10 basic steps to own the writing process

Crafting the story to lay the foundation of a solid blue print begins long before you start writing the story

When you start writing a new story it is so easy to be overwhelmed by the intricate detail of what happens in the story – the parts that make up the story – that you forget about the whole story, and simply write the story scene by scene, hoping that it will all add up in the end.

Rushing to write the first draft, you patch the details together and soon find that you have a story full of holes, or one that feels empty and does not live up what inspired the idea

De-motivated and lost you soon lose interest in the idea and leave a potentially great story unfinished.

It’s like watching a film you can’t wait to see on DVD, then, with remote at hand, you skip through the boring bits to get to the end, finding an ending that leaves you unsatisfied.

Sometimes you get lost in the daunting process of turning abstract or vague ideas into a tangible story that is logical, cohesive and worth investing the time it takes to develop the story to its full dramatic, comedic or dynamic potential.

It is about story, the whole story, and nothing but that.

Everything serves the story, the writer, the characters, the structure, each story event, the theme …

You must own your story before writing it.

10 basic steps to own the writing process

  • Step 1Premise: It begins with that perpetual question: What is it you want to write? What is this idea that you want to develop into a story?
  • Step 2 – Concept:   You have to conceptualise your premise.  A story is ultimately about character and action. Think about who your story is about and what propels your character into action? You story could be low concept or high concept; if it’s a story driven by events and characters, it will be high concept, and if the story is purely a character-driven narrative, it’s low concept.
  • Step 3 – Genre: Now that you have your premise and concept and are clear about what you want to write, you must make sure that you select the right genre that will serve the story best; each genre has specific conventions that are familiar to audiences,will fulfill the expectations of those who watch or read the story.
  • Step 4 – Theme: Now you have to lay down the foundation of your story. Start by asking yourself why you are writing the story? What do you want people to take away after reading or watching your story?
  • Step 5 – Characters: Now that you have your premise, concept and theme, it’s time to take a closer look at the people who will live in your story and define the roles of the characters. Whose story is it? Who is the bad guy? What are the antagonistic forces that will prevent your main character from achieving his or her goal?
  • Step 6 – Structure: At this stage there will be a traffic jam exploding in your head with all the overload of information you have to now organise into cohesive logic. This is where you use structure to make sense of your story, and create story logic.  No matter what plot you are using,  you will explore the set up, confrontation and resolution of your story, better known as the beginning, middle and end, a formula Greek Philosopher Aristotle set in motion almost 4000 years ago with his Six Elements of Drama – so don’t blame Hollywood!
  • Step 7 – Plot: Great, now it’s time to find the right plot, or line of dramatic action will you set in motion to keep people involved in your story from start to finish? You have to use the ideal plot that will be best for your story.
  • Step 8 – Story Outline: You have to look at all the events (the parts) that will make up your story. The function of your story outline is to write what happens in your story from opening to ending, identifying the story events (scenes) of the most important events in your protagonist’s life.
  • Step 9 – Card Outline: The function/ goal of the card outline is to build and dramatise each event, and to explore the exterior and internal lives of your story.
  • Step 10 – The Top Sheet: This is the most important document that you will write to protect your intellectual property and sell your story to producers / publishers.

The Writing Process is fully explored in The Write Journey course.

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