The hardest part of writing will most likely be different for different writers.
Many though have a hard time getting started.
These writers know they want to write a story.
They may have a character in mind or an idea for a storyline.
The problem is getting started.
To actually sit and write a beginning, middle, and an end, has these writers afraid or if not afraid, then stumped. This leads to procrastination.
So, how do you overcome the ‘getting started’ blues?
One simple possibility is to just start writing.
Once words and sentences begin to appear on your screen, it opens up to paragraphs, chapters, and so on. This is the seat-of-your-pants method of writing.
The story unfolds before you.
A possible draw back to this method is that you could get stuck.
Your story may be flying along and then suddenly, BAM. It hits a mountain. You’re not sure how to get over or around it to continue on with the story.
At this point, you’ll need to think about creating an outline to move forward.
Another excellent method to get started with your story is to create an outline at the get go–plot your story.
Before I go on, let me explain what a story plot is.
According to “How to Write a Children’s Book” from The Institute of Children’s Literature, “A plot is really nothing more mysterious than a plan for a story—a sequence of events with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The direction a plot takes may be simple and straightforward, as in a short story for preschoolers. Or it may be complex . . . when intended for young adult readers.”
A solid plot unfolds with your protagonist facing a challenge (conflict), taking action to overcome it, and growing in someway as a result of achieving his goal.
Okay, let’s get back to the topic. Suppose you’re writing for younger children.
Think of your main character.
How old is he? (What age group are you targeting – what is the reader’s age? Your protagonist should be at the top age of the readers you’re targeting. So, if your reader will be 5-8, your protagonist should be 8.)
What’s your main character like? Or, what’s she like?
What problem will he have?
Is the problem age appropriate?
What conflicts or obstacles are blocking your protagonist from reaching her goal? You must have conflict in your story.
List the events and how they will unfold.
And, decide how the story will end.
Using the outline method, you create a GPS for your story. It takes the guess work out of writing a story. This takes the pressure off.
It’s like painting with dots. The picture is outlined – you just fill in the dots.
While you can deviate a bit from your outline, you know where you need to get back on track and exactly where you need to end up.
Some writers believe this is the best method to create solid stories, stories that have a shot at getting traditionally published.
The outline method definitely provides a sense of security.
As a pantser, when I rewrote an ancient Chinese folktale, Walking Through Walls, I had a roadmap of where I was going. While I changed the story drastically for today’s children’s market, I knew the basics of the story. This was very helpful.
Also, even though I may start chapter books by the seat-of-my-pants, I usually end up creating chapter outlines as I go along.
Writing 1000 words and less for a picture book can allow a writer to be a pantser, but when you’re writing 20,000 – 40,000 words, it gets tricky.
So, whether you want to let your story write itself (pantser) and hope you don’t get stuck along the way, or whether you create an outline first, the most important thing is to just start writing.
Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter/editor. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.
Shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700
Let’s get your story in publishable shape today!
Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN.