re: This Story in my Head Won’t Leave Me Alone

in Creative Process by

Dear Editor…

I’m an engineer but I’ve had this story floating around in my head for a few years and it won’t leave me alone. It’s really starting to bother me because I don’t have the foggiest idea about writing styles or even where to begin. I do know I have to get it out of my head. Help! Where do I begin?

Sincerely,

Joe

Dear Joe…

Stuff that TI scientific calculator back into your shirt pocket and whip out your Roget’s thesaurus, because you’re about to become a writer. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest community college and enroll in a fiction writing class. If there’s a university nearby, they’re sure to offer a fiction class in their extended studies program. At this point, it doesn’t matter if that raging idea in your head is for a nonfiction book—which I doubt, given your use of the word “story”—because even nonfiction writers must learn how to craft engaging narrative. Fiction, in a formal writing course, is your starting point. There, you can let the genie out of its bottle in a step-by-step manner under the guidance of a pro. Your instructor will help pinpoint your specific genre and audience, at which point you should tap into the online organization for that genre and get into a critique group. Then read all you can in that genre to learn its idiosyncrasies as well as general craft, as each genre has its own quirks. Above all, stop resisting. Many writers would kill to have an idea that passionate in the wings. Work it, boy, work it!

Happy writing!

The Editor

1 Comment

  1. This is an interesting question and answer. I am someone who always has ideas in my head and stories to tell, but I just can’t get it on paper. I enjoy spending months plotting storylines and imaging writing them, but I can’t go there. Seems like a big waste of time if it doesn’t amount to anything. I think I’m not a writer, but I do love a story. Kinda wish I would stop dreaming up new stories.

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