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  1. crieder
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    crieder New Member

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    Making a story flow

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by crieder, Apr 5, 2013.

    I am somewhat new to writing, and my big issue is that my writing is choppy. I know this is because I have a bunch of ideas of events, developments, or just things that I want to happen to my characters throughout the story, but I don't know how to piece it all together without it getting dull. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    The key concept to a good story is conflict. It will keep things interesting.
     
  3. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    This sounds like an outline. It's the characters who tell the story. Pick one or more and see how they react to the events and how they go on to change, both themselves and the events.

    You can also pick a book you like and reread it to see how that author handled the characters and plot.
     
  4. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    Take life as an example.
    Life has to begin from a single point. The merging of two incomplete cells to create a single complete cell. This cell then divides and eventually, through specialisation of groups of cells according to the instructions contained within DNA forms a complete lifeform.
    Life cannot begin from a more complex merging of multiple specialised cells, it just doesn't work like that. It has to be built up in complexity and functionality from a simpler level to a more complex level.

    Writing a novel is no different. Write your first draft, write it badly, write it choppily, get your ideas down on paper. Once you've done that you can work on it, shape it, develop the ideas you've laid out.
    Don't make the mistake of thinking you can blurt out a perfect story on your first attempt, don't get fixated on writing your novel in its final form in the first instance. Accept that the final version may actually bear very little resemblance to the first draft.

    :)
     
  5. Jacco
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    Jacco Member

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    ^^ This. 100%. Don't kill yourself trying to write a perfect first draft. It won't happen.

    I've always thought of writing as a human body. (when I say "you" I mean "you in general" as opposed to "you specifically." This might not work for you as everyone is different)

    First you need to have the skeleton; the overall arc of your story. Write the scenes you are most excited about. It will keep your interest better. If you run into something you need more information about while writing, make a note about it and move on.

    Second, you start putting the muscles over the skeleton. This is where you fill in the spaces between the pieces you wrote so that you have a somewhat coherent narrative. It helps to outline your story by chapter at this stage so you don't get lost.

    Third, you put the vital organs in. This is where you fill in plot points, go back to the notes you made and make sure you are able to fit the scenes in and connect them to the "muscle" parts of the story. You can think of the veins and arteries as your plot lines. Does each plot line and thread continue to a logical conclusion? Does it eventually come back to matter in relation to the rest of the story(coming back to the heart, if you will)?

    Third, you add the skin. This is where you trim dead plot lines, remove excess or un-needed scenes, characters, or dialogue. Essentially you are packaging your story up so everything is held together instead of spilling out everywhere.

    Fourth, you can apply makeup and clothing. This is where you polish. Look for oddly worded sentences, grammar, punctuation errors, awkward dialogue, characterization, etc.

    Then you stand back and admire your work! And hopefully someone buys it and you make millions of dollars.
     
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  6. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Introduce the conflict of the story and the main characters within the first paragraph. Then, show the personalities of your characters through their actions,dialogue, and reactions to other characters. Also, if you're writing a short story, have as few characters as possible.
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    It sounds like you are still working on your first draft. It's a common question that a lot of people ask, so I wrote this advice in my blog (which I just lazily copy/pasted):

    New writers have a lot of questions about how to develop their skills as a writer. Many of them, however, have not finished their first draft. Developing your skills is really a task for second draft and beyond. First draft is all about getting something on the page.

    FIRST DRAFT REQUIREMENTS:
    1. Stale Characters
    2. Confusing Plot with lots of holes
    3. Stilted dialogue
    4. Minimal thematic material
    5. Infodumps, especially in the first few chapters.
    6. A lot of telling instead of showing
    7. Repetitive redundancy, where you describe the same thing twice or more
    8. Repetitive use of the same unusual word
    9. Excessively using adverbs
    This is a tongue-and-cheek list, but I hope it gets my point across. In the words of Hemingway, "The first draft of anything is shit." If you write a sentence and think, "Holy crap, that is the worst sentence written by anyone. EVER." Follow that thought up with, "So I'll fix it later." No matter how bad any part of your story is, let it be! It doesn't mean you're a bad writer, and it doesn't mean your story sucks. It just means it's in an early stage of development. Keep writing, and keep moving forward. Everything can be fixed in later drafts.

    Just by simply writing, you are naturally improving your writing skills. There are so many difficulties that you come across in your first draft that it's like doing an obstacle course. You don't need to climb that rope wall with style, you just need to climb that rope wall. In doing so, you will develop strength and endurance.

    This is the best advice that I can give you regarding your first draft:
    Sprint To The Finish.
    Treat it like an obstacle course and get the best time you can. ​

    Completing a first draft of a novel is an important milestone for a writer. Before, it was all in your mind, or written out in jumbled notes, but now you have a complete version. Your story is now finally outside of you. It's tangible. Even though it probably sucks, it is now clearer than it ever was in your head, and what needs to be improved becomes obvious to you. Now you can begin to work on developing your writing skills.

    I remember when I finished my frist draft. I stayed up so late that my dad was getting ready for work. And even though my writing was so atrocious that I vowed to never show a word to anyone, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I had learned so much about crafting a story along the way that I was at least twice the writer I was when I began.

    So if you are writing your first draft and have questions about writing, Sprint To The Finish of your story, and you may answer your own questions.
     
  8. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Easiest way to make your story flow? Of course good characters, conflict and plot are important. But, the most important way?

    Make sure each paragraph flows. Concentrate on one at a time and make sure they move one to another smoothly and it will flow.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Understand plot.

    Plot is not the sequence of events in the story. That's the story line. A plot is comprised of four elements: actor,goal or objective, motivation, and opposition. Briefly, motivation drives the actor toward the goal, and the opposition is what pushes the actor away from the goal. These two forces create the tension in the plot, and often the opposition itself takes the form of another plot.

    A story typically consists of many interacting plots, a plot network. Often one plot characterizes the story as a whole, so people my consider that the main plot. But all the plots are important.

    Plots drive the events that comprise a story. So where the story line tells you what happens, the plots tell you why. And plots are also what make the story flow.

    Any individual plot can be tweaked. Increase the motivation, and kick up the opposition, and the tension increases.

    For more about this, see What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  10. crieder
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    crieder New Member

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    Thank you all for your advise. It is greatly appreciated!!
     
  11. CraniumInsanium
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    CraniumInsanium Member

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    Wow, all great advice...
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cogito beat me to it. I was going to say that how the characters act, react and feel is the most important thing, not the "events".
     

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