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How to Begin Writing a Story

How to Begin Writing a Story

We know from first-hand experience that beginning a story is the hardest part. Sometimes it’s coming up with the story idea in general, other times it’s putting those first words onto paper. So, we decided to share some of the strategies that have worked for us.

Start with the Ending

If you’ve never heard this before, we wanted to let you know: you don’t have to write in order! Sometimes the first part of a story that comes to us is the ending. You can start by writing the ending and then working backward to figure out how you got there. Sometimes a big battle or a pivotal moment will be the clearest scene and you are itching to write it. Go ahead! You can go back later and figure out how to connect all the scenes you’ve written. That’s much easier than trying to plow forward when you don’t know what’s next. If you’ve never tried this before, we encourage you to give it a shot!

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

Photos of our story inspiration

I can’t tell you how many of my story ideas or scenes have come from simply observing my surroundings. A walk outside might inspire me as I notice things within nature, like an odd-looking tree or the dense silence after a storm. Sometimes, I take a moment to appreciate items within my own home. Another great way to come up with fresh ideas is going to antique or thrift stores and looking for interesting items, as we did in our writing retreat. The photo above contains some real-life things that have inspired some of our stories; can you guess which ones? The next time you are stuck for ideas or are having trouble with where to go next in a story, try slowing down and noticing your surroundings or maybe changing up those surroundings.

Free Write/Brain Dump

I do this constantly, I even have a journal that is dedicated to my brain dumps! I often get ideas when it’s not a convenient time to write, which goes hand in hand with being mindful of your surroundings. Sometimes out and about running errands, at work, or even from my dreams and I don’t have time to focus on writing, so I’ll jot down a quick synopsis of what I envision, even just a specific line of dialogue, so that I have it at least in writing. I don’t know about you all, but I am very forgetful! This helps you not only keep track of your story ideas, but it is still a step towards your goals and your writing. 

You can constantly reflect on these brain dumps and it may assist you longer down the road when you’ve hit a wall with your writing, which has happened to me quite a few times! It’s like your own story prompts you can always reflect on, which leads us to our next section.

Writing Prompts

Writing prompt books from Piccadilly

When all else fails, try writing prompts! If you’re stuck in a writing funk, we’ve been there many times, writing prompt generators are a great way to get those juices flowing. It doesn’t need to be your best work, but it’s a great way to simply get yourself writing. Listed below are a few we like to use:

Fantasy Prompts Generator by bleep0bleep

Fantasy Prompts Generator by Reedsy

We also like to use writing prompt books to get us started. The ones pictured above are some that we have from Piccadilly, which you can find just about anywhere. Do you have a favorite writing prompt book or generator that you use?

What Do You Think?

Did you find a new strategy to try? How did it go? Do you have other ideas you could share with your fellow writers? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks so much for reading!

Clever & WTF

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