1. JesGuy
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    JesGuy New Member

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    Okay, so Stephen King says...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JesGuy, Apr 10, 2007.

    King says to pound out your story...THEN go back and edit it.

    The Snowflake Method basically says to outline it, step by step by step...THEN edit.

    Here's what I find myself currently doing.

    I wanted to try the Snowflake Method, but I could only come up with half a plot. I could not think of the ending.

    So now I'm pounding my way through the rest of the story, hoping that the ending will reveal itself to me.

    My question is...How does Stephen King edit? Does anyone know? When he finishes a first draft, is it pretty clear cut? How much does he have to add? Does it ever come across childish and silly?

    Because thats how some of my "pounding" is coming across. Its sounds very juvenile to me. Is King's first drafts just basic skeletons? Is that a good thing? To have such a simpleton first draft?

    Also...do you ever feel like youre "pounding" TOO quickly through a draft? I do. I feel like I'm missing important descriptions and details.
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    GAAAH!
    Why is it that Stephen King is considered God at all the writing forums I've visited? Why is he so special over, say, Charles Dickens or PG Wodehouse or someone who can really, really write? Why is he the Almighty Reference For All Writing Questions? WHO MADE HIM THE SHEPHARD?! GRAAAAAHHHRRGGG!!!!!


    ...erm, sorry. I had to get that out of my system.
    So anyway, I'll let you continue with your topic.
    (And as an answer to your last question: If you ever feel like you're writing too quickly, then go back and put whatever you feel is missing, in. If you go "I wish I had put that in, but even though I have every right and ability to go back and do so, I'm going to continue on anyway," that's kind of dense.)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks for venting for me, ivan!... i soooooooo agree!!!!
     
  4. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Wow, cool!!! What does Wodehouse say about his writing methods? Do you know what forum he posts on? :) :) :)
    (Sorry, Ivan. But I just had to do that.. ;)


    Jes, fer cryin' out loud, do whatever works for you: pound through, outline in detail, whatever.

    My writing idol (one of them, anyway) is Ursula K.LeGuin: I'd love to learn anything that I could learn about her writing methods, and I'd certainly try them out for myself. But if they didn't work for me, I wouldn't keep on using them - any more than, if I were to learn that she wears Size 8 shoes, I would try to emulate her by wearing Size 8 shoes on my Size 11 feet.


    - Evelyn
     
  5. JesGuy
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    JesGuy New Member

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    I actually agree with you whole-heartedly. I only used him as an example since most people on this board seem to be familiar with his "On Writing" and his method of "pounding it out".

    He's not even in my top 20 favorite authors.
     
  6. JesGuy
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    JesGuy New Member

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    Am I frustrating you?
     
  7. HellOnEarth
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    HellOnEarth Banned

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    What's with all this King bashing?

    Without King, the horror genre would be dead.

    But I tend to agree with some of you, in that King has a inept tendancy to go beyond that which is normal--he writes every little detail and every little mundane thought that goes through a character's head--and it ultimately protracts from the overall pacing of the story. He rambles on and on, lags like a 56k modem. You can even hear the whistle and the beep. That's why every action sequence he writes feels like you're underwater, running like an overloaded, Matrix, slow-motion capsule. You get so sucked into his prose, after finishing a chapter, it feels like the early onset of a migraine headache. Jesus Christ.
     
  8. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Not you in particular, I guess - just all the people on this and other sites who think you need to know how to write a rough draft in order to write a rough draft.

    (It has just suddenly occured to me that if I am somehow uniquely gifted in this area, the following is going to sound very arrogant, but...)

    C'mon, people, that's why they call it a *rough* draft: you just pour out whatever's in your head: text, dialogue, notes, ideas (in outline form or not), until you run out of stuff to pour out, and then you go back and clean up and fill in and revise, and you keep doing that until (either you go stark raving mad or) you get to the end of the story, and then you have a complete first draft.

    But the "you" in the above paragraph is of course "me," and my method isn't going to work for you unless it does happen to work for you, and for you to try to use it if it doesn't work for you would be no more useful that someone with Size 8 feet slipping around in my Size 11 shoes.


    - Evelyn, who may or may not have already gone stark raving mad :)
     
  9. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Here's a compromise suggestion, Jes, which may help.

