2. Getting From Idea to Story

Page 6 of 8 | Where Do You Get Ideas? | Many Shapes | Collect and Remember | Now What? | Writing Is a Process |
| Tools You Need | Plagiarism—Don't! | Brainstorm |

What Tools Do You Need?

The main writing tool is the one between your ears. It needs lots of exercise to stay in good shape.

As for getting your words down on the page . . . it really doesn't matter much how you do it. You can use stone and chisel, or pencil and paper, or a computer. If you use a computer, don't forget to SAVE often, and BACK UP your work! Print it, copy it to a another disk, just make sure you make a backup every single day! Computers crash. If yours hasn't yet, it will. Keep a second copy.

Keep your notes where you can find them. If you use a computer, keep them together. If you use a notebook and pen, keep it in sight.

Just get it down

For getting started, there's nothing like getting words down on paper — or glowing in phosphor — even if they're the wrong words. You've made a good first step by getting something down. You can always change it later.

Beware of the editor

Not the one who may one day publish your work. The one in your own head that can stop you before you get started.

When I'm writing a rough draft, I almost never look back and read what I've just written. Too risky! That way lies disillusionment! I save it, keep it safe, print it out when I have enough written. But when I'm concentrating on coming up with something new, I try never to look back. That comes later.

Practice, Practice...

Did I just hear a gurgle of disapproval? No one likes to be told to practice. But you wouldn't expect to play the piano like a concert pianist without lots of practice, would you? You wouldn't want a surgeon operating on your spleen without at least a little practice. And how about your airline pilot?

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Writing is no different. You learn by doing. And one of the chief things you'll begin to learn is how to take a raw idea and develop all of the other elements that are required to make it a story.

Sometimes the only way to learn is to dive in and try. And try. And try again.


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