For myself, and I’m sure many others, just getting down to write can be a difficult task. That first blank page or few lines you write you will usually be the most critical of, and can psych yourself out of going further. Thankfully, I’ve found a way that helps me (and hopefully you) to get going, at least for scratch work and hashing out ideas.
It starts with writing a list, and that’s it. Literally anyone can write a list. You can make it a grocery list, a list of locations you want to place a character, a top ten list of the best cafés in the area, whatever. The point is you sit down and make one.
The next goal is to integrate that list or another you’ve made into your writing. You can do this by making it more relevant to your character(s). For example, a list of five fears your main character is facing, seven goals they have to accomplish to win back their father’s trust, or an unusual grocery list that starts the plot in motion. Make it as relevant as possible, and try to stick to an idea you want to shape for the plot or character.
Now that you have at least one list it’s time to get down to the dirty work, and this is the hard part: you actually have to write. I know, I know, you thought you could get away from this but no, not so much. Lists are great to get the ball rolling to get ideas and thoughts on the page without judgement, but you’ve still got to actualize those ideas. That means actually writing. This doesn’t have to be painful though. Use your list(s) and make a scene based around the items on it. If it’s a grocery list, write your character shopping for those items. Are they embarrassed getting the items? Sad? Do they have a plan on how to use those items? Do they hate shopping? What about a list of objects in a character’s room? Do they have special meaning? Are they frustrated about a particular object not working properly? Are they ashamed of any item in the room? Maybe this leads into another scene, and another, until you’ve got yourself a solid story on the go!
I hope this helps, below I have a few list ideas if you’d like a place to get started:
- A list of objects found at a crime scene
- Top five bad superhero powers
- Ten weird-looking environment features (i.e. a cave that looks like a mouth)
- Six calls your character regrets making
- Seven skills your character wants to work on
Thanks for reading! Please let me know in the comments if this helped you at all and leave a like if you made it to the end of the post!
During my last semester, from January 2017 to April 2017, we had to create a creative non-fiction piece. Everyone in the class had the option to submit to a class journal that would be created at the end of the class if they so chose (seeing as this would potentially exempt their piece from future creative writing contests). I chose to write about the hard times I faced dealing with serious acne during middle school.
My Piece: Don’t Look at Me
The Complete Journal: TRU Creative Non-Fiction Magazine
This piece for university was made for my speculative fiction class. In it, we had to create a twenty to thirty page short story for the beginning to a novel we would later work on. I chose the latter. However, while I don’t plan on making a novel out of this work, it has given me a solid foundation for a screenplay I might adapt from it.
A young first mate, Nick, scrapes by in a world desperate for water. Fresh water is so rare the world economies are built around water as the most valuable resource, and in some cases, currency. Since the ground has become flooded by rising tides and terrible storms, and due to overconsumption, freshwater is all but non-existent. Thus, airships have taken to the sky to harvest water from the clouds. But clouds are becoming more and more scarce day by day, and the only hope for water is an old legend that may be just as crazy as it sounds…
Not A Drop
I recently finished an interactive fiction game (aka a web-version of a “choose your own adventure” book) I made for Thompson Rivers University. While I did complete a finished version by the end of my co-op, I was asked to continue expanding on it during a work study position which I glad accepted. I can finally say that it is truly completed. However, due to the scale of the game (and since I made this singe-handedly) there may be a few grammar or spelling mistakes, but I have done my best to fix or correct all of them.
Can you survive the dangerous lands of Canada? You might not be Indiana Jones, but with your business skills you just might be able to survive, and obtain, the Treasure of Thompson Rivers University. Avoid traps, solve riddles and watch out for a mysterious cult that worships sleep which is said to inhabit the university grounds. Good luck adventurer!
The Search For The TRU Treasure
Another piece from university, this one was a semester-long project I worked on to create a TV pilot. We were allowed to choose any genre, so I went with a mixed high-fantasy sci-fi theme. I created drama and treachery elements similar to the TV show Black Sails, adventure elements similar to Atlantis: The Lost Empire movie, and danger elements similar to those of King Kong (2005).
I built the world of the show entirely from scratch. It all takes place on a planet with similar physics to those of Earth, however, this is a much larger planet (about 1.75 times the size of Earth). Each continent is a perfect square (called Sectors) which there are four evenly distributed around the planet, each with their own unique environment. The show starts with Phineas and Martin on Sector four in an underground city. Both brothers are through with their crummy lives and want to make changes to their world. With recent events, this might just be the chance they’re looking for, but other forces are at play, and the world itself may have other plans for these brothers…
Aurora – “The Shift”
Another piece from university, we were tasked with creating the first 30 pages of a novel we could continue, including planning out a full summary of the novel. I chose to make a sci-fi horror piece.
It takes place in a near future of space colonization. The crew of a cargo spaceship discovers, and boards, a long-lost pioneering flagship sending out a distress call. When strange events start to unfold on the flagship, the crew must fight for their lives and all of humanity’s as they struggle to discern friends from enemies.
This was a horror/drama piece I worked on for my introduction to screenplay writing class at university. It follows the story of Henry, a bus driver who has to deal with a mysterious mist as he tries to rekindle his marriage. But there’s more than just the mist Henry has to worry about…
What Lies Within Excerpt