Getting Started

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So. Want to be an author? Here’s how to start

I have learnt that there are no hard and fast rules about writing. But there are guidelines. Guidelines that cannot only help you write successfully. But help you finish the job.

If anybody ever decided to conduct a survey on started and unfinished manuscripts laying in the bottom drawers of desks. My guess is it would be in the tens of thousands.

Let’s start with the basics. Before you even put serious pen to paper (Or these days fingers to word processors).

Suppose every word you wrote cost you a pound. What would you do? You would try and tell your story as economically with as few words as you could. So here’s the first building block.

1) Write about something that happened to you today. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. Eg,you were standing for twenty minutes at the bus stop and then three buses turned up together. Write the little story in exactly 100 words.

Then write it again in 75 words. And then when you’ve done that. Take a real good look at it, and write it out in 50 words.

Do that exercise a few times with different little stories and you’ve got a handle on three of the basic writing building blocks. Edit, Edit, Edit.

2) Practise using one word to replace a dozen. For instance. The first character says to his friend. ‘I got a call from (insert the name of your favourite actor/actress). We arranged to meet for a drink at a West End of London bar.

Then I went home with them and we spent the night together.’ The second character say ‘SURE’ They don’t mean sure as in positive. They mean SURE! As in ridicule. So in one word ‘SURE’ you’ve replaced the second character having to say ‘YOU DON’T THINK I BELIEVE A COCK AND BULL STORY LIKE THAT DO YOU’.

In one word you’ve replaced the necessity of 14 without losing the meaning. If you want to be more fundamental than that. Here’s two to think about:

The baby crawled on all fours—The baby crawled. Because how else can you crawl except on fours.

The smile on his/her face.—-You don’t need face. Because where else can a smile be.

Do a few. Get in to the habit of being miserly with your words.

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