1. Scarpelli87
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    Scarpelli87 New Member

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    How to Start

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Scarpelli87, Apr 8, 2010.

    Hey All!..I am new to this forum and I am already loving it. I have a novel I am writing and am quite proud of the synopsis I came up for it. I already have the characters and an idea of what they should look and act like. I am kind of afraid to share my story idea due to theft. But maybe my idea is sooooo out there people won't want to copy it. All I will say is that it takes place in the world of the Mafia.

    My big question is what I need to lay out as a ground floor for the beginning of my book, or what idea's people jot down on paper to get an idea of where it should go. Any advice at all would be great! :D
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To start with, you need some sort of "road map" for your novel. It could be in your head, or it could be a written outline. It could be a simple skeleton of major plot points, or an extremely detailed map of every character and subplot. But you have to have some idea of where the story is going.

    As for an opening, I favor starting with a character doing something, dealing with a problem or crisis. That way you get the reader into the action immediately, and it helps the reader get to know a character frrom the beginning.

    But don't freeze up trying to come up with the "perfect" opening. Just write. Get the story down on paper, or on disk. You can rearrange during the revision phase. You could drop your original opening entirely, or add a new one, or swap te order of early scenes to make a stronger opening.

    Do not start by giving background! Really. Resist the urge to "prepare" the reader. It's called an infodump, and it is deadly.
     
  3. Scarpelli87
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    Scarpelli87 New Member

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    My problem is that I see what I am writing too much as a screenplay. And a screenplay is too hard to format. I have a very bad problem of thinking too much about every sentence I write and making it too detailed. How do you go about making a road map for the beginning could you explain that process a little more?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That process tends to be very individual. I personally don't write it down, and don't go into a lot of detail when I'm planning. I think about the story constantly, and therefore I know what will happen in the course of the story. But I like the flexibility to rework it on the fly as I write, because the details may suggest complications or intersting twists along the way.

    Focus on whose point of view the story is told from. What does he or she know, or observe directly? What does he think is happening, that you, the writer, know he is wrong about?
     
  5. Scarpelli87
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    Scarpelli87 New Member

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    The point of my story is a CONSTANT source of concern for me. I am thinking its a third person vantage point but there are so many variations of that I don't know what to classify it as. The way I see the point of view is a ghost following the main character around.

    The best example I can describe it as is like The Sopranos. Tony is the main character and every since aspects always related back to Tony, without Tony there is no show. But there are several scenes that do not include Tony. So the best way I can describe it is just a ghost observing everything that takes place.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Like Cogito, I don't often write outlines for a story. I do when I feel the story is loosing its way or I myself am not too sure as to what is coming next.

    An outline is an easy to follow schematic of your story's skeleton. It lets you see the point of importance without having to wade through the entire text. Think of it as the skeleton of the story.

    There are many, many different "schools" on how an outline should be done and what it should contain. I suggest googeling how to create a story outline and read what you find.
     
  7. lovely
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    lovely Member

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    Sometimes it can be immensely helpful to start by doing a little research. I try to jot down a few ideas for major plot points in about one sentence or less, and I try to figure it all out from there based on what I find. Research can go a long way to help you figure out exactly what you want your novel to say, what characters or setting would be like, and it can help you when you reach a dead end. You don't necessarily have to take detailed notes, but it's important to know where you can get information and basic facts. Any research notes you do take can then be organized into a rough sort of outline if that helps. Normally I just keep ideas in a binder, along with notes, drawings to help me describe a scene, or anything at all inspirational. It's all about what makes you comfortable and helps your process. Part of the fun of writing is figuring out what works for you.
     
  8. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Seeing it as a screen play is good. That means you are thinking in terms of scenes where stuff happens, rather than lots of backstory and prologues.

    For what it's worth, I reckon you should just write. Sit down and don't get up again until you have written a set number of words. 1000 words is a good place to start. Don't worry if they are good or bad, just get them down and keep going. Once you get going, you often find you get into a groove where your story starts to come together without you needing to agonise over it.

    By the way, don't worry about people stealing your ideas. There are only a handful of ideas, but there are millions of ways to develop them. Even if you told someone your idea, and she copied it, the book she would end up with would be totally different to yours.
     
  9. AmazonBanshee
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    AmazonBanshee New Member

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    I am new too. Have a lot of time on my hands due to surgery and have a great idea based on personal experiences. Everyone I know says I should write a book on the things I have encountered the last couple years. Instead of reading books while laid up, I thought I would write one! I was aiming at ten pages a day. Cogito...you have already helped me rewrite my opening. I set the stage immediately for the direction but had some bacground info. I am going to take your advice and immediately squash that, but place it further into the book as a flashback or memory.
    With that, I have been reading as much as I can regarding text, double spacing (this just messes me up!), so many lines and text per page. Do I need this all in a professional format when completed? I downloaded ywriter and storybook, and these are useless to me. I don't need something to organize anything but pages and text (which I cannot seem to find in either one of these.

    Am enjoying reading other's comments and any info would be greatly appreciated! What a great site!
     
  10. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Write the story first, and get that right. All the stuff about font, text types and line spacing are just details for your computer to handle. Your job is to get the story right.
     
  11. Martini
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    Martini New Member

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    Read Novel in a Year!

    I would recommend you read Louise Doughty's 'Novel in a Year'. It's online, or you can read the book. I read the book (in a week, not a year!). It had some good exercises for helping you work out those details about writing a novel. Also, some wise words about idea theft.

    I didn't agree with everything she wrote, but for the problems you mention Doughty's book or online articles of the same name look like a good place to start.:)
     
  12. Azihayya
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    Azihayya Banned

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    The plot is probably like pasta. Three guys in a mafia car have their own road investigations ready, and then you got the sauce going on the pan. What are they listening to on the radio, and probably for good reason.

    You know all about heaven and gods angels. Its the mafia they do what they what but they want what they can get. You are the mafia, and you got your burners turned up and the pasta is in a boil.

    What do ya want? Ya want pesto? You got pesto. You drain the noodles. Don't burn yourself, heres a few dollas. Heheh, I'm talkin' to a broad, you can tell. Its on the street, but its in your kitchen.

    Whats goin' on? Are we calm? Whats happening in the scenario. Is it in the down town area? Are there cops driving by? My droogs were so distracted by their own gig we threw a fit and missed the action.
     

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