Writing Books/beginnings




Followup To

Question -
hi, how do you just start and keep a story?Because for me its just flashes of ideas, but what im asking is how would i go about putting all this into one story or plotline?

Answer -
Hello Hailey:

It is difficult to answer your question without more information. Before you start a writing project, you need to do a bit of thinking/planning. If you will answer a few questions for me, I will be in a much better position to help you.

1. What kind of writing do you have in mind? A short story, an essay or a book, perhaps?

2. Why do you want to write? Motivations range from "I just want to write something to prove I can do it," to "I want to write the Great American Novel (now, or someday).

3. If you have a particular story in mind, or a book, what will it be about? See if you can find a one or two-word topic: i.e., "Jealousy, "anger," "raising children," etc.

4. Before anything else - characters, plot, etc. - a story needs a reason to be written. What do you want to say about your subject? This is your premise - the point you want to make. (If you don't want to make any particular point, your work will not be taken seriously). Your premise should be universal (applies to all people) and stated in a single sentence: "Jealousy most harms the jealous person," or "Anger should be constructively expressed rather than suppressed."

When you have the answers to these questions, come back and we will proceed from there.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 700 questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

hi again
1. well im writing a fiction book for teens around my age any older or younger

2. i want to write because for me its a passion and i love the idea and hopeful sucess of being a published writer.Plus i want to reach out to people my age, that feel that they need to just escape their life into an extraordinary one even if it is just for an hour

3. well my book is about a poor teen girl who gets sent to a magical school hidden in an old boarded up building in chicago, where the kids there are quite far from normal. There she meets friends she'll never forget...but unfortunatly i dont know where to go from there, i mean i dont have any conflict. to me its boring so far and once she's arrived to the school, i dont know what to do from there. soo i guess "strong friendships".

4. friends are our saviors, because without them we have our family.  

Hello Hailey:

Thank you for answering my questions.

Your #4 answer (premise) doesn't make sense - something has been left out. Try rephrasing this sentence. Did you mean "because without them we have ONLY our family?" Or did you mean something like, "If family is unable to support you, look to your friends?" Dig deeper to find out exactly what you want to say about friendship.

Without conflict you have no story. Your heroine must be challenged in some way - characters who are not are dull and boring. A character may face challenges from (A) a conflict within herself, or some other handicap (disfiguration, perhaps?); (B) another person; (C) society; (D) nature, (E) God.

Ask around among your friends and you will find they all face challenges of some kind. Ask them about the problems/successes they have had with friendships. One interesting thing about friends is the way they see us as opposed to the way we see ourselves.

I hope I have given you some things to think about. Work on your premise until you have stated exactly what you want to say to the world.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 700 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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