I’ve written about my habit of buying writing books, which I read instead of actually writing. Buying books is not a bad habit, in fact, it is it great fun, and these are good writing books. One of my favourites is “Writing Tools – 50 essential strategies for every writer” By Roy Peter Clark.
Clark is a writing teacher on http://www.poynter.org which is a must read website for all writers and journalists. As he writes, “writing is a craft yu can learn..you need tools, not rules.”
The first tool is one I often employ when trying to figure out what a story is about – begin sentences with subjects and verbs, then let weaker elements branch to the right. For example:
The Rebel Alliance destroyed the Deathstar after a pitched battle, which saw Luke Skywalker successful deploy the fatal blow through a tiny gap in the killing machine’s superstructure.
The subject is the Rebel Alliance, the verb is destroyed. Dog bites man, storms wreak havoc, politician lies, villagers rejoice are all examples.
If you can’t figure out how to start, just do simple subject verb combinations to get a structure underway, then fill in the decorative bits later.