J. Allen Wolfrum is a fiction author and former Marine based in San Diego, California.

 

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How I Started Writing - Part 3 of 3

How I Started Writing - Part 3 of 3

The first time I read The Story Grid book, the concepts immediately resonated with me.  I finally discovered a framework for writing fiction that made sense to me.  I felt it was just what I needed to get started writing.  Now that I had the Story Grid book, writing would be easy, just follow the framework that Shawn lays out in the book.  For some people maybe that’s how it works but not for me.  I sat down multiple times and tried to write and failed miserably every time.  I just couldn’t put it all together, resistance knocked me down every time.  

I gave up and stopped trying to write.  Then I heard about the Story Grid podcast on Steven Pressfield’s website.  The podcast is what really got me over the hurdle to get started writing.  For those who haven’t listened to the podcast, it is a treasure trove of advice from Shawn Coyne about storytelling and the editing process.  Tim Grahl is a new fiction writer and Shawn Coyne uses Tim’s work to illustrate the points he makes in the Story Grid book.  The podcast is amazing, I cannot recommend it enough.

The Story Grid podcast started in October 2015 and I listened on and off for the first year.  I started going to the gym in early 2017 and listened to every episode of the podcast during my morning workout.  That’s where the concepts of Story Grid started to become clear in my head.  Listening to Shawn and Tim talk about Tim’s work every morning gave me the confidence to start writing again.

I mustered up the courage to bring up the idea of writing a book to my wife.  I had an idea, “What if we didn’t have elections and the President was selected at random?”  This was right after the United States Presidential election.  My wife encouraged me to give it a try.  I talked about the idea for a few weeks and on January 30, 2017, I sat down to write Chapter One.  It was horrible, but it had the five commandments of story; an inciting incident, progressive complications, crisis, climax and resolution.  I let my wife read the first draft of Chapter One.  After finishing the chapter, she nodded her head and said, “I want to know what happens next”.  That simple question was the encouragement I needed to keep going.  If she would have responded in a less enthusiastic way, I would have never continued.

Over the next seven months, I wrote the first and second drafts of my book, Selected.  Throughout the process of writing the book, the Story Grid book and podcast continued to be fantastic sources of information.  I would never have made it this far without the encouragement from my wife and the Story Grid.  

That’s the end of the series about how I got started writing, I’m going to continue writing a post a week about how I use the Story Grid methodology in my writing process and anything else that seems interesting.

How I Use Story Grid - Writing a Scene

How I Use Story Grid - Writing a Scene

How I Started Writing - Part 2 of 3

How I Started Writing - Part 2 of 3