The advantages of a modern writer

Imagine an ancient writer - or even a writer lived more than 50 years ago. And now compare him with you. Which differences do you see? Many, I know. Too many, maybe. But I want to focus on one of them. The modern writer - who could be you - has got a computer, hasn't to write on paper. And this is a great advantage!
Compared to the past, now writing is a simple task, we can all do. Be careful, I said 'writing'. Because 'good writing' or 'becoming a writer' is a different kettle of fish. In the past, writers had to get paper, pen, ink, at best a typewriter. Today we need a computer, already fitted with a word processor.

Starting 'writing' does not mean starting writing

Starting 'writing' does not mean starting writing. Ok, let me explain what it means. If you think that starting writing your novel - or even short story - means writing Chapter I on a blank sheet, I just think you're wrong. Before the step of writing, there's much to do. First, ask yourself these questions:

- Do I know what I'm writing about?
- Do I know how my story will end?
- Do I know who are my characters?
- But, above all: Do I know why am I writing?

If you haven't answered one of these - there should be many others - there is a problem.

The idea, first of all!

Imagination and inspiration are just a means to achieve the most essential tool of the writer: the idea. It is an intuition which encompasses the whole story. It's made of images, thoughts, feelings. It's something personal and subjective, the way wee see the story, which may also change during the writing.

Why is the idea so important? Because, without the idea, there is no story. Writing means having something to say to the reader. If there isn't anything that interests us, why should the reader be interested? Therefore, we must have an idea, but it must also be good.  Think how many millions of books are there. Why should readers choose yours? Why is it so special? Because of the idea. Because there's no other story like yours. Because it's unique and unrepeatable, remember? So what we need is an original and unconventional idea, that the reader cannot resist. 

Get inspired, that's easy!

In the last post, we talked about imagination. The second - but not least - writer's ally is the inspiration. We can't dispense it. But what is inspiration? It's difficult to define in words. Inspiration is a particular excitement of the mind or imagination, which drives us to create something. Ancient poets believed that he inspiration came from the muses. But we can rely only on our minds.  

One of the problems of a writer is to be confronted with a blank sheet and not be able to write anything. This is commonly called "writer's block". We seem to have no ideas, but we'd have much to write. We just have to get inspired! 

What's imagination? And how to use it in writing

Imagination is the first writer's ally we're analysing. We've already said in the last post that the writer knows how to represent reality in fiction. Well, creative writing is fiction. Something fictitious doesn't really exist: it's created by our mind. Imagination is this: to create something that does not exist - but which could exist, even in a fantastic world.  

So, let's think of how many chances we have. We can imagine thousands of different characters, millions of places, billions of potential stories. And we own everything we need to pull them out of our mind. 

Better to start with a short story

I know, many aspiring writers dream of writing their first novel. They can't wait to write the first page of the book which will lead them to success. But it doesn't work, and my experience has confirmed. Haste is the worst enemy of a writer, along with many others. So don't jump the gun, start slowly. You'll have all the time you need.

Why writing a novel is difficult? Because it is too long. There are too many characters, too many events to consider. Add to this, the problems of writing in general: first, to write well. This is a great problem, the worst, if you have no experience.
The solution is: start writing a short story. It's more limited, has few characters and only one main topic. Short story can be very useful for several reasons:

First day as a writer

writing,writer,pen,paper,book If you're on this blog, maybe you like to write. Or, at least, you'd like to try. If you already write, this post might help you to rediscover the origins of your love for writing. If you'd like to try, this post is just for you. I do not pretend to teach you anything, much less how to write. Nobody can do it. It's something that is learned through experience. I just want to share with you my experience, which I hope will be useful.

The first time I tried to write a story, I was about ten. That story was nothing special - better to say it was horrible - but this is not the problem. What matters is that I had a passion, a goal and, above all, I liked. But I wasn't yet ready. And I knew. It was just a game. But it was important because I was approached to write. And now, years later, I remember with pleasure that time.