The Storyline?

by Tiegan
(New South Wales, Australia)

Question: I don't even know how to begin my story, and what events I should use. Would the best way to get the story going is to create and get to know the characters, and then build the plot around them?

Answer: Some writers begin by creating characters and then imagine putting them in situations where they have problems to confront. They do this until a plot emerges, eventually.

A larger number of writers begin with a plot outline of some kind and then create characters to serve the story.

However, most people are not strictly one or the other. You might begin with an idea for one character and build a plot outline around that person. Or you might start with a little plot idea, create a few characters, go back and flesh out the plot some more, discover you need more characters, etc.

A third approach is to begin with an idea of the message you want to convey (a premise) or the subject you want to explore and then design your characters and plot to serve that purpose.

How much preparation you do before you start writing varies quite a bit. Some people (plotters) will create an extensive and detailed outline. Others (pantsers) may have only the sketchiest of ideas.

If you're the kind of person who tends to get stuck part-way, uncertain what should happen next, then I recommend becoming a plotter. With a good outline, you will always know where your story is headed.

If you feel that an outline is too much of a straightjacket and you have no problem writing off the top of your head, then you're probably a pantser at heart.

Either way, I recommend you create at least a brief, one-paragraph outline. This article will show you how to do this in a dramatically sound way...

If you follow the other articles on the "Write a Novel" tab ( you can make as detailed an outline as you need - one that is very complete in terms of both internal and external story.

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