1. charlie82670
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    charlie82670 Member

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    Story development

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by charlie82670, Aug 31, 2010.

    I have been using a method of story development that I think is beneficial, but I've never really shared the process with anyone before. So I was hoping to get some feedback on this process. It goes like this:

    I start with a general overview of what the story will be, breaking it down into composition, crisis, and climax (I personally try to leave the conclusion out of this process).

    Next, I'll start to form the sections (chapters or scenes) by writing a series of concise (<- important point) sentences that lay out the feel of that moment in the story.

    What I'm left with is 5 - 10 lines of information set in sections realtive to the path of the story.

    For example (from a story I'm developing);

    Scene 2
    - Alexander Ward relaxes with his buddy Johnny Mack.
    - They trade barbs and drink beers in a local bar.
    - Alex spends time with his girlfriend Connie Thomas.
    - Their relationship has all but run it's course.
    - They care about each other but they don't have much in common anymore.

    My feeling is that it gives me a roadmap to help me stay the course during the process but I've wondered if maybe the analogy isn't exactly correct. Maybe writers should hit the road sans maps. Any thoughts on the subject?
     
  2. stubeard
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    stubeard Active Member

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    I think you need to have some kind of route marked out or you'll risk losing balance and pace.

    Personally, I set down where it is I want to go, mark several points along the way, then when going between the points, I find that I have to follow the contours of the landscape anyway. Just as one cannot walk through a cliff, one has to make sure one's plot follows the logic of the world and the logic of the motivations and morals of the characters.

    That's why it's so satisfying when writing a conversation to both include all the relevant information that needs to be told to the reader, and also making the conversation natural. I can't stand it when characters have conversations merely for exposition.

    I often find that scenes will write themselves. I never try and force a scene to include things that wouldn't come up naturally - if I find I'm having to force a development in, and can't find a way for it to come naturally, I take it out completely. Never try to roll up a hill!

    For example, I wanted to include a scene where Person A teaches Person B a few things about sword fighting. But Person A and Person B aren't getting on, so Person B wouldn't ask for help, and Person A wouldn't offer it. There was just no way to get them into a training session without forcing it. What I did in the end was move the scene to another part of the story.
     
  3. ChicagoDave
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    ChicagoDave Member

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    You should do whatever works for you. I forget who it was, but I read somewhere of an author who kept writing because they were dying to see what was going to happen next :) Others plan in detail. Still others use a hybrid approach.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it is working keep going with it we are all different.

    LOL I am like the one ChicagoDave quoted I am so excited to find out what my characters are doing next - I can't plan because they are telling the story. They surprise me all the time, but I am happy to delete thousands of words and rewrite to incorporate a new idea. I must have wrote near 200,000 words to produce my 45,000 word YA novel.
     
  5. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I just keep writing and writing, and see where the plot and characters take me :)
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    This is similar to what I'm doing for my current novel.

    I have a general idea of how the overall novel will progress - key turning points, climax, etc.

    For each chapter, I have a "scene checklist" of what happens in that chapter.

    I also have little character outlines -- NOT character profile sheets (I think those are kind of lame and ineffective, no offense to anyone who uses them), but more a map of their conflict, goal, obstacle, means for overcoming obstacle, changing points, etc. This help me place scenes to achieve these events.

    Hope I made sense, good luck.

    Really though, do what works for YOU. :)
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can see that sort of formal planning working for some who're writing novels, but don't see it as being at all necessary for short stories...

    many successful writers write 'by the seat of their pants' even when tackling the novel... and some find they need extensive pre-planning... what's 'right' is only what's right for you...
     
  8. ChicagoDave
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    ChicagoDave Member

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    You may be interested in this thread...

    To plan or not to plan?
     
  9. charlie82670
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    charlie82670 Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I guess you do have to trust yourself to find the way.

    Thanks for the link ChicagoDave, I'll check it out.
     

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