1. ang.
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    ang. New Member

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    How do you decide on a single story/plot/location???

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ang., Mar 24, 2012.

    Hi friends!

    Looking for some input. I wonder how you decide on a what novel to write. To clarify, I'll give you an example (ie my own experience :p), maybe it will help me get clearer on my own, but will also look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences!

    I participated in NaNo a few years ago and loved it. This was the first time I had written a good amount (I did complete the full 50k word minimum), but I didn't actually finish the story. I had a sort-of plot, a little bit of character development. Since then, I've done a bit of writing, but NaNo helped me understand that it would be better for me personally to have a good sense of plot before I get started. I REALLY REALLY want to write and have spent a good deal of time working on plots, etc. but my real issue is that I CAN"T DECIDE ON A SINGLE PLOT OR STORY! because I have so many ideas. I swear, I come up with new ones every day!

    So this is the question... Since we're all obviously very creative and imaginative, how in the world do you decide on a story and stick with it, when there's a world of possibility out there? I have a million stories started, and I want to write, but not sure where to start. And I feel like if I just go with the flow and write what I feel on a given day, I'll never finish anything. But maybe I should just focus on having fun with the writing and not worrying about being so structured? Hmmm...

    Do you experience this challenge? How do you decide? Excited to hear your insight ;) aa
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    With each new idea I write a first chapter or short story that allows me to see the potential of it and if I like working with the characters. I've got enough stories to last me a lifetime but I focus on the one that is calling me most at the time or the one needed for a deadline of some description.

    Just pick one and start writing until you stop. Put them in a hat and draw them out if necessary.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Focus, focus, focus. Like everybody else, I have a lot of ideas - far more than I could ever possibly write in my lifetime. Not all of them are good. By that I mean that not all of them are still interesting to me a couple of months after they arrive. Of course, the quality of the idea doesn't matter much; it's how well you write it.

    But focus. Just focus on one idea and get writing. You'll probably find that your imagination, instead of tossing up new novel ideas every day, will start tossing up new ideas that fit into the novel you're focusing on. Imaginations can be trained. Give it a chance.
     
  4. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Ugh... I'm afraid I can't give much advice in that area. But I don't like the "always finish a story" rule... My rule is "don't finish a story in the middle". I always write a couple of pages of almost every idea I get to see how it will work. If I don't like it, I drop it. But there was one of my fanfics that I finished today that I had problems in the middle and I wanted to drop it because I was having a hard time.
    But there's a difference between a idea that you don't want to write and a idea you are having problems with.
    For instance: I made a chapter of a badass demon hunter priest that I really liked, but I'm having problems in the characterization, backstory, and what not. But I want to write it and I have an outline -- yes, I actually made one -- set. So, no, I'm not going to drop it because I'm struggling.
    So learn how to tell when you want to write and are having problems, or when you don't like the story. And focus on what you like.
     
  5. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I have a very long brainstorming process that used to involve flashcards and character sheets. Now I use Scrivener for all of that. I can usually tell if I like where my story is going even before I write it, just by how much fleshing out I do during the brainstorming process.
     
  6. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    To decide on a story:

    Which idea interests you most?
    And if you can't decide, which one do think people will most want to read?

    To decide if you like writing a story:

    Do you enjoy working with your characters?
    Do you have enough ideas to keep the story going?
    Do you enjoy writing the story, or does it feel like a burden?

    If you answered no to any of these three questions...

    -Pick a different story, or
    -Keep writing and hope it gets better, or
    -Make some changes int the plot line to make it better, or
    -Change the characters.

    If you do enjoy writing your story...

    Try to finish it. Make it good, get it edited, have someone read it. Do they enjoy it? Do they find it interesting?

    If so, congratulations! You just wrote a story!
     
  7. Logik
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    Logik Member

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    Well, for me, there's usually 1 idea (at the time) that keeps coming back to me more frequently than the others, and I can see a semblance of some structure in it already. After that I want to see it through. It's good, also, to love the world of the story and want to stay there.
     
  8. ang.
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    ang. New Member

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    Thanks all for your input! I think I need the "focus-focus-focus" vibe underscored and emphasized and reiterated... I'm not in enough of a regular writing practice at the moment, so ideas come at all times of the day (not that they wouldn't to some extent anyway, but you know what I mean) and I get a little manic about how to manage. I don't want to stifle creativity, but at the same time, I'll be in the middle of reading and then run to get to my computer, but not sure where to start because there are so many ideas coming my way. Good to know we all have our challenges!

    I think for me it does come down to being a bit more intentional about what I'm writing and what I want to write, and also to focus on getting some material on the page. @jc., I like the idea of brainstorming and flashcards. I think it would be good for me to get out of my head more, and let myself be in the creative process. @Elgaisma, choosing from a hat might be the way to go! @minstrel, thank you for the reminder- focus is the most important thing! @Luna13, this is a good list for when I get stuck!

    Another question: do you set goals for yourself? Do you have a set writing practice?
     

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