First chapter of How to Write Something Interesting
`I’m a story teller, not a literary writer. I write strong characters people will want to read about.’ Jacqui Collins, Best-selling novelist
You have an itch to write things and you would like some guidance and a bit of common sense advice. If this is you, welcome to How to Write Something Interesting, a short book on getting started and producing a readable article, story, or daily journal.
In short, this booklet is written for people who want to learn about writing but don’t want to wade through pages of technical jargon that they may or may not completely understand.
All they want is a little push to get them started on the right track. Any technical twists and turns can come later, after they have mastered the basics of putting together a few thousand or even a few hundred words in a readable way.
A very good friend of mine asked me recently where she should start if she wanted to write a short story, like the ones she so enjoys reading in the Women’s magazines.
I gave her a few pointers and, because she was serious about what she wanted to do, she took heed and went away to put the few tips I’d given her into practice.
Three weeks later she phoned me, saying she had completed a 2000 word story and would I read it and give my opinion.
I was delighted to do this. My friend has always been a great reader so I expected that with some guidance, she would probably produce a readable tale. She did.
Of course, there were rewrites to do but, far from being disappointed that I didn’t think it was yet at publishable level, she took on board my remarks and suggestions and came back a week or so later with, in my opinion, a humorous little tale that would appeal to a quite wide readership.
At this point my friend has decided not to submit her story to a magazine. Instead she is researching current competitions, looking for one that her story might be a good fit for.
I was pleased to hear this as her story has an interesting plot, is crafted well with a sharp beginning, interesting middle, and satisfying end. And if she is unsuccessful in placement (given the huge numbers entering most competitions it has to be an extremely good story to reach any short list), she still has the option of offering it to a women’s magazine.
Whether writing for pleasure or profit, if you want to do it well there are certain things you need to be aware of.
You say, `But it’s only for my own pleasure and I don’t need it to be perfect. No one else is ever going to read it.’
That’s fine. But consider this; one day, providing you haven’t destroyed everything you have ever written, others will find your work and read it.
The question is – Do you really want to leave behind a legacy of rambling scribblings, or something people will read and enjoy?
I’m guessing that once you consider this possibility you might think differently and, if that is the case, this booklet is for you.
If you accept that eventually your stories or diaries or whatever you choose to write will be read by people other than yourself then, by learning some basic guidelines, you can leave behind something interesting for your family to read.
So let’s begin with the most basic – but important – aspect of writing something interesting.
Even famous writers have had to learn the craft of writing. It would be hard to find one who has never picked up a reference book, attended a course, or read what other writers have written. It rarely works that way. Writers need also to be readers – besides entertainment, reading is a form of learning.
Nothing daunting about that – most (in fact probably all) writers need and love to read so don’t worry, it’s going to be fun and it’s not at all difficult. It makes sense that if you are interested in something then you are probably going to enjoy learning about it.
And if you are the kind of person who is naturally organized then you are halfway to being ready to begin.
Firstly, and particularly if you are one of those enviably well-organized individuals, you need to decide in which medium you are going to write, at least for this first attempt.
Are you going to handwrite into a journal, diary, or exercise book bought specifically for this purpose? Or do you prefer the computer? It may be that you are happy to bang away on the old typewriter you found in your grandma’s attic. And that’s okay too.
Whatever medium you decide to use, now the decision has been made to adopt writing as your new hobby, you also need to think what type of writing you feel best
suits your beginner’s persona – that’s if you don’t already know.
Here are a few to consider:
1. Journaling your memoirs
2. Writing a daily log of your activities, thoughts, and dreams
3. Trying your hand at creative short story writing
4. Writing a novel
5. Writing articles for magazines and newspapers
6. Writing an online blog
7. Entering short story competitions
8. Script Writing
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Barbara Griffin Villemez