1. LaForge
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    LaForge New Member

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    What the f*** am I writing?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LaForge, Jun 29, 2016.

    On the MBTI, I'm a high level J type with functioning clinical OCD. Needless to say, as a writer, I'm a planner. I have 90% of the book written in my head before fingers meet keyboard. This method without a doubt is not the most productive or the best for my mental health considering my obsessive nature usually prevents me from starting a book until it's "ready" and the thrill of writing is usually gone by the time I allow myself to write. This time, fully medicated, I had an idea, picked up my laptop, and fingers met keyboard. No plan at all, no clue what I've written, but now I have several pages of something I can't identify but I actually sort of like.

    That being said, I'm getting some anxieties over plot because, well, there isn't one. Do I break out the Venn diagrams and the flowcharts like in grade school English class? Or do I keep writing and let the plot develop naturally?

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Nidhogg
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    Nidhogg Member

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    I'd say just write and see what happens. Even if there is no plot that develops, what you end up writing can be used to help flesh out a plot later on during a second draft/rework of the initial idea.
     
  3. BC Barry
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    BC Barry Member

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    I am by no means an expert.....actually, I don't know anything. But my thought is, if you've never done it before and it's flowing for you, why not try it? That's one of the beauties of writing, it's so easy to fix mistakes, especially on a computer. What's the worse that can happen? You hate it and have to start over. Or you just need to build a plan around what you have because you love it and will need to re-word it some.

    I've learned the hard way it's much easier to live with a failure than a regret. So go for it!
     
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  4. SadStories
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    SadStories Member

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    Obviously the only truly OCD thing to do would be to finish the book the way you started it.

    With this experience you'll have comprehensively seen the grass on both sides and be able to make more informed decisions about improvising/planning in the future.

    Think of it as a part of the preparation for whatever book you are going to write next.

    Or wait, are you telling me you're going to take the easy way out, you corner-cutting slob?????????????
     
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  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I worry about plot in the second & third drafts. For the first draft I concentrate on small problems, and goals that the mc has and impeding or magnifying them.
     
  6. KPMay
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    KPMay Member

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    Title: Ha! 99% percent of my thoughts whilst writing..

    I think you should just keep writing and see what happens. You said you only have some pages.. well it's hard to find a plot with only a few pages to work with!
    Keep writing and flesh out your idea.
     
  7. King_Horror
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    King_Horror Member

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    I'm pretty much going to echo the few posts above me, and say: Keep writing.

    Though, do try and focus on the plot when you've edited a few drafts. Once your story is beginning to look more polished, I am certain you'll find a plot soon enough. Does that make sense?
     
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  8. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    I'm with peachalulu. Think about MC motivations, stakes, and conflict. Get these firmly in place and you will have scaffolding to build on. I am a pantser. All my ideas come while fingers clack the keys. I do some planning, but it is common for those plans to slip silently out the window when my fingers start dancing.

    Just roll with it. Let the story lead you. It can be fun and surprising what happens.
     
  9. isaac223
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    isaac223 Member

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    I'm amazed at how much I can relate to this post. This is actually one of two methods I typically use to cure my writer's block:

    Write something simple, as typically my worlds end up being over-planned and I won't start working on the book until every piece of the world and lore that I thought of is made relevant to each other. The difference between you and I is that I plan the world and most of the important characters and I compose the rest of the plot itself as I write along making sure to connect it somehow to relevant points in the world, and then revising it so it becomes something presentable. When I write something simple, it's much less of a strain on my mind as instead of being something complex and out-there, its got a more down-to-Earth, simple, easy to work with premise. This usually loosens me up, like a warm-up exercise in gym class, and makes it easier for me to work on my more complex project.

    As for the more... relevant part of this comment which really should be the only one I posted but I figured it'd be nice to say a bit about myself that's quasi-relevant to this: I just write. No, not with ANY premise in mind. I just write random things until I find one I like or I find inspiration, which I think you should do, as may also rejuvenate your muse so you can write on your other project and, in addition, you may have found a perfect story in that little bit there you just wrote and your continuing to write may beget the greatest piece of literature to ever grace the planet. Granted, such a feat is unlikely, but if you think what you have written is good, keep writing and it may just reach that special level of improvisational greatness.
     
  10. Kyle Connor
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    Kyle Connor New Member

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    Hey LaForge.
    I am writing a book and its well, i can say is 70% complete. The thing about writing a book is I feel that you must know and fix up the main characters and a raw summary of each of them. It's around them we build a story, plot, or sequence.

    I share my experience here. I knew exactly who my characters are going to be and a basic story line. As I started writing, I just went on and on and kept getting these impulsive thoughts which started spinning into the further story.

    So it's simple. A good story in never predecided (Not all). Write and go for it!
     
