1. Brayden Potter
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    Brayden Potter Member

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    Do You Plan?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Brayden Potter, Feb 11, 2011.

    Do you plan out your story, or do you just charge at the idea with everything you've got?



    I never used to plan, because I thought it would take the fun out of writing, but my stories always ended up with a lot of loose ends. So I've started planning, and I'm having as much fun writing out my stories frame and characters as I do the story. It's improving my writing too. :)
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope - I wouldn't have the same stories if I did. Its not about fun for me its about creating stories with twists and turns round every corner. If I don't know what is happening it gets revealed better to the reader because their understanding happens as mine does.

    I certainly would never have set out to write my third book if I knew what I was going to write. Then end was horrific and difficult to write, the idea would have been a little sick to have come up without fully developing previous ideas and concepts.
     
  3. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just start writing with the idea. :p

    If I get any ideas for it while writing it or at another time then I'll note them down. But I don't plan, I think it'd take the thrill out of it and I wouldn't write it as well (in fact, I know I won't.) if I planned what was going to happen.
     
  4. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends. Short stories, mostly no.

    For anything longer, some planning is involved but always subject to change as I write.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i definately plan, and always have, and i think it makes mt stories better. it definately doesnt kill the fun (actually i can go through the scene in my head for a couple of days before writing it perfectioning it before i write it, trying every possible turn of it and chose the one i like the most. it also gives more sense to my stories and i dont have problems with lose ends. im all for planning.
     
  6. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I probably plan 40% of the story, but make the rest up as I go along. And then change it all later.
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I plan as far as I manage (I usually get halfway into the story, but take notes of all my ideas) then start writing and stuff usually comes to me. I'm a little weird. I often write the outline while I'm writing the story to make sure everything is right. I'll write out a scene I'm thinking of, and if I like it I add that bit to the outline before I continue.
     
  8. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I'd venture to guess that all writers are a little weird, myself included. Although I didn't really see anything that weird in your post.

    If you're going to write a good piece, there needs to be some form of planning (outline, research,etc...). But there has to be a balance between planning and writing. Spend too much time researching, and you're not writing. Outline your story too much, and you will become bored with your own work, and run the risk of never finishing the project.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me writing the first draft is the plan, any research can be done after that, plot can be ordered then, characters dropped or added as needed etc
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not really - I'll make notes if I'm getting stuck on what should happen next, but within a few pages I'll have wandered away from it again. I work in a series of stepping stones, figuring what action has to happen before I move on to the next, but the emotional journey and the characters always have the final say in what happens unless it's really stupid or would wreck my plot. For example, I'm writing about "invisible" people at the moment, and my villain randomly decided he could see them. I was like, "Uh, no you can't!" realised I'd written myself into mucho plot holes, and deleted a page about that, and went back to him being oblivious to our invisible heroes. He's threatening enough as it is. :p
     
  11. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Very interesting, I wouldn't have expected that approach. Depending on what you're doing, I suppose that might work pretty good. I absolutely had to do research first for my historical fiction novel covering the evolution of man. I can see though that for some books, it might not be necessary.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot also depends on education for example I am doing a series next with a lot of archaeology - because of my background its not going to contain anything a quick google check won't manage. However I am not scared of rewriting my story entirely.

    My current one is a fantasy and so far not encountered anything that requires more than a quick question on an internet board or a a two minute google check, but again my history/archaeology/science background helps.

    Where possible I write the story, then work out how to fit the evidence or slant it into my story. History has a considerable amount of wiggle room in places that can be exploited for example Lewis Carroll makes an appearence in my third book (along with 21 other historical characters), I just caricatured him, used key dates and ideas from his life and I am setting it during the ten years his diaries are missing. Research took about an hour to get what I needed and I could fill the rest in with fiction.

    I didn't actually know much about him before I wrote the first draft. However my Crown Princess Anya became Alice and was time travelling - my MC has a white robe with a hood which looks like it has ears and a stopwatch to get home, and my Merlin (who is dating Alice) is blonde haired, blue eyed and has a cat which now smiles. Lewis Carroll was the obvious choice I then went back and found out what I needed to make my story work.

