1. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    How do you come up with your story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JimFlagg, Jun 10, 2011.

    For me I do the following.

    Look for inspiration:

    I read books, watch movies, watch people and talk to people. This gives me ideas for the Story.

    Invent a Story:

    I come up with a thought, emotion or a problem that I want to introduce to my readers.

    Story Devices:

    I come up with and event, place, and or time I will use to tell the story. Some times I come up with some characters here.

    Plot:

    I think of a beginning, middle and end for the story. Then I try to think of 3 major events that will mold or bring my reader to the story I am trying to tell.

    Write:

    Then I write it with intentions that all except for the story its self, are dynamic and subject to change.


    I was just wondering what other people do to write their stories? Every one has different techniques and I was wondering what you use for inspiration and flow.
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i don't do anything actively to come upwith new stories, they present themselves when I least expect it, it can be a phrase read somewhere, a song heard on the radio which lyrics appeal to me, or some other external souce of inspiration of which I'm not even aware. Usually it presents itself as a vague idea which, if it sounds interesting enough, I develop to the point where I can decide if it could turn into a whole novel. With one novel I just imagined a scene just like that, out of the blue when trying to go to sleep and from that in the next weeks I let it grow into an entire "novel"idea that became a story of 52K (which is nowhere near enough, I know, I will have to develop it further still) When I feel I have enough material to get started I start writing and I usually produce a first draft quite fast, something between 1-3 months, but in that first version it is mostly "told", after that I have to do an extensice rewriting to make it into a novel. I find songs are a great source of inspiration for me. especially the love-songs :) if the song makes me project some kind of movie in my head while listening to it I know Im onto something. :)
     
  3. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Oh, yes, music! It inspires me too. It is food for my muse. Maybe I should have asked how you get inspired? :p
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who knows? :D That is one of lifes' mysteries, LOL. I never question that or dig too deep into the reasons for these ideas, I just evaluate the results. Sorry if I didn't answer your initial question :)
     
  5. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Good point. It's probably bad luck. * Knocks on Wood * The last thing you ever want to do is tick your muse off unless you like staring at blinking cursors. :p
     
  6. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    For me, writing is more of a matter of perspiration than inspiration. I don't have much trouble coming up with story ideas, but I also don't focus very heavily on plot in the early stages of writing. I'm much more interested in developing my characters. As I fill in their backgrounds, quite a few plot details emerge.

    In the early stages, most of this work goes into my writing journal. Once I have enough material to begin the actual writing process, it goes into my first draft manuscript. I keep up my journal every day, even after I've begun writing my first draft.

    I try to treat my writing like a job with set hours and responsibilities. I write six hours a day, six days a week, no exceptions and no excuses, except for genuine emergencies, illnesses, and the like - the same sort of occurrences that would cause me to take time off from any other job.

    During work hours, I don't do anything except writing and writing-related activities such as research, journal entries, posting on this forum, etc. I only work on one project at a time, plus my writing journal. I use my journal for brainstorming plot ideas, characters, etc. When I have ideas that don't fit my current project, they go in the journal for future use.

    I have written goals and objectives and try to stick to them as much as possible. When I began my current project, here's what I wrote about it in my journal on the first day:

    Plan of action:
    1. Decide what kind of novel to write (probably contemporary thriller).
    2. Create main character – name, background, current activities, basic character, etc.
    3. Outline a plot.
    4. Write a blurb for the book.
    5. Write the beginning and the end of the novel.
    6. Start fleshing out the details of the story and other characters.
    7. Begin writing narrative and dialog.
    8. Work on it a minimum of 20 hours per week (3 to 4 hours per day).
    9. Set a goal of two to three pages per day/15 to 20 pages per week.
    10. Complete a first draft in four months to six months.
    11. Allow another three to four months for re-writing and completion of final draft.
    12. Avoid thinking about publishing and marketing until the book is done or nearly done.
    13. Keep up the writer's journal.
    14. Avoid re-writing and editing as much as possible until I'm done with the first draft unless there's a major change of direction or other good reason.

    Although I try to stick to my work schedule, I have some flexibility and slack built into it. For example, I've only committed myself to write 20 hours a week and produce 15 to 20 pages of written manuscript per week. Since I'm working over thirty hours a week, I've allowed myself plenty of time for research, journal-writing, etc. Also, the goal I've set, 15 to 20 pages a week, is less than half the speed at which I usually write.

