How to Write a Story & Working Despite Distractions

How to Write a Story & Working Despite Distractions

It’s not easy finding quiet time to collect your thoughts. If you work all day, whether it’s at home or in the office, it’s hard to find enough time, right? I found the best thing to do is jot down ideas when they come to me, so I can add them to my manuscript later.

I chose to feature the picture of my cat in this post because even when you do manage to make it to your writing table — something will always pop up to distract you. My cat is one reason my work doesn’t get done! He just likes to sit in the middle of whatever I’m working on, wherever that is. You probably have pets that need your attention, or kids, a ringing door bell, or a spouse who wants you to help them “just for a minute.” But those of us who have the passion to write for the enjoyment of others, somehow find a way, don’t we!

First you must decide on the type of story you want to write, the genre. That will set the tone for how you will write your story. The next step is to decide if you’re a “seat of the pants” type of writer where the storyline, plot and dialogue flow through you to the computer screen or the written page. Perhaps you’re the other kind of writer who needs structure for you to build your story.

My first book, A Shadow Away, came to me the first way. I chewed gum as my mind churned out ideas, but I don’t recommend it. The images came easily, and the characters came to life for me. Their dialogue flowed so quickly, sometimes I had to scramble to keep up! If there was a glitch in the plot, I’d give it some time to unwind itself. And many times, the solution came from the adventurer Alex, eccentric archaeologist Andrew, or even my witch/person Angel herself.

The idea for this kind of story writing is to let your thoughts flow as the story almost seems to write itself. Even this way, though, you must follow the basic rules of story writing. Plot, character development, and a hundred little things that go into the making of a great manuscript are true for every style of writing. There are many books online and in your local bookstore that describe these and everything else you can learn to make your book a success. Do your research! It’s important.

The second way to write a story is with a storyboard. I use a white board from an office supply store and magnets to hold my scraps of ideas in place — which I number! One number for each magnet for every step of my story. I paperclip my notes together, too, in case they get knocked off the board. There are four basic plot points to build your story around. Some books say there can be even seven to twelve points and describe the different breakdowns. Choose the layout that works best for you. Plot development is important for both kinds of writers, and with a story board, which is what I use to write now, I can separate the plot point sections with different colored magnets. Works for me!

If you have anything to add or something you’d like to share, please feel free! Have a question? I’d be happy to answer the best I can. See you next week!

Video: What’s your day like as a writer?

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.
Fiction Writing Research Can Be Fun!

Fiction Writing Research Can Be Fun!

You might not think so at first, but research for your book can be fun when you’re finding out about something you’re interested in. This kind of research isn’t the same as preparing a required project for the classroom. This is information that can inspire an idea for your story or provide deeper knowledge on a subject you already know something about.

I write fantasy fiction, and have always been fascinated by myths and legends, so I was drawn to write a magical adventure about El Dorado. I love magic and sorcerers, so I weave them into my stories too. The important thing is to write about what interests you, something you already are familiar with or have experienced yourself. Those make the best stories.

As you go further along with your research, ideas for characters to play the parts in your story may start coming to mind. Write down what you know about them. Let them tell you their story. It helps to flesh out your characters with personal bits of background information. Where do they live? What kind of lifestyle do they enjoy? What kind of personal traits or characteristics do they have? Make them come alive to you, and they will to your readers.

For example, the lead character in my series Alex Cort Adventures started out basically as me. I love adventure, and so does he. He comes from a background similar to mine, though yours don’t have to. Alex enjoys working on cases linked to myths and legends with eccentric British archaeologist Andrew Seaton, because I can combine my interests in science and archaeology with Alex’s love of adventure. See? It’s easy!

Over the years I’ve studied, and traveled, and met interesting people. Even in your own town or city you will see people who would make excellent (disguised) characters for your story. Be kind, if you use actual people for your inspiration.

The third character in my ensemble (mine are all fictional, born in my vivid imagination) is a young woman with her own kind of magic. Her name is Angel, because she calls herself a witch, and most people don’t equate angels with witches. With Angel I get to add magic and sorcery, dragons and mythical creatures, other dimensions, and quantum physics, and all those things of the metaphysical world that fascinate me.

Just get started! The rest will come to you. Don’t worry it has to be perfect the first time. Your story will grow and change, and so will you.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

If you enjoyed this post, please remember to “like” and share it with your friends! And use the sign up form below to be added to Joan’s email list so you never miss a post or update!

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.

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