I really want to start writing my first original story but I have no idea where to start! I’ve written lots of fanfiction stories because it’s easier when you already have a starting point and characters to work off of; but I’m ready to start something completely from scratch. Where do I start?
First, good on you! The leap from fan fiction to original work can be a daunting one.
Second, where to start. Any story begins with an idea. Just the one; that really is all you need to kick things off. It might be a character idea, or just a character’s name, a setting, a single plot idea.
One really good place to start with this is prompts. Here are a few Tumblr blogs that post regular writing prompts:
There are many more; search the tags for ‘writing prompts’. There are other great ways to find inspiration too. Try visiting Flickr and exploring ‘recent photos’, see if anything sparks off an idea. Visit Wikipedia and pull up a random article. Visit coffee shops and eavesdrop on conversations. Visit a junk shop and find an interesting object; think about the person who might have owned it.
Try using a Character Chart to build up an understanding of who your characters are.
And start small. you don’t need to jump straight into writing a novel. Try writing flash fiction, or just individual scenes.
Hope all that helps. Good luck!
One thing that I’ve found helps a lot when it comes to making that switch. With my novel series I, in my head, used characters from the fanfiction I had written (Batman) and based MY characters on the DC Comic universe characters.
Early on it was fairly bad and the characters were right copy cats, but now my characters have expanded to their own.
It might help y’all, it might not.
HAIR ENVY || Rita Hayworth
I read some of my novel to my creative writing class today. -dies-
Now I’m casting my more minor characters.
October 1st, 2011
It was a family outing, one without her older brother so it didn’t feel ‘right’; but Nick was busy. He was an ‘adult’ now, graduated from college and ‘out in the real world’ as her parents always told her. He didn’t have any time to go out with his parents and little sister for dinner and for a movie. Or at least this is, also, what her parents told her when she said they should postpone it until Nick wasn’t busy.
In the long run, they should have probably listened to her.
Lily Wilder was twelve years old, and really she had very little cares in the world. She liked to believe that she was pretty carefree, as well as a healthy, normal twelve year old girl. She cared for her family more than most anything else, but she was closest to her brother than either of her parents. They worked, often, and she very rarely saw her father. When her mother was home, she was still working anyway, she didn’t have time for the girl’s stories of adventure and action like her brother did. Actually, her mother and father didn’t have much time for anything besides work, and sometimes each other. This was why Lily spent most of her time at her brother’s apartment, and why this ‘family outing’ without Nick felt horrible odd, not to mention wrong.
However it was supposed to be a night of fun, eating out, seeing that new colored film at the theatre, and then heading home after getting ice cream from the local parlor. It was fun enough, Lily supposed, but she had to sit quiet in the theatre instead of whisper things back and forth to Nick. She couldn’t giggle at how absurd something seemed, or how funny someone’s hair looked, or how she could create a better story than this. It was still a good movie, however, but she very much disliked sitting in silence. She had to eat all of her food at dinner, she couldn’t get away with puppy eyes and saying that she’ll eat it tomorrow, promise! ‘Eat all your food,’ her father had said, ‘or we won’t go to the movie. I’m not paying for you to only eat some of it.” She had to force down that last bit, when she was full to the top and didn’t think she could eat anymore. There were just things that she could get away with when Nicholas was with them, compared to by herself and their parents.
She missed Nick, a lot. It had only been a couple of days since she had last visited, but that didn’t keep her from wanting to call him up that night and use the guest bed as her bed. It wasn’t that spending time with her parents was miserable, because she did have fun, it was just that she missed her big brother, and she thought it was awfully rotten of her parents and even of herself, to have a ‘family outing’ without that last, crucial member of their family.
They were almost to the car, she realized, as she snapped out of her thoughts and looked around the alleyway that they were cutting through. The bricks were covered with graffiti, there was water that she was certain was not rainwater, and she swore she heard a squeak of a rat coming from somewhere. She pulled down her black hat around her auburn colored hair, and stuffed her hands into the pockets of her red pea coat.
The wind blew, and the sound of the wind in between the buildings howled and sent shivers down her spine. How long was this alleyway, she asked herself, picking up the pace to catch her parents. However as she caught up, she realized that her parents were stopped mid-alleyway.
