1. oTTo
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    oTTo Member

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    This is how it always starts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by oTTo, Dec 3, 2015.

    I often come up with an idea in my head for the story. Putting together the plot I develop a few characters, I think of a few basics, and then I am hot on my keys... on OneNote. I make an entire notebook for this world, the characters, the places they are from, where this character will go, this side story here, then another background story here. After a few days I have an entire notebook about the world, and then a single page of notes for the actual story. I will have decided on an entire series, an epic tale of adventure and intrigue.

    Then I cannot get myself to write the first line of the story itself. However this time I actually just made myself start to write the primary story that I compiled together. It is the first draft, as I keep telling myself revision can happen later and to get the story out.
     
  2. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    And then you have the other writer who begins writing with inspiration and fury, only to find that the story goes nowhere and gives up.

    I could equate your predicament, however, to that moment of apprehension right before jumping into the water. You want to jump in - hell, you're on the edge of the dock with your goggles on your eyes, wearing your swim trunks, toes just over the edge - but your body won't comply. It's only until your mind and body align, or your mind overrides your body, that you jump in. Once you're in, though, the apprehension and its effects on you just disappear completely.

    So you should jump in.
     
  3. oTTo
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    oTTo Member

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    @Foxe You are absolutely correct there. Diving in can bring a vigorous sprint of inspiration which motivates me to continue moving.
     
  4. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    That's how it works for me.
     
  5. oTTo
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    oTTo Member

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    It has been almost a year since I have been able to put 40,000 words together. Last year I had that much together, then revised it down to 11,000 that comprised a part of the story; a storyteller and his stories he tells in the story, but removed the MC and main plot movement. I was not satisfied at all. What I have now is retelling of some stories from 1000 Arabian Nights.
     
  6. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    How long do you spend just thinking about your story. I don't mean planning and outline but stopping to just think about it without doing anything else? I'm sure others understand this but while I am at work doing work things I think about my story every free moment I get. I think about how I'm going to pick up where I left off and what the next scene will be. I'm not saying you shouldn't outline, do what works, but there is a huge power for me in just thinking and working it out in my head.

    Another question. How long does your process take? Im talking, from the time you think about a story to the time you attempt to write it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Different people work different ways.

    Over thinking is something I used to do. I would say it is good to realize that it is never going to look quite the same on paper. Some ideas that sound lame in my head turn out to be awesome on paper and sadly the reverse is true too.

    You definitly need to get the full draft out there before revising or I recommend it. Mainly because as one person once told me. "Building a book is like building a chair. Revising is like trimming a leg. Trimming a leg before the other legs exist is not usually a wise descision. Once you have the other legs you may realize the one leg you wanted to edit is the best leg. Once you have all the pieces, you can see them together and see which pieces are not working as a part of the whole structure."

    Takes a lot of time and work and patients. I think it helps to realize writing a great book is not a weekend project. It helps me at least with pacing myself to know it is supposed to take awhile.
     
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  8. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Concur with GuardianWynn! Started editing my WIP about fifteen years ago, before it was finished, and got very discouraged and didn't touch it for ten years. Editing is critical, and writing is creative, they don't mix well. That isn't to say I don't edit a single paragraph for obvious booboos. I primarily am an engineer who does a lot fast-paced technical writing, so it is second nature for me to look at a paragraph after I hit the enter key, to fix spelling, grammar, and flow, make sure the right person is speaking, etc. But that is not editing, it is proof reading. Editing is going back to change how characters evolve, what actually contributes to the story, and what is in the way and should be cut, what needs addition. Don't even think about doing that until the last chapter of the first draft is done.

    I like the analogy of the chair.

    Bottom line, get started. Once you start telling the story, the story will take over and tell itself.
     
  9. oTTo
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    oTTo Member

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    Some awesome feedback, thank you. GuardianWynn, you are spot on. Great analogy.

    How this particular story came to me recently as a fragment of a story. I had a basic plot. As I thought, brain stormed, to get more of a foundation down, I started to think more outside looking in and wondered mostly about greater logical rationality. Why is this happening to the MC? I thought about the antagonist, their motives, the history leading to the motives, the boundaries of the antagonists' resources, other assets that can be drawn on, their motives, their conflicts, the world at large and how it will respond to my MC and the journey that is occurring from A to B. It swirls in my head and before I know it I have an epic instead of a single story. I starting writing this story first, no glamour to it in the first paragraphs just to get the story started, and this story has to work for the rest to work. It has been a week so far since I started on this WIP.
     
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  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you thinking is really large bursts. I recommend bullet points. A little cheat sheet of ideas. Because sometimes when writing, you can be so into the moment you forgot the idea you wanted this moment to lead into. A little cheat sheet of bullet points can really help you stay on track.

    By bullet points. I don't mean anything great. As an example from one of my works.

    - Finished fight with organization.
    - Calm down period, more develop between Jackie and Eric.
    - Call to action in the form of being asked to come home.
    - Development with family.

    Ext. If that gives you an idea. It is really just to remind yourself, so it doesn't even matter if the notes are too clustered to make sense to someone else.
     
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  11. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I agree with this as well. I have yet to go back and revise what I am currently working on and I am projecting to be 3/4 done by the end of the weekend.

    Also i think when you haven't looked at something for a while, its easier to spot mistakes and you also get a better sense of what is good and what isnt. Of course I will think the last paragraph I wrote last night was amazing but will I think the same next month? 3 months? I think its good to give your work some time before you go back and look at it.
     
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  12. oTTo
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    oTTo Member

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    Interesting that when I go back and read books from the past that I loved, I still love them. The same does go for my own works. I go back and find things that are wrong, illogical, or not cohesive to the story. Last year I wrote something of 40,000 words. This summer I read it all, cut it down to 10,000 words. It is now less story than it was, with almost none of the primary plot left. All that remained was a side character (a story teller) and his side stories (I love stories within stories).
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    For me, I spilled the story out in a month, not in readable format but in concept format. I've been working on making it a readable story now for four years. I started with the idea of what I wanted the story to tell. If what you start with is something like, 'It was a dark and stormy night' and try to grow the story from there, that would never have worked for me. It might work for lots of authors so keep in mind we all have different styles.

    What I started with was, 'these are the things I want to write about'. Then I grew the setting and framework I could tell the story in. I cleaned the slate by making it about humans but on another planet. That way I could eliminate the problems on Earth I didn't want to address and just deal with the ones I did want to.

    I'm very pleased with the result. Now if I could just finish it. :p
     
  14. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing I've been doing lately is writing beginning sentence and paragraphs for stories in different styles. E.g. the book "What If: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers" lists nine different ways that a story can start. With narration, with a reminiscent narrator, with dialogue, with a generalisation, etc. By writing several, usually one stands out as being good.

    OP: You could do this after writing much of the rest of the story.
     

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