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  1. JCKey618
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    JCKey618 Member

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    Do you plan out your plot before beginning to write or does it come as you write?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JCKey618, Dec 29, 2008.

    For my first two novels (working on second drafts for both), I started with a general idea of the main conflict and then let the plot develop as I went along the way. As I got towards the end I spent more time outside of writing thinking about how to wrap it all up, based on what I'd written and what would make sense.

    How do you all go about it? Do you make a general outline before starting to write? Or do you just 'let it flow' and then clean it all up during revisions?
     
  2. Flu
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    Flu New Member

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    It depends for me. Sometimes I just go with the flow when I'm working on a story for fun, and it usually works out. Other times, I really think out the plot for a story I'm serious about.
     
  3. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, I know a few major parts, and some scenes, but I just let it come to me as I write. Your process sounds normal. Revising is the good part, anyway. You're much better equipped to find the flaws when everything is on paper.
     
  4. Show
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    It depends. Usually I have a loose idea of the story before I write, and it develops more as I write.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i usually have it pretty much in my head and just start writing... at some point, with book-length works, i'll set down a skeleton outline, to keep from getting tangled up in time lines and subplots...
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    When I have a beginning and an ending in mind, I'll start writing. The middle part always takes me a while, though.
     
  7. Show
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    Often how it goes with me. I knew the basic outcome of my current story before I even started writing it.
     
  8. Fitz101
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    Fitz101 New Member

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    I write a lot both independantly and as part of a collaborative group on another website. I generally find that I enjoy writing more when I feel less tied down to a set view of what's going to happen in every section of the story - I make sure I have a basic outline and know where things go but I generally take this basic idea, start writing and see where it goes...
     
  9. jwilder
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    jwilder Member

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    Usually I'll get an inspiration for a random scene and write that, then form the story around it as I feel I can. Or, I'll have one idea - "twin sons destined to destroy each other while fighting to rule the planet" - vague and generally unfocused, and then I work it down from there into a real plot and subplots. Really depends on what the inspiration is. My current novel is based on the ending I've already written, so I'm almost writing it backwards.
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I usually just make it up as I go along, but that doesn't mean it's not planned out in the least. I write very lengthy serials, and always while I'm busy with the current one, I'll be mulling over ideas for the next. That gives me plenty of time to think up a basic mental outline of how the next story will go, so I know the beginning and ending and much of the middle before I start writing. I don't sit down and plan the story out (I did that once and got a story done a lot faster, but it wasn't nearly as much fun to write), but I do make sure I've got lots of ideas of how it will go before I bother starting it (else I'll end up going nowhere).

    When I get closer to the end of a serial I might jot down a list of the events that have yet to happen so I don't forget anything important, and I might brainstorm further events to tie them all together. That's as close as I come to really outlining.

    Things might be different if/when I get back to working on novels, but I have no way of knowing.

    I don't do revisions; I write it the best I can the first time. If I do revise, it's only after several years have passed.
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, writing is like a roadtrip. I know my starting point and have a general idea where I want to end up. I also have a few locations I'd like to hit along the way. But I rarely plan out which roads I'm going to take. Usually I end up straying from the chosen path. I meet strange people along the way, some I like, some I don't. I find interesting places, sometimes by choice, sometimes by accident. But by the time I reach the end, I always find it was time well-spent.

    After a really good trip, I have a hard time letting go of those people and places. That's how sequels are born. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Since nothing ever goes according to plan, I only make "checkpoints" in the plot, and then write things as they come while trying to lead things to the "checkpoints."
     
  13. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Normally I come up with the beginning and then the ending pops into my head. Everythig in between I make up as I go along.

    While doing that I hold to the "If you don't give the character lots of tribulations they'll die from lack of growth/boredom" philosophy.
     
  14. robertpaine
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    robertpaine Member

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    I would prefer not to plan, but I think it is absolutely necessary. It can be very tedious but I good plan can make a book but a bad one can break it.

    If possible find a friend who is interesting in writing a book like yourself and plan with them, same time, same place. That way if one of you gets frustrated you can help eah other out and bounce ideas off each other.
     
  15. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    I often start off with a general idea of the story I'm going to write; the main characters and all the info about them, the setting...etc. I find making an outline quite hard to stick in my case, whenever I try to make one, I usually tend to either lose interest or get stuck in the middle of the story when I want to change something.

    Have the main idea and let go of your hand is what I say to myself... there's gonna be the editing part in the end after all! so why worry?


    thanks for the post, and good luck.


    Keep it up ;)
     
  16. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to just go ahead and write when I was younger (and got published occasionally... hmmn... I had more nerve in those days); but I just HAVE to plan now. Guess it's partly academic training.
    Another problem is lack of time; I don't have hours on end free, and if I have a planned 'task' when I sit down to write, it's better quality and I throw out less. Also, I don't waste time with 'writer's block'.
    So, my approach is pretty much like Robert's. And my husband is good with ideas, especially for technical stuff, although he doesn't speak English so sadly he never gets to read what I produce.
     
  17. cwpcreator
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    cwpcreator Member

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    I hate planning. I usually think of endings as I write, but I can never stick to the ending because I never plan the middle. Planning is boring and sucks out all of my creative energies. I have to just sit down and write or I'll never get anything done. Sure, I grow through periods of writer's block, but I'm not interested in writing if I already know where it's going. What's the point? I already know what happens.
     
  18. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    I don't plot, I just write.
     
  19. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    When I was writing the rough draft of my novel, I made countless outlines. Yet none of them really seemed to help. Finally, I just stopped rewriting all these outlines and basically took a piece of paper, scribbled out a few basic plot points, and started to write. I knew the beginning and I had a good idea of how I wanted to end things, but I basically just had to fill in the middle section. Most of this came to me as I was writing, although some of it I had thought of prior to beginning.
     
  20. Demief
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    My main plot i have outlined pretty well. But since i decided to have 2 main plots intertwined throughout i need to put some more thought into the new one.

    Sub plots i dont have as well lined out. Just the gist of the sub-plot
     
  21. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Seriously, the thoughts come as I write. The problem, sometimes, is writing them down before I forget them.






    But then I wonder... if I didn't write it down immediately upon thinking of it... and if it doesn't come back to me.... was it really the right way to go to begin with?....
     
  22. Arthur_Rimbaud
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    Arthur_Rimbaud Member

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    I used to write my plots down. Nowadays I have troubles doing that. It feels far too formal to do that.

    I find I can only write something when it's a loose idea in my mind. If I actually sit down and write out the thoughts themselves, it just... slips away...

    Which can really suck sometimes, it feels like its a hit or miss type thing. If I can't get it on the first go, I usually scrap it. :p
     
  23. Tori
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    Tori Member

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    I tend to have a general idea of what is going to happen in my story before I write it. However, none of my ideas are set in stone and to be honest I never know how one of my stories is going to end until I write it!!
     
  24. PBnJ
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    I have an original idea of what I'd like the story to be about, but I make background stories for each of my main characters and make their problems/past/love interest etc all come in to the story in one way or another. Mostly I just write what I happen to be thinking at that moment. I use the plot as a guideline, rather than set it in stone.
     
  25. Orland
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    Orland Banned

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    I imagine a lot of writers must have trouble planning out their work without feeling they're constraining themselves. I'm certainly not above such a problem.

    Personally, I, like most people here apparently, find it just feels more natural if you plan out the basic points of your plot to ensure consistency, then just write around those. It flows better. And of course, character and setting backgrounds should be put down well beforehand.
     
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