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Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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2.3.3 Finding a voice

Figure 12

Writing is no more complicated than someone’s voice, telling a story. Different strategies are available to you for getting started. You can use prompt phrases, for instance. These can also lead into approaches to editing.

In the next activity you will explore ideas for how to get started with a story and also how you might approach editing the story.

Activity 2.4 Strategies for starting a story

  • Immediately, without thinking where it might lead, write approximately three lines that follow on from the phrase ‘Emma said that …’
  • When you’ve finished, cut ‘Emma said that’. Notice how little has been lost: you’re still left with whatever Emma said.

You can use whatever names you want. Here’s an example: ‘Joe said that it was always the nice girls who hated him. They took one look and …’ This would become: ‘It was always the nice girls who hated him. They took one look and …’

When you have trouble starting a piece of writing, it might be helpful simply to begin with a formulation, as shown in the activity above, that you can cut later on. Simply use the name of whoever is telling the story, or whichever character it’s about. In this way, you can think of writing as no more complicated than someone’s voice, speaking – just ‘telling a story’.