Getting Started

How you choose to write your story is entirely, completely and utterly up to you. Of course it is.


If you would a like a single thread to follow through the articles here, I am delighted to share my method for piecing together a story of any kind – novel, film script, tv drama, sitcom – I’ve tried ’em all and the same things are useful for all of them.

A Brief Outline

Here’s a brief outline of the journey, which I’ve framed below as a series of questions. Each builds on the last…

  • Getting Started
    • What medium are you writing in?
    • What genre are you writing for?
    • What’s the world you’re setting your story in?
    • How do the characters and plot relate?
    • What length am I aiming for?
    • What’s the hook?
    • Why am I telling this story?
  • Characters
    • Who is my main character?
    • What does he or she want?
    • Who or what opposes them?
    • Who are the other characters – what are their roles?
    • What makes them likeable and abhorrent?
    • How to they interact?
  • Structure
    • What kind of structure am I looking for?
    • How many acts?
    • What are the key plot points?
    • What is the conflict?
    • What is the denouement?
  • Themes
    • What themes define the genre of the piece?
    • What images and motifs will I apply?
    • How does my theme affect the drives of the characters?
    • What are the extremes of these themes that give me places to go within the script?
  • Scenes, Dialogue and Action
    • What are my settings going to be?
    • How will my characters speak?
    • How will I structure each scene so it is filled with conflict and surprise?
    • What details will I use to give my writing depth and flavour?
    • How will I work in some jokes for lightness?
  • Rewriting
    • Do I have to? (Answer- Yes)
    • How do I go about it?
  • Industry requirements
    • What other materials must I generate to sell this?
    • Who might be interested?
    • How am I going to reach them?
  • Self Care
    • How am I going to look after myself during this process?
    • How do I keep motivated?
    • How do I manage my inner critic?
    • What is a good decision?

No, don’t be scared!

If the list seems daunting, fear not, that’s what these articles are here for. I’ve seen plenty of advice framed as lists of questions – and my response is always – how do I answer that? Really what I’m asking is how do I answer that in a meaningful and helpful way. Do I need to know which cereal my character eats? Only if it helps you tell the story.

One of my guiding principles is little and often. If you’re following the thread of the Marson method, just follow one article at a time. If it inspires you, great. If it doesn’t, move on.

If you’re up against a particular stumbling block dive into any of those articles that sound interesting

Finally if you’re looking for an approach philosophy then I would start here: left-brain vs right brain. I’d like to think this is a worthwhile detour

And if you’re ready to begin at the beginning – let’s go!