Welcome Guest Search | Active Topics | Members | Log In | Register

Morgan Hawke: Advice for New Writers Options · View
Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018 8:16:59 AM

Rank: Story Moderator

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 722
Location: lost in the ozone west of Apache Junction
Story Writing for BEGINNERS
by MorganHawke

* copied with permission from the Morgan Hawke advice forum on another site

So when you wanna write a story, where do you begin? With your PASSION!

Write what you KNOW & LOVE

What do you KNOW, really? What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Whether it's cave-diving, model trains, skate-boarding, sewing, horses,

mythology, ghost legends, or particle physics your passion is where you will find your most unique and powerful work.

Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have

seen, done, or studied.

Sticking with your passions and your personal experiences also keeps you from making the fewest MISTAKES.

Case in point, someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who Has. Worst of all, someone with experience will know

IMMEDIATELY when the writer doesn't know what they're talking about. Once that happens, they're closing your story -- never to look at it again.

If you insist on writing about something outside of your personal experience, do your RESEARCH thoroughly. Google.com & Wikipedia.com are your friends!


Character Creation 101

The easiest way to make an original character is by modeling your character on one you already know.

Out of all the movies you have seen, what fictional character is most like what you need for your story? You want a movie or animated character because you need to PICTURE

your character as they move through your stories. This is ESSENTIAL for Active Writing.

Favorite characters I like to use:
- Trinity from the Matrix
- Keiffer Sutherland from the Lost Boys & 24
- Robert Carlyle from Ravenous and Plunkett & McLean
- Wolverine from the X-Men
- Sandra Bullock from Miss Congeniality and Speed
- Johnnie Depp from Sleepy Hollow and Sweeny Todd
- Selene from Underworld
- Riddick from Pitch Black

The trick is to change their names and appearance enough to disguise them while leaving their base character traits -- and dialogue style -- intact!

"Wait! Isn't using someone else's characters' Plagiarism?"
-- Only if the character still has the Same Name and the Same Physical Description. Change those and it's not. Think! If no one ever borrowed characters, there'd only be ONE

vampire novel in existence--and it wouldn't be "Dracula".

You should have THREE Main Characters to tell a whole story:
Proponent (Hero): The one trying to Keep things the way they are.
Antagonist (Villain): The one trying to Change things from the way they are.
Ally (buddy or lover): The one caught in the Middle, and usually telling the story.

-----Original Message-----
"But what if I only want to use two characters?"

Then use only Two:
Proponent (Hero): The one trying to Keep things the way they are.
Antagonist (Villain): The one trying to Change things from the way they are.

However, using only Two main characters will make it harder to tell the whole thing. Don't be surprised if a Third character sneaks their way in to help you!


Okay now that you have your Characters, you need to make a world to put them in.

The easiest place to put your characters is a place you already know. For all other places, there's RESEARCH. Google.com is invaluable for finding pictures of places you've

never been and journals posted by people living there. Find them and READ them.

If you're building a fantasy world, a historical world, or a sci-fi world for your first story, CHEATING is your best option.

There are a million and one Gaming Books and Gaming Sites featuring all kinds of historical, fantastical, and scientific data it would take you YEARS to uncover. Just make

sure you separate Fact from Fiction! And for God's sake, CHANGE what you Can! You don't need people screaming at you for copyright violation.

If you're determined to build your world from scratch, then here is the absolute best guide on world building there is:

Patricia C. Wrede's Worldbuilder Questions

Making your story HAPPEN!

Rather than make this complicated, let's go the simple route. Once you have all three (or two) characters, ask each one these Three Questions:

• Who am I and what do I do?
• What do I want?
• What is the worst thing that could happen to me?

Once you know the answers to all of these questions, you pretty much have your whole story.

• "Who am I and what do I do?" is your introduction.
• "What do I want?" is what puts your characters in opposition. Your hero has a Goal. Your Villain doesn't want them to have it because it gets in the way of their Goal.
• Your main character's 'Worst Thing' is the REVERSAL to your story dead center in the Middle.
• The Villain's 'Worst Thing' is the main CLIMAX close to the end. It's the turning point that allows your Main Character to win. The End.

Simple, ne?

So where do you begin Writing?

NOT at the beginning!

Open the story within one page of Hero meets Villain, (or Lover meets Beloved) with the story already in progress. Action scenes and snappy dialogue are the best hooks for

snaring your reader, but hints of Mysterious things yet to happen works well too. I also set the stage for the story about to begin with a few lines of Description so that the

reader can SEE everything as it happens.

The trick to not boring them is: Don't Tell them ANYTHING!

Give broad hints, but don't Info-dump. Use Dialogue to hint at clues to the secondary character’s back-story. This way you make the reader an eavesdropper who MUST read on to

find out, "What the heck is going on?"

The easiest way to keep your reader from figuring out what's going on -- and how your story will end -- is by telling the whole story from One POV (point of view.) MAKE the

reader discover from INSIDE your main character why this vampire hunted this particular guy down, and why he isn’t running in screaming terror. MAKE your readers put two and

two together and try to come up with the right answer.

Tricks to keeping your story SHORT!

Keep the number of characters to a Minimum!
The larger the cast -- the longer the story.

This is because each and every character you use must have their story problem FIXED by the end of the story. If you don't, you create a PLOT HOLE that your readers WILL

notice, and call you on.

Keep the Point of your story firmly in mind.
What are you trying to Show with your story?

Love Conquers All
Greed makes one Greedier
Love = Insanity
Love doesn't always mean Happiness
Love isn't always Nice
You Reap what you Sow
Destiny is a Bitch
You can't escape Yourself
A Snake will always be a Snake
Sometimes, Love means Letting Go
Sometimes, Love means Giving In
Appetites will find a way to be Filled
Revenge only brings Misery

In short, know what you want to say and how you intend to END the story before you begin!

Only put in what you intend to USE.
If it doesn't affect the Plot, the Characters or the Point of your story, you don't need it.

This includes Description.

In a short story, everything is pared down to the minimum, so you only need to describe the characters your character directly interacts with, and their immediate

surroundings, no more, but no less either. You want to make sure that your Reader can SEE what's happening, but you don't need to go into detail about every babbling brook and


Once you've finished your story, Read it OUT LOUD to yourself.
This will allow you to catch most of your mistakes before anyone else sees them.

• If you have to stop to take a breath before you finish a sentence -- the sentence is Too Long.
• If you have to read a line twice to figure out what you just said, so will your Readers. Any time you have to reread anything, something is WRONG.
• If you find your attention drifting from the story you are reading out loud -- so will your Readers.
• If you find yourself skipping parts to get to better parts -- so will your readers.
• If YOU don't find what you're reading interesting enough to keep reading, neither will your Readers.

In Conclusion...
Writing a story isn't all that hard or even complicated. It's what you put into your story that makes it complicated -- and uniquely yours.


DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable

and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

Morgan Hawke

No matter what happens, pizza will always be there for you. Thick and thin, in crust we trust.'

Schemers Scheme -- young women talking about young men

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2018 7:22:54 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/12/2014
Posts: 1,565
I love, love, love this - I know so many of these things will make me think and hopefully do a better job.

Posted: Saturday, May 16, 2020 12:48:21 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 5/13/2020
Posts: 96
Location: Soaring in the sky, here and there
I have never written a story, only poetry but this really makes me want to think about it! Great writing tips

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway of her heart, the place where love resides ~ Audrey Hepburn
Users browsing this topic

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS

Powered by Yet Another Forum.net version (NET v4.0) - 11/14/2007
Copyright © 2003-2006 Yet Another Forum.net. All rights reserved.