How to start writing a story book

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Can you start writing a story book? It's not as easy as to buy a research paper online. I mean, it's a set of stories, how do you know when you're starting to write it? In my case, it's impossible to know. For example, in Lost Stories, Volume 1, the first story was written more than five years ago and the last one just a few months ago.

But each story anthology is a world. Some have a central theme, which you can follow throughout the book. In others, like James Joyce's Dublin, all the stories are centred on one place and tell the lives of its inhabitants, starting with the first story with a birth and going through the different phases of life, until the wake and funeral of the last story. Others simply unite stories with nothing in common beyond the theme or genre.

Planning or healing?

I think the main difference lies in this point. How are you going to approach your story book? In my case, it has been a healing process. Cuentos Perdidos is a selection of several stories that I have written throughout my life. They are stories that I have written in different moments of my life, some for pleasure, others to participate in contests and some as an exercise, after spending a long time without writing.

However, there are other story books that are planned. I myself have an outline for a future book of stories that will have one element in common - a strange natural phenomenon - and that will allow the reader to experience that event from the point of view of several characters.

Which is better? I don't know. From a publishing point of view, many publishers are reluctant to publish anthologies of stories without a common thread or theme. Nevertheless, story books are still for self-published authors and for independent publishers who make a living from writing competitions.

In the end, it all depends on what you want to do as a writer. For example, David Generoso in this article on how to write a story book, explains in one of the points that you must choose a common thread and offers several options; for example, a location like James Joyce's Dublin or a single character. In the article, he also explains that you don't have to plan anything in advance, that you can write all the stories first and then make up a thread that ties them all together.

How to Start Writing Stories

This may be the first real step in writing a story book. I don't have a defined process. For me, writing a story can be:

    - Spontaneous process: I get an idea, run to the computer and start writing. No notes, no outlines, no ambiguity; I concentrate and let it out.     - Planned process: Many stories are born from ideas that I write down in a notebook, on Evernote or on Google Keep. Every once in a while, especially when I get stuck on a novel, when I don't feel like writing novels, or in the time that passes from the time I finish a novel, until I start the first revision (one or two months), I take one of these ideas and go with it.     - Unblocking process: I may be one of the people who suffer more blockages in this world. Unlike many of my peers, writing is rarely a pleasant process for me (yeah, yeah, I'm that much of a masochist), so I get blocked and abandon some projects. When I need to unblock myself, I usually play at writing. How do I do it? Very simple, I have a box full of papers with words, I put my hand in, take out 5 or 6 and write a story of 1000 or 2000 words in which I force myself to appear all of them, at least, once. It may sound like bullshit, but it works for me.

With these writing methods I completed a Bradbury Challenge a few years ago, which is nothing more than writing 52 articles in a year, that is, one a week. From that year of stories, a lot of what makes up Cuentos Perdidos has come out, so if you're thinking about how to start writing a book of stories, maybe it's a good idea to get involved and challenge yourself, who knows what you might get out of it.

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