how to start

by Courtney Kensler
(Mount Holly, New Jersey,United States)

Question: I really want to be a writer like Dave Pelzer. He wrote about him as a child and how he was abused. I had a dysfunctional home life. I want to write all about that and have it in a book store on a shelf where tons of people can read and enjoy my work. I love to write and I sometimes read. This site helped pretty good but I still have a question. How do I start? I have the idea and I know what I want to write about. Once I started, I won't be able to stop. I just can't start. I'm stuck. Help please. Thanks!

Answer: In the beginning, you can start anywhere. Choose a time when a significant event happened, or you made a difficult decision, or came to an important realization. Describe the situation and what happened leading up to that event. Use specific and significant details to set the scene. Perhaps also describe what happened as a result of this event. Repeat this process for other events.

It may be difficult to write about traumatic events from your past, but it may also be quite therapeutic. Perhaps go slowly, so you don't get overwhelmed.

As you write more, the story may emerge and you may reach a point where you can select and shape the material to convey the meaning of your history. (By shaping, I don't mean alter the events but refine how you draw attention to what's important in each event.)

I would also suggest you read a lot, which will help you develop a feel for language as well as familiarize you with good grammer, spelling, etc. But in the beginning, don't worry too much about sounding "literary." A simple style is often best.

Best of luck.

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