1. AlyHomewood
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    AlyHomewood New Member

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    Hey!

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by AlyHomewood, Sep 10, 2013.

    Hello there!

    I signed up to the forum a few weeks ago, but never got around to posting or introducing myself. So here I am. :D

    Not sure what to say about myself, so I'll go with the standard overall coverage:
    I'm 22, studying graphic design in the hopes that I can get a paying job in the near future, and have loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember. I thought I'd join because, even though i love writing, I just can't seem to get all the way through a story and I would love to actually finish writing one. And on that note.... HELP ME hehe.
     
  2. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    Hey, welcome to the forum. I'm new too. :) I just wondered, have you tried writing short stories? I was in the same boat as you for as long as I can remember, but now I've finished quite a few. Just because I was setting my initial goalposts too high. Don't try to write an amazing 600,000 word classic right from the get-go. Just write anything, and finish it. :)
     
  3. AlyHomewood
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    AlyHomewood New Member

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    Problem is that most of my ideas are for full length stories lol, and sometimes I don't even want to stop there. It frustrates me a little, because finding a good end point when I know the character's life doesn't end there is difficult. Also, most of the problem is that my ideas are for the climax of the story, and actually getting to that point is difficult because I don't know what to put in the gaps, or what minor events lead up to the climax of the story.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Hi there!

    You must read! :p Don't stop reading; subconsciously your mind is soaking up all the things you like from each book and storing them, and then once you get to writing...BAM! It all comes tumbling out. That's one of the reasons why everybody's writing voice is unique: no two people like the same books and have even read the same books.

    I agree with Whedonesque that short stories are a viable option, but just because they are low word counts, it does not mean that they are any easier than novels. When I wrote my first finished project at 16 (a short story), I thought it was pretty good. When I revisited it only a few months ago, when I was 19, it sucked. Even when I tried to change it a little. It needed a complete overhaul.

    Still, as they are shorter word counts, I would say that short stories are a good place to start! :) Just get stuck in. Give yourself writing challenges everyday - my favourite one is picking two random words from a dictionary and trying to fit them into a story of 500 words or less. But of course just make your own challenges up. I wouldn't, however, go straight into novel writing until you've written a few short stories and challenges. If there's one thing I regret about my writing life so far, it's that I wrote my first novel far too quickly, with next to no experience. Your writing voice and style is refined so often in your early years that it can be difficult to keep up; as soon as you've finished the first draft, you'll want to write a whole new "first draft"!

    Anyway, welcome, and I hope you enjoy it here. I have learned many things, and I'm sure you will too, if you stick at it.

    Final note: just to confuse you, you can choose to ignore all my advice, as in the writing world there are so many methods to do a simple task that it's almost impossible to find a concrete answer. Do what works for you. If you feel ready to write a novel, go right ahead! :D
     
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  5. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    If you don't know the minor events, maybe they don't need to be there. What if the part you think of as the climax is actually the story, and the minor events before that are just the backstory? Have you tried to write just what you have (the climax) and see how it works?
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Remember fairy tales. They always end with "... and they lived happily ever after." That's where you stop. The writers of fairy tales knew that the next decades of their characters' lives were boring - happy, for the characters, but boring for the reader. They ended their stories where the significant events - the events that brought the lovers together or whatever - were over. Find the point in your character's life where you can say "... and she lived happily ever after." That's the end of your story.

    This is a good way of thinking about it. It brings to mind one of Kurt Vonnegut's tips for writing: "Start as close to the end as you can." In other words, the character's entire life is simply backstory right up to the first really significant event that begins the arc - the process of changing the character's life. Leave the backstory out.

    A great example of a well-constructed story, and one everybody is familiar with, is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. We're introduced to Ebenezer Scrooge the day before Christmas - we see he's a rich, mean old miser who hates everybody. We watch him go through the night in which the ghosts show him the error of his ways, and we see him emerge Christmas morning a changed man. The character arc takes one night. Dickens spares us Scrooge's biography; we don't see his birth or the thousand pages it would have taken to get him to the stage of being a mean old miser. We also don't see any of his life after that Christmas - we're just told it was a good life. We're told "... and he lived happily ever after." Dickens only dramatizes for us the significant parts of Scrooge's story - the events that changed him. We only see his arc. That's all that's important.

    If you're in doubt, model your story on A Christmas Carol. Just show the character's arc. When you can master that, you'll know where your stories properly begin and end. Your confusion about finding a good end point will go away.
     

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