There are many people around the world who would like to write a book, a story about themselves or one which they have concocted but don’t know how to get started. This was the case with me some years ago and it was something that I just kept putting off. There was a man from my town, Menos Hilas, who had 4 books published during his lifetime and so I decided to bit the bullet and go to see him, to pick his brains about how to get started. Thankfully for me Menos was more than happy to spend some time with me to give me some structure and assistance. These were the core considerations which Menos told me to work through, and I wanted to share them with you.
It may sound obvious to have a basic plot and you probably already have one in mind, but Menos told me to mainly focus on the beginning and the end. This seemed strange to me but I carried on regardless and I found that what Menos was telling me was to only focus on these aspects of the story because in doing so you go into far more detail about why the story is being told, and what conclusion you are going to reach.
I had a couple of characters in mind for the story but when Menos began to ask me more abut them, I was at a loss as to what to say. The reason for this is that I figured that the characters would develop as the story went on, whereas Menos gave me great advice in saying that it is the characters which actually drive that storyline. Characters shouldn’t just be thought of as people with a name and an opinion or a role in the story, they should be people with a history, with likes and dislikes, stories of love and heartbreak, goals and aspirations. In creating characters like this you can really get to know the character, which helps both the story and the reader.
Research wasn’t even something I had considered much until Menos suggested it, and I now realize just how important it is. You cant write a crime novel without at least a solid understanding of areas of the law, police work and how processes pan out. Just because you are making up a story doesn’t mean that you can forget about actual facts, unless you are writing your own fantasy novel of course. Spend time on research to make your story more believable.
The best piece of advice which Menos gave me was to break the story and characters into sections, and then work out how to link them all together. Even if you are telling the story of one woman and her quest for justice, there are additional and concurrent storylines which will massively help the main theme.
Before you put pen to paper, have a think about these issues.