1. julian95
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    julian95 New Member

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    My inability to plan a story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by julian95, Jul 7, 2011.

    So, I have this constant problem on the planning stage to writing a story.

    Indeed, I can not seem to respect my plan and this is somewhat annoying.

    For example, in one of my stories, the initial sketch of the plot is about a kid who has to decide on which things to buy with a restricted budget and the story becomes... about a guy who is confused with his own sexuality.

    Notice the change?

    PS: If this helps, I just think about the plot on the initial sketch but not the development and the outline. This means that I really develop a story as I write. It's sort of like free writing, though I do not really have a time limit or anything similar.
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're just free writing or winging it, then of course you'll stray from whatever you vaguely intended because you're letting the writing shape you. In this case, it may be better to look at what you've actually written and just say, "Is this better than what I planned anyway?"... Most of the time when I stray from my plans it's for good reason. In any case, the example you gave, the thing the story ended up as sounds more interesting to me than the first, since it's about a character's genuine emotional problems, rather than some humdrum normal life thing which anyone might encounter.
     
  3. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    I fail to see the problem. If you write as you go (like me :D) then just write. You seem to have a good enough handle on what you want to write and the drive to write it....... so write it.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's not really a problem, but it just means it'll take you longer to write, and it'll be more tempting to give up too because you'll write yourself into situations that don't work.

    I'm the same type - I can't plan. I just write as I go along. This gave me a 3-year writer's block because I didn't understand what went wrong at the time, I just knew my story felt dead. Anyway, if you're not afraid to keep re-reading your own work and editing and well, be completely ruthless with it - it can still work. I revived mine after my writer's block - I took my story apart. I had 44 pages which I'd loved so much I could've recited it - and I tore it to shreds. Psychologically, I wouldn't be able to cope with deleting anything. So I didn't. I just created new files :D I kept the good bits and binned the bad bits - I lost over 20 pages doing that.

    And then I opened a new file and started from p.5 and pasted in the scenes that I knew I wanted to keep from time to time.

    But this gave me the structure that I needed, because I knew everything I was writing needed to lead up to a certain scene.

    Moral of the story - just keep writing. A structure will emerge naturally and then you just gotta go back and really dig up and flesh out that structure and bin all the bits that are contrary to the structure. The trick to success with us non-planners is sheer ruthlessness - you have to be able to simply trash some 30 pages and say "I only want this 1 page" - or 1 paragraph, or 1 line. But if you can do that, it's not a problem. Really, any writer who wanna write for real will, sooner or later in their draft, need to do that anyway :)
     
  5. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    I'd like to second that! I hardly ever feel like a writer. I'm more of a rewriter.
     
  6. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    I just joined so I feel like I'm taking a chance jumping into a thread so quickly, but I couldn't resist replying to this one...

    I'm working on a story now that has grown organically. I started with a general idea together with a few scenes that fit into that framework. When I started I didn't know the story's plot at all. Yet as I wrote down the various scenes I had in my mind, in a more or less random order, a plot started to unfold on its own. Naturally with such a haphazard approach I end up revising, rewriting, and deleting material frequently. To facilitate that, I created an "attic" folder on my laptop where I put bits and pieces of the story that didn't know where they belonged.

    Recently I glued together a whole collection of pieces from the attic to put together a reasonable time line. The result is a big mess, of course, filled with many inconsistencies but, hey, that's nothing that can't be fixed.

    Like Mckk, I have a longish chapter that I really like but that I can't quite figure out where it goes. I may have to kill it. I don't have a problem with that, though. It's a consequence of the approach to writing that I'm using. I'm glad to see it's not considered too strange an approach.

    To the original poster, I would say: maybe developing the plot of a story while you write it is a perfectly fine way to work. Planning ahead might reduce the amount of rewriting one does, but on the other hand it's nice to be able to take advantage of better ideas as one thinks of them.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    :rolleyes: what is the difference? doesn't most writers rewrite at some point? ;) I know I do... And I consider myself a writer. Writer is the profession, rewriting is the craft;)

    I agree with Mckk though, wholeheartedly. (eww, an adverb! :eek:)
     
  8. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    I find if I structure things too tightly, then I feel constricted. Such rigid structure is perfect for, say, an essay, or even a story where there are set word limits... but a novel? No.

    And the trick to all this writing, even if you have to give up on it a while later, is not to rubbish it. Archive it. And pull it out later, read through it again. You'll be amazed that what you initially considered to be crap might be good. And even if most of it is crap, some of it you can pluck and save, either for a rewrite of the same story, or to be used elsewhere.
     
  9. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    The difference? Semantics and time consumed?
     
  10. polarboy
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    polarboy Member

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    I don't see the problem with discovering that the story you really have to tell is different from what you originally thought. In fact, I'd venture a guess that this is common experience among professional and prolific writers. As for your initial example, I could easily see that character struggling with his own sexuality might show indecisiveness in other areas; making decisions on a tight budget and figuring out one's sexual preference aren't mutually exclusive--and could make the character multifaceted.
     
  11. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    sounds like a good idea.
    If the second idea is incorporated with the first idea, I would use this as two separate story ideas and two separate books. I feel that the smaller the idea in terms of what the story is about, the easier it is to write it a little bit (I know any book is hard to write, but I would stay stick with one idea at a time). And while the one about the kid's confusion with sexuality is a bit general, you may need to narrow that idea down into a smaller idea.
    Yep. I do. I my opinion, the first idea about the boy who is on a restricted budget is more precise than the second one. However, both ideas can be used, if you could make the second one more specific about the boy's sexuality.
     
  12. julian95
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    julian95 New Member

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    Yes, you perfectly summed up my worries regarding this style. Even if it's good for a short story, it's not so much for a full-fledged novel where some things must be structured to have this fluid coherency. Otherwise, hehe writer's block. Not fun.

    Yes. While I agree with this, rewriting sometimes makes the work a bit chunky. Chunky in the sense that, well, you copy and paste (a bit difficult to explain, lol)!

    Hehe, I hate structuring my essays ^^. Yes I obviously do the basics (intro, main body, concl.) but when I structure I lose time because I spend too much time on finding a good linkage between one idea to another.

    You're a mind reader, aren't you! Hehe. That is exactly how that story's plot became like that. Both short story ideas have an indecisive protagonist who is too analytic for his own good.
     

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