1. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    How to take ideas to the next level?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aguywhotypes, Oct 5, 2015.

    I write fictional short stories.

    It's not that I don't have ideas. I do, but where I grind to a halt is taking those ideas and then fleshing them out for a complete story.

    I feel I'm the only one who struggles with this, but I'm sure others do as well.

    Is there a good book to read that teaches how to do this? What is the best way to learn how to take your idea into the next level?

    I'm frustrated. I want to write, but I can't seem to make 'stuff' come together.

    Any help would be great.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Do you mean you want to make a novel? Because a short story is already a "complete story". :)
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think he does mean he wants to write novels. Short stories are completed stories, but novels are a step above that. From what I've learned, novels work best with a main plot and a few sub-plots to keep the pace going. Think of it like the main course and side meals. They all work together to give you that satisfied full feeling at the end where it's all wrapped up in a nice little bow with nothing hanging loose all on its own.
     
  4. rainy_summerday
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    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    Sounds like that's a form issue.

    Short story: A singular "plot"
    Novel: Usually multiple "plot lines" that either overlap, are intertwined, or follow one another

    This summary is overly generalised, but it seems like you struggle with letting go of the singular plot strand. Maybe you attempt to adapt this concept for novels through the means of expansion. That is possible, but it is not quite how novels "work."

    Instead of reading "how-to-write books", maybe have a go at analysing your favourite novels. It helps quite a lot to visualise how other writers connect "plot strands", or even disconnect them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
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  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    If you mean turning an idea into a novel, I usually unpack the idea, expand it with the understanding that I want to explore the characters deeper. That's the key - it's all about the characters not the plot, not anything else. You'll be with these character for 200 odd pages.

    Usually for a short story I have a more clear idea of what I want to accomplish - for instance - Fish Stix - I wrote that wanting to do a short story about an ugly mermaid who transforms a diver into a fish creature after biting him. A simple idea and the story isn't very long. It did exactly what I wanted it to do. But as I was finishing the story my mind wandered and I wrote a few more pages of the fish creature introduced to the mermaid's world.

    I ditched those pages because I could see the beginnings of a novel being formed. More characters, the mermaids history, the history of her world, the fish creatures journey to be accepted in this new world and understanding their customs. Possibly having little fish creatures of their own. Him trying to contact his family on shore. Etc. I could see the chapters unfolding and decided to just end it, as I wasn't interested in expanding the story at that point. But that's what makes a novel - taking the idea, the character's journey and expanding it. Adding characters, adding new drama, new twists. Concentrating totally on the character knowing you want to invest in him/her.
     
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  6. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    I was thinking either a short story or novel.

    I have a tough time, expanding the basic idea.

    In other words, trying to answer these two questions are really tough for me.

    1. What is my story about?
    2. How does it end.

    I have to have the ending, otherwise if I don't I end up just going all over the place.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Maybe just start simple - What, Who, Where, When, Why, How.
    What - genre
    Who - characters - their age, job,
    Where - setting
    When - time frame
    Why - Characters goals,
    How - Obstacles to get the goals

    Or try the snowflake method.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's hard to say without knowing how much you have, and what your ideas are like. Are they just like, a setting and a theme, or a character in a certain situation, or what, more specifically?
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, to echo Peachalulu I'd say you need a character interesting enough to be worth following. A goal, a motivation and a conflict. You need an antagonist or at least someone or something standing in the characters way. If you feel knowing the ending beforehand you can think of the outcome in this stage as well.
     

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