1. Inspired writer
    Offline

    Inspired writer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    east midlands

    I'm struggling with the planning stages

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Inspired writer, Jan 26, 2012.

    I get so far with planning plots, characters etc (well all of it really) but soon come to a complete stop and question if any theories are working. I'm assuming there's an easier way and with this being my first novel. I'm finding it quite difficult.
     
  2. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Have you tried winging it? I can't work with an outline or plan, frankly. I've only done it once and it's taken forever to write the story (where normally it might take 3-4 months). Might want to give it a go and see what comes of it.
     
  3. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,722
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Start with a character. Put him into a situation. Watch what he does. He'll tell you what your plot is. Don't start with a plot and then force your characters to act it out like they're just your puppets. Use your characters as tools to create your plots.
     
  4. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    How are you planning your story? It's hard to make a suggestion with no information.
     
  5. CH878
    Offline

    CH878 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    England
    If you have a read of my blog at the link below you might get some ideas. I think planning is one of the hardest parts of writing.

    http://www.writingforums.org/entry.php?b=62806
     
  6. dasylum
    Offline

    dasylum Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2011
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Finish the first draft before you question any of your planning. Read it through, make notes, hide the original, take your notes with the rest of your research and write draft two. By draft three, you'll have a novel worth sending off to a publisher.
     
  7. jc.
    Offline

    jc. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Hawaii
    This is my advice as well.
     
  8. Cacian
    Offline

    Cacian Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    5
    When I first started writing I chose poetry because it is easier and there are no word counts or restriction.
    It is a very good exercise and I tend to use peotic lines when I write stories.
    if it is your first attempt try and keep it short and to the point.
    I enjoy writing snippets of stories because it helps practice writing and also understand my ideas and how I work.
    I write small and then I extend.
     
  9. muscle979
    Offline

    muscle979 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maryland
    Try a few different things until you find out what works best for you. I'm in a similar situation. I found that if I attempted to outline the entire story, plan all the characters, etc. ahead of time I would get nothing accomplished. When I would sit down and just try to wing everything I would quickly run into dead ends as well. Right now I'm having some success with a sort of mixed approach where I come up with a very basic plot idea, a setting, create a couple of characters, and then start writing something. After a few thousand words or so I can then stop, see where the story went, and add to my outline and get an idea of how I want the plot and the characters to continue. Then rinse and repeat. Just keep trying things until you find out what you like.
     
  10. leadbelly
    Offline

    leadbelly New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm in the same boat InspiredWriter. I'm trying to find a method that works for me. I'm not getting much accomplished when it comes to my writing but I am, slowly, beginning to understand the process better. I'm loosely using the snowflake method and I'm finding it works for me. I get to do some writing but I'm also plotting at the same time and as I go through the steps of the snowflake method, I'm finding things in my story synopsis that work and things that don't.

    It's got me thinking about my characters more deeply and I find myself talking about my MC as though she were a real person (which works for me). I was having a conversation with a friend the other night and mentioned my character by name, and started talking about her like she was in the next room. I didn't even notice doing it... my friend pointed it out.

    All that said, I'm what most would refer to as a pantser; I just write by the seat of my pants when the mood strikes. That works for a lot of people but it doesn't really work for me. I need an idea of where I'm going, even if it's just vaguely, or the story never gets finished.
     
  11. Inspired writer
    Offline

    Inspired writer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    east midlands
    Thanks guys. I appreciate all the advice. I definately like the idea of trying to make my mc's as real as possible, like leadbelly mentioned in the comment above. I've got to admit I've caught myself doing the same. Talking about one of them to friends as if he actually exists, even though I've still got a vague idea on what his personality is like. Still got to do alot of research on him and, unfortunately, still only have a slight idea on how the story will play out. But it's very exciting stuff.
    I'm probably only speaking for myself but I'm constantly hitting brick walls. I get so far with potential storylines and characters and I start to question whether it's working. They're either far too unrealistic or they simply don't work. But then again I'm trying to plan out all characters and plotlines ahead of schedule like strong groundwork, before I begin to write anything, that's probably sucking all the creativity out of the story. From the massive amount of advice that I've got so far (that I highly appreciate) a brief plan of action, chapter by chapter, does seem like the most logical approach and I think I'll definately try that.
     
  12. leadbelly
    Offline

    leadbelly New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just wanted to add a little something I discovered yesterday... I was hitting some walls and came across Larry Brooks' blog, which led me to his "Story Engineering" book (which I picked up and found very helpful). Anyway, I think one of the best things this book talked about (and I'm sure other writers/bloggers have mentioned this) was asking the question, 'what if?'.

    You take your story's hook and turn it into a what if question. You could do that for your character too. I did this exercise last night, turned my hook into a what if and 30 what if's later, I've got a vague idea for my novel chapters. The next part of the process after you've exhausted the what if's is then to answer those questions with how.

    For characters, it's the same process but with the following:

    Will X happen?
    How Will X happen?
    What if I do this with X.

    If any of the answers to the the "Will X happen" is no, then you ask why? I don't necessarily consider any of this planning (though, technically it is) but it sure got me moving and thinking about my story in different ways yesterday.

    Do a google search for 'The Most Important Question(s) in Storytelling and the Ensuing Two Questions That Allow You to Answer'. It's enlightening.
     

Share This Page