“What’s going on? Why are we—“
“Lilian, hush.” Her mother said, nearly through the side of her mouth, in a harsh tone that made her not dare speak. Lily couldn’t see between her parents, and didn’t dare peak around either of them. As she opened her mouth to speak again, she heard a deep male’s voice and it certainly was not her father’s.
“Just give me your valuables and no one will get hurt. Wallet, purse, the necklace on the pretty lady’s neck, and your watch.” As her parents began to move to give into the demand, a hole was made between the two of them and she could see the speaker. A man who couldn’t have been older than Nick, scraggly with dirt on his face, mixed in with his facial hair and knotted into the hair on his head. His clothes were torn and dirty. He had no coat and she saw him shiver as the wind blew again. This overwhelming sense of pity filled up her stomach, and even though she saw the gun in his hand, she doubted that it had any bullets inside of it. He wouldn’t have actually hurt them had her parents not given into his demands.
At least that’s what she believed.
Slowly she watched her mother and father hand over the things the man requested. She could see her mother’s hand shaking out of fear or anger, she wasn’t sure. The man took her mother’s purse, and shoved all of the things inside of it before he walked — ran — away.
“He took the car keys,” her mother said, voice strained as Lily saw her fight back tears. “We can’t even — we can’t even drive to the police station! We have to walk.” Her mother’s voice was filled with agony as Lily saw a single tear fall from her mother’s eye. However the child could have actually rolled her eyes. The police station wasn’t that far, and it certainly wasn’t worth complaining about. It may be a tad bit colder outside, but they weren’t homeless. The thief — mugger — was going to benefit from the things he stole. He could sell them, get himself a jacket and maybe he’d actually be able to survive through the winter. However if she shared these thoughts with her parents, they would have likely glared at her.
They walked, slowly, to the police station. Her mother managed to stop crying by the time they got there, but turned on the waterworks as soon as they walked through the door. They got taken in to be spoken to by one of the police officers — young, and handsome, Lily thought she heard him say his name was ‘Jude’ or at least something like that — and she sat in the ‘waiting’ area, waiting for the police report to be taken down.
Lily tapped her fingers on the chair arm, humming, and looking around the police station to occupy herself. When she spotted a phone on the desk that wasn’t being used, she walked up the desk. The officer, this one not nearly as young as Jude, looked down at her with crystal blue eyes. “Can I help you?”
“Can I use your phone, mister? ‘Cause my parents are back there getting a —uh police report done, and I would like to call my brother. The robber stole our car keys, and he’ll have to pick us up.”
“No problem,” the officer said, and pushed the phone towards her. She picked up the receiver and turned the rotary dial for the correct numbers, and when it was ringing she tapped her fingers on the desk.
“Hello?” It was Nick’s voice, unsurprisingly enough, and Lily smiled. It seemed like forever since she had heard his voice.
“Nicky, uhm… I’m calling from the police station.”
“We were walking back to the car and we got held up at gunpoint. He took the car keys for the car, so we can’t exactly drive home.”
“Is everyone okay? Mom, Dad, you?”
“Yeah, no one was hurt. Everyone’s fine. I think Mom and Dad are a little shook up about it—“
“I don’t know, Nicky, it’s hard to explain what I think about it. Can we talk about it when I come over next?”
“Of course. I’ll be at the station as soon as I can get there.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.” Lily replied quietly, “See you in a couple of minutes.”
“Bye.” Lily hung up the phone and thanked the officer, before she sat back at her seat. It seemed like forever that it took Nick to get there, and even longer for her parents to stop being interviewed. However her parents were pleasantly surprised when they walked out and their oldest child was sitting there waiting for them to come out. They caught up in the car, the ‘traumatizing’ robbery had turned into something of a joke now. Their parents didn’t seem nearly as worried, now, and Nick had said something along the lines of, ‘Had you guys just waited for me for family night, this would have never happened’. They laughed and carried on, but Lily was in the back seat thinking that he was exactly right. Had they waited for him, this would have never happened.
