‘The key to a great story is not who, or what, or when, but why.’
Elliot Carver, Tomorrow Never Dies
This quote by the main villain in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, has stuck with me ever since I saw the film for the first time. The quote itself is actually in relation to journalism, but in relation to writing fiction it is relevant. To an extent.
The who, what, where, when, why and how a story takes shape are all fundamental to writing fiction. I would certainly agree that the ‘why’ is the most important of them all, but I think that if you do not have the basics of the rest put in place as well, the reader doesn’t care why a story is being told.
My blog over the next month or so is going to explore these issues in greater depth and the ways in which I go about shaping my characters, my setting, the chronology, and the structure. Then I will explain how all of these direct the reader to understanding why this story is important enough for me to have dedicated time, effort and words into telling it.
My aim is a to be a guide as to how to start writing fantasy if you are an absolute beginner. They aren’t rules, and many of the principles could be used for other genres, this is simply how I would advise someone to begin to learn how to write before they find the confidence to fly the nest and do it the way that suits them the best.