modern readers want to get to the point. Capturing your reader’s attention early is especially important for online content. Your visitors have lots of different options available, and come to you to get the main idea, or the answers fast.

3. Walk Through the Story

Depending on the type of story you’re writing, walk yourself through it. Using your senses and imagination, follow your characters through the plot. What are they doing, seeing, thinking? What kind of interaction do they have with one another? Write down important parts as you come across them.

4. Develop Characters

If your story has a main fictional character, it’s helpful to visualize them early. Come up with a meaningful name. Describe their appearance, how they’re dressed, the color of their eyes, hair and so on. Identify yourself with them. Writing is much easier when you’re well familiar with your subjects.

5. Don’t Delete Anything

Just because you may be unhappy with the way your story is turning out, doesn’t mean you should just delete it. Everything you write, may have an appropriate place in the future. I keep everything I write, until I’m completely satisfied with the whole story or article.

I found that I often end up using earlier discarded writing elsewhere, or that I can break up the ideas to fit in later articles.

6. Be Original

There are millions of stories that have already been written. And that’s OK. Because what makes your story and your point of view so original, is that it comes from you. To quote Swami Kriyananda, (who among other things has written many, many books) “being original means writing from your point of origin”.

Your origin is your original experiences. It’s your original thoughts and ideas. No one else in the universe has exactly the same origin as you. You are unique. Use your uniqueness and your originality to give the world something valuable and fresh. As only you can.

Live well. Vlad

6 Responses to how to start a story

  1. Noch Noch | be me. be natural. February 1, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    i’ve started keeping a notebook with me all the time, and a small pen
    writing with pen and paper has a different inspiration


    • Vlad February 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      I like the idea of keeping a notebook close by. Some of my best ideas come in the middle of the night! Although I must admit, my handwriting is becoming ever-worst the longer I type! :-)

      Thanks! Vlad

  2. Kaitlyn Calvert March 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I am a amatuer writer but i have over twenty books and something that i noticed that is good is always stop at some point in your story or whatever you may be writing. And read over what you have. Its always helped me becuase that is how i noticed my mistakes and my problems. Or how i looked at where places needed more information or more drama or action.

    • Vlad March 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

      Hi Kaitlyn,
      That’s a good point, to go back at regular points and re-read your work. Congratulations on having written so many books!

      Thanks for the share! Vlad

  3. JZ March 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I’ve started over 50 stories and only finished one. The tips were helpful they put me a little closer to finishing my present story.

    • Vlad March 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

      Hi JZ,
      Thanks for stopping by. I also have started stories, just to move on to something else. I do however, go back and re-discover some of them. It may be just that you have a lot of ideas. Writing a complete outline start-to-finish may help!

      Good luck! Vlad