1. smudgie86
    Offline

    smudgie86 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Glasgow, United Kingdom, United Kingdom

    How to get going??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by smudgie86, Feb 5, 2012.

    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum but you seem like a great wee, or not so little, community. Everything that I see is to do with developing your ideas and sharing what you have but I'm wondering how do you get to this point?
    I'm looking to write a novel, I have the idea of it all but I'm not sure what the best approach is to get it going. Do I just rush in head first and start to knock out chapter after chapter? Do I write down vigorous pages of notes on all the characters, settings and plot lines?
    The idea that I've been toying with is to use a massive brain map to put all the ideas down and to show how they all connect together but I fear that this might get confusing.
    How do you do it? What's the method that works for you?

    Thanks for helping out and I hope I've made sense

    Stephen
     
  2. joanna
    Offline

    joanna Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Boston
    Welcome.

    I write and write.
     
  3. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    do whatever works best for you, the option that comes naturally. You have to figure out which is the best way for you, since everyone prefer different things. Some like to make a rigorous outline before starting, some just start writing without more than the name of the character and the place of the setting, and then there are all the kinds in between. There is no right or wrong but just individual ways of working and everyone has to experiment which way is the best for him. if it comes naturally for you to outline, try doing that and see how it works. asking how you should do it is like asking what kind of book you should write according to others opinions.
     
  4. Moira
    Offline

    Moira Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Lonestar State
    I've finished two novels in my time. One I did completely on the fly, just adding things as I felt them. The second I did in the massive brain chart type thing. It really is done on how you feel. Sometimes I can write six chapters off of inspiration, then need to finish the book with a detailed list of events that will unfold. Just go with what you feel is right, then adjust as needed. Good luck! :eek:)
     
  5. CheddarCheese
    Offline

    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Canada
    Hi smudgie86,

    Like Tesoro pointed out above me, different people prefer different approaches to writing. I have a friend who will just write whatever is on her mind down on paper, and "extract" parts of it to figure out a story. Another of my friends just makes up a few characters, and a general plot idea and writes it up, changing it as he goes along.
    I prefer to fully flesh out my ideas before starting. I make a plot outline, a character sketch for each character, and a description of each setting. Then I will begin writing.

    The best method for you won't apply to the next person, so it's up to you to figure it out for yourself. Which do you prefer?

    I hoped this helped!
     
  6. Kallithrix
    Offline

    Kallithrix Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    UK
    You're gonna hear this a lot, and have already, but...

    It's all on you, mate. You gotta figure out what method of working works best for you. It's like revising for exams. People can give you tips, but the only way to go is to find what helps YOU retain stuff and do it that way. Some people do spider diagrams, some people make bullet lists, some people do model examples or practice exam questions.

    If you want a way in, try doing something like a writing exercise. Take your main character and drop them in a situation (it can be from your plot, but doesn't have to be). See how they react, play out the scenario. If it's relevant to the plot maybe it'll become a scene and things will take off from there.

    If it's not a scene, maybe it'll give you inspiration for one.

    Good luck

    p.s I LOVE the dancing Wookie, man!
     
  7. Snap228
    Offline

    Snap228 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Not to be redundant, but...you have to figure out how you work best. It's just like if you were to work in an office, do you work best if you have a to do list of things to do? Or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, and do things as the need arises.

    For me (and I don't think I'd be out of line by saying for a lot of other writers, too), the art of writing involves a lot of...thinking. Especially when it comes to novels. Think about your story, think about your characters, think about your plot, your setting. Brainstorm everything that could possibly happen in your story, decide what's believable, what's not, what works, and what doesn't. Then write the good stuff down.

    How you go about this process depends on you, and your writing style. If you don't know your writing style, don't sweat it, you'll figure it out eventually. Try different things, and figure out what helps you make the most headway. I know you feel lost in the beginning, but you'll figure it out, eventually. The important thing is to just start doing things, it doesn't matter what. Keep your goal in mind and start brainstorming and outlining. The rest will come later.
     
  8. smudgie86
    Offline

    smudgie86 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Glasgow, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the help, I understand it was a kinda open question lol. I think I'll probably do the outlining and brainstorming idea to the point where the story is basically written.
    I've had that dancing wookie for years now... He's my best mate lol.

    Cheers for your help
     
  9. Seb224
    Offline

    Seb224 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    The problem with clear cut, absolute planning is that you never end up with anything remotely interesting, it's all very technical and lacks what real people are, and that's spontaneous. You have your characters and you have their 'problem' i.e, boy, finds egg, faced with evil egg monster, how will he survive? everything else is the interesting part. A lot of writers simply start with a character and their problem, and write till they work out how there character would solve it, with their personality traits.

    Best way is just to just start writing, and don't stick to anymore than a general script.
     
  10. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I do very loose outlines of what I want to accomplish. But whatever planning I do beyond that depends on the kind of project I'm writing and my overall familiarity with the subject matter. Some things require detail and research (like a historical or techie sci-fi story). Sometimes, if I'm writing a story that is going to cover a long period of time, I will actually write out a time-line for key events and the ages of the characters. For my dystopian novel (finished 1st draft, uncertain of its future), I actually wrote out side "articles" on topics that were involved in the plot and would be summarized in it (but not described at length). In the end, I didn't do enough of this, which is one of the reasons I was so dissatisfied with the first draft.

    Try the "brain map". I don't quite know what that is, but it sounds like the kind of story chart or diagram that any writer might use. I would suggest, first of all, to write down, in a single sentence, if possible, what your story is about. This will not only focus your planning, it will give you a leg up when you go to write your first query letter (assuming you decide to try to get it published).

    One other thing...a poster above warned against "clear cut absolute planning". I think what (s)he was getting at was that no novel-length piece of writing ever comes out exactly as planned. You need to understand the reason for this. You grow as you write. So do your characters. As you write about them, you get to know them better and you realize aspects about their personalities that you never suspected when you first dreamed them up. Those newly discovered aspects yield endless possibilities for plots and subplots, as does your story itself, and you have to be alert to these opportunities for your story to grow and mature. There have been times when a character of mine has completely taken over what I am writing. I follow along and try not to argue, for although I am their creator, they are the ones who give my stories life.

    Best of luck.
     
  11. smudgie86
    Offline

    smudgie86 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Glasgow, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Thanks again for your help. I get where you're coming from with it being to technical and clinical if I do too much outlining and stuff. I going to try and go with planning to the point where I have all the twists and turns laid out and then I'll let the character decide just how they enter into the situations and how they get back out again.
    Also love the idea from Ed to summerise the story into one sentence. I would probably look to try and get published at some point, for now I'm just looking to write a novel.
    Thanks again,
    You guys are great.
     

Share This Page