    Plato, Little Chick (Charles Darwin) and Merlin also make an appearance, it required research but nothing google couldn't give me in moments during the second draft.
     
  13. litchickuk
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    litchickuk Member

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    i think you can only plan to a certain extent. You need a basis to work on - however small - but as you move on from that initial point it can grow in directions you never could of dreamed of when you started out. I find i can plan certain sections, maybe a scene, a plot line or a full character, but where it goes from there I cant always forsee. Thats the beauty of it I think - being surprised!
     
  14. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I spend months planning and end up with an outline spanning 10,000~35,000 words. I treat the planning stage more like a first draft, or as a summary of every scene/chapter with bits of dialogue and character notes dotted throughout. It takes a long time but in the end the actual first draft is more coherent and produced faster. I can write a planned novel in 1~4 months, but it can easily take a year+ if I don't do enough preparation beforehand.
     
  15. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    For me, it depends a lot on what I am writing. Sometimes, I do no planning at all, for example there is a very humourous novel which requires no planning, it just goes wherever the characters' antics take them.

    Some stories I do plan out in advance and/or do a lot of research for. The book I am currently spending most of my spare time on, I have a solid outline, and a definite vision of some scenes, so I am writing it more like the way I would produce a movie. I have already written scenes that are mid-novel and still have huge question marks and empty spaces in the beginning, because I am simply not yet sure what will happen in these earlier scenes. Once I can make my mind up about how to proceed, I will fill in the blank spaces.

    The biggest reason why I started planning out my stories was because I noticed a pronounced tendency for them to get out of hand in the second half if I didn't. Typically, I would produce a first half that was beautiful (and often peaceful), and then I would lose interest and turn the ending into a huge battle involving vast amounts of weapons and explosions... To keep that in check, at least slightly, I started planning. :)
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like that thought too, actually its something like that im doing right now, im on my what? third draft and still i get ideas about how to change things and im writing and rewriting it and for every time it gets a little better hopefully. :)
     
  17. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't plan. But I believe not planning takes a lot of practice and trial and error before you can go without planning and not make the mistakes that you might discovered if you planned it out.
     
  18. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    At the moment, I don't plan my stories. I used to and failed miserably. But switching over now, I realize how fun it is to discover and leave some problem for the next scene for me to figure out and write.
     
  19. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I think there is some planning.
    My planning is the basic frame work of the story.
    The beginning, some direction for it to flow, and a general end.

    I do agree not knowing what will happen next is alot of the fun for writing.
     
  20. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to write some notes - usually one side of A4 containing characters and a rough plot.

    Otherwise, I self censor myself to the degree that almost as soon as I've thought of an idea, the nasty voices in my head tell me how silly it is. I'd never get anything written down otherwise.
     
  21. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can't simply not plan.

    Ask any worthwhile author, who's in the process of writing a new novel, what the story is about, and he/she will be able to tell you.

    Having said that, it is perfectly fine to keep the plot loose, so that if you get to a stage where you have a flash of inspiration that requires you to take the story off in a slightly different direction, you are able to do that, in the knowledge that you can gradually bring it back to where you want it to go.

    I don't like to plan the ending, or even the length of the story, but some plotting is essential. If you literally make it up as you're going along with no forethought, then that's exactly how it will seem to the reader.
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm ask me at the beginning of one and the response may well be as brief as Angus's wife gets kidnapped :) That will be as deep as my plan goes. Hence me having a panic when I thought I had killed my favourite character yesterday lol

    Most detailed has been for Gus and Iris - I know they investigate a stone circle has gone missing. The legend is they are petrified witches. When local archaeologist dug artefact from the centre of site they released the curse and witches want revenge.
     
  23. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's why I said any worthwhile author, Charlotte.

    PS - that was a joke! ;)
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol well I maybe crap
    but I am productive :)
     
  25. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well. In a filosofical sense, some level on planning goes on, but i think the intention of the question is.

    "Do you outline the story, plan the all the conclicts and outcome of the comflivts or take any other measures to structurize the story?"
     

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