1. Stachenscarfen
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    Stachenscarfen New Member

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    What do you actually need before writing your story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Stachenscarfen, May 6, 2012.

    I think this could be a frequently asked question, but what do you actually need before you begin to write your story. I have the plot, the main story line, relations between the characters and how they change during the story. I also have a main idea about the main characters. Is this enough to start writing or are there more really important things which I didn't do yet :)
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have enough there to get started - Good luck.
     
  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    For a novel-length story all I have is a scene-by-scene outline of the plot. This is usually 20,000-35,000 words in length, so I guess instead of an outline it's more of a short "tell" (rather than "show") version of the story. I tend to spend several months working on these and spend a lot of time rearranging and editing scenes and trying to identify plot holes before I begin writing the actual story.
     
  4. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    that's exactly what I do. I create the plot and characters then wrote a 25 000 words version of the story. edited that story and now I'm writing it again to reach 80 000 words
     
  5. Amiighan
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    Amiighan New Member

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    I like to have my characters well thought out, even I change them during the writting process. I usually loosely come up with the sequence of events and themes I want to imply before writting as well.
     
  6. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I need inspiration, a vague idea of what I want the story to be about and interesting characters. As I write, I get more ideas for the story and my characters develop into deeper ones overtime.

    I think you have enough! Start writing and, as I always say, see where it takes you~
     
  7. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Protagonist, antagonist and at least a loose end. The rest I invent as I go.
     
  8. Stachenscarfen
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    Stachenscarfen New Member

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    Thank you for the tips! Especially the idea of writing and then improving and changing it sounds quite good! Thanks a lot!
    Gives me a bit more self-confidence :p
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quite a lot. A cast of characters, a situation for the mc, basically the entire plot, including the ending. I also need a rough sketch of the character development, although I usually work most of that out while writing. I write the scenes down on index card (or similar) but they are very basic. They usually evolve as I go and I might add new ones too.
     
  10. Maiseyday
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    Maiseyday New Member

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    Frightened but raring to go...

    :)Hello Stachenscarfen - I recently joined this site, and looking around I can see there are lots of people with helpful advice for newbies like us. I am a firm believer in characterisation and the need to really get to know my characters before I start to write anything longer than a short, short story. I would suggest that when you're sure of the genre your story slots into, and you have an idea (no matter how vague) of your main character, you should set up a character construction sheet, which will include your character's name, age and date of birth - look up his/her birth sign within astrology and this will give you an idea for character traits - consider weaknesses and strengths and formulate your character. If you feel a particular actor/actress could play your character, look them up on the internet and you will even have an image to work on - friends/family can be included here too. It's amazing what you can come up with, and before you know it your character comes to life. Don't put too many characters into your plot as this can be confusing for readers. Get to know your character(s), and you're off... Enjoy
     
  11. Winzett
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    Winzett Member

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    Quite similar to Tesoro. I also need to have worked out (almost) the entire plot and the important scenes, characters and much of the character development. I do it because it is useful when doing some foreshadowing and connecting the dots from the beginning to the end.
     
  12. drjacques
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    drjacques New Member

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    Before your fingers make way to the computer, have a pen and piece of paper where you write out all of the characters and their path through your book. I then make lines connecting each as they go along. Gives me a visual picture of the storyline in a time-frame fashion. Something that gets me excited and motivated to write (although it sounds as though you already are) is to think of a cover, think of a title, use basic word/paint/photoshop tools to create a basic cover with the title and name. After all, what is the first page of your novel if not the cover? My 2 cents.
     
  13. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    This is where I was a bit ahead of the curve. I wrote my first draft 30 years ago, and I've already made every mistake in the book, pardon the pun.

    The one nice thing about making a lot of mistakes is that it shows you what you don't want to do. And I've been formulating the corrections for a long time.
     
  14. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    All of you well planned people :)
     
  15. Stachenscarfen
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    Stachenscarfen New Member

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    I started writing my story and your tips help me. I didn't see it before, but it is actually quite obvious: my stories are not perfect the first time I write them. I should go on and after a certain time I should read it again and improve it. The tips are very useful and I'll use them. Thanks a lot! :)
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I start with a character (a fairly vague conception of one; I want to discover him as he discovers his story) and a direction I'm heading. I have a concept in my head that gives me the direction. I don't need more than that. Then I just start writing scenes involving my character. Not all of them will make it into the novel, but some of them will. This process forces me to create story. After I've written a few scenes, I can start piecing the skeleton of a plot together, but I'm never tied down to that. I don't think plot is all that important, anyway. I just want character arcs. I want my MC to grow and change and learn and become stronger (or, sometimes, weaker) by the end of the story. I'm confident that as I write, I'll find something resembling a plot.

    Then I'm charging right in and writing. Eventually I find a satisfying ending. At that point, I have a first draft, and I can finally see the story thread running through it. Then it's a matter of ripping whole sections out that are irrelevant to that story thread and doing extensive revisions.

    I would never write a 25,000-word outline. I consider my first draft my outline. For me, writing is about discovering my story, and in doing so, discovering something about myself. Planning everything out ahead would remove the possibility of discovery, and if I don't have the possibility of discovery, I don't have any motivation to write.
     
  17. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I need the drive. It might come from a plot idea, a character I want to use, or even an image I want to use. It can be anything, but it has to drive me and make it so I can't NOT write it.
     
  18. KRHolbrook
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    KRHolbrook Member

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    I need a hot chocolate from Starbucks and a plot. It all takes care of itself from there. :)
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    nothing but something to write with and on, plus an idea and a first sentence...
     
  20. Ventis
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    Ventis Member

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    That depends. For a short story, sometimes a little detail I notice (mostly about people I see) or a feeling are enough. All I do is put it into words. :)

    For multi-chapter story or a novel, I need a clear idea what I want to say, where I want it to end, and the relationship between the main characters. Everything else grows with my writing. I do a lot of research on specific topics I need, but I don't do any schemes and templates about characters and their relationships or outlines of what will happen. My characters would change most of it anyway. ^^
     
  21. DaVinci
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    DaVinci Banned

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    an idea, some paper and a pen
     
  22. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    I need the protagonist and the plot. The rest I add as I go along.
     
  23. Ali
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    Ali Member

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    Hi, I just spent a couple of hours reading through all the posts in the thread on the Writing Process here in Writing Forums as I had the same questions you have. It was very worthwhile time spent. Good luck, Alex
     
  24. kamikazepilot42
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    kamikazepilot42 Member

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    This is similar to my approach. Of course, each story is slightly different. In general, I come up with a basic concept for a character, often without many details. Then I'll have an idea for an epiphany I'd like them to have, or a situation I'd like them to have to encounter/overcome. Sometimes it's very well thought out, other times I just write and create until I get there. It just depends on how it strikes me.

    For me, I like to get writing. It helps me be creative when I feel like I have some momentum. I have no problem with having to adjust on the fly, or having to go back and change things.

    I am not currently working on a novel, just short stories. Perhaps if I was tackling the longer form I would want a bit more of an outline to guide me, but for a short story that tends to just capture a short period of time, I enjoy the process of learning with the character.

    Some of that may have to do with wanting to be moving forward, though. So if I come up with an idea for another story while I'm currently writing, I'm more apt to plan a little bit, because I can also focus on writing something else. Then I'll head into the new story with a much more concrete concept.
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I start with a computer and a character. He or she tells me what they're doing and who their friends and family are. Then I figure out what the best or worst thing is that could happen to them. Either that happens or it is prevented from happening.
     

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