Step 1: Outline

I had an art teacher in high school that would draw a line on students projects if they were sitting at there desk waiting for inspiration to strike them and give them an idea of what to draw. Her rationale was that the first stroke was the hardest, so if you draw a stroke on your canvas, you know have a starting point and it is no longer a blank canvas.

This idea can be applied to anything that you are having problems starting. When writing a story just start writing out ideas to get the ball rolling. You can even write out several ideas and then choose which you want to work with.

In college I had an drawing instructor that really emphasized constantly refining your still life drawings. He’d start with some well placed primitives and refine until he had an amazing final piece.

This idea is how you take that initial idea and continue to work with it. When I first had the idea of the Cosmic Rage universe it started with a small cast of only five characters. The story was highly vague, at the time I was in high school and I wanted to create an action series with multiple fight scenes and memorable characters and that was it. However, little did I know I had inadvertently laid the ground work for my series.

Do you recall the basic story chart from English classes? The introduction that has rising action to a climax and then down the chart of a mountain with the story ending resolution. By plotting out a few key areas, such as how Zeth and Jani meet (see character gallery for reference), the final battle against the main villain, and how that battle is resolved, I had already fulfilled the basics of the story. By writing these out in a simple outline I can then start plugging in information as to how the characters get from one point to another. It’s this constant push and pull working with an outline that helped shape the story. At this point there is no need to focus on tiny details, the main point of the outline is to determine the fluidity of the story and how these events help shape the characters.

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