Unless they live down the street from each other, you actually have a problem here.

I keep mentioning I was 15 when I first knew I wanted to write stories for a living. That was because I had just gotten into fantasy novels. Those were a pleasant solution for a teenager: set in a completely made-up place, yet written for adults. You could brag you were reading about adult stuff but still rejoice in all the dragon-fire. I felt like I should be telling my own stories like this.

But I remember, very clearly, wanting to tell a much simpler story. I wanted to write about children just having adventures in their backyard.

So I did just that. And they became part of those many failed manuscripts I mentioned before. The reason? Since, as a kid, the kind of children’s books I got used to were written in a more western setting, I started my first manuscripts like that. But the inherent problem was I had to base everything on a world I only saw through TV and movies, not on one I actually grew up in.

I couldn’t grasp what a western set world would be like, so I was constantly second guessing every scene. And it didn’t take long before I got mentally tired of it, like doing math exercises all day.

I knew I had to set it where I was completely familiar. I had to write local.

And in just a few pages, my next try was flying. I must’ve written non-stop. I was recalling places and events in my life and folding a story in and around it. I was just substituting names for made up ones, that’s all. It felt so good!

Then my second problem I had struck me. I didn’t know how to plot the story and place it in a specific genre. My main characters were already racing down the street and I didn’t know what awaited them at the corner. Was it going to be a monster? Or a policeman? Or an alien? I had no idea.

I’ll talk about that next article. In the meantime, write away.

Happy Writing!

 

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