    I usually have a decent idea of where I'm starting out, be it a situation or a pair (or more) of characters. Then I start plotting - writing down details if they come to me, general situations if they don't, character attitudes, the acronym FIOLD (figure it out later, damnit) if there's something that doesn't quite mesh with the rest of the story, and keep going until I reach some kind of a conclusion. The section numbers are kind of arbitrary at first, until I figure out how these characters act and how intense the action seems to be.

    Then I look it over. I can have an outline a thousand words long; I have a trilogy-ish monstrosity that has around five thousand words. Then I start to cut a little, add a little, and move the section numbers. By the end of it, I have a decent sense of where I want to go and how I'm going to get there. I may not know precisely what Berendon does between being invited to Whittop and arriving there, but I have a strong sense of who he is, and if he meets with trouble along the way, I know how he will react and why people won't get overly concerned with magic flaring up now and again.

    Does that make any sense? I plot it out with only a vague idea of where I'm going. Then I edit the plotline, which really does save me time later. If there's a scene I like that doesn't fit, I put it into my Odd-Scenes file and use it later.

    Oh, yeah. And just because it is an outline does not excuse poor writing or bad grammar. At least for me, bad spelling can be a killer - I tend to have pretty odd place names and characters, so if I write "an sade meets up w/waltr at dunseury" or something, I'll be extremely confused later. Did I mean Walter a regular guy, or one of the Brethren traveling unter the name Water?

    (As though you fellows haven't noticed by now how anal-retentive I am with my own writing. *Sigh*)
     
  10. krosangnomelord
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    krosangnomelord Member

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    Do what you do and become good at it. If it turns out a good story, you got something right.

    If you fail miserably, try another story. Maybe you'll come back to the first someday.

    If every story was just the one, big one to tell, then you wouldn't be much of a writer, am I right? So just keep writing, and putting out ideas. Try new things. Don't be afraid to throw out ideas, and remember that there is a different method for every writer.
     
  11. DirtRoadWriter
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    DirtRoadWriter Member

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    Everybody's above opinions are wonderful! Here are my thoughts:

    I don't even think very far ahead. Lol. Of course, that is perhaps why I never finish stories. **I swear, I have enough "Chapter 1"s to fill up three novels!** But then I get distracted an start another one but I eventually come back to the first one. Okay, enough rambling. ANYWAY.... I just kind of feel an urge to write so I sit down and think "what is the basic plot?" Do I want to write about a rebellious girl in high-school, a determined student going through medical school, a man on a ranch, a girl who rides at a stable, etc. Then I figure out the name and just start writing. I make it up as I go along, and every other page or so I go back and review what I've written. If I likey, I keep it and go on. If I don't like it, I redo that part or do it a different way, or just edit it a bit. This is of course, a rough draft. Every 4 or 5 pages I go back and edit the grammar, spelling, puncuation, maybe the composition of a few sentences.
    I never really get INSPIRED and go "oooh, I have an idea, lemme scribble out the basic plot, characters, and outline and then start on it!" I just wanna WRITE and I just start to. If I write everything out I get discouraged, dunno why.

    Like everybody else says, do what works for you! What works for one person may not work for another. And if you write a story and it's not turning out, leave it and start another one. You'll eventually want to come back to it.
     
  12. Onoria Westhrop
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    Onoria Westhrop Contributing Member

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    WAIT! P G Woodehouse's comments on his writing methods ARE available online. Look for the Berlin broadcasts, there is a fascinating section on how he wrote. Or buy the last and incomplete Blandings novel; that usually comes with notes on how he wrote. He had a great method of sticking pages at different heights on the wall - if they made it to the top of the wall, they were keepers!
     
  13. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    Lol/ Can anyone tell me what are good meathods?
    And Onoria, where did you go?! it great to see you back too
     
  14. Onoria Westhrop
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    Onoria Westhrop Contributing Member

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    Moved to London, got a job. Huge upheaval...
    Anyhow...
    Standard method seems to be write a masterpiece over the course of ten years. Lose hope and put it in a back cupboard. Dust it off a the turn of a new decade, polish it up, get rejected by everyone and their dogs. By a stroke of luck get accepted by a sympathetic/drunk/incompetent agent. Print a paperback selling 20-50 thousand copies. Fade into obscurity.
    Obviously you can tailor this technique to your needs.
     
  15. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    Hmm.... then people like Laurell K Hamilton and James Patterson must be really old!
     
  16. Onoria Westhrop
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    Onoria Westhrop Contributing Member

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    I can just hear my mum saying "If Steven King told you to jump off a cliff would you do it?" The man's a bad influence...
     
  17. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    *hugs*
     

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