1. JaimeL
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    JaimeL Member

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    Need to flesh out my plot and begin writing

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JaimeL, Aug 10, 2015.

    Hey guys,

    I know how my novel(s) will run, and I know the ending to the point where it writes itself in my head a lot, but I need to flesh out the plot for myself to the point where I'm able to begin writing the story - once I start writing things will fall into place, story elements may change dramatically and I'll be able to move swiftly forward.

    The story is told from multiple POVs, and it's pretty dark at times, not for everyone but it's definitely the story I want to write.

    Has anyone else been in this situation, and how do I flesh out my plot to the point where I can comfortably begin my story?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi welcome to the forum. Let me be the first to say, just start writing. :D

    It needn't go down on the page perfectly. A lot of the story for some of us unfolds itself on the page.
     
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  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I struggled so much I put it on the back burner and looked for something else.

    One thing I am going to do when I get back to it, is really flesh out the characters in the story. Interview them, etc.

    Can't offer much more than that but if you turn something else up, please let us know, I'm all ears.
     
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  4. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    I can only go by how I work. Others may have a completely different style than me. I find the voice first. I need to know who my MC is and how he/she is going to come across to the world. Picking the POV is important. I write in first person, it gets me into the MCs head more than others. But many choose third and I can see why. Either way, find your voice. It will lead you where you need to go.
     
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  5. JaimeL
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    JaimeL Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys :)

    I read very good advice before, ask yourself questions of the plot/characters, ie. "what would happen if Jak learned Torn was his brother?" "what if Annie knows what's in Eren's basement and that's what motivates every move she makes?" "what if Jon is the fated hero but he dies, leaving 'regular' characters to save the day?" Even with an extremely rough idea of what happens to the point your at, awkward question can add so much depth to your plot.

    I've a decent idea of the first chapter, think I'll start that tonight :D
     
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  6. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Ah that's what I mean by getting to know your characters -- interviewing them, etc. Getting to know what drives or motivates them. The handling of those specific scenarios you list would fall out of the interviews but I do not have those events or things like basements even, so it's difficult to ask those plot-specific (?) type of questions.
     
  7. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    Really, just the act of putting digital black ink to software'd paper can and should get you started.

    What or who is first? Or maybe even How the story started... And your biggest clue is in your own statement: "...once I start writing things will fall into place, story elements may change dramatically and I'll be able to move swiftly forward." <-- That's exactly how I write, with a very rough outline...
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not a huge fan of 'just start writing' advice, UNLESS you've got a clear vision in your head of what y0ur first scene will be like. By vision, I don't mean 'idea.' Vision is what you can actually see happening inside your head. Can you see your characters clearly? What are they doing? You don't have to know all the whys and wherefores, but as long as you've got a clear picture in your head, you can start.

    If you just start with a blank page and an idea 'gee, I'd like to write a YA novel about a girl and a werewolf who fall in love,' and start typing away, you might succeed. But you also might not. However, if you take the time to envision that particular girl, where you see her living/standing/walking/sitting, and then conjure up the werewolf in your head as well. Where is he in relation to her? Is he talking to her, sneaking up on her, ignoring her? What does he look like in this scene? Is he in wolf's clothing, as a boy, partly between? What is the dynamic between them? Is she frightened of him? Is she intrigued and also frightened, or just attracted to him, or what? What do they say to each other, if they speak at all? What is their body language saying?

    If you get a scene like this fully established in your head and THEN start writing, your story will evolve. You'll have characters in place who now have lives of their own, and you've given yourself the first block to building your story. It really doesn't matter how much planning you do or don't do beforehand, it's getting the vision in your head that makes it happen. Just working out a plot on a piece of paper isn't what makes a story come to life. It's that 'vision thing.'

    Once you've written your first scene, fully fleshed out, then the story can move forward, backward, whatever direction it needs to go. But as soon as you've written a lively scene like that, you'll be confident that you CAN write, you'll be in love with your characters, and enthusiastic about moving on.

    I do feel sorry for people who tend to skip the 'visioning' part of their story in the huge rush to get started with the actual writing. What comes out is usually dull 'telling,' with stereotyped characters and not much emotional involvement from the writer. Why? Because they've given themselves nothing but a basic idea to work with. That idea needs development BEFORE the writing process starts, at least for many writers. Otherwise you're just flinging words at a page and hoping that sooner or later they'll gel into something you can use.

    Here's an excellent wee article about writing that might help. I especially endorse the first of the 10 bits of advice:

    http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/10-tips-for-writing
     
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  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Different writers need different amount of info/knowledge before they can start writing, so it's difficult to give a precise answer since we don't know what kind of writer you are or how much and what kind of info you need to get started. But getting to know the characters seem to be a good start. You could also think about how you want the character/-s to grow/change during the story and what you want them to learn. You could get to know about their back ground and what or who made them what they are. You could, if you're a plotter, start to think of how you want the story (novel?) to evolve, which the turning points are and maybe something about the theme you want to explore, maybe?
    As for myself I need a lot more than that before I can put pen to paper, Usually a full scene by scene outline, the plot points defined, the characters goals and needs and whatnot. I also need to know the ending before I start but even that is very individual.
     
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  10. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Focus on the characters. They move the plot.
     
  11. JaimeL
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    JaimeL Member

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    Wow thanks for all the replies, was not expecting that!

    That's exactly what I had, scenes were creating themselves in my head while I walked to the gym, lay in bed, at work, etc. etc., I knew almost exactly how the opening would go and I wrote that, I'm very happy with it, however it didn't help add much else to the story so I brainstormed my characters and plot on an A4 sheet and that's helped me a lot.

    I've a lot to work out yet but even before I wrote the opening I knew how my story would start and and and I'd a lot of the middle and characters done in my head, so hopefully over the next few days I can finish plotting off and get into my story proper
     
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  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Good luck. Sounds like a plan!
     
  13. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    No matter how detailed an outline you write, new ideas are always going to pop up as you write. This is a good thing! If you wait to get started until all your ideas are fleshed out, you may never get started.

    To avoid writer's block, I write my story out of order...yeah, you really don't have to write every scene in the same order that your readers will read it. If you get stuck in one spot, just move on to a different scene and come back to that scene later. You'll find that even when you haven't been actively working on a particular scene that fresh ideas will come later.
     
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  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I do this by putting my characters in whatever vague starting point or setting I've come up with, and then imagine them interacting like it's a play. If it doesn't end up where I want it and I don't like the tangent it's taken, I rewind and start again. If I just can't get where I had planned then obviously something isn't right - their motivation isn't strong enough, for example.

    Once I've worked the scene out in my head it's so much easier to get it on paper and it saves a hell of a lot of writing time.
     
  15. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    Id like to echo GingerCoffee and say that you should just start writing.

    There are a ton a great suggestions on where to start here, but thats for you to decide. It may be finding the chars voice, it may be laying out plot, it may be writing a brief synopsis, it may just be writing down the imagination scene that you pictured on the way to the gym, but you need to write something.

    To many people keep their story in their head, the build add, rewrite it in their mind and never get a word on paper. Its amazing how different everything gets once its on the page/computer screen. Issues start popping up all over that you never expected, you start to realize that you have all the "fabric" but none of the "thread" that holds everything together.
     
  16. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Before I write full drafts, I usually write outlines of the story and try to show it to several people asking if they think it will work and what they think. That way, hopefully you can get an idea if it will hold together so you can start writing and know exactly where to go, without writing yourself into a corner hopefully.
     

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