Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ways to Begin a Story.

I recently just started a new story last week called The Cursing. It's a pretty cool idea and all I'll say is that it has something to do with Aztecs. I've been doing alot of research about their civilization and I found lots of information that's really helpful. Then the other day I was asked by a friend how do you start a story? So that got me thinking.

When I start a story, I usually begin with writing the pitches or book blurbs. You know, those story info things that you see either on the back of a book or on the cover flaps. Those usually help me plan out the story and give me a general outline of it. After that I'll start a character sheet where I name all of the characters I want to use in the story and list their relationships to the Main Character and what place they have in the story.

Then I might draw a map of the country if it's a fantasy world. My maps are pretty detailed if I have a good idea of what I want. For some odd reason, the Realms of Faerie in my book, The High Prince, ended up looking like a fish. Which was really weird but I'm okay with it. I love having maps because it helps me plan out the story especially if it involves traveling.

Once I have all those down, I might find a soundtrack or just some songs that might go well with the story. Like for my book, Night Lies, I like to listen to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack because it has that futuristic sounds to it. Then I like to find names that will fit into the story. For another of my many stories, I looked up Chinese and Japanese names because the story takes place in a country like ancient China/Japan.

If it's a story where the culture is centered around a specific country, I'll then head to the library and rent books about that culture or I'll google it. For two of my stories I rented a book from the library about kimonos. And wow are those things more complicated than I thought! There's certain layers unmarried and married women can wear; then there's something about how high the tie on the Obi can be if your married, unmarried, or widowed. So that was interesting. I also learned about the Japanese tea ceremony.

Finally done with all my pre-planning, I sit down, turn on the music open or take out all the information and things I might need while I write and I either daydream about the story for a while or I just start writing. I rarely ever make an outline for the story, but I do usually have a vague outline of the major events in a story. I don't like making outlines because my stories will change so much while I'm writing it that it's just kinda useless.

So to answer my friend's question, there are many different ways to start a story, but that's just how I do it. Some writers I know just sit down and can write amazing stories with barely any planning at all. Others have to spend weeks on planning and research before they can write anything. So it's really whatever works best for you. I suggest trying different methods of planning if you're not sure where to start.

So Birdies, how do you usually start a story? What works best for you? Do you like drawing maps or researching things for your stories? What's the most interesting/strange thing you've ever had to research or have come across while researching something?

Yours Truly,

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