This Invaluable Chart Could Help You Become The Next Jane Austen

Do you have a story in you? A thrilling suspense novel? A romance for the ages? A tale of magic to rival Harry Potter?

So, why haven’t you gotten it down on paper? Probably because the hardest part of doing anything new is getting started. Writing your first piece of fiction can feel like trying to eat an elephant. Where do you start?

Now there’s a cheat sheet to get you started, courtesy of Reddit user nibs1066. Reddit, for the uninitiated, is a social media website where users can submit material, which is then promoted by the votes of other users.

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Nibs1066 has created a chart that distills story-writing advice from several books. It’s not overly sophisticated. In fact, the information will ring bells from your 7th-grade study of creative writing, including the part about how the reader needs to care about the main character, the plot requires a conflict, and everything builds towards the climax or denouement.


Still, Nibs’ chart provides a nice overview to get you started. If you want to learn more, there are lots of tools out there to help the fledgling storyteller. This Year You Write Your Novel by novelist Walter Mosley is a great primer. Novel writing software can help you organize and flesh out your characters and plot. Check out StoryWeaver or StoryMill (Mac only).

In researching my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, I discovered that the happiest retirees have several hobbies, some of them new pursuits. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at writing, retirement is a great time to give it a try. These resources make it lot easier to eat that elephant!

Related: This Hobby Can Raise Your IQ

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