One of my goals for this year is to publish a work of fiction. I’ve written multiple nonfiction books but writing fiction is something completely new and exciting for me.
In nonfiction I like to start with the idea or a difficult problem to solve and write with excitement about a solution to that problem. The motivation is fueled by a love for the idea combined with a love for the audience.
Fiction is different. With fiction I have heard author after author say that the characters were the driving force behind their motivation to write a story. Likewise, readers like to talk about their love for the characters in their favorite novels and movies.
“The first thing that happened is that I found a character (at first just one and then others later) that I cared about really deeply and I needed to know her story. . . There was no way to finish reading her story without writing it.
The second piece that was maybe first but not as important was finding scenes–these moments in her life that were so bizarre and wrenching that I needed other people to know about them.
[Finally, the third thing:] I realized there were a number of things that I really wanted to say but didn’t fit into any of my current methods of communicating with people.”
It reminded me of this very famous seed for a story:
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
These were the words that J. R. R. Tolkein scribbled on a blank piece of paper as a university lecturer. From this idea, of course, eventually came the book, The Hobbit, and subsequently one of the best stories of all time, The Lord of the Rings.
So, how do you get the motivation to start (and finish!) a work of fiction?
Story with the character.
You might even consider starting with the villain.
Here is Hank Green’s full video announcement: