1. Kitkatz
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    Kitkatz Member

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    Overwhelmed!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kitkatz, Nov 23, 2010.

    I've always been into writing however, am starting to write my first novel (attempting to). I've found myself totally overwhelmed with ideas and plot-lines and struggling to keep on track. I would love to hear any tips/experiences about how to start :)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You may find it easier to start small. Try writing short stories first. They don't require as much time and energy as something as large as a novel.
     
  3. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    As far as how to start goes, there's a gagillion ways to go about it, but that's not very helpful.

    I'd say to start, find a good spot in the middle of the action. And by "action", it doesn't necessarily mean crazy in your face stuff like sword fights and car chases, wild sex and murder. (of course, it could be any of those things, depending on your genre and style :D) but have an important character doing something or reacting to something. This is at least one way to get the ball rolling.

    As far as the rest goes, there's no "right" way to go about it. Some outline and organize like crazy, others just see where the story and characters take them and tweak things later as needed. Find whatever works best for you.

    One thing to keep in mind; your first draft won't be perfect. In fact, you might end up thinking it's plain awful, but that's okay. Revising, moving things, changing this or that and deleting is always a major part of the process. The important thing to do, is simply write.

    Good luck, hope this helps. :)
     
  4. Kitkatz
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    Kitkatz Member

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    Thanks :) I love writing short stories but miss the depth and understanding of a character that can be created with novels.

    What I've done so far is written on post-it notes events and ideas that I would like my story (in somewhat chronological order) in a hope that this will give me a rough guideline until I fully understand my direction. I guess I need to relax and not "try" and stick to the "plan"

    :)
     
  5. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    Well, first you may want to figure out if you want to start structurally or characteristically. Either one works. If you start with structure, make sure you really know how your structure is going to work out. If you're starting with characters, then make sure you really know your characters.

    As someone already mentioned, writing a novel is a much larger task than writing something like a novella or short story. So regardless of whichever aspect you'd like to start with first, you'd want to think big and wide. You've got a lot of ground to cover if it's a novel!
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice is just write and keep writing.

    I have experienced the same - the ideas often spill out on the page as fast as I can have them. What I do is write a first draft with all the ideas in it then take them out with a complete rewrite only keeping the ideas I need to tell the story. Think I wrote about 200,000 words to get my 60,000 YA novel lol Doing the same with my current one and have finally after 55,000 words realised how to make the YA part less YA in feel and give it the edge it needs to be an adult novel (this current one was proving a bit multiple personality).

    I now have ideas from my first novel that could potentially cover 4 series of novels covering about 20 different books lol Not to mention some fun novella/short story length stories.
     
  7. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    These are all great advices :]
    It's wonderful to be able to create. Take your time and write out your ideas, just have notes all over the place, think about your story, your characters, talk about it with friends, family, get their opinions (people you trust won't steal your idea haha)

    A method I found very convenient is the time-line (pen and paper is better) and you can jot down notes at the bottom of it describing each scene or the most important parts of each scene. You might wanna try this once you have an idea of what your story is going to be about.

    And remember, read a lot. Reading other books may help you think of some really nice ideas for your novel!
     
  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd also say just go for it. Having some kind of outline is helpful, really think about where your story is going, what message you are trying to get across. But then just take the plunge and write. Good, bad, doesn't matter. It's better to have a go and delete what you're not happy with.

    Be flexible. Even if you have a 'plan', it may change as you work on the story, and get more/better ideas. Good luck.
     
  9. Kitkatz
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    Kitkatz Member

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    Thanks so much to all of you, the advice is extremely encouraging- I can tell that whichever happens I will have a lot of fun writing this! :)
    It's very interesting hearing all the different ideas- and I can't say I've "decided" how I shall tackle this- and I don't suppose I have to- I'm just going to run with my pen :)
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi,

    Welcome to the world of novel-writing! :)

    Try to think of your main plot as a spinal cord, supplemented by the subplots and other plotlines. In other words, they should all tie together and become relevant. :)
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's best not to try and plot subplots initially - just go with the bare outline, and let them grow from your writing. if you have them pre-planned there does seem to be a cramming effect like, "Oh I need to mention this character before anything else happens!" and it starts to look a bit clumsy. Subplots aren't so important and can appear at any time, and should look like they naturally branch off from the main plot. I intensely dislike subplots that appear as a brand new setting and characters with no warning - much better to have a mention of them somewhere before, and then if they start doing stuff on their own accord, it's not like a whole new plotline is being forced on us, but it's more naturally a subplot. If you have a couple of main, at first unconnected, plotlines, then of course you can do it, but if they're not going to be as major as dedicating a whole scene to them almost as if a 2nd introduction to the novel, then it's going to be a bit of a let down. :p

    I mean, like, in the novel I'm writing at the moment, I initially introduced the 2nd main character in a clean introduction to her mindset - she'd been in the previous scene, but then I jumped back in time and started over, pre-anything that happened in the opening scene. The clean start just didn't work out, so I changed it to a scene that followed on from the first, and seemed a lot more obviously influenced by it. It's just nicer for a story's flow if everything keeps together, is the lesson I learned this month. :D
     
  12. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Write down every single idea or thought that pops into your brain.

    You may use them, you may not. But it's better to get them all down though as you begin to flesh out your plot :D
     
  13. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I am also writing my first proper novel, and I've had to learn as a go. My advice would be, always carry a notepad in your pocket for when inspiration strikes. Even if it is a stupid idea and won't fit in your current story. I found that as I wrote my book, I'd have another idea about where it could go, and suddenly that stupid idea fitted very nicely! Imagine if I didn't write it down in my notebook and had forgotten it! My story would never have been as good as it could be! :)

    Also, I do not write using a computer. Pen & paper is a much more free flowing and creative place for me, and I can cross things out and make notes without deleting things forever. Also the internet is far too distracting, so I avoid computers unless I'm researching or seeking advice.
     
  14. Kitkatz
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    Kitkatz Member

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    I still cant believe how much wonderful feedback you are all giving me- I'm so excited!
    Also extremely happy because I've had a huge breakthrough in my writing- it has all become clear! AH!

    Now just need to flex my pen-holding muscles and keep it up. So sore haha

    Thanks all again :D

    Katrina
     

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