For me, it’s way too intimidating to just start crafting a book with the first word of the first sentence, so I've learned how to release the valve to set my ideas and words free. Here are five ways I start writing a book to warm up, ease into it, and do some crucial background work so my story will truly come to life.

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A writer can honor her world in fiction just as in nonfiction. Friends, family, pets, locations, events… anyone or anything can be inserted smartly into storytelling, with a wink to those who really know the truth.

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It's good practice to reverse-engineer the stories you love most and apply the best storytelling elements to your own writing. Stranger Things had that effect on me, and here's what I learned.

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Sometimes, what makes for great stories – or viral videos – is a simple thread of "and then" questions being raised, answered, and raised again. Here's a lesson in storytelling from a hungry dog.

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This storyteller finds six cracks in the new Jungle Book that mar the narrative in this visually enchanting movie, providing a lesson in how to construct a story by ensuring your characters' motivations and choices are consistent and believable.

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When you create characters, how far should you go to individualize their physical descriptions? What is absolutely necessary for the depiction?

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Much of the joy and discovery of creative writing comes from the process itself. I'm finding inspiration and motivation from the very characters I've created.

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