1. welknair
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    welknair New Member

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    Advice for a First Time Author

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by welknair, Apr 25, 2013.

    I may as well start off with an introduction - Hello, all! I'm Welknair, an aspiring young writer, looking for some advice on his first book.

    I have done a fair amount of writing in the past, but never put together a complete fiction novel, as I now wish to. I have a major background in tabletop roleplaying games (Dungeons and Dragons and such), as well as in online-roleplay in the form of running a Minecraft Roleplay server for months. For both of these hobbies, I've written short narratives, created tons of world lore, and developed interesting characters with develop over the course of the story. I *really* hope that I can bring these into novel-writing.

    For the past 8 months or so, I've been slowly writing my life-story. I wrote it more for the sake of thinking through things as opposed to an intent to actually publish the thing. I wrote a little over 30,000 words (and could have easily written more), which I shared with another online community I frequent, and I got overwhelmingly positive feedback. From this project I learned that I both have the capacity to write novel-length amounts, and that I greatly enjoy doing so. As a major fan of the Fantasy genre, that is where I have turned.

    Now that I actually look at it though, the entire task seems daunting, hence me coming to you. I've come up with a general idea which I, and everyone I've talked to about it thinks has great potential. My problem then is how to actually structure the story.

    With my online RP and tabletop games, I created broad story arcs, with rough ideas for events that I'd fit in as the opportunity presented itself. The driving force of the story always came from the players, not from me. When I wrote the life-story thing, I obviously had the plot written for me already.

    My story focuses around a contest in which a large number of participants struggle for survival on a global stage, with a heavy emphasis on politics and intrigue. I want to follow three characters in depth, and I'd like to have the option of writing later books, if the first goes well. Given my set up for this contest, it doesn't lend itself to a continuation after its completion, which caused me to instead think about breaking the contest itself up, but that in turn brought up complications with sub-arcs.

    So, I seem to have a few options:

    1. Write it all as a single book, as well as I can. It'll be however long it will be. This could be problematic if I have too much I want to accomplish, given the great length of the contest and the number of characters I want to detail.

    2. Write a trilogy. This helps the issue of length, but has the disadvantage of requiring me to find some actual way to break up the story such that the ends of the first and second books aren't unsatisfying, or feel incomplete. I'm a huge fan of trilogies myself, but after a bit of reading online, it seems like the general opinion of them at present is relatively poor.

    3. Write a book for each character I wish to follow, or leave open the possibility of such books after taking Option 1. This would allow me to have multiple books if I wanted to, while having complete arcs for each. The downside is the question of the "End" of the contest, and how that would be handled - I have an idea for a dramatic finish, but it wouldn't make sense for the same ending to be in every book...

    4. Try to think of a smaller project, as much as I love my current idea, and possibly revisit this concept when I have more experience.

    Just while writing this, I think the common response will be 1 or 4. Is it getting ahead of myself to try planning a series when I've never published even a one-off before? And then even after I get THAT bit worked out, I still am faced with the daunting task of planning the story itself. I've read several guides online that cover basics, but I certainly wouldn't mind any further suggestions.

    Any advice or thoughts would be helpful! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Inquisitor Ehrenstein
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    Inquisitor Ehrenstein Member

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    A trilogy can be hard to do, since you need to have a plot for each book, it can't just be "this is the story! read the next book," you need to have a plot over the whole series that stays engaging, and it's a lot of work to write, and you need to know that you'll be dedicated to finishing it.
     
  3. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum. :)

    I'd suggest writing short stories first. Ambition is good but you have to temper it with common sense. Your first work will never be your best work. To this day I debate whether or not I should burn the notebooks with my first book in them. And that is my first book and not my first short story. Getting a few great short stories under your belt before you take on a bigger project will help you tremendously.

    Don't ask other people to validate your plots and ideas. Everyone will have differing opinions on what concepts are good or bad. Whether or not a concept succeeds is entirely dependent on how it is written. Besides it often leads to massive amounts of self doubt.

    Every craft has a technical side that is equally important as the creative aspect. Trust that you will learn the technical side as long as you keep at it. If you really want something fight for it wholeheartedly.
     

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