My home girl A. Wrighton invited me to do a guest post today. So, here I am. I wanted to take it back to the basics. If you’re like me, you like to write in different mediums such as novels, screenplays, articles, etc. But, there is one crucial step that I see some writers miss.
Starting from the beginning.
Developing your story before you even start writing.
What do I mean? I’m taking it back to Writing 101.
Yes, I know.
Why, I’m already a great writer?
Trust me, I feel I’m great, but I even miss some steps. Here we go, when you get that great idea in your mind, you may think, “oh, I’m going to start writing now!” No!!! Don’t do it! Do not pass go; do not collect that $200. Let me tell you why? Once you get the idea in your head, you want to get all of the ingredients first.
It’s just like baking a cake.
When you are in the grocery store (the baking and cake aisle) you say, “ Oh, I want to make a strawberry shortcake.” The first thing you do is get all of the ingredients, right? The cake mix, eggs, oil, water, what kind of icing, cake pan, and all that jazz. This is just like writing, because you already know that a story, any story, has a beginning, middle, and an end, right? When you get your idea, you have to plan it out. Depending on what you are writing you may need these ingredients: an outline, great characters, a setting, what will happen, why does this character go through this, what’s the climax, and the resolution, what will the main character discover or learn? All of these things will make a great story.
Ingredients for a novel or screenplay?
What will happen, who will it happen to, who is your protagonist and antagonist, is there a villain, an ally, etc. These are all important in your novel or screenplay. Once you have finished with this part of the beginning process or the “development stage”, now it’s time for the next ingredient.
Using this ingredient, it’s time to get your hands dirty. If this was a cake, it’s time to put all of the ingredients together and start mixing. With your writing, this is the time to do your research. Research the topic or setting that your novel or screenplay is structured around. People do research differently, for example, if I’m writing a novel about a girl with a sex addiction and she wants to get married, I may research all about sex addiction, what they go through, how they fight the urge, even how to live normally or function with the disease. If I’m writing a screenplay on the same topic, I may look at some films that have sex addiction involved, and read as many things as I can on the topic. Also, for both a novel and screenplay, I like to make character profiles on all of my characters, especially the main ones. I give them a name, background, zodiac sign, personality, etc. This makes it easier to write the story, once you know how the characters act.
Here’s an example of two character profiles I did as research:
My name is Aurica Daniels. You may know me from my best-selling book Sweet Innocence that Krystol wrote, but enough of that! Back to the matter at hand. Let me just say that I just want to get out of this mental facility and get on with my life. Here I am 35 years old and my doctor keeps telling me that I’m 15 years old. I have places to go and people to kill. My father deserved to die when I was 15 because he raped me. But, no one else knows that but me. They think he died of a heart attack, from a bad hit of heroin due to the marks in his arm. But little do they know, it was snakebite. Yea, a Copperhead snake. I’m glad he felt the pain that I felt when he violated me. I have got to get out of here so from now on, I’m playing by the doctor’s rules. Ms. Aurica Daniels needs to get out on good behavior.
Name: Aurica Daniels
Age: 35 years old
Marital Status: Married
Appearance: 5’8 Brown Skin, brown eyes with black hair, dimple, petite frame with curves. My posture is very upright and I wear suits on occasions and jeans. I love to wear MAC makeup and the different colors to match every outfit.
Mannerisms: My mannerisms are very business professional. I’m a high-end famous author. I take my business seriously. My motto is “ Business first and then I can let my hair down and have fun.
Voice: My voice is soft most of the time but it can get a very devious tone when I’m up to something bad. Often times I say, “ I didn’t do it, it’s not my fault.” At least that’s what the doctor’s say that I yell out at time. See, having schizophrenia can be a bitch at times. You never know what will come out of my mouth sometimes.
Personality: My personality is very straightforward. I don’t take any stuff from anyone and if you aren’t for me you’re against me. No one believes that my father raped me so, I oftentimes feel like it’s me against the world. My flaws consist of lying. I really can’t tell the truth to everything now can I? My biggest secret is that I killed my father and if anyone finds out, I will go to jail. We can’t have that because I have too much to do when I get out of here. While I’m in this hospital, I don’t have a lot of friends. I mean who wants to be around a crazy person all day. Well, that’s all I have to say for now, but trust me…I will be back.
My name is Garie Daniels. I’m a lawyer and I love what I do for a living. I make really good money being an entertainment attorney and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’m married to a beautiful woman named Aurica Daniels and we have been married for about two years. She is truly my soul mate. I miss her very much because she’s in the hospital right now. She suffers from schizophrenia, but that’s my wife. Although my marriage is on the rocks, I have been keeping a secret from her. I’ve been having an affair for about three months. I know it isn’t right but it just happened. My heart is still with my wife. I’m going to stop cheating when my wife gets home.
Name: Garie Daniels
Age: 35 years old
Appearance: During the workweek you can catch me in a designer suit, preferable Armani. I love to wear a nice suit with a Stacy Adams shoe to match. I always wear cologne. On the weekends I’m more likely to be wearing jeans lounging around the house.
Marital Status: Married
Personality: I have a real laid back personality when I’m not working but when I’m in the courtroom, I’m very stern and assertive. I’m loyal for the most part except for this secret that I’m hiding from my wife. If she finds out that I betrayed her, I’m afraid what might happen. The last thing I want is for her to have a setback.
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware.
Education: I graduated from Widener School of Law.
Family: I have a sister named Trinity and she’s my world. Although she’s 20 years old that’s my baby girl. I would snap if anything happened to her. I want to have a family with Aurica but we are waiting until she healthier with her condition.
Lifestyle: Aurica and I live in a beautiful five-story house. I drive a Porsche and she drives a BMW when she is able to drive. We have an all white living room that no one is allowed to be in. I like it for decoration.
Well that’s all for now. I will continue to tell more of a story later, but meanwhile I will pray that God has mercy on me for cheating on my wife. I do love her with all her heart. I just want her to get well so we can get back to our life as a happy married couple.
3. Time to Write
Once you have done your research and mastered your outline to the best of your ability, it’s time to write!
What I do is get all of my notes, outlines, and index cards, whatever I use to write and go to town. By, this time, “ the cake” has been all mixed up, the pan is oiled and it’s now going into the oven to start baking.
The more you write, the more your novel or writing piece is almost finished. Once you have a finished product, it’s done! Well, at least the cake is almost done, right?
When the timer goes off on the cake, it is done baking, but it’s not ready to eat. The cake must cool before you can layer the icing on it. So, you let it cool, get your cake holder out, and start mixing the icing right? With writing, this is the time to read over your work, edit, rewrite, and get it as perfect as you want it to be. Once you have done this step and are satisfied with it, then you have a completed piece!
Or it’s time to icing the cake and get ready for a slice!
As writers, most of the time we have no patience. We want to write and get the finished product done!
Believe me, I understand completely. But, I was taught slow and steady wins the race. Just like baking the cake, you wouldn’t put the oven on 450 degrees so it can cook fast and then be raw in the center, right? Eeww, who would want to eat that mess! Not me! (side note, A.W. is raising her hand.)
So when you take your time and start from the beginning with the directions ( your notes, outline, character profile, etc.), you are ready and will have a great story.
Because… We are writers.
This is what we do. After all, writers write, right?