  11. Holoman
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    Holoman Member

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    What have you got to lose by just carrying on writing?

    Don't set out to achieve anything, or write a good story, or any story at all. See it as more of an experiment.

    At the least, even if it's garbage, I think you will come up with a few interesting things that you can use in something else you write.
     
  12. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    You could outline as you go. Do a little of it so it won't stifle your creative drive.

    You could also do what I do and just write the heck out of it until you put "THE END." Once you're finished, you then figure out what the story wants to be and what it wants to become. My first draft was a cliched and incoherent mess, but it was enough to inspire a better and coherent second draft.

    In the end, there is no right way to do this. The only imperative for you right now is to finish it.
     
  13. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a high-level P who was once diagnosed with ADD, and I used to do exactly the same thing ;)

    If you have more to write in this scene, then keep writing it without worrying about what you're writing about. Even if it doesn't end up turning into an actual story, you've still practiced writing for when you get to something else that is a story :D I don't get 25 minute times in 5k runs because I run over 4k every day, I get 25 minute times because I run over 4k at least once a week and I do half an hour of squats and lunges at least 4 times a week.

    If you don't have anything else to write in this scene, just save it someplace where you can get back to it later if you come up with something. A few months ago, I came up with a scene about a scene that I liked, but no way of turning it into an actual story. For about a year before that, I'd been fiddling around with an Urban Fantasy concept that I loved, I'd come up with a few characters that I loved, but again, I didn't have story about them.

    Just two months ago, I realized that putting my formerly non-fantasy scene into my Urban Fantasy world would give me an entire novel's worth of development ideas. I've written a novel-length Doctor Who fanfiction that I'll never make any money off of, I've written 3 short stories that I haven't been able to publish yet and that I won't be making a ton of money off of when I do, but combining two ideas that I hadn't been able to do anything with for a very long time gave me the first novel-length original work of my entire writing life.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What are you writing? Is it just stream of consciousness as you sit at the keyboard? If so, that might throw up something that you can use ...eventually. But what you probably need to develop is the ability to 'see' scenes in your head instead. Don't worry about where these scenes fit. Don't worry about writing them down until you have a good picture (not idea, a picture) of what you want to write about. A lot of writing happens away from the keyboard and the planning sheets.

    If you need peace and quiet to daydream and imagine a scene and some characters, find a spot and allow yourself time to do it. I know I 'saw' a lot of my story while I was in bed ...usually before I got up in the morning. Nobody is going to interrupt you if you're supposed to be asleep.

    Once you have a scene well and truly visualised—complete with what the characters say, where they are when the scene takes place, what the setting looks like and feels like (is it cold, hot, wet?) then sit down and write what you 'see' and record what you feel through your characters' perspectives. Don't worry about where the story is going at this stage. Just concentrate on getting one scene to become real. Take as much time as you need.

    I guarantee if you manage to do this, you will start generating ideas about where these characters came from. How they got into that scene. While writing and visioning you will have unconsciously created personalities for them.

    See what you can do about bringing the two characters close together in the scene. They can be friendly or attracted to each other, or maybe let them start to argue or disagree. Let SOMETHING happen in the scene. Make sure the characters are different at the end than they were at the beginning. Maybe they were angry at first, but now they understand each other. Or maybe they were having fun at first, but now they are feeling a bit disappointed or bored. Maybe one becomes frustrated with the other. Maybe one allows the other to persuade him to do something he doesn't really want to do. Get your characters in trouble, or cement a friendship in that scene. See what you can do to create an emotional interaction of some kind that has a result at the end of the scene.

    Then go away and think about what you've got. I think your story will start to evolve from this.

    The thing to remember is this: don't worry about making mistakes. Don't become obsessive about getting every detail right, or worry about having to cut stuff out later on. (You probably will. Most writers do.) Just keep creating characters who care about each other, or who care about what they're doing, or what is happening to them. Let the characters create your story for you.

    For example, if your main character is in love in that scene, the story will be about what happens to that love. Will it be thwarted or returned? If it's thwarted, what does he do about it? If it's returned, does something from outside threaten it? Let your characters and their situation drive your story. You can backtrack and set up the love affair as you begin to understand it. This 'scene' you start with does NOT have to be your opening scene. It's just the first one you write. It's the scene that sparks the idea for your story. It can even be the ending.

    Once you get a good idea where your story is headed, then you can sit down and do some planning, if that's what makes you comfortable. But remember, just having a plot isn't enough. You need people too.

    Creating a leakproof plot first then sitting down and writing it can produce a story that doesn't grab a reader. It might be an interesting idea, but until it gets fleshed out with people, it's not much more than an idea. Why not start with the people and let the story idea grow from what they do?
     
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