What are the steps of writing a story?

Dear Writer Guy,

I’ve been thinking for a long time now about writing a book…. Please give me directions on how to set about writing the book?


Dear Adam,

Here are the steps I usually follow when writing a fiction story:

  • Inspiration. A main idea kicks off the story writing process.  Sometimes it’s a great title (like TROUBLE IS MY BEESWAX).  Sometimes it’s a what-if question (what would happen if a vegetarian was forced to work on a cattle ranch?).
  • Questions. Ask, what is my story about?  Who’s the main character? What does the main character want, and what prevents him/her from getting it?
  • Brainstorming.  Come up with lots of dumb ideas and eventually a good idea pops up.  Remember the Rule of Nine: For every ten ideas you come up with, nine will suck.  But you don’t get to that great idea until you go through all the lame ones.
  • Structure. Think about the beginning and ending. Roughly plot out story events before starting to write — but leave some parts blank, so you’ll have the fun of discovery.
  • Sloppy first draft.  Write that first draft as fast as possible. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, details, or whether things make sense.  The first draft is supposed to be a mess.  Don’t get it right; just get it written.
  • Revision.  Let your first draft cool off for at least a week. Then rewrite.  And rewrite.  And rewrite.

Enjoy the process,

Writer Guy

There are no comments yet. Would you like to start a conversation?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Math for Humans. Not spambots. *