Stuck on getting started

by R J Hawk
(Woodland Hills California USA)

Question: I have an idea about what I think is a great horror/suspense novel that could easily turn into a movie. The problem is I don't know how to get it started. The main character is a beyond Mensa genius who is a computer software engineer and a psychiatrist. He is married and has 2 children, one 12 and one 17. The family lives in a Leave It To Beaver type of neighborhood. I cannot for the life of me get the story started. Perhaps I am stuck on character development but I don't know. Can you plea help?

Answer: Have you looked at my article on creating a simple plot outline? Here's the link...

This will get you started on creating a roadmap for your story, so you know where you are going during the writing process.

You might also check out this page, which links to articles on the subject of various practical ways to structure a story...

Of course, you have to develop character arcs at the same time as you develop your plot. However, the process of developing an outline will help you get clear on what your story is about.

There's more help on the "Write a Novel" page as well.

One other thing to consider is the concept of an inciting incident. This is the event which starts the chain of events that make up the story. Without the inciting incident, none of the rest of the story would happen.

You don't have to begin your story with the inciting incident. Often you can begin your storytelling at a point after the inciting incident has taken place, so that the reader sees characters reacting to it, but has no idea what they are reacting to (therefore, creating mystery).

Nonetheless, the inciting incident creates a certain momentum that drives the story from the beginning.

Best of luck.

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