    In other words, my philosophy is: Plan the work and work the plan.

    I'd like to say more, but have used up my time and need to get back to work on my novel.
     
  7. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Good point. I thought about working all of the details out first and make my notes before I ever put hand to keyboard but a lot of times, I do not know what questions to ask until I start. I have blank pages placed in between chapters with notes for those chapters and a general notes on top of my work for character info and other info needed to keep the plot.

    Unfortunately the style I use, gets me written into a lot of corners and makes holes in my plots that I have to work out through rewrites. Ugly when that happens. I can defiantly see the advantages in your style.
     
  8. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    I take walks and live life. Reading doesn't so much give me very many ideas, as it helps refine my writing. I have to carry a pocket notebook to capture the ideas when I'm not at home or carrying a regular notebook. It's not unknown for me to stop mid-sentence or interrupt someone talking to jot down an idea.
     
  9. Rascal
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    Rascal Member

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    Since I'm not published, and I generally don't share my writing with anyone, I don't worry about coming up with ideas. Usually, an idea for a story will come organically, and not from anything particular. I remember simply looking at a toy jack in the box, and then suddenly coming up with the idea for a time traveling story. When an idea comes, I will write it down. But I never try to force anything.
     
  10. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    I wanted to write a story where the character must make a difficult decision that will put her life and another's on the line.

    Yet at the same time, I wanted it to be upbeat and not too dramatic with such.

    I think the result I came up with was far better than anything I've thought up before. Actually, to make it simple it's all about playing a game with Death.
     
  11. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    ???

    I wondering how did you come up with your story and how did you get it to paper (computer)?
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never tried that approach, to decide to come up with a story and dictate the basic premisses. My story-ideas usually come unannounced, hehe. Must try than sometimes, maybe even use one thought I came up with one night and never developed, which could have been because it didn't present itself in the usual way. :)
     
  13. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't try. That's how.

    A scene strikes me on it's own, rather than as a novel idea. This then gradually expands in my head until I decide to get it down on paper. Then I continue to expand it, not rushing it, by taking it scene by scene in either direction (before and after). Eventually I link this to other scenes I might (day)dream about and then, eventually, it gets to a point where I actually have to put in some effort and a tie it all together. It's a slow process but the final product tends to feel more genuine than the novels I tried to force story progression in.
     
  14. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    I sometimes like to take an attitude that is rather rude when asked this question as it seems obvious to me. In the end it just needs to come from you, inside of you.

    I took an event, I thought about it, slept, was writing a poem, when the idea came to me. In it's raw state, I started to mesh out details and eventually it was how I wanted it. The characters who I imagined were perfect, things just...Clicked.

    If it doesn't come from you, no matter what anyone says, it won't be any good.

    As far as getting it on paper, I sit at the computer and spend 5 hours on the first paragraph. The start is the worst part, always, for me. I need it to be the best it can be before I'll continue on.
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have less problems with the beginnings than with the endings! it feels like it's hard to make the end good and not clicheed, satisfying but not too much of a everyone-lived-happily-ever-after-kind-of-ending. I usually come up with quite ok first paragraphs while I can think for days on how to end the story. And then there's the separation-trauma. I hate finishing the novels because I know I will miss my characters too much. That is why I want the ending to be perfect, to ease the feeling of loss from my part. :)
     
  16. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Yes, Bitter Sweet. The only problem I have with endings is to remember to close up subplots that I have started.
     
  17. Glimpse
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    Glimpse Member

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    This is a notion that I'm sure a lot of casual writers share, but I don't try to come up with ideas. Ideas just come to me and I write them. If I was working commercially, on the other hand, then I'd find ideas through brainstorming.
     
  18. haribol
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    haribol Member

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    I am trying to find connections everywhere. The problem is one of language. Of wording and phrasing the story. Storyline is there in the air. There is no dearth of it and the problem is I cannot connect events and run short of proper words.

    We are in society and we come across tens of thousands of events and happenings. They are boring and dulling.

    Through linguistic skills and literary crafts I can spin wonderful, mind boggling stories.

    I want to arrange my words and sentences in a way that all that write becomes a beautiful creative piece. It is like intoning. All you do is connect different tones and finally it becomes harmonic. A harmony or symphony in their disjointed notes is unmusical, a series of inharmmonic noises but once you accord them with a rhythm all these discords become a piece of music.
     
  19. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    A lot of my inspiration comes from my life, from the people around me and the books I read.
     

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