Preparing To Write

Preparing To Write

Before you write a story, you need to do a few things. You need to have a clear idea of what your story is going to be about. You need an idea. You need to know who your story is about. You need characters. You need to know where your action will take place. You need to build a fictional world.

I am not saying that you can’t write a story without the last two, but you do need the idea before you can write a story. So I will concentrate on what I mean by what you have to do before you write.

Of course, you already have an idea of what you want to write about. I’m going to treat that as a given. We know that. You wouldn’t be writing anything without an idea first. So you have an idea of what your story is, what is next? I like to write things down. So I will do a premise of the story.

The premise is just the idea formally written out. It doesn’t have to be long, a sentence or two, or an entire paragraph, just something written down. Capture the idea. That’s all you need for a premise.

Now who is the star of the story, the main character? What happens to the main character? I often write a synopsis of the story. This is a broad recitation of the story. This happens. Then this happens, which causes this and so on. It’s recitation of the action. There are no details. Just a series of what happened. I make a list of the characters that I will need. Some people do this in their heads and leave it there. I like to write it out. I also do a beat sheet and sometimes a mind map of the story, who is connected to whom and so forth. That depends on the story.

Before I write a story, I often develop the characters. I like to know who they are and what drives them. What their foibles are. Things like that. Some writers do that on the fly and I will sometimes as well, but often for a longer work, I like to have something I can look at to see who I’m writing about. I use it for consistency. I like to imagine what the characters look like before I make an error that needs to be corrected. I’ll make enough errors in the writing process without adding inconsistent character descriptions to them. It’s the same with settings. If I know I will be revisiting a particular place in the story, I will write a description of it. This is where world building comes in.

Even if your story is set on present day earth, you still need to describe the places your characters visit in the story. Having a sheet for each place keeps things consistent and helps you make less errors to fix in revision.

A lot of work goes into writing that never makes it to the final story. The readers don’t see it, but if you skimp on it, they will notice it is missing. The underpinnings of your story don’t have to be fancy, detailed, or flowery. It just has to be there.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 248 other subscribers
© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
%d bloggers like this: