1. Manutebecker
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    Manutebecker Member

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    Is this a healthy writing habit???

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Manutebecker, Mar 9, 2009.

    To kind of treat a novel like your building a house. First I usually make a frame, an outline of a story where I have significant events mapped out, then I do a "quick draft" type of thing where I get into barely any detail (which for me is a LOT of detail, i tend to have to cut it out i use so much of it). The quick draft isn't actually a quick process, its basically a first draft, I use an outline type of thing to build the story around it and constantly add on new material as I go.
    After this I usually revise, just sift through, organize things, get punctuation, make sure everything flows smooth, and sift out loopholes or just crappy sentences, ideas, etc. After some amount of that and peer review I submit it to whatever. I was just curious to see how you guys react to a "the story is already completed in my mind" approach.
     
  2. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    What's "healthy" depends on your personality. If you can get your stories written in a timely, effective manner with your technique, then it is a healthy one. If your stories are frequently abandoned, written poorly, or just plain awkward, then you need to reevaluate what you're doing. The nice thing about writing is it all depends, so take advantage of that.
     
  3. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    That is precisely how I wrote my novel (revisions still in progress) and I found it worked wonderfully... great analogy, by the way!

    Many other writers have found great success with this method, and I've found it suggested in several books on writing. Frey's "How to write a damn good novel" series details a like process.

    On the other hand, Stephen King's "On Writing" suggests against this method. He suggests to dive in and write the novel, no outlines, no plotting. I tried King's method. It failed me miserably. Without the frame and outline, which I think should include character descriptions for the major characters, I found myself creating useless characters in a story that went nowhere.

    Then again, every writer is different. You have to use what works for you.

    Best Regards,
    Charlie
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are probably as many approaches to writing as there are writers. The only question is, foes it work for you?

    Some people work better with a highly structured plan, with the storyline mapped out in minute detail before the first sentence is written. Others prefer to start with a mere germ of a story idea and a rough-hewn character, and let the writing develop the story and the characters as it goes. I work closer to the latter extreme. I have a general idea of the story when I begin writing, and I have some understanding of the characters, but I don't write down outlines or character worksheets. The only notes I generally keep relate to research. I'll think about the story for some period of timne before I start writing.

    I can't write a "dirty" first draft. If something bothers me about something I wrote in the previous session, I have to go back and rework it then. I can't just go on a writing blitz like NaNoWriMo and refrain from revising until the draft is finished. The knowledge of what I need to fix whispers into my brain and distracts me until I go back and address it.

    But until I tried NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I didn't really know that I couldn;t write in that mode. Until I tried writing from a structured outline with merticulously defined characters, I didn't know I would find it to constraioning.

    So if you wonder if a different writing approach might work better for you, try it. If it gets in your way, try to figure out why. If it show promise, break it down and decide what elements for your temperament, and why.
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Whatever helps you get your story done. *shrug* That's the definition of "healthy," isn't it? Your technique is too complicated for me to follow, but if it's what makes you finish a story, then that's what matters. We all do things differently. How could anyone consider it "unhealthy" if it's how you finish a story? Why would you care if anyone did?

    "The story is already completed in my mind," honestly, was not the impression I got from your description of how you do things. Your description sounded very mechanical, like the story needs to be created and assembled piece by piece--like a house. I might have misunderstood though. The process is more organic for me--I just write the story and make it up as I go along. Honestly? Based on how my own stories tend to play out (I don't outline them in the least, but I do think them over a long time before writing), it sometimes seems like they are completed in my mind, somewhere unconsciously, before they're written, but I couldn't really say. Even if it's all there I still have to assemble it.
     
  6. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    If it helps you write a better story than using some other method, it's good. I usually end up creating a broad outline of the story as well. I've tried starting with nothing more than that first sentence and building the story as I go along, but I've found I'm not cut out for that practice. I need some kind of structure. It doesn't need to be elaborate or even good; it just needs to be something I can hold to as a frame of reference as I build the story.
     
  7. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Like any good builder and writer, I always start with the roof and work my way down.
     
  8. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually think that's a very good analogy. :) As for whether you start with the frame as you do or the roof as Dcoin does, it's 'healthy' as long as you can get from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time (depending on other events in your life, how many projects you have going at once, how much research is required, etc).

    I do something slightly different; I write the key scenes first so I have a skeleton and a clear path from A to B. But I see both methods as healthy because we both get our writings completed.

