addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcredit-cardcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobe--smallglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1languagelaunch-new-window--smalllight-bulblinklocation-pinlockm-swarmSearchmailmediummessagesminusmobilemoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahooyoutube

Getting Started: Beginnings!

Notes from March Meetup 2010
Whether you just want to write something, ANYTHING, or you are trying to turn your fantastic idea into a fantastic story, just starting out can be a big stumbling block. But starting out writing doesn't always mean starting AT the beginning!

What to write?
[If you have a need to write but don't know what to write, there are a lot of places to find inspiration.

Writing prompts:
Writers Digest posts a daily writing prompt
Story Spinner randomizes the idea process
Writing from the Heart offers monthly prompts from writer Nancy Aronie

Inspiration everywhere:

  • Turn an incident in your daily life into a story. Over emphasize the characters, change some names and the POV.
  • Read another story you liked; but what would you have done? What if the story told was from another character's POV?
  • Song lyrics
  • Go places you don't usually go
  • Use Voice Recorder to keep notes on the go

Organizing ideas
Keep a file folder if you're a hand-writer. Scribble the idea when it comes to you. Commit at least 15 minutes of thought at the time of inspiration—don't cut it off or put it aside, write as much as you can about what's going through your head and give as many details as possible.

File the ideas and pick one when you need inspiration. Sometimes one of your existing ideas can help move along a story you're already working on, or you can start fresh when your current creative streak has stalled out.

Organizing Your Story: Your Novel Blueprint
by Karen S. Weiner
You May find it easier to write your scenes first, then take inventory of what you have and make it fit this Story Plan Checklist. Or do the checklist first! Either way, be open to change your plan as the story goes along.

PART I: The Basics
• Working Title
• Working Genre(s)
• Working Point-of-View Specification
• High-Concept Blurb
• Story Sparks
• Estimated Length of Book/Number of Sparks

PART II: External Monologues
• Identifying the Main Character(s)
• Character Introductions
• Description (outside POV)
• Description (self POV)
• Occupational Skills
• Enhancement/Contrast
• Symbolic Element (character and/or plot-defining)
• Setting Descriptions

PART III: Internal Monologues
• Character Conflicts (internal)
• Evolving Goals and Motivations
• Plot Conflicts (external)

Where does your story start?
Which comes first? You might have a lot written, but sometimes it can be tough to know where exactly the story starts. Catch the reader's attention right away with a well developed beginning.

Identify your beginning from scenes you already have
Crafting an Effective Plot for Children's Books
  • Dramatic piece of dialogue
  • First experience of strong emotion
  • Character makes a decision
  • Introduce character's present situation
  • Character's typical response to specific situation, which may change or be reinforced in story("Timmy always liked to...")
  • Beginning of a journey
  • Character receives or sends an important message
Begin where the character is experiencing or about to experience the crisis that will determine his actions.

Components of an Opening Scene
  • the inciting incident
  • the story-worthy problem
  • the initial surface problem
  • the setup

  • backstory
  • a stellar opening sentence
  • language
  • character
  • setting
  • foreshadowing

Five Tips for Starting Your Short Story
1. Place the protagonist in context
2. Introduce conflict righ away
3. Establish the rules
4. Create a question to be answered at a later time
5. Keep it simple

Five Tips for Starting Your Memoir
1. Write a Memoir, not an autobiography
2. Diagram your life
3. Don't begin at the beginning
4. Use all your senses
5. Build your writing muscle

Other Links:
Six Quick Tips for Starting Your Story
Significant, Meaningful Action?
The Biggest Bad Advice about Story Openings

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
2017 Volunteers April 28, 2017 2:06 PM anonymous
2017 Board of Trustees April 28, 2017 2:28 PM anonymous
Acceptable Behavior Policy April 28, 2017 2:30 PM anonymous
2016 Board of Trustees April 28, 2017 1:57 PM anonymous
Welcome Visitors! April 28, 2017 2:13 PM anonymous
Getting Unstuck July 15, 2010 8:56 PM anonymous
Getting Started: Beginnings! March 18, 2010 10:55 PM anonymous
About The South Jersey Writers' Group September 15, 2017 1:55 PM anonymous

Bellmawr, NJ

Founded Jan 2, 2009


SJ Writer, Jessica, Krista, Mark Doenges, Mieke Zamora-Mackay, Vince G. Sparks

This Meetup is community funded


Member dues are used to:
  • Cover Meetup costs
  • Encourage more engaged members
  • Have a reserve fund
  • Provide supplies or equipment
  • Improve Meetups

60 day free trial

No credit card required

After the trial you must pay dues to be a member of this Meetup.

Cancel dues at any time.

Dues are billed each year.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy