1. Ghosts in Latin
    Offline

    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    2

    The Fetus of Your Tale

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ghosts in Latin, May 30, 2009.

    What shape does it take?

    Before your story is written, do you make an outline? Write up a general summary? Does said summary include the beginning and end? Or, do you just let it flow from first word to last?

    Do tell.
     
  2. W.K. Freely
    Offline

    W.K. Freely Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    In the peripheral
    Usually I pinpoint the focal point for the start and write down my ending. I usually just let the rest go from there.

    I didn't really start fully outlining until a few months ago.
     
  3. Unsavory
    Offline

    Unsavory Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Eugene, OR, USA
    I write down major plot points in a seperate file and I definitely need to have some good idea of an ending before I start writing a short story.

    I allow a novel to shape itself however and I'm not too worried about the ending unless get around the halfway point with nothing brewing. No formal outline or summary.
     
  4. TheNewGuy
    Offline

    TheNewGuy Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    America
    I never write down an ending, or know where the story goes except for a vague idea in my mind...

    I suppose that's why I finish stories so rarely.

    Sometimes I take notes *while* writing, however, and those stories tend to do better. They are usually outline notes, or just random jots.
     
  5. starseed
    Offline

    starseed Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    2
    I wrote a summary but it ended up changing so much that my original outlines barely even seem like the same story anymore.
     
  6. littleparisdress
    Offline

    littleparisdress Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tend to think up a brilliant idea, and then just automatically start writing and then trail off into nothingness. But for a good story I think up the idea and then form in my mind - chapters, parts, star separation (***) - am I going to use these? Then I form a short outline in my head of the three or so major points.
    If I get stuck I focus on what's going to happen there and then, and then the consequences and normally write this down.
    If you're having difficulty then it's better to write something down, but it doesn't have to be specific.
    e.g.
    1. Sally breaks her arm
    2. She realises she is trapped
    3. Officials start a search

    (this is just an example)
     
  7. sorites
    Offline

    sorites Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    2
    In the past, I never used an outline or even knew how the story would end before I started writing. It would just naturally flow out of me onto the page. I felt that usually made it easier.

    But with my last few projects, I've forced myself to plan out what I'm going to write beforehand, partly because I'm now trying to write a novel as opposed to a short story, and I think there is just no way you can write an effective novel-length piece without planning and forethought. Unless you're some kind of prodigy or something, which I am not. It's kind of like the difference between making a play fort or a sandcastle vs. building a real house. You can throw together a quality sandcastle, letting your creativity take you where it may, but to build a real house, you'd better have a plan before you start or you will probably end up with an uncoordinated mess.

    I still free-write, but it's so I can flush the ideas out of my head and onto paper. I don't actually use that product in the piece I'm working on, at least not verbatim, but I do use the ideas I've generated from that exercise.
     
  8. sophie.
    Offline

    sophie. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    England
    Don't plan, I just meander...such as at the moment I'm writing a story, wrote a quick beginning then skipped a few months. Having to piece it all together now...probably not the best way to go about things :p
     
  9. Toothache Fairy
    Offline

    Toothache Fairy Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Arizonaland
    I usually don't write stuff down first - I just kinda think about it, 'n' "play" the story out in my head. If I like it enough to wanna write it, I'll start writing. It usually shrivels up and dies after about ten minutes, though, so maybe I'm not going about this the right way...
     
  10. RomanticRose
    Offline

    RomanticRose Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    491
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I write down, on the butcher paper covered wall of my office, the beginning, the projected end and 5-15 scenes that must happen to hold the whole thing together. My projected end sometimes changes, but without a general idea of where I'm heading, I really don't think I'd get very far. Besides, if you don't know where you're going, how on earth will you know when you get there?
     
  11. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    10,081
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    To extend the metaphor in your original question...

    Much the way a fetus bears no resemblance to the adults creature, what I start writing is rarely recognizable at the end. I just let myself go.
     
  12. SerenWade
    Offline

    SerenWade New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North West England

    I jot down a very rough outline and I mean rough - a whole collection of ideas where the plot might go. Also write small bios on the characters!

    As I'm now attempting to write a non-fiction work - the outline is a lot more detailed - also using a voice recorder which I've found really useful. :)
     
  13. W.K. Freely
    Offline

    W.K. Freely Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    In the peripheral
    :D That is something my father always used to tell me when I was younger. How very true it is.
     
  14. Gallowglass
    Offline

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    I don't plan. I throw a bunch of words onto a page and reorganise them. It works.
     
  15. Nervous1st
    Offline

    Nervous1st Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Australia
    I write a detailed outline of the story, otherwise I get lost on tangents and waste hours of time. I don't stick to the outline strickly though, I can make changes as I go.

    I wouldn't go on a road trip without a map...
     
  16. Kester
    Offline

    Kester New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll be the weird one here: I note the scenes I need, in the order I need them. Then I guesstimate how long the end product ought to be, and then I put word count targets next to them - and I follow them to death. If I'm behind my word count targets, I put in extra scenes for little odd realism sections - characters eating, hunting something down, pooping, whatever. Something that's unecessary but really fun to read, to prove the point that these characters can be as real as the mind will allow.
     
  17. TragicJuliet
    Offline

    TragicJuliet Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Arizona, US
    I usually have note books filled with sloppy notes and exerpts of scenes as I wrote out the actual novel- but that's just because I tend to forget all my ideas before I get to that particular idea, so if I write it down I don't loose it
     
  18. Lalis
    Offline

    Lalis New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Brazil
    Normally, for me, the idea pops out of nowhere - actually, out of the tiniest everyday bits - and I just start making scenes in my head. Then, after three or four isolated scenes, a plot starts to form. But I only outline it in my head, and I usually have this tendency to wind up nowhere near the original plan...
     
  19. Shmendrick
    Offline

    Shmendrick Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    If I outline the story feels contrived, if I don't I get part-way through and get distracted by something sparkly. For the story I'm working on at the moment I'm having fun developing a non-human race so maybe if I do that it'll motivate me to write and finish the story. I do tend to know my main character before I start though.
     
  20. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Wow. An archaeology dig.
     
  21. Michelle7
    Offline

    Michelle7 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ditto that for me
     

Share This Page