1. *bumblebee*
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    *bumblebee* New Member

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    First steps - Planning too much... how to start writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by *bumblebee*, Nov 16, 2015.

    Hello everybody,

    I´m new here so I apologize if my topic has already been discussed before...

    I´m also a beginner to writing - meaning last time I´ve written something was last year for several workshops. I have always ideas in my head and had always wanted to get them down on paper though.

    Now I´ve got one particular novel idea I find quite promising. Since I´m a pretty good planner - I´ve already started plotting it (characters, some scenes and parts of the three intertwining story lines) and although there is still a lot of planning/plotting to do I´m starting to think "well at some point I need to start writing".

    To be honest that makes me a bit nervous (I know I sound crazy...) because I don´t have much exercise.
    So my question to you guys is:

    What kind of exercises will help me to "shut down" my inner critic and just start exercising my writing? Do I start with short stories? Or just parts of stories? Or could I even start writing parts of my novel?

    I just want to get a feeling for it, more experience and calm down my ever-planning brain...

    Thanks for any advice or book tips!
     
  2. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Firstly, welcome! :-D

    It sounds like you already have everything you need to start writing your story — so just start writing. Don't worry about quality right now, just force yourself to transfer those words onto a page even if it's really really bad. You can always come back and edit.

    I tend to write out the scenes I like best first, the ones that are really prominent in my head. Then I fill in the less-interesting stuff around those scenes.

    That being said, there's no "right" way to start writing, you just gotta write.

    Hope that helps! :-D
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum. You don't need an exercise. You just need to start writing.

    As far as planning goes, my experience has been that the best planning is left loose. I call it my Picnic Table Analogy. If you've ever put a picnic table or other piece of furniture together from parts, you know that it's always best to leave the nuts and bolts loose until the very end. This allows corrections of angles, adjustments to placements and making changes based on erroneous first steps before locking everything down. The same goes for a novel. As you write, you will get a clearer idea of your characters, which will suggest unforeseen nuances in your story. You'll also see subplot ideas that hadn't originally occurred to you that will exert subtle but real influences on your characters.

    So, stop fretting and start writing. Best of luck.
     
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  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Unlike @EdFromNY, there's no such thing as too much planning for me. The more I plan, the better my writing will be and the quicker I will reach the right quality. You'll know you've reached your limit when the planning is becoming discouraging rather than making you itch to write. It sounds like you might be there, so now's the time to bite the bullet and just start typing. I'm with @Imaginarily in that I don't pay attention to quality in a first draft. I refuse to let myself edit until the entire draft is done.

    The first draft is actually the last stage in my planning process. Only once I've written the plot from start to finish in the character/s' voice/s can I really write the novel.

    I wouldn't faff around writing short stories and doing other projects. Your novel is what you want to write, so write it. No words are wasted, even if you later delete them - they're all part of the plan that gets you to to the finished product.
     
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  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try writing the novel. But a first draft novel doesn't have to take more than a few months. Look, start your novel, but if even a week goes by and you find yourself having written nothing or next to nothing, stop what you are doing. It means your initial feeling was right- you are out of shape and should be doing exercise first. Go ahead and write short stories. Read more. Critique work here in the workshop.

    I say this because there are a number of members here who have been wanting to get a first draft done for years, and stil haven't! It's most likely because they simply can't write, and when they go to work on their novel, they freeze.

    I'm not saying don't give it a shot. I'm saying don't waste more than a week or two trying it if it clearly isn't working.
     
  6. *bumblebee*
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    *bumblebee* New Member

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    Wow, guys, you are really quick in replying!
    And thank you a lot for your encouraging thoughts!
    I find all your advice very helpful but will most probably try the one that feels most natural for me and see what happens... :)
    I´ll also have a look for more inspiration on this forum.
    So thanks again!
     
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  7. *bumblebee*
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    *bumblebee* New Member

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    @Tenderiser:
    You say you´re also a "planner"... do you have special planning tools that help you visualise your chapters and keep your storyline in order?
    I´ve started with a classic pin-board but was wondering where to store all the upcoming questions that I still need to think about and how I can get more detailed on there.
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Nope I do it very simply:

    1. Write a 100 word (ish) summary of the book. Like it was the blurb on the back of your novel.

    2. Expand it into 1,000 words (ish) with the main events from beginning to end.

    3. Expand into 5-10k words that include the events AND the reasons behind the events (in my case, the character's motivation, since it's character-driven).

    4. Break that down into chapters.

    5. Write the main characters' backstories. Not too detailed for me, just the basics - where they were born, parents' names and jobs, what their childhood was like, wealthy or poor, education, childhood dreams and ambitions, significant events... up to the beginning of the novel. Typically about 2 A4 pages.

    6. Think about it and make sure the motivations make sense and the sequence of events is logical.

    -- Up to this point takes me a few days --

    7. Start writing.

    First draft will probably take me 1-2 months.

    Then I'm ready to write a novel. :D
     
  9. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    Athletes do warm-ups before they get down to business; same goes with writing.

    I give myself 10 minutes of free-writing before I start on my manuscript. Free-writing is basically stream of consciousness writing, but with all the typos and grammatical errors. In this mode, do not hit backspace or correct any mistakes. This 10 minutes is for you to just pour out everything inside your head and grease up your creative mind.

    Once your time is up (you can also end the warm-up prematurely if you like), you should be pumped and ready to write.
     

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