Stuck at home in isolation? Mansfield-born author shares her secrets on 'how to finally sit down and start writing that book'

With people stuck at home and calls on social media telling aspiring authors to use the isolation to ‘finally sit down and write that book’, Mansfield-born writer Fran Poletti shares her secrets on how to get started.

What elements go together to make a great story? What are the necessary ingredients?

I always start with character and what kind of psychological problem they are going to be dealing with. I imagine myself as their therapist. I mentally lie them down on the couch and start to uncover what needs resolving from their past that is causing issues in their present and future. This is often cemented in the theme I wish to explore. I write darker dramas but with any story – you need a strong internal and external conflict to really get the story motor working.

So… you’ve got your story idea – how do you share it/ tell the story?

Mansfield-born author Fran Poletti has shared her tips on how to start writing

I would try and get it down in just a few lines with a beginning, middle and an end (the most basic three act structure) – in a form of logline. Play around with this until it feels both complete and compelling. Try and tell your story to a friend – are they engaged? Do they want to discover more? If so, keep fleshing it out, digging deeper into your characters – discovering who they are and widening your story world and exactly what you are exploring through telling this tale.

Other than content, is there a difference between telling a story to adults and telling a story to children – what are the differences?

It’s similar in many ways; you need the depth of character, to understand the psychology, figure out the conflict, thread everything together through theme. It must be an excellent pitch. When you trial it out you want everyone wanting to hear more. The trick is to go for what I call the ‘Pixar effect’. Don’t dumb down your content (obviously it has to be age appropriate) but you can still be working on many layers whilst ensuring it’s accessible to a younger audience.