1. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    Bear with me please

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by niallohagan, Feb 6, 2013.

    Ive an idea for a novel about two friends. After an event - Im not sure what - one becomes a cop and one joins a proscribed organisation. Im pretty sure I know the ending but Ive not really got a clue how to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Figure out when you want the story to start. Do you want to lead up to the event, or start with the two confronting each other? Or lead up to them confronting each other and then flash back to the event?

    Basically you just need to think a while longer on the story idea, what the main conflict(s) will be, and then where the appropriate starting point is.
     
  3. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    The story of the two lads is that both play on the same cross community football team - the novel will be set in my home town during the mid 80s. One becomes a policeman and the ohter joins the IRA. Im wondering if it would be better to start the story in the present as it were and have flashbacks, or start at the beginning
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    The first thing this reminded me of was The Fox and the Hound! :) Anyway, here are my tips to help you begin:

    1.) Don't write your story just yet. Instead, write anything and everything down. Ideas, characters, their traits, settings, and so on. It doesn't matter if some seem ridiculous to you, just write them all down. Eventually you should have a general outline of a story in your head (this could take anywhere from a couple of days to a few months, depending on your commitment and various other factors).

    2.) Once you have a general outline of your story in your head, slowly expand it by writing it all down and using the snowflake method (at least that's what I suggest - there are various other ways of doing it): http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php

    3.) Now you have a good outline of your novel. Now you need to focus on your characters, both good (protagonists) and bad (antagonists), and you setting. Is this novel going to take place in downtown New York, or in Kansas? Maybe it's set in Taiwan. It's up to you. But whatever you decide, you need to research. Research what it's like to live there, be there, and eat there. Is it a dangerous place? Friendly? Do most people live in slums, or do the majority of people occupy plush apartments? Find out everything you can.

    Regarding your characters, go to a cafe or something similar and grab a seat; take a notebook and pen with you. Look at the people sitting on the other tables and write down what they are doing. Is someone biting their nails, picking their nose, playing with the two silver rings on their index finger? Note down everything you can see including habits and even speech patterns. Once you are done, think about the people you know personally, but look at them as if you were a stranger. What would you think of them? What are their main characteristics, and is there something that makes them totally unique and interesting? Again, note all of these things down, and then look at the list; you should have many things on offer. Maybe you already have the workings of your main characters inside your head. If so, that's good. Try and pick certain traits and habits from your lists that would suit your characters. Play around and have fun. Eventually you'll have three-dimensional characters, but make sure they have flaws as well as talents!

    4.) Now you have to do the best part: write the novel. This may seem daunting, but try to remain calm. Is your novel action-packed? Consider using short sentences in your opening paragraph to grab your reader (dialogue is also a useful tool to use). If your novel is slower and focuses more on the relationship between the two friends, maybe you should write longer, more flowing sentences with an increased use of commas. Remember to describe what everyone is doing, where they are, what it all looks like. Describe your characters' thoughts and feelings (Important! Remember this is your first draft; this is a work in progress, so try not to edit that much, if at all. Editing properly comes once you've finished the first draft).

    5.) Work your way through the novel. Your character may surprise you by doing things you didn't at all expect, and if so, that' fine. It means he/she has a life of his/her own, and that's great. If you find yourself slowing down or getting stuck as to what to do next, write the problem on this forum and someone is sure to help. :)

    6.) Write the last sentence of your first draft. Now you're done! Celebrate by eating lots of chocolate or having a nice long lie-in, or even an evening out with friends. Whatever you decide, just relax. You did it!

    And there you have it. Just make sure you have fun whilst planning and writing this novel. Make it your own world by using the words you want to use. Hope I helped. :)
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this is a standard movie plot... and i'm sure there are a number of novels using it, as well...

    check out what's out there already with this basic plot premise and see where their writers took it, before laying out your own plot, so it'll be different enough to be marketable...
     
  6. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    Hi, I know it seems pretty standard but I cant think of one that has this particular setting.
    Ive decided Im going to start with a prologue being a meeting between the 2 main characters. Then in the main body of the novel Im going to flit back and forth between the "present" and events from the past leading up to the present day sitations of the 2 characters. Hope that makes sense
     
  7. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    Hi, thanks for the reply and I will certainly take the advice on board. However, Im setting the book in my hometown during the troubles, as its in my hometown and I grew up through the troubles Im hoping that will make things a bit easier
     

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