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May 2, 2010
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Darling Mionette's

How to Begin To Write

Welcome to my tutorial on how to start writing. This tutorial isn't going to teach you the rules of grammar, or punctuation. Let's face it – there is a plethora of such tutorials already out there. Instead, this tutorial is going to teach you the tools you can use to get a head start on writing.

You Are a Writer

First things first: acknowledge that you are already a writer. What? You're not? You could have fooled me. Let's face it; from the moment we're born, we're unwittingly taught to become writers. Language is one of the first tools we learn, and along with that, story telling. You may have never sat down and written a full-length novel, but I assure you, you are a writer.

Throw Out Your How-To Guides

The first thing you should do when you want to begin writing is throw out every dictionary, thesaurus, and writing guide you've ever owned. (Well put it away anyhow). I've found that one of the biggest obstacles facing new writers is the sheer mountain of advice and "you should do it this way…" 's that they get. I say hogwash! There's a time and place for all that advice – it's called the editing phase. If you spend all your time worrying about whether or not you're writing "well" you're never going to write-you'll just edit, edit, edit.

Quit Editing

 The hard-core writers editors out there are probably sitting in their seats screaming "No! Don't tell them that!" -with this sort of horrified look on their face. I wish I had a camera. What they don't want you to know is: everyone writes crap their first draft. Yah, over time you inherently learn to weed out the mistakes so your first drafts become cleaner – but I don't want you worrying about it right now. It isn't important. The best thing to do is just write.

You Don't Need a Plot To Write

"But Mio – we don't have a plot. What about plot structure?" What about it? I know they tell you "make sure you have this and this and OMG DON'T FORGET THAT," but honestly; it's just another obstacle. If you worry about your plot right off the bat, you're going to be sitting there hashing out details until you're sick of your story and no longer want to write it.  Why? Because you have already written it! Maybe it's not flowery, or full of dialogue, but you got the story out, and now it doesn't want back into your head. Don't be afraid to throw out your plot outline. You can always fix the plot later.  
In fact, the truth is, most of us already know all this "plot structure" stuff already. We might not be able to quote to you what it's all about, but we know it. Trust your subconscious mind, and let it iron out the plot for you. Worry about writing – not about having it make sense at this point.


"So what do we write about?" Anything! That's the beauty of it. You don't always have to go into a story with a plan. Go grab a random picture off DeviantART and write about what you see in the picture. Describe the environment, the people – make dialogue up. It doesn't really matter. Just write a sentence. Every story starts with one, and if you have one, you're already ahead of most writers. Believe it or not, the hardest thing about writing – is just sitting down and doing it. Once you have that mastered, you're well on your way.


If you want to exercise your ability to write – do writing prompts! You don't have to do prompts you find on the internet, you can make up your own. Pick something up off your desk right now, and start a sentence with it. Here: I'll do it.

(Sticky Notes)

 Pink, green, blue, purple–-vibrant squares of paper littered the desk. Many of them had been crumpled or scribbled across, most of them forgotten. Mio was a bit of a slob, and like most slobs, she hid behind an organizational nightmare of sticky-notes. Unfortunately, sticky notes were the least of her problems….

See, wasn't that hard. Sometimes the most random things can lead to a story.


Now let's move on to dialogue. This seems to be the hardest thing for anyone to write – and I'm not entirely sure why. Every story needs it, and it's easy to write. How do I know? Because I speak. If you speak, you can write dialogue. People have a tendency to try to write their dialogue like their narrative (seriously what are you guys thinking) and you can't. If you try, it'll come out sounding unrealistic. The exercise I've learned (and still employ) when it comes to dialogue is this: speak. That's it. There's no magic secret, just… speak. Find an empty room in your house where you can talk to yourself, and sit down and say all of your dialogue aloud. It won't be long before you'll see what's wrong with it.

For example: Read these two sentences aloud.

1."Broderick – you are absolutely infuriating. I really wish you'd just go jump off a cliff."

(omg I'm sorry Brody)

2. "Jerk." With a hard shove, I sent him reeling into the door. "Get out."

(Look I said three words, and got my point across. I didn't need to be flowery or have tons of dialogue to do it. Remember: No one is going to stand around in real life while you go on and on in a monologue... so why would your characters?


Some of you may have heard of NaNoWriMo. For those of you who haven't, I highly recommend it. Every November writers from all over the world get together at to attempt the spectacular feat of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. (That's a small novel). NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. There is no prize at the end of the 30 days, other than a hearty pat on the back – but trust me, its well worth it to participate. I've participated three years running. The first year I started 17 days into it, and still managed to win with 51k words. The second year I was three days late, and ended up with 52k words. Last year, I finished with 56k words in 10 days. Think you can't do it? RUBBISH.
The reason I mention NaNo, is that it has taught me a very valuable lesson, and one I hope to express here: The writer's biggest obstacle, is just starting to write. Once you quit worrying about all that grammar and punctuation, it becomes simple to write. Set a goal for your day (2k words a day is not unreasonable) and sit down, and write. When you're done throwing out your story – even if it's utter crap – you'll have accomplished more than most.

