1. frydham
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    frydham New Member

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    Hi all! New to this whole writing thing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by frydham, May 11, 2011.

    Hello all, as the title says I'm new to writing. I've been looking around the forums, and looks like a great place to learn grow.

    I have had idea for a novel for about a month or so now. I've begun putting it on paper, but every time I start writing, I get a flood of new ideas. The plot more or less stays the same, but I think the story-line is becoming too long. Too grand. Too over the top.

    How do you add interesting subplots and characters, while still staying focused on the main story?
     
  2. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    The basic idea is easy, of course, you just need to ensure every single detail, description and moment in your story is building toward the story you're trying to create. Of course, to be able to do that often takes years of reading and writing, and studying what you've read and written.

    One of the reasons I like short stories is they're pretty quick to read and re-read, so lend themselves well to study. It's a more accessible format to deconstruct and analyze narrative design.

    I recommend looking at some of the prize anthologies. It's 'literary' writing, often so may not be what you want to write yourself, but good for studying (and usually has a decent range of subjects, themes and even genres). O. Henry Prize anthologies are usually pretty solid and Best American are good, though the Best American has sucked the last few years (the year Stephen King edited it was probably the best of the last decade). Scribner has an anthology of the best fiction of the last whatever many years that is solid, that I've seen used in multiple college writing courses and private writing/reading groups (the second edition with the red paint slashes is better than the first, imo).

    Best part is these are often stories written by contemporary, award winning authors, so it's current and gives you an idea of what kind of stuff is being produced today at the highest levels (and some of the stories won't be your favorites, but eventually you'll learn to see why they're still considered good, even if they're boring or whatever).

    There are also some pretty cool journals, especially online, that publish good, entertaining work worthy of study that can sometimes be found for free online.

    But yeah, it's probably not the answer you hoped for, but the real answer is there is no easy answer, and you'll just have to learn by studying, and probably for years.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't thought about any "rules" for it, but I guess they have to be somehow connected with or have something to do with the main story. If they don't you could even consider assigning them their own novel :p Even if the sideplots seem independent at first sight you could let them connect by the end of the novel.
    Oh, I don't knwo if this is a valid advice, it's just my first thought on this. I'm sure someone will soon come up with a better reply (and I will learn something too :p ).
    ps I just saw you already got a better answer from pops.
     
  4. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps starting with a plot outline would help you. When you get a new idea, put it in the outline instead of writing the actual story. If your outline is detailed it gives you a better perspective of the story too.
    And perhaps you could work on simpler stories before you start the big one. They don't have to be good. A few silly stories about random things, just to get you started. If you start out too big, you'll probably be discouraged by how long it takes and how horrible your first draft will be (and it probably will be).
     
  5. AbsintheFaerie
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    AbsintheFaerie New Member

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    I agree with spklvr. If you're new to writing and jump in head first with a novel, you're setting yourself out for severe frustration, stress and probably disappointment. They're really hard work, even if you do have a natural talent for writing. I'd go for a few short stories first, building up to longer and more detailed pieces. As for helping with plot / subplot aspects, it might help to use a beanstalk type plan for this: have your main plot running up the trunk then link off any subplots as branches. It will help you see how grandoise your story's becoming and keep you focused. Sometimes it's better to keep things simple and just go for subtlety.
     
  6. frydham
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    frydham New Member

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    Hmm, an interesting idea. I don't know about a novel, but maybe some short stories.


    I started out with very rough outline of the first couple of chapters, but since I hadn't thought it through to the end, I quickly veered off:redface::redface:. I guess I should make a new one and try to stick to it.


    Will try this too.


    @Cogito: Will do.


    Thanks for the help guys!:)
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are right, maybe a short story is less overwhelming if you are new to writing. sorry, I didn't think of that! :)
     

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