How to start writing your first story is definitely the primary question someone with an idea addresses oneself. I know that was the question I also asked myself when I first came with the idea for my Naruto AU – Kaika Saisei.
How do I write this story? I know I want it to be like this and that, but how do I actually do it? I started watching different videos on YouTube, read different articles, so on and so forth. But at the same time, there were all these people with all this info and it was bound to get paralyzing.
At least that’s what happened to me, kind of. With so much information at my disposal, I tended to get lost and still couldn’t kick start the story. So then, I paused. I detached from everything I read and came-up with my own way of doing it, based on all that I read.
What did I learn in this process? First of all how to find my path, and second of all how to pave it. And third? How to let it all roll. My way.
Now, I’m not saying this is a magical way that will solve all your problems. But it’s a way, and one that might help you. If not how to do things, at least in finding your own way to do them.
So, how to start writing your first story? Let me tell you the three basic steps that helped me.
Step 1: write everything down
And I mean everything! If you think there’s this magical way that all your ideas will somehow fall into place in a plot connected with themes and characters with their backgrounds and everything, well… you’re in for a surprise! It won’t come off from the very beginning.
That’s why in the beginning, no matter what idea you have write it down. Don’t think for a second that ah, I’ll certainly remember it, no need to write it down. Nope. Do it. That’s the very first mirage that you might tend to fall onto.
I know I did and I am pissed at how many awesome things I forgot to write down. Not only for the Naruto AU I’m writing, but for my own original stories (yes I have two of those in planning as well). With the Naruto AU one it was easier because the world building is mostly done, the characters are set and so is a certain timeline.
However, what I’m bringing new also needed planning, mechanics, plotting and whatnot. But at first, all I had were certain ideas I had that answered questions about certain plotholes here and there. I had no idea exactly how to tie them into the actual main plot.
So then, I said okay, that’s a thing to worry for the future. What is it that you can do in the present? And after watching some YouTube videos and reading some articles this was the very first conclusion I came down to: write everything down.
And so that’s what I did. I wrote everything down, every idea as it came to me so I won’t interrupt the flow of creation that was encompassing me.
Step 2: categorize your ideas
Okay, now that you know the first step of how to start writing your first story, let’s get down to the next. Step two is simple: categorize your ideas.
You see, when my brain had this burst of ideas some were connected to the plot, some worked better for mechanics, while others for character development.
I don’t know how it’s for everyone but for me it’s either I imagine a scene or a dialogue at times. Other times I imagine how a certain scene came to happen and why. Other times I imagine a cool technique and its mechanics.
That’s why, after you’ve written down all your ideas, the next step that will help you in getting your story started is categorizing them. See which one is plot related, which one is world building related. While other might have to do with character development. Or mechanics.
For one of my original stories for example, I started it with mechanics because I was thinking how cool it would be for a certain thing to work like that. And from there until story idea it was only but a step!
Step 3: start building a structure
After you’ve noted everything down and then categorized all your ideas, this third step is the final part that answers your question on how to start writing your first story.
“Okay, but how do I do that?” You might ask. Well, I use one of the most simple structure there is: the three act structure.
There are a lot of other ways to structure your story. Depending on where you come from, you have probably learned a lot of ways to build your narrative.
For example I am using the three way structure, although in school, here in my country, we learned the 5 acts structure.
However, at the end of the day you choose what’s best for you. I personally prefer to use the three act structure because of a whim of mine. I find things divided in three more simple. You know as they say – the perfect balance is three.
Now you’ll have to decide which one fits you best. But at the end of the day, the structure is what will help you push your story idea further.
The three way structure is designed to help you know where your story starts from, is headed to and how you’re going to execute the in between. That’s what helped me the most.
Well, now that I laid down everything for you, all I gotta say is don’t forget to have fun with it! No, really, I mean it. Don’t get stuck into an idea. If you feel that you got stuck into an idea, skip it. Go to the next. Leave the one that stuck you for another time.
Because trust me, your brain will find a way to solve the stuck part as well. You just gotta detach from it so your subconscious can work and find the magic solution. Oh and it will, trust me! We’re beautiful biological machinery that work wonders when properly maneuvered.
P.S: Forgot to say about this in the first step. In order to write everything down, have a notebook or your phone or whatever you feel like next to you. So you can note your idea down. I know I lost many of those because my ideas mostly came when I was about to fall asleep.
Brain was like “POP! Here’s an idea you could use for that story you want to write. But ooh, you’re so almost falling asleep and there’s nothing next to you where you could write it”. So then I was like, eeh, I’ll remember this in the morning.
Big mistake! I wasn’t remembering it in the morning, because the next day brings something new. So yeah, either it’s a piece of paper, your phone, whatever. You choose your medium. But don’t forget to have something next to you!
Anyway, thank you for reading.