Where do you start when you are beginning to write a poem or story?

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Answered by: Glen, An Expert in the Starting to Write Category
"The pen is mightier than the sword," is a saying that has become cliche over the ages; however, that doesn't make it any less true. Ever since we were children we've made up our own stories to tell our friends or even to just play around with ourselves. I also have very fond memories of when my dad would make up his own bedtime stories to lull me to sleep.

Still, he made one fatal flaw: he never wrote anything down. That is the hardest part of beginning to write anything: actually writing it! We live in a world of distractions that constantly vie for our time and attention. One of the first steps to beginning to write is to either eliminate these distractions or to use them to your advantage. Yes, you can find a lot of nonsense in television shows and movies, but you can also find a lot of inspiration. Think about it, just about everything you watch is scripted, meaning that it was written down and read by the actors we love.

Now, I have a question for you to answer yourself: what is it you want to write? Personally I prefer fiction because it gives you the ability to create your own world and interactions within it. No matter what medium you choose, be sure to have a theme and make it one that you are passionate about. What characters or phrases could you use to symbolize the messages you have for your reader? If your writing a story (be it short or a novel) the most important aspect that people will notice is character building. We are all constantly growing and changing and it's only natural that the characters we read about are doing the same.

Everything that happens has a lasting effect on us and one simple revelation or epiphany could change the very way we think and deep down we love to see this happen in stories because it makes them real. Belief is the source of all power in fiction and even if we are willing to accept supernatural things like magic, we will never accept an unreal character. You don't need an entire plan for how your story is going to unfold, but at least have an idea about how the actions and changes in your characters reflect the theme you're trying to relay to the audience. A simple example is the man who runs away from all of his problems until some powerful force such as love finally drives him into action. You should also be sure that none of your characters are too good or even too bad; it's not realistic, we all have our quirks and even the best of us make mistakes while the worst aren't always as bad as we make them out to be.

If you are writing a poem, you don't necessarily need to use character building to keep your readers interested, but you still need a theme. I would suggest starting out touching upon the message you have and developing it throughout the stanzas as slowly as you want the pace to be. Certain themes need to be more rapid and others should be more sluggish depending on what you're trying to say. Rhymes are not nearly as important as you might think they are.

Many of the greatest poems have no rhyme schemes at all. They might the poem sound fun and organized, but at the end of the day we appreciate thought provoking statements a whole lot more than similar sounding words. The most important part in writing poetry will always be your passion. If you are dedicated to what you're saying it will come out a whole lot better than if you don't care. If you don't feel passionate about any subject of today, then you're simply better off not writing at all.

I hope this little crash course in beginning to write has given you some inspiration and ideas for your own personal works. Beginning will always be the hardest part of writing, but passion should be the force that carries you through.

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