When they got home, Lily noticed that Nick kept scooping her up and squeezing her tight, he also kept hugging their mom and dad. There was something in Nick’s eyes that Lily couldn’t identify, it was highly bothering her when it came down to it. Something was up with her brother and she wasn’t sure what. He just seemed affected by the robbery more than she or her parents were (now, at least). When he kissed her forehead and tucked her into bed, she saw the difference in his eyes gleaming almost proudly, but she still couldn’t tell what it was. However she tried to figure it out until she fell asleep.
August 7th, 2011
Since the weekend had started, Nick had been watching his little sister. Mind you, she was twelve so it wasn’t entirely difficult, but nonetheless the plan and the ideas that had been going through Nick’s head since his parents’ robbery couldn’t really be put into effect until after she left. Nonetheless, here he was sitting at the desk in his bedroom trying to sew pieces of fabric together to make one single full body suit. He didn’t have the money to buy one—poor job, high apartment bills, and some graduate classes to pay for—but he was going to try and make the idea that was in his head real and in front of him.
However his sister kept interrupting him.
"Nick… Nick… Nicky…" The soft call was coming from the doorway, where the tiny brunette was sticking her head in and looking at him. She kept calling his name until he turned and looked at her, not saying anything. "What’s for dinner?"
"Probably pizza in the oven, turn it on if you want it now." Nick said, almost dismissively. He loved his sister, more than anything in the world, but when he was deep in thought he almost regret saying he’d take her for the weekend.
"But can’t we go get something? We’ve had oven meals all weekend, and besides I had pizza with Mom and Daddy on Thursday. Can’t we have something else?" He stopped fiddling with the needle and the fabric to look at her.
"If you find something that delivers, we can get it." Still not entirely satisfied, Lily made a face and left the doorway and Nick went back to trying to make his bodysuit.
Once Lily was asleep, which consisted of a long night of cheesy movies on the television and even two radio shows before, Nick put the suit on. It felt odd, awkward, but he put that up to the fact that he had only sewn a few things in his life and the stitching was more than just a bit dreadful. He slid the ski mask over his face and propped open his bedroom window and dropped down to the fire escape stairway below.
He didn’t know where he was going, nor entirely what he expected to accomplish with this. However the thought was making him feel better, it was the thought that mattered. Ever since the robbery he hadn’t stopped thinking about what could have happened. It haunted his dreams. Imagining his parents and sister dead in an alleyway haunted his dreams. He couldn’t imagine how it would be if it had happened. What would he be then? Who would he be? What would there be to live for?
These were all questions that he wanted to answer, but at the same time he didn’t even want to think about. All he wanted to think about was his mission, which he wasn’t even sure what it was. He shook his head and the mask slipped slightly over his eyes, he scowled and fixed it before descending down the ladders to the ground floor. He tried to stay in the shadows, which wasn’t difficult, with the moonlight being behind the apartment building, he was standing in nothing but shadows.
He kept his ears open, for anything that sounded like it may be suspicious. Crime was active after the sun went down and it was after midnight. Nothing but trouble was going to happen if you were on the streets after midnight.
He stayed in the shadows walking down the road, staying behind the street lights and never stepping into the light purposely. He noted some of the security cameras that were mounted throughout the city; some seemed to follow him as he walked. He avoided looking at them, waiting for any kind of sign that trouble was going on.
Then there was a scream. A cry out for help. He stopped in his tracks and took off in the direction that it seemed to be coming from.
She looked like she was barely in her teens, with a short dark hair. She was being pinned up against the wall by a man who had to be at least six foot and a half, his hands pressed against her shoulders into the bricks. She was crying, her voice cracking when she spoke. “Plea— please don’t hurt me. Leave me alone, I’ll give you anything.”
“Anything huh?” The man’s hand left her shoulder and went to her face, lifting her chin up and making her look at him as tears went down her cheeks. He leaned in, laughing as he pressed her harder into the bricks, before he grabbed her and he threw her to the ground. She cried out in pain, holding her stomach as he moved closer. “You’ll give me what I want then.” He grabbed her hair and pulled her up off the ground, before letting her drop again to the ground.
“You said anything, didn’t you?”
That’s when he appeared. She could only see him in the corner of her eye at first, and he was so dark that she didn’t know what he was. She just hoped for anything besides one of her captor’s friends.
