writing in the night

And by fiction, I don’t mean the profession of writing fiction. I mean, how do sit down and start writing a story entirely based on your imagination?

I used to Google on how to write a story because I was once obsessed with writing story. My obsession hasn’t died yet. I still fancy writing stories. I just don’t say it because earning livelihood by writing fiction is really not for anyone. I might write stories that will occasionally stand out from the crowd and amuse people in my audience, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll never be able to be a professional fiction writer.

But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to write stories.

I know the usual boring way of pen-and-paper approach to writing stories. The pros recommend to draw characters, how I want to portray them in my stories, how I want them to be in my story, why I want them to include in my scenes etc. One of my books in my childhood had a story on writers. The story read that writing is a hard work. The book read, “You might wonder how writing can be hard since the writers aren’t wrestling with others. But it is actually hard.”

I couldn’t understand how writing can be hard. But it didn’t take me long until I figured out. Blogging, at least for me, is easy as pie. I can get down anytime and write a blog post. But writing fiction, on the other hand, is as hard as it can be for anyone else (except for professionals and born talents).

The hardest part for me in writing a fiction is getting started. The reason I’m writing this blog post tonight is it’s raining outside. In my earlier post, I wrote that it has been raining all day long. It’s almost 4 in the morning and I can still hear the sound of rainfall outside.

People go dreamy and feel romantic when it rains at night. I, on the other hand, feel the urge to write a story. But I always miss a plot.

I’m sure one cannot give you a plot to write on. I’ve written a few stories in Bangla already. All those times, the plots came to my mind out of the blue and I started writing. Those are the ones I was actually able to finish. If I force myself to write, I get stuck half way. So, I don’t.

I was actually wrong to say that I don’t find plots. I have plots. I know what should happen in the story. I know what message I want to send. I can see the whole story (and point) of the story I’m imagining in the back of my head. But I just can’t start. I can’t find what should be the beginning of the story. I know the whole scene, the overview of what I want to write. But I find it absolutely difficult to start writing.

Someone said that some poorly written words are better than an empty page. That inspired me a lot; but doesn’t always help me. And to be honest, since I’m sure I can’t make my living by writing stories, I don’t feel like doing all the hardcore and professional stuff such as drawing a character map and all that. I’ve written some stories and I’ve written them without any plan. They worked great for me. Because I don’t have to sell, right?

The night is almost over and I still don’t feel sleepy. I have this story on my mind. But I just can’t start.

And that’s what I’m asking you. How do youΒ start?

 

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Written by A. I. Sajib

I love writing about technology, life, and everything between. I love photographing people. I'm a Happiness Engineer at Automattic/WordPress.com. The best way to get to know more about me is through my blog at http://ais.blog

22 comments

  1. I find it easier to start than to keep going, actually. I can just start typing random things and suddenly a story is forming in front of me… It’s the FILLER that I struggle with. All those extra bits… plot, dialogue, developing characters, etc. I’ve tried and failed many times to write longer pieces of fiction. I guess my niche will always be short fiction since it lacks all that filler!

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    1. If I were you, I would have considered myself blessed. Because I never struggle with filler. In fact, when I start writing fiction, it becomes so long that almost always I have to break it down to several parts. And in my experience, web readers are quite lazy to read long stories. Short stories require less time to read and that’s why short stories are popular. And I struggle to keep a story short.

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  2. Daydream! That’s how I start before. I believe all people have these scenes in their heads…untold stories that are unique to each one of us…always playing 24/7…only if people would care to listen and see it. That’s how stories are born. Putting words to the pictures and images in our head, and breathing life to it.

    I used to write stories and publish it in my blog, but due to lack of time, I stick with poetry for now. But I feel the desire to write stories again. πŸ™‚

    I know you can do it. When it comes to writing, all you need is an imagination and a burning desire to keep those images alive and breathing forever. Because if you don’t write it, those stories would die on its own… and no one will ever know it once exist in someone’s world, and you would forget it and that’s sad. So write it!

    You may also start with participating with some writing prompts or flash fiction challenges. They will help fuel your imagination. πŸ™‚

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    1. You’re right. Although in my case it’s not 24/7, but there are stories that get stuck on my mind specially when I’m outdoors. If I can manage time (and most importantly, patience) to write them down immediately, then that story gets written. If I try at a later time, it’s proven that I don’t succeed. In my case, I can write stories if I can start while it’s hot. If you know what I mean. πŸ˜›

      And thanks for the awesome inspiration! You’re totally right there. I think deep down everyone has imaginations. I’m lucky to be able to put them into writing though they may not be as professional as real world writers. But then again, I can get the scene out of my mind and put them into words. I’ve thanked God many times just for that. It’s a great feeling. At times I read my own stories (which I forgot a couple of months or maybe years later) and feel good just because I wrote that story. That’s an amazing feeling. (Although becoming a famous writer would be cool, too πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ )

      But like I said in the post, I can’t write if I’m forced to (reason why I wonder how professional fiction writers write under tight deadlines). The flash fiction challenges may help me get better and faster at writing, but I write stories because I enjoy doing it. Taking that up as a challenge will probably just defeat the purpose. So, I don’t force myself to write fiction. I can’t actually, after writing all those non-fiction news stuff I have to write for my job.

