1. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Opinions wanted in the short story process

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GoldenGhost, Jan 12, 2012.

    It has been more then a couple years since I have delved into the realm of the short story. And recently, after putting the pen down for a while to focus on other things inside of my lifestyle, some of them have begun to come back together and I have found the ability to pick the pen back up again. Pretty much I have just committed to keeping another journal and making sure I fill it daily with whatever is on my mind, gibberish, ideas, senseless nothingness, anything to keep my mind going in the direction of thinking about writing. Lately I have been focused more on poetry to start getting back into the rhetorical side of things. My question to you guys, is what is the process some of you, if you do not mind sharing, go about in getting the story started? I am not interested in creative secrets or anything of that matter because they, obviously, are different for each person, and are exactly what define us as writers. But I am thinking more along the lines on outlines for plot, character, etc. If you use outlines before you write, or if you just put pen to paper and re-write re-write re-write. I am interested in narrative fiction, and eventually entering the arena in that style. Genre does not matter. What say you? Speak your mind, please.. I could use guidelines to help me get back into the swing of things to use as a reference/jumping off point.
     
  2. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    For me, I don't do much beyond simply developing a concept and then envisioning the characters and scenes in my head. I usually start with some kind of scenario - what if X happened to Y? After that, I just jump in to writing the first draft. With longer works that involve more characters, different settings, sub-plots, etc, I'll tend to spend more time in the planning stages.
     
  3. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I like to go for drives or sit in coffee shops. I might pass some people or landscapes that make me think, or a storyline might pop into my head. It usually starts with a 'what if' question, Like:

    What if two friends were in a car, and the driver had just gotten released from the psych ward and began to have a psychotic break?

    What if a doctor fell in love with his mistress, and decided to keep his wife around as a personal servant after giving her a full frontal lobotomy?


    Sometimes I'll notice small things that deserve apt descriptions, like:

    She twitched her right foot as she wrote, gripping her pen as if it might escape her. The fingers of her left hand dug into the armchair.

    Periodically she winced and rubbed the same spot on her leg, wishing the voodoo priest would stop poking the doll he'd created in her likeness.


    Somehow, I throw plot and observation together and it makes a story.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Short stories generally don't take much planning. I have a notebook I carry with me and write any ideas I come up with into it. When I've finished a story, I look into my notebook to see if any of these ideas are still interesting to me. If one strikes my fancy, away I go. I just start writing it. Often I find out partway through that I started in the wrong place, so I restart. Sometimes I restart three or even four times, looking for the right beginning and the right tone. But once I've found them, I just carry on to the end, editing as I go. My first draft, then, is generally fairly good.

    I go over it after a few days and generally find that it's too thin. It needs more detail, more depth. So I add some more stuff. Not usually whole scenes, but I'll extend conversations, strengthen descriptions, clarify certain points of the narrative, and that sort of thing. Once that's done, the story is finished.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no 'process' for me... i simply get an idea for a story and start typing... like the idea itself, the opening sentence usually pops out unbidden...

    the best way for you to get in the mood for writing fiction of any kind is to READ IT... read lots and lots of the best short stories of all ages, to 'absorb' how they look/feel/sound... then, when you sit down to write one, it should be second nature...
     
  6. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Ideas come to me all day, regardless of what I'm doing. Many of them are utter crapola. Some of them are interesting enough to flesh out a bit, usually by asking 'is there some kind of conflict, some kind of plot here?' and 'who is doing this?' At this point, a lot of these will be discarded. Some will go to the back-burner file, a few will take place in the front of my mind. Whereas, I generally only write one or two things at a time, there is room for four or five things in the 'soon-to-be-written' queue. Short stories I don't outline on paper, though I will generally do a mental outline, but not always. With a short I might have an opening sentence I like and want to see where it takes me. With longer works, I like to outline. I want a pretty good idea of where I'm going and who is involved before I start.
     
  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I get an idea for a basic premise and just write, off the cuff.

    Works for me. ;)
     
  8. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    This may count as creative advice, but its the best thing I can tell you.

    Don't over think your short story. I wouldn't sit down and try to write the most brilliant, potent, greatest short story ever. Just write something that makes you happy and showcase easy power.
     

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