 Your Homework

Write. Just go do it. Forget all the nay-sayers and people who want to tell you "how" to write, and just go do it. The worst thing that'll happen is that you'll a) finally have some words on paper and b) you'll gain some experience. I don't see anything wrong with either of those. Relax. Writing is supposed to be fun. Keep your first draft free of editing (leave that to the second draft), all you need to worry about, is getting that story down on paper.

A tutorial on the second draft (the editing process D: ) will arrive shortly.

My quick, unconventional guide on how to write - and enjoy it.

(if I didn't screw up the HTML XD)
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DreamSeeker13 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
Thank you for these wonderful tips. I over think all the details. Grammar, plot, voice, style ... blah, blah, blah. Before I have a single sentience out, I get annoyed. My eyes focused on my nemesis: a mocking, blinking icon. Laughing at my inability to write ... anything.

"Ha, ha, ha! You can't write."

"Ha, ha, ha! Just stop!"

"Ha, ha, ha! You suck!"

"Ha, ha, ha! You can't write fan-fiction, why try something original? Ha, ha, ha!"

My inner critic is cruel. My inner-self is crueler because I want perfection from the start. I have to remember to have fun, leave room for my muse, my characters, and myself to breath. Not everything's going to fit on the first go. Trail and error. Remember to allow thoughts, emotions, and ideas to flow free like water. 

Again, thanks! I'll be looking at this a lot to drill it into my thick head.
nesie1525 Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Student General Artist
. . .
I stared blankly at the screen, and it has come to me that the tutorial has ended. My, time sure goes fast when you're having fun.
"Well," I said, eyes searching for anything on my desk, and I was suddenly staring at the huge scissors lying on my desk, along with a tissue box, 4 blunt 2B pencils, papers with rough sketches -100 pages, if I remembered correctly- and an empty huge, tall glass that was used to be filled with tea. Now how did I get all of these in my desk? I inwardly shook my head in disapproval, but pick up the huge pair of scissor, and then spoke out loud.

The cold tip of blade was slightly soaked in blood, Nesie narrowed her eyes, oh, it's not blood, silly me, she thought, smiling slightly and moved to reach out of the tissue box, but the next thing she knew, the scissors were out of her hand, and she moved her head in panic to found a tall person, the pair of scissor in their left hand, raised, as if about to stab her.

I suddenly stopped. And quickly put the scissor back on the desk. No need for horror.

...haha, sorry bout that. i've enjoyed your tutorial alot! Thank you so much, sire! I am still young and inexperienced, so I don't really know how to write like a professional, usually, when I was just walking around the street, or doing whatever, I found an object, then think a way to describe it, or when I felt/experience something, like tripping something, I would think a way to describe it, write it on my notepad, and walk away like nothing happen.

But anyway, thank you very much for your tutorial, it helps me a lot! (ignore the writing above, it's horrifying)
DarlingMionette Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
:3 you're so very welcome
Titanmoon72 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Student General Artist
This is the greatest guide ever, because i usually fuss over how the plot looks or if i've put enough descripsion into it, only once did i not and it turned into one of the best things i had writen (sadly i lost it because of a crash but...)

i also was wondering if there was any advice you could give me about starting a story off, like the first paragraph or so, because i always have trouble thinking if i should start with describing the time set, character or something.

P.S. and what is you Favorite style of writing e.g first person or third and Genre
DarlingMionette Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
always start with action :3 that means either dialogue, or a character doing something :3 if you start with description/time/weather/what a character looks like, your reader won't be as engaged. if you start with someone doing or saying something, it forces your reader to pay attention right away :3 you can always have a character do or say something and THEN do the describing part. A lot of times having your characters narrate an opinion (even if it's not direct dialogue) will also work. As for POV, it's really a trick answer/question but : do what works for your story. Some stories are told better from first person view, particularly if you plan to always have one central character. It also gives you the advantage of an unreliable narrator - your readers only see/know what your main character knows.. so you can trick them :3 other stories are better narrated through multiple characters (particularly if there is more than one character who is on a quest, etc that aren't -together-, in which case 3rd person would probably be better. It's one of those things where you gotta look at the type of story you're telling and figure out who will tell it best, and sometimes that might mean converting it back and forth until you decide which one you prefer. There have been a couple of times where i've started a story in 3rd person and then went back and rewrote it in first because i felt it worked better for that story :3
Titanium-Alex Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013
Yes xD This is stuff which I want to believe and makes me want to go back to my story and just FINISH IT AND GET THE DRAFT OVER WITH. I seriously need to actually finish something.
DarlingMionette Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
XD you can do it!
JacksBasement Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love you so much for this! You are so helpful! :crying:
DarlingMionette Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
XD aww thank you
Luchianguyen Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, I felt like you were just right there jabbing me in the face. "Yes, you." Jab. "You fuss about the plot and twists too much. Just," another jab,"write." Yes sirree bob. I'll do just that.
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