      And yeah, don’t even ask me about poetry. I don’t even understand poems written in my native language. They are way over my head. 😐

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      1. Well in that case, we’re the same. It’s difficult to write write stories under forced circumstances. I need to have an inspiration or idea before I could start. πŸ™‚

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    1. Exactly. I never force myself. But when I have the whole story idea and I already started it but not feeling to move forward with it (often known as writer’s block, though I like to believe it doesn’t exist), then comes the hardest part of writing for me. 😦

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      1. Writer’s Block – Haah! I totally get that..Khair what i do is that I skip that mean part/scene and move on to penning down the next and well I just get back to the skipped portion later. Try this, Who knows it might work for you too πŸ˜›

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        1. But I don’t plan scenes ahead. Most of the time I have a very rough idea of what the story is going to be all about and I start writing. Like I wrote in the post, I don’t do character mapping and all that. In other words, I let scenes flow as I type. So, if I’m stuck somewhere, the whole process is stopped. :p

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      2. That’s funny, my husband just reminded me of my position that I don’t suffer from writers block as I was throwing my hands up for lack of desire to move on with my novel. When that occurs, I usually switch gears to a different topic, which is why I am a woman with many, many unfinished projects. The way I see it, as long as I keep writing I’m ok. Finishing is great, but will never happen if I stop writing completely.

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        1. It takes a lot of motivation. But I guess when you switch the topic, that’s when you have a writer’s block. Despite what it might mean in “terms”, what I think writer’s block means is the disability to continue writing on a topic you want to. That word “disability” might be changed with something that expresses “I’m willing but I can’t” situation. I hope you get my point.

          Thanks for your comment. You’re right, though. Stopping to write never helps finishing the story.

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  3. Aminul, what a great article.

    First off, you have the right mindset about writing – not for money or fame (because that takes more than just hard work and great ideas, it takes a lot of luck), but writing because we love to create worlds and characters and explore how those two work together and create conflict.

    Secondly, starting is *always* the hardest part. Stephen King mentions that specifically in his book, “On Writing.” One of the obstacles every new writer encounters is where to begin. Different things work for different people. Some like to plan up front, some prefer to just dive in and start writing.

    I like to have at least a small plan before I start, as in I know the major plot points for the beginning, middle, and end. From there, I start writing as scenes pop into my head. I don’t stop to correct typos or fix sentences that I think are stupid. I just keep going. Once the first draft of the story is complete, I put it away and work on the next story. When the first draft of that story is done, I go back to my first story and read through it once, making brief notes and thinking more about my character backgrounds and motivations. This is the beginning of the revision process and I can begin to make a much clearer story out of what I wrote — cutting things here, adding things there. This process can take several revisions until it gets to a point where you feel like you’re treading water and no longer moving the story forward (because it’s very easy to continue to nitpick and revise forever). At some point, you just have to call the story done and send it out to agents, magazines, etc.

    Just some thoughts from a fellow writer on our journey. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks for your comment!

      Since you take a lot of time to finish your fiction, I bet that you do get paid for it at the end of the day, right? Don’t get me wrong. Writers don’t write for paycheck. But when it comes to fiction, like I wrote in the post, sometimes you just don’t have enough time to put into what I call “post-processing” of writing. I do a lot of post-processing (editing, revising, cutting short, etc) to my non-fiction writing (And trust me, I write a LOT of non-fiction mostly related to technology in different sectors). But when it comes to writing fiction, I just don’t feel like it.

      Writing fiction and getting paid for that is something I don’t think I can ever make. I just lack that much creativity. πŸ™‚

      About starting up, I think I can start up at special times. Like since last night, two different scenes came up on my mind out of the blue. I don’t know why, but I feel they could be great start to a story. But you know, getting a story started or getting the ball rolling is easier than making a sense out of it. However, I won’t go into that detail. Nobody ever said writing fiction is easy. πŸ™‚

      I’m glad you came here (even more glad that you Followed)! Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks, Jill! For me, most of the time it works under a specific type of weather (like cool breeze in a cloudy afternoon or a stormy night). Thanks again for your input. πŸ™‚

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