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How to start Writing

by Kim Vermaak

There are a lot of articles available on how to write your book, but very few people understand the fear of getting started. That may be your biggest hurdle. So let’s explore some strategies on how to start writing a novel.

In the movie Finding Forrester, from the year 2000, recluse author William Forrester, played by Sean Connery, stumbles across an essay by sixteen-year-old Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown and agrees to tutor him. Of course, there was nothing sweet and noble about it at first. William Forester epitomised the true stereotypical grumpy old man syndrome in this movie.

One method that he uses to get the young student to write is to get him to copy-type an old piece that the author had written in his younger days. What I like about this method is that it removes fear of failure. It is merely the action of writing that unlocks potential in someone’s mind. 

While I am not promoting plagiarism, there are countless authors who earn a living off a genre called Fairy Tale Retelling. It is a genuine book category on Amazon and these retellings are becoming a big hit for movie makers as well. So start by looking at the fairy tales you have in your home or in your memory and imaging what they would be like if you were rewriting them.

Would Hansel and Grettel become serial killers to pretend to be lost in the woods? Are they really brother and sister or is that just part of the ruse? Are Hansel and Grettel really their names, or do they have a series of fake IDs hidden in a vault somewhere?

Would the three little pigs be a set of brothers, each controlling a territory for organised crime? What would their background be? Why did they make the choices that they did? Would all of them embrace a life of crime, or does one of them have a secret desire to be a state prosecutor?

Once you have unlocked the secrets sitting inside each of the character’s mind, can you imagine what genre each of them would feature in. Think of your favourite book genre. Is it love stories, detective stories or fantasy?

If it is a love story, what would a love story be like with Hansel and Grettel in it? Perhaps Hansel falls in love and then has to leave the love of his life when he finds out Grettel has a terminal illness and has to have an emergency bone marrow transplant that only Hanzel can provide.

If your pig story is a detective story, would one pig be a detective who is tasked with in investigating a murder that his brother’s organised crime syndicate is linked to?

The potential outcomes are unlimited. So give it a whirl. You never know, somewhere inside you could be the latest best-selling novel that is destined for the Oscars.

Copyright: Kim Vermaak 2021

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