“Leave her alone.” He spoke with a gruff, deep tone one that was obviously not natural. She could tell he was faking it. Her captor looked towards him, she saw him fumble with something in his pockets and she was being pulled up by her hair again, metal pressed against her throat.
“Move and she gets her throat sliced open.”
Nick was frozen. He wasn’t skilled enough to move fast enough to grab him before he hurt the girl. He knew that. He held his hands up at his chest height, palms open and almost in a surrendering state. “There’s no need for that.”
“No need? You interrupted my business with the lady.” Frown creased on Nick’s lips, watching as blood trickled down the girl’s neck. He couldn’t let this happen. It would be against everything he had planned, not that there was much planned—everything that he had wanted to accomplish. He couldn’t let an innocent girl die on his first night.
She cried harder as the blood trickled further and further down her neck and the blade seemed to go deeper into her skin. “S-Stop, please… make him stop.” Nick closed his eyes for a brief moment, gathering all of his thoughts before he moved. He moved as fast as he could towards the thug, punching the man and making him fall backwards. His grip on the girl loosened however he was not disarmed.
The thug moved closer to him, twirling the knife in his fingers, laughing as he looked towards the girl who was attempting to crawl away from him. He kicked her in the ribs and she cried out loudly, but still crawled towards the wall. “Who do you think you are some kind of hero?” He laughed, trying to stab Nick twice and both times missing as Nick moved. “Heroes never have happy endings in this city, don’t you know that?”
The man moved again and Nick grabbed his other arm and twisted it all the way around to the back of his body, holding him securely. What he failed to do was disarm the man, and he realized that quickly when he felt a rush of pain in his shoulder blade. He nearly cried out, but bit his tongue instead fighting through the pain and simply punching the man in the jaw.
When he tried to get up, Nick punched him again, and again until he wasn’t trying to get back up. There was blood running down from the thug’s nose and his mouth, but Nick was more considered with his own injury. He could feel the material of the suit clinging to the blood that was oozing out of the wound, where the knife was still piercing the skin. He slowly pulled the knife out and tossed it aside once he looked at the thug again to make sure that he was fully unconscious.
He then turned his attention to the girl.
"Are you okay?" His disguised voice faltered for a moment, cringing through the pain. The young girl stared up at him with wide tear-filled eyes. She sniffled and pushed herself up off of the ground.
"I think I’m okay. Thank you," her voice was weak, and she wiped the blood from her neck. She slowly stood, holding her ribs. "Are you alright? He stabbed you," She slowly walked towards him and touched the hole in the fabric. Her touch was soft. "You’re bleeding."
"It doesn’t hurt much," Nick muttered, removing her hand. "What are you doing out so late? It’s dangerous after dark, don’t you know that?"
"I do now," she tried to laugh but her face scrunched up in a fit of pain. "I’m new to Aro. We haven’t even officially moved yet, we’re just visiting. I have friends that live here, and we were out and I walked home."
"It was a late party, and my Mom’s asleep." She shrugged, brushing her hair out of her face. She looked over to the thug on the ground. "Could you walk me home? Who are you exactly? I’m eternally grateful. You saved my life." Her words filled him with hope, peace, and overall good feelings. This was what he wanted to accomplish, saving someone that might not have otherwise been saved. He had no idea what would have happened to the girl had he not been here. He didn’t want to think about it.
"I…" This was the moment, everything that he said after this would define his ‘hero’ reputation from this point on. If he got a hero reputation. "I’m Kreu." The girl stared at him for a long moment, but nodded with comprehension.
"Kreu," she repeated, sounding partially stunned. "You’re amazing. Thank you again."
The walk to her home was short and uneventful. By the time she was in her house, he thought that he might blackout from the pain. He didn’t know how much blood he had lost, but the throbbing was driving him crazy. He climbed back up the fire escape and into his window. He stripped down out of the one piece suit and walked around his apartment in his boxers until he could find something to dress his injury with. He bandaged his shoulder up, cringing every time he had to wrap it tighter.
He walked back into his bedroom, kicking the suit aside, and climbing into bed groaning from the pain. He tried to sleep, but that proved difficult. It took nearly an hour of tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable before he fell asleep. In the morning, everything would change.
James Stewart in “The Philadelphia Story”, 1940.