    Writing is a personal activity, usually a solitary activity, and it's a very fluid activity, in my opinion; things are constantly changing as I change from day to day. Because everyone is different, everyone's writing and method of writing is different. One method may be more efficient than another, but I could still consider them both healthy. :)
     
  9. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    The "House Method" is a great way to write a story, I use it too!! Like everybody said though, use what works best for you. If you feel comfortable with this, then you may want to consider sticking with it. However, don't let this stop you from trying out other methods. Who knows, you may find an even better process! (If so, you'd better share. ;))
     
  10. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    I also use your method of writing. I tried the alternative of just letting the story and characters develop themselves, but it was disaster. The story dragged on, I got tied up in frivolous dialogue and then rushed through more important issues.

    Like you said, I 'build' the story. Add to it bit by bit. I might sit down and write a piece toward the end of the story.... if that’s how I'm feeling. Then I just add the piece to the outline. In the end it all comes together.

    I always thought I wrote like this because I am a beginner, but I think it's just my style. For example, I would never go on a holiday and 'see where I end up' I always have a itinerary to follow. Boring? Perhaps.

    Good luck
     
  11. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    If it's working for you then it's a good habit for you. People have different methods and approaches, but overall, writing a story can be compared to building a house; it's just that diferent people start it differently. Never question your habits if it's working well for you. :-D
     
  12. Manutebecker
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    Manutebecker Member

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    You guys are great, I'm very new here so the two pages of responses was a very pleasant welcome :) Some one stated before (I'm too lazy to quote) that I said I already had an ending before I wrote the story, and I would like to resent what I said, in a way. I never, ever, have my entire storyline plotted out beforehand, and have never had my ending done before anything.
    Whenever I get to the winding down of a long tale I always allow writer's block. Yes, it's crazy, but effective. I always feel like every loose end should be tied, and that decisions for a great ending cannot be made in short time. The lasting effect that most have on a story/movie/etc., is the ending. I could watch a movie like No Country for Old Men, which I did, and LOVED, for about seven-eighths of the movie. (No real spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen, just the revealing of a lackluster finale to an otherwise great movie)
    Everything about the movie was genius, the acting, the villian, the story, but then come the last 15-20 minutes, your just kind of rubbing your eyes, adjusting to the let-down. That's what stuck with me unfortunately. I've never rewatched it, never will. When people ask if they should see it, I usually go against the film. I can't remember any of the good parts very well at all because of how badly it fell apart. It seemed to have some faux little "symbolic" ending that I just didn't get. I'm rambling :p
    In short, endings are too important to make in the time you create the other milestones of your story. P.S. Thank you guys for the positive reviews of the "House" example, I had no idea it would get so much appreciation.
     
  13. Alistair Halfcracker
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    Alistair Halfcracker Member

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    I have a specific method, which I personally call 'Whistling In The Shower' technique. (WITS)!

    As a musician, if a tune pops into my head, I take it seriously, and don't dismiss it.
    If it keeps going round, then it's meant to be. The translation to instrumentation is a logical, easy and necessary step, mainly to stop me from going bonkers.

    The same applies to my writing.
    If an idea pops in there, I commit it to memory and work on it in my mind.
    Then when I feel I've got enough of a structure thought out, I set to work and complete short stories in a single sitting.

    With such a method, I can complete pieces in a very short space of time. (The last one at just over fifteen hundred words took approx eleven minutes).

    I've been banging away at a novel for over a year now, and attack it in the 'Just Get On With It' approach. I will complete the story first (Hopefully within the next six months!) Then go back over it section by section. Then fully edit...

    It all works for me.
    :)
     
  14. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Your method reminds me of reading this: (The Snowflake Method)
    http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php

    It doesn't work for me, but it seems a relatively common way to write.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just my opinion - the Snowflake Method is a model for adding complexity, but doesn't make the novel deeper. It just makes writing more convoluted.

    It CAN be used in a way that adds depth, if your added material consists of well planned subplots, but I think you can get the same results without resorting to ete snowflake by simply thinking in terms of opposing forces, such as obstacles vs. the consequences of not overcoming them.

    The problem is that it's too easy to misuse the snowflake to simply fluff up a story.
     
  16. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    Hi, I like Stephen King's method. I totally write on the fly. If I build an outline, I find it limits me and I don't get to say what I would if I just write and go. But think as long as you are satisfied with the results, you are on the right track.
     

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