Step by step Story Writing process

Overcome writer’s block, write fiction daily, have fun, and rapidly improve your skills

In this article I will share a simple, step by step writing process that has helped me to break through my writer’s block, and gave me the confidence in my ability to write regularly. I hope that it will help aspiring writers to develop their skills in the fastest, most fun way possible.

My biggest dream in life is to master the art of writing fiction — to expertly create imaginary worlds and witty, insightful ideas. I desperately want to become a great writer, but the process of practicing this craft turned out to be way more difficult than I have ever expected — it felt confusing and overwhelming, and staring at a blank page, struggling to come up with ideas, is outright excruciating.

The main problem I faced was the lack of clear and attainable goals, a straightforward process I could regularly practice to improve my skills. I wanted to be able to competently go from a blank page to the complete story, to feel like I can write consistently and understand what I’m doing, instead of being stressed and wondering whether I can do this again.

To overcome this, I’m using Nulis which helps me to break down the process of going from an idea to the complete story into series of small, specific steps. Following, is the description of the each step. 

Get a prompt

To get started — go to this list and pick a writing prompt that you like.

Starting with a prompt is a great way to make sure you always have something to write about, and replying to the prompts in this list will help your stories to get noticed and receive feedback — which is extremely important for growing as a writer.

Create a template

Open this url to create a story template:

It will to guide you through the process of writing a story, step by step, by asking you questions, and giving you small, clear, attainable goals to accomplish.

Basically, it works like this:

  • You start with your general story concept, just an idea with a tagline. That is the “root’ of your story tree.

  • You then break it down into more details — acts, and story arcs.

  • Which you then break down even further — into scenes.

By answering the questions in the template, you will be able to figure out all the information you need to know to create an awesome, well-crafted story.

The questions are designed to be easy to answer, get your mind to generate ideas, and to always give you the tools that will help you to solve any problem you encounter, without ever getting confused, overwhelmed, or stuck in a writer’s block.

This makes writing process interactive, and incredibly easy to begin and continue. Just create cards, write down your ideas, and keep refining and modifying your tree, until you finally have a complete story. Like a painter starting with a rough draft and gradually improving it until it becomes a masterpiece.

Note that this template is meant to give aspiring writers all the ingredients they could possibly need to competently craft a story, but often you will not have to know all of this. Always feel free to skip or ignore the things that are not helpful at the moment, and focus on accomplishing your goal(writing a complete story) in the easiest and most effective way possible. Remember, these are not rules, just tools.

Also, a lot of the information will be already given to you by the prompt, so all you have to do is to fill in the missing pieces.

Practice writing and completing the story

The template will take you through the complete process of writing:

  • Brainstorming your world/character/story ideas
  • Coming up with a plot and outlining your story
  • Turning your outline of scenes into the first draft
  • Improving the draft until your story is awesome

Treat this process like solving a puzzle, or playing a computer game — because that is the most fun, and optimal way to learn writing.

Try to stay in the Flow — simplify your goals when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take on more interesting challenges when you’re feeling bored. Also, learn about Deliberate Practice.

Strive to make progress and move forward, no stopping, and keep in mind your main purpose — completing your story, getting it done. This is the only thing hat matters, because this is the only process you can control that makes you a better writer, and leads you to creating awesome things.

Repeating this process (writing in the flow and with deliberate practice) will take you past the stumbling blocks most writers face, bring you a lot of joy and the sense of progress, and increase your level of expertise as rapidly as humanly possible.

Share your story and receive feedback

Finally, you are ready to publish your story! Just share it on your profile, and receive the feedback!

Learning from the feedback is crucial to improving your skills, and receiving it from the friendly and awesome community is, frankly, the most fun, rewarding, and addictive way to do that.

Measure your progress, develop a habit

The final thing that you need to get awesome at writing is to track and measure your progress, and develop regular, sustainable writing habits. I have built two tools that will help you with that.

The first is a calendar that allows you to track your writing habits:

The top bar represents the last 10 days, brightness of the day depends on the amount of words you have written(0 — completely white, 1000 — completely orange). Number to the left of it is your current writing streak — how many days in a row you have written at least 100 words. And the bottom bar represents the number of words you wrote today. (You can also use similar stats on fictionhub).

The second tool is our weekly leaderboard:

The leaderboard displays the top writers of the week, so even novice and aspiring writers can jump in, and see their progress(without having to compete with veterans who write less frequently or wrote great stories long ago).

Because leaderboard displays the top writers of the week, even novice and aspiring writers can jump in, and see their progress(without having to compete with veterans who write less frequently or wrote great stories long ago).

Together, these tools track and measure your writing progress, representing it as 3 simple numbers:

  • Your writing streak — how regularly you are writing
  • The amount of daily words — how much you are writing
  • Your position on the leaderboard — how well your stories are received

This allows you to set straightforward and attainable goals(I recommend starting with 100 words per day), motivates you to write as much as possible, gives you immediate feedback on your progress, and helps to develop good habits.

Startup founders have a saying “you improve what you measure”. When a human brain sees a number, it naturally strives to maximize it. Just by looking at these 3 metrics, and trying to improve them, you will maximize your learning speed. And competition will make this journey extra engaging, and fun. It’s like the ultimate, most creative computer game you can imagine!

Conclusion

So there you go, writing process, broken down into fun and easy steps.

  • Get a prompt
  • Craft a story
  • Share it and receive feedback
  • Measure your progress and develop a writing habit
  • Keep it up and take on bigger challenges

I believe this is all you need to maximize your potential and become a great writer. Of course, I myself have a lot to learn, but now I have the roadmap and the process which I can use to consistently move forward and feel the sense of progress.

My ultimate dream is to develop a system that guarantees that you will never experience a writing block, that helps any aspiring writer to rapidly master this craft, and makes it feel like playing a cool computer game.

Nulis is still in it’s early version, and I am constantly striving to improve it. If you have found this system useful, and would like to help this project, you can do it in two ways:

  • Share your thoughts and feedback by sending me an email to raymestalez@gmail.com. Let me know the questions you have, issues you have encountered, obstacles you face in your writing process, or features you would like to see. This will help me to improve Nulis and achieve my dream — develop the perfect, ultimate, most awesome writing system that has ever existed.
  • Spread the word by sharing this article with your friends, or leaving a link to Nulis under the stories you have written.


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