Day 1: What I had to learn…

Day 1. What did I do the very first time I sat down to write my story?

A reader who is usually reading no less than three books at a time, I had some distant idea of how a book is constructed. Like a physics genius blasting apart atoms, I knew I had to get to the smallest component of a book and grow from there. From scenes to chapters, from chapters to a full-length book.

On that first day, I searched the internet for tips on writing an effective scene. I sampled five or ten sites and they all said the same basic thing: goal, conflict, outcome.  It was as simple as that. I’ll say it again…goal, conflict, outcome. I have a feeling this knowledge is innate to writers, that they’re probably born with it, but I had to learn it.

With goal, conflict, and outcome written down as a reminder, that’s where I started. I wrote scene after scene, referencing that hot pink sticky note attached to my keyboard, until I had a folder of twenty or so scenes. Eventually the scenes began to connect, cohere, and like protons and neutrons they should have formed atoms, or rather chapters. This is where I went wrong, I skipped over chapters and went straight to developing four sections of the larger work, but we’ll talk about that later. However, once I had the chapters, those chapters gave structure to the premature sections. Finally, those sections (with chapters after I got my head on straight) fed into one another and they became a first draft.

You don’t have to start out big, I didn’t. I built a solid foundation on the three basic principles of writing a scene: goal, conflict, outcome.

What did you do the first day you sat down to write? Post in the comments section, I want to hear your thoughts!

Though there is a Day Zero post somewhere in the future, there isn’t going to be a Day 2, 3, 4…6205 (yes, it’s been that long). I promise.

Best, Melissa

Up next in the series (likely to be interrupted by random posts): 300 pages?! Where do I start?

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One Response to “Day 1: What I had to learn…”

  1. I suppose that the first day I sat down to write was when I was in 8th grade, to write a story for some or other homework assignment. It was at that point that I got quite enflamed with turning imagination and own experience into something touchable, although I did’nt think in those specific terms 🙂

    Although I’m a fan of logic, coherence and proper delivery, I try to write as free as possible. Thinking of structure and logic etc obstructs my inspiration (I need to be able to write a complete chapter on purple bunnies if I feel like it :-)) I see writing the first draft & revising and editing as two completely different processes. The latter two is where the fun of making it structurally coherent with proper delivery begins! I sometimes feel that the latter part is where the actual writing begins 😉

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