And about now, most writers can be broken into any of the following categories:
- I’m going to start something new
- I’m going to finish that book I’ve been working on for XX years
- It’s time I finally wrote that book I’ve been thinking about all these years.
One of the most difficult things in starting something new (or continuing something you’ve been working on for such a long, long time) is getting to know your world. An unfamiliarity with your universe and your characters is often the reason enthusiasm flags, or writer’s block becomes an unnavigable obstacle. You might know where you’re starting, and where you want to end up, but be unsure how to get there.
It’s like driving somewhere new. You know where you’re beginning. You know where you want to end. But how do you get there? Without a map, you have no idea, and just have to feel your way. When you have a map, the journey becomes clearer. Moreover, you’re provided with alternatives as to the route.
So here’s an exercise you can copy and paste into your word processor, and which you can perform to help you get to know the story you want to write in 2016 …
|Subtitle (if any):|
|Pitch your story in one or two sentences – this will help dilute what you want to write about:|
|Where is your story set?|
|Who is your protagonist?|
|Briefly describe your protagonist …|
|Who are your other main characters?|
|Who are your supporting characters?|
|What event sets your story in motion? E.g. in The Hobbit, it’s Gandalf and the Dwarves coming to visit Bilbo. In The Philosopher’s Stone, it’s Harry finding out he’s a wizard.|
|What are the obstacles that stand in the way of a resolution?|
|What is the resolution?|
|What is the protagonist’s arc through the story? How are they changed? E.g. Bilbo goes from meek and material, to independent, confident, and worldly.|
This is an abridged version of an exercise you can find in our Australian Writer’s Companion, which is full of weekly writing quotes, weekly writing prompts, submission opportunities, writing exercises, and writing resources! As you can see, it’s all about writing!
For now, hopefully this exercise will help show you the route you’re going to take, and in getting to know the route you’ll find the impetus to not only write, but to keep on writing in 2016.
Make this the year you finish that book!
Happy writing in 2016.