Struggling to get started!

Hi Dabblers,
I have yet to write a story, it is a goal of mine, but unfortunately something I spend more time thinking about than doing! I have read several books on the craft, and have ideas, but then they seem to lose their spark, or I get stuck on a backstory or character arc. I want to start by writing a romance novel, I just can’t decide on a story! I know I’m not a panster, I need to come up with a plan. Do you have any advice that could help me? Or have you used pre-written plots to get started (this feels like cheating to me, but then again I’m wondering if I can just get started without getting bogged down in the craft, perhaps stories will start to come more easily to me).
I look forward to hearing your thoughts,


If you never start, you’ll never know …

Your first story might not be good (nor the second or third), but by actually sitting down for a bit every day and working on a scene, a dialogue, etc. you do the most important part: practice!

Start with something small, use a writing prompt or let your main characters meet for the first time over and over again in different situations. Just write something and it will soon seem easier to start. Ideas might come on the fly.


Chris is right, just go for it!

Write anything you think of. It might be a hundred words. But everything you write will help you shape your story.

I’m a panster. I start with characters and then a blank page and see what happens. But if you’re a planner, having half a dozen scenes written can help you shape a plot - so your main characters first meet over the counter in a cafe. Then they run into each other again at a country-wide work function. What happens then? What happens in between?

Like Chris said, don’t worry about your first story being ‘good’. You’ll most likely need to re-write it even if it was fantastic as you go through and change ideas and fix things. Just focus on telling yourself the story and having fun.

Chatting with other writers helps too, especially writers in your genre. Once you get used to talking about your books and ideas, it becomes easier to piece things together.


Don’t worry about your ideas seeming to lose their spark. The real spark comes in the moment of writing, somewhere between the thoughts in your head and the tapping of your fingers on your keyboard – a flow state that only comes if you sit down and do it. The others are right, practice, practice, practice is the only way it happens. I’m a panster, so I just sit down and see where the story takes me. Even if it takes me somewhere lame or imperfect, it’s somewhere and it’s all mine to continue to manipulate as I see fit :slight_smile:

Can you set aside a distraction-free hour each day to just be with the blank page, with the goal of filling that page? At the end of 10 days you’ll have ten pages and hopefully momentum to keep filling in the details, dialogue, character traits. I’d start with a rough outline… and then just sit down and just do it :slight_smile:

Good luck!


I haven’t written any novels yet but I think best thing to do is not force it. Go with the flow of things, write as it comes to you. If you’re not at a computer where you can use Dabble, grab a pen and paper and write down what just popped in your head.

One thing you can do is write down your ideas for the characters, names, what they look like, what they enjoy doing, where the met each other, etc. You can do this slowly, changes things up if you need too. Feel like a character needs a bit of a change, do it.

Come up with where the story takes place, what year, the month all that type of stuff first.

Hey, who knows you might start on it and a new idea for another novel will show up (don’t forget to write those down). Believe me, I’ve had ideas and got busy and either lost them or lost bits and pieces.

But if you feel like you MUST get this novel done NOW, then you might end up getting burned out on writing.