Think writing will be fun? It is, the same way mountaineers find ascending K2 amusing. Mountaineers and writers: persuing their craft for the same reason... all together now... because it's there.

The climber treks up mountains formed by planetary forces, while a writer builds his own mountain using stones of language. At times, the exertion feels the same.

The character Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H said his favorite book is the dictionary because it has all the other books in it. Your book is there, too. You've just got to pick the words that appeal to you and place them in an order of your choosing. 80,000 times.

It all starts with an idea, something you yearn to express, whether it's a personal experience, a political, religious, or philosophical perspective, a clever story, or a commentary on our life and times. Many manuscripts are the book the author would have liked to read but couldn't find.

A writing exercise: If you're not sure where to start, think small, or more appropriately, think short.

Default word processor settings generally present an 8-1/2" x 11" page with 1" margins. Set your font to Times New Roman and 12pt. This page will hold approximately 275 words.

Your goal is to fill one to two pages with a complete story: beginning, middle, and end. You're not striving for perfection, but use complete sentences, no social media abbreviations, and punctuate to the best of your ability.

If you've gotten 300 to 500 words, you have written a Flash Fiction story. There are competitions with awards for this genre.

A variation of the Flash Fiction method is Floodgate Fiction. Just open the mental floodgates, don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or any structure whatsoever. Begin with the smallest kernal of a thought. Couldn't find a sock this morning? Where might it be? Start writing/typing and just keep going for as long as you can following the story without regard to how rational or interesting it will be to anyone else.

This is practice and perhaps fun. The exercise prepares you to meet the challange when a solid idea materializes; you will be eager and able to sit down and pound out a few pages which could seed a manuscript of novel length.

Writing Prompts
Prompts are a few words to entire scenarios meant to stimulate the imagination.
They provide practice, or may be fodder for a complete novel, and are a useful resource for beginners.

There are many books and on-line sources, but here's one I like for no other reason than it's sheer volume:
5,000 WRITING PROMPTS by Bryn Donovan
(link opens in a new tab)

Other Books
Perhaps the best place to find inspiration and material with which to work is in other books. Fiction and non-fiction. Enjoying a novel in something other than your primary go-to genre, could get you thinking in new ways.

Resurected Storylines
It's been said many times: There are no new stories. Every tale is derivative of something, with a twist. There are a dozen movies and numerous novels that are Cinderella. Cinderella itself is a retelling of a 17th century French tale, Cendrillon.

You make it your own by introducing a tangent... or right angle turn. What would have happened to Cinderella if the prince had never found her with the glass slipper? Who might she have become?

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