Young Writers Society

Home » Forums » Resources » Knowledge Base » Writing Tutorials

Before You Begin <the stuff you didn't want to know>



User avatar
277 Reviews



Gender: Male
Points: 7061
Reviews: 277
Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:10 pm
View Likes
Master_Yoda says...



This tutorial is not intended to teach you how to write fiction, but rather how to prepare yourself to begin to write.

I'm not talking about any kind of zen Buddhist techniques to channel your inner chi, or any technical story planning methods and means. Instead, I am going to explain the tedious and aggravating and embarrassing stuff you'll need to do to ensure that when you do start the actual writing process you are not wasting your time.

Without further ado, I present the five things you must do before you begin:

1) Learn Patience.

Okay, I admit it. I sort of lied about the whole zen Buddhist thing, but much like a Jedi knight, a writer must have patience. You are not going to become JRR freaking Tolkien overnight. It will take at least two nights, or a month, or a decade to learn to write well.

And just because you think you are writing well when you begin, the truth is that you will suck. The sooner you know this, the better. You will need to learn patience if you want to emerge from the trials and tribulations of writing unscathed.

2) Read Some Beginners Guides.

Oh, take it from me: you are not the only one who wants to jump straight into the deep end and start to tell stories. But because you have already learned patience, you will have no trouble delaying your epic debut slightly.

Even if your English skills are in tip-top shape, a command of the language only goes so far in fiction writing. Don't get me wrong, a strong command of the language is vital, but storytelling is about exposition, and tension building, and character building, and world-building. Articles and books on writing are invaluable in teaching you the basics.

I would not go so far as to suggest that reading these books will automatically make you a better writer, but they will definitely give you some direction in your fiction endeavors. Instead of groping around in the dark like a blind man on crack, you'll be groping around in the dark like a blind man with a walking stick. The difference is massive.

Here is a list of resources that you might find useful:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/fe ... n-part-one
http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Fiction- ... 1599632128
http://www.ursulakleguin.com/MenuConten ... ml#Writing
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2006/04/27/1 ... t-writing/
Also, a shameless promotion of my personal writing blog: http://storysplash.blogspot.com

3) Get A Pet Tiger Or Two.

A figurative tiger, obviously. Before you even start writing, make sure you have a way to get real feedback, and by real feedback I don't mean the praise of your grandmother. Like it or not, you are biased about your work, so you need someone who will tell you how much you really suck.

They can also tell you that you are prodigious and that they love your story, but their most important function is to ensure that you do not grow complacent in your journey to joining the ranks of the greats. As such, the deeper he lives in the jungle, the better your tiger. Make sure he roars and scratches like a real tiger.

When I first started writing I never showed any of my stuff to anybody because it was too personal. It's no wonder it was all, in hindsight, such trash. If you don't want people to read your personal stuff, don't write personal stuff. It's as simple as that.

4) Be proud.

I know you're just an amateur, but you're entering into the universe of the greatest discipline of art ever invented: storytelling.

There is no shame in sucking when you begin, almost everyone does, so if someone wants to read your writing, show it to them. The more people rooting for your improvement the better. If they are jerks, don't show them, but if they friends or neutrals, the worst they will do is mock you. Everyone has critics, and yours might as well be your friends.

Besides, you'll have to learn to laugh at yourself if you want your writing to dance with a lively fury. People who take themselves too seriously usually just end up depressing people with their writing.

5) Work Out Why You Want To Write.

You need to know, in no uncertain terms, why you want to write. If you don't you will buckle under the pressure when the going gets tough, and the going gets very tough very often.

I personally write because I want to share magical experiences with people from all over the world. I also find it fun most of the time.

Some people write because they have a whole lot of emotion bottled up and they need an outlet. These people need to make sure they don't run out of emotions, so if you are one of these, I suggest you start as many fights as possible.

Whatever the case, you need to make sure that when the going gets tough you have something to motivate you to push past it. Even the best of you will want to give up at some stage or another.


When you've done all of this, I think your writing journey will be mostly smooth sailing. I have written this article for you because it is the article that I wish I had had when I first started writing. Good luck!
#TNT

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-- Robert Frost

I review your reviews: viewtopic.php?f=188&t=94522
  





User avatar
1220 Reviews



Gender: None specified
Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220
Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:16 am
View Likes
Kale says...



If you don't want people to read your personal stuff, don't write personal stuff. It's as simple as that.

Ah, now this I must disagree with you on. Sometimes, writing personal things really, really helps to deal with them, and not writing them makes for a miserable, emotionally-blocked writer.

The key to writing personal things is to NOT share them, with ANYONE. Simple as that.

Burning said personal things, in addition to ensuring the above, is also a great source of catharsis. :D
Secretly a Kyllorac, sometimes a Murtle.
There are no chickens in Hyrule.
Princessence: A LMS Project
WRFF | KotGR
  





User avatar
277 Reviews



Gender: Male
Points: 7061
Reviews: 277
Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:35 am
View Likes
Master_Yoda says...



Just to clarify, I'm not bashing writing personal stuff as a way to deal with it, because it is undoubtedly therapeutic, but rather discouraging it as part of the process of learning to write to an audience. Because unless you are actually writing to an audience, you will not learn to write to an audience.
#TNT

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-- Robert Frost

I review your reviews: viewtopic.php?f=188&t=94522
  





User avatar
1220 Reviews



Gender: None specified
Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220
Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:09 am
View Likes
Kale says...



Well you should have specified then.

I think living in a swamp has begun to soften your brain.
Secretly a Kyllorac, sometimes a Murtle.
There are no chickens in Hyrule.
Princessence: A LMS Project
WRFF | KotGR
  





User avatar
277 Reviews



Gender: Male
Points: 7061
Reviews: 277
Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:17 am
View Likes
Master_Yoda says...



I had thought that given that this article was about what you do before you begin writing fiction, my intentions were self-evident. After it became clear you didn't understand I did specify.

I think my living in a swamp has led me to forget how soft some of your respective brains are.
#TNT

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-- Robert Frost

I review your reviews: viewtopic.php?f=188&t=94522
  








Be careful or be roadkill.
— Calvin