1. RyanM
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    RyanM Member

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    Putting thoughts to paper... erm computer/

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by RyanM, Mar 19, 2009.

    I am not sure of how often a topic such as this comes up, and I hope it isn't a blantent repeition of previous posts, but I just simply have been having a hard time getting my thoughts out onto the computer. I often, while in class, come up with some scene or action to further other actions/scenes I have thought about in the past. These have been building up, and over the last few nights I have even dream't some scenes (pretty vividly and I can remember details like colorful walls/clothes and I could swear smell specific smells (smells I have never smelt before but read about, weird)) [EDIT: My brother who is a major in psychology said I must have smelt the smells in dreams before and that it is trigged by the brain. I Guess I just can't put my finger on the smell. Hope I don't offend anyone with the previous dream statement :X] . I cannot for the life of me sit down and sort all of these out.

    In the past, I was able to sit, think, and type out a short story in a matter of hours with little to no planning. However, these were only about 2500 words max. I have been planning 50K-150K words, and now that my ideas are building I have no idea what to do.

    So, I guess my questions are: A.) What are some ways to sort out thoughts?, B.) How do you all go about creating a story from thoughts?, C.) Am I insane to believe that I could write these 50K words with little to no planning?

    - RyanM
     
  2. -NM-
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    -NM- Active Member

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    If you have ideas for scenes, write them down in order, then you can start to flesh out what you want to happen in between them - what leads to the scenes, what happens afterwards, why, etc...

    Then expand on them a bit more. Try imagining yourself watching the scene or taking part in it, but go slowly and take in the surroundings, your emotions, your feelings, etc...

    Once you have a better idea of the direction of the story it will be easier to write it.
     
  3. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    A) Get a notebook and write down everything that you've been thinking of lately that inspires or draws your attention. Everything. Really, everything. Make a list of the major subjects your mind dwells on. Use as few words as possible. Jot down ideas until your mind feels empty. After that, read through the list and next to each subject, write down words that relate to that subject, ones that you've had floating in your head. Basically what you want to do is vacuum your mind and extract the ideas from the bag. That way you know what you're thinking about, and hopefully that will calm your mind and allow you to focus.

    Don't worry too much about writing down the scenes, because it's likely that the scenes are going to evolve into something else greater. If you do write the scenes down, put them in the list as one word. Find a word that accurately describes the scene. That way you don't have to write out the whole scene on paper yet, but you won't forget the scene because the word in the list reminds you.

    That's one way you can do it.

    B) How to write a story? Well you could just write whatever comes to mind without planning it. Sometimes your mind does a good job of sorting and categorizing ideas and creating coherent scenes/stories.

    C) Haruki Murakami writes entire novels from a single idea. He comes up with a single sentence and expands on that sentence until he feels the story is complete. So he never knows what the story will be like.
     
  4. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    I understand very well what you're experiencing, RyanM. After deciding that I wanted to write my story into a full-blown novel instead of just some silly little short story never to see the eyes of others, I kind of panicked. 50K might not look that much in that aspect, but mentally when you go down to write, your brain spazzes. It's thinking 'Oh God, I'm never going to write out that much! Freeze!'

    I agree with Aeroflot completely on their first statement; GET A NOTEBOOK! Notebooks become your canvas, your non-electronic computer, when you need to write things down without having access to a computer. If you're sitting in class, much like I do, and recalling the vivid images and colors of your dream, write them down. Sketch it if you want, bullet key points, record conversations, anything.

    If you're not in school, or can manage, I'd also advice to either think about investing in a tape recorder or using your phone as a mini-recording device. Sometimes you just can't write fast enough, or have your notebook on hand, and NEED to get something out. But you're afraid if you say it in that moment next time you think about it, it might not be the same. That's where the tape recorder/cell phone recorder comes in handy. It allows short bursts of things to be recorded, without losing what you were trying to get across.

    Don't try to write in a negative environment. If you go into the computer lab, or sit down and think 'What if I can't write again?' you're only feeding the Negative Nancy in you, and it'll only get worse. Sit down and tell yourself 'It's okay if I don't get much, or anything, done today. Some ideas, the best in the world, take time.' I've said this before; it's like baking bread. You have to wait for it to rise before you can pull it out of the oven.

    Get good sleep. If you're trying to write on two hours of sleep, no wonder you're not getting anything on paper! Avoiding using energy drinks, too; it never works in the long run.

    If you're still stuck, try to card out the story. Write down the main bullets, key events, specific moments onto notecards, and spread them out. Once you have enough that you think the story is complete in it's vague essence, number them and place them in order. This organizes your rampant mind. Keep moving them around until you're satisfied, and then number them. You'll add the little details to the story as you write, trust me.

    Finally, speak about it. If you're so desperate to write this, talk. Even to yourself. I'm not promoting insanity here, but it helps, trust me. You're not insane for wanting to write 50K, not even close.

    Oh wow, I wrote a lot more than I planned here. Sorry! But I hope it helps! :]
     
  5. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    I don't have much to add to what lilix said. The only thing I thought I'd share is this very awesome freeware tool that I found when I was starting to work on my most ambitious project. (Short summary - big time branching storyline that was going to be a mess to try to organize in my head or on paper.)

    Anyway, I came across IHMC's CmapTools. Think of it like "digital index cards". It's quite hard to describe unless you've seen a program like it before, so I'm just going to have to recommend you check it out. It's totally free; all they ask is that you fill out a short survey as to how you found their website. If you check it out, I hope you find it useful. :)
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Morgan, a short story is easier to get published than a novel is.

    OP-- this is what always works for me, click here
     

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