1. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    Ideas for what to write

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dagolas, Jun 22, 2015.

    What can I write about?

    You're going to say everything, I'm almost sure of this. This won't help, I've thought of everything (trust me, every single plot ever). My problem is exploiting those ideas. Maybe I have some sort of attention disorder, but I can't write more than 10 000 words for a given novel idea (my longest so far has been 13 500 words, a record).

    Any idea why this happens, and why I can't follow through with my ideas?

    I had an interesting one about an alternate universe if Stalin and Hitler had actually represented the two worlds, west and east, replacing the cold war, and what would have happened then. Apparently something similar has already been done though, and probably better than what I can write (it was a very famous author IICRC)
     
  2. Michael Pless
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    Michael Pless Active Member

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    It's almost impossible to give a good answer, because I haven't seen any of your work. In all likelihood though, your "novels" lack some or all: sub-plots, character development, detail, a sense of place, strong supporting characters, and so forth. I suggest you surf to Author's Salon for some useful stuff, and perhaps some other websites on plot structure, and fiction writing in general.

    Read Snow Falling on Cedars for its sense of place, although the plot and many other aspects of the novel are very good too. Check out the number of Acts you want in your novel; and write down some sub-plots. Write dossiers on the major characters, locations, objects, write down events you are going to describe.

    An author should be able to summarize their novel in a short sentence. My current work is, "When Steve Wilson drags a body from the river, his idyllic life on the distant planet New Eden is changed forever, because the corpse is not that of a colonist." But that tells nothing about complications, sub-plots, characters, and events in the novel. I've spent all of this year providing those things for my readers.
     
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  3. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    They had all of what you mentioned, and yet I gave up on all of them.
     
  4. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Maybe novels aren't for you. Trying aiming at shorter stuff, whether short stories or novellas. I have attention span issues too, which's led me to focus on shorts these past few years, and it's turned out really well for me. Meanwhile I'm plotting up bigger projects, making them really intricate and involved so that they should be able to keep my interest.

    I doubt you've already though of every plot, and I wouldn't worry about other authors having had similar ideas. It's all in the presentation. After all, everything is a remix.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know exactly what you've been trying to write, but maybe novels aren't your thing. If your stories are idea-driven rather than character-driven, and revolve around a single idea (however outrageous) you might be better writing short stories. What kinds of things do you like to read? If your attention span has you struggling to READ a novel from start to finish, that's a sign that maybe a novel isn't what you should be trying to write. Maybe aim for 2000-5000-word short stories?

    Short story writing IS a craft, though, and there is more to it than just spitting out a great idea. If you think that's what you'd like to try, do pick up some pointers on what goes into making a short story work.
     
  6. Michael Pless
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    Michael Pless Active Member

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    I assume you're talking about your writing.

    I find it hard to believe that 10,000- 13,500 words can "have all of what I mentioned". But if you're sincere about writing novel-length pieces, I think deconstructing some novels in a genre you're interested in might help you.

    Otherwise, I think the suggestions of jannert and izzybot are the way to go.
     
  7. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    I can read.
     
  8. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    You need to write about something that comes from you. It needs to be a version of you and every event and character in that story must be a composition of you. Your plot can be about anything it doesn't matter. It's been proven there is only a fixed amount of plots. The thing that is up to you, though, to figure out is what you want to say while your characters are maneuvering through this plot. If you don't have anything to say or have a message for the world, then maybe you're not ready yet or driven enough yet to write a complete story.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
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  9. Michael Pless
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    Michael Pless Active Member

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    Excellent. Again, I have to guess that you're referring to my suggestion about deconstruction. That is not the same as reading.

    I tried twice to help you, but it seems I'm not understanding what you're after. It's best if I move on.
     
  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Michael,

    I think Dagolas' response was to @jannert's suggestion. I think he took it personally.

     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I'm sorry. :( I didn't mean to imply that you couldn't read! I didn't put that very well, did I? :bigoops:

    I just wondered if maybe you have problems reading (as in 'sticking with') an entire novel all the way through. Some folks with attention disorders struggle to keep their attention on something as long as a novel, when trying to read one. This can carry over into trying to write one. I just wondered if that described you. You mentioned an attention disorder, and I wasn't sure.

    Still not sure. Do you actually have ADD? And/or do you read novels?
     
  12. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    I read very lengthy novels. I was trying to say that I rarely follow through with an idea for very long. I guess that's more of a commitment problem?
     
  13. Wrizzy
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    Wrizzy Member

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    Hello,

    I can very much relate to what you are describing! It wasn't until a specific idea (maybe it was Holly Lisle's website..? I can't remember.) that I really learned what I should be writing about. The suggestion could work for you, too.

    You start by making a list of events from your life, that stand out. Don't write a novel about it. Like, if you were sick as a child, you write, 'invalid youth'. Make a big list. Anything that pops up. Give yourself validation for anything that pops up, don't judge yourself. Something that was on my list was the strange sad feelings that I sometimes get when I look up at the sky--so random, but if it has meaning for you then, don't judge it. (Therein the unexplainable stuff sometimes lies the most inspiration. Maybe I should write a story about having alien parents that dumped their kid and left the planet, lol.)

    Anywho, then, look back at that list and ask yourself why the events stands out, one by one. Did you feel immense joy from the thing? Did the event make you so angry, you can never forgive someone from it?

    Well, that will be the life of your story, right there. We can only write what we know, and every single person knows some time of emotion at one point or another in their life. Using this method, you start free building from there, scenes that are similar to that feeling. You can scatter plot, discuss with someone else, or even just free write. The idea is to get your subconsious to start connecting to your conscious mind. Your subconsious is endlessly full of material, waiting to be used. The subconsious mind communicates through emotion. If you can tap into it like this, you may find you have more to work with than you even know what to do with.:D

    P.M. if you are interested in learning more about how to do this. It's a kind of painful method and easy to make not work because it's embarrassing and hard to self scrutinize sometimes.
     
  14. Miss Lonelyhearts
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    Miss Lonelyhearts Member

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    Hello,

    I write about personal experiences, things I read, people I meet, places I go and hobbies I have. I'm very much into psychology, philosophy and religion.
     

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