1. NYpeaches
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    NYpeaches New Member

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    Where/When do I start?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NYpeaches, Oct 21, 2011.

    I have been toying with the idea of writing for a while now. Mostly I want to do it for fun, but there is the fantasy of getting published. For a long time I had no clue what I wanted to write about. I finally have a spark of inspiration but it is just a spark. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I have spent a lot of time the last few months reading about how to write a novel (with no idea what I wanted to write about.) Now I have an idea for a good beginning, a decent plot/conflict but I have no idea where I want it to go or how I would like it to be resolved. An idea but without the substance to make a full outline. Is it okay to just start? I'm just looking for general advice.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    In the words of a person whose name I can't remember: "The worst thing you've ever written is better than the best thing you didn't."

    Just start writing. Sometimes, if you don't know where your story is going to go, writing can help you figure it out. Some people have said that they don't so much bother with plots as much as they let the story lead itself, or so I've heard. If you're not one of those people, however, then maybe you should try brainstorming scenes that fit into the general aspect of your novel. Say, for example, you're writing a horror novel. Take your characters and plug them into a scene that you would think fits into a horror novel, or even any scene in general. If you end up liking it, then great, maybe you've found something else to plug into your plot. If not, at least you've learned something about your characters that you might not have known before.

    There are many ways in which to go about writing a novel (or short story). All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Just go with your gut and do what you want to. No one will criticize you but yourself.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with previous poster: you have two options here: 1. start brainstorming to develop the plot to the point where you feel you have enough material to start writing and not having to stop within the first two chapters out of lack of ideas, or 2. just start writing with only the idea of a beginning and (ideally) and ending, plus maybe a few events along the way and try to get from a to b in the best way you can come up with. ps. don't be afraid to change idea a couple of times along the way if a better idea shows up for a part you haven't yet written. And try not to worry too much about the quality of the first draft, no one is supposed to read that anyway, you've got plenty of time to polish it later. Look at the first draft like writing down a fantasy or a vivid dream of yours that you want to remember, it's just for fun.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that you should just start writing. It doesn't matter whether you have anything in your head at all as to what to write about. Use your writing as a way of discovering your story and your characters.

    I've tried brainstorming ideas, but it doesn't work very well for me. I just can't force myself to think deeply enough unless I'm actually engaged in writing. I'm only truly focused, thinking deeply about my subject, when I'm actually writing the text of the story. Writing makes my brain work better. When I'm writing, I get the ideas I need - ideas I'd probably never get just by sitting around and thinking.

    Of course, working like that means that you'll do a lot of writing that you'll have to throw out, because it doesn't fit into the story you eventually realize you're writing. But that's okay. Don't worry about it - it's all good practice, and there may be ideas in there that you use in another story.

    So just dive in and write! Even if you wind up with a completely different story from the one you thought you were writing, the journey will be a wonderfully enriching experience. Good luck!
     
  5. ShadowScribbler
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    ShadowScribbler Member

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    I'm one of those unfortunate ones that can't work with outlines. I don't even know how to make an outline, it's ridiculous.

    So I just write. Whatever comes to mind, whenever it comes to mind. However it ends or doesn't end, it doesn't really matter. If it's good, I'll use it. If it isn't, it's fantastic practise anyway. It sometimes gets re-written or recycled, the possibilities are infinite. But get that down on paper or you'll never know what works for you. Sometimes I'll start with the final scene and see what took me there, and that has worked for others too.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Start 10 hours ago.
     
  7. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Unfortunate or fortunate? I'd say it's perfectly fine to work with or without one.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    some novelists never outline... some outline everything to death before writing a single word of the ms... you need to do whatever works best for you...

    as for where to start the story, just pick a scene that feels like the best place to start and start writing!

    if that's too hard for you to do, then you probably don't read enough good fiction... check out how successful novelists start theirs... that should give you some ideas on how to start your own...
     
  9. chatterbox
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    chatterbox Member

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    just do the start and if you are like me it will just come to you, it's better because you descover the story as it goes along instead of getting bored with the plot
    and as for outline, I agree with lostinwebspace
     
  10. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    A spark of inspiration is all you need.
    You say you have a good beginning and a decent plot but nowhere to go.
    To me, that is the beginning. You’re writing something never written, so the future looks empty.
    For me, it was similar but backwards.
    When I began writing my current story, I only had a vision in my head. I wrote what I wanted in there. That was about two pages. It was more like a middle and an end.
    About a year later, I had the story from beginning to end, but it was thin, maybe two hundred pages.
    Not being content, I discarded some chapters. I became a little depressed. How am I supposed to make the story longer if it keeps getting shorter?
    But I realized my story was getting crisper and more defined.
    That’s when I asked myself: What led up to this? Then I rewrote the beginning. And now it makes perfect sense.
    So in my case, the beginning was one of the last things written.
    If it’s in your heart, let it come out. Day by day, page by page, something will inspire you and it will continue to grow.
    On this day, my story hovers 320 pages. I am so proud.
    I promise you: One year from now, you will have the most beautiful diamond to shine. And you will hold it to your heart and say, “This one is mine.”
     
  11. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Sometimes when I write, I think I have to have it all figured out, but when I get into the nitty-gritty of the story with all the details, I realize the conclusion I had imagined doesn't make sense or another is even better. So, I make a brief outline and fill in and change as I go and let the story take me to the best ending of all. Recently, I wrote a story and I had my boyfriend read it. I thought my ending was great, but he came up with an even better one and I changed about half the story and some details to fit the new surprise ending. So, I'd say, start writing and see what happens! Good luck!
     
  12. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    For me, starting at the beginning is preferable. It is easier for me to make it up as I go in order, scene by scene. But that is not to say I do not have a general outline in my head for the entire story. Or at least important plot points.
     
  13. ShadowScribbler
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    ShadowScribbler Member

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    Unfortunate. My problem has always been lack of organization. I'd get a lot of things finished if I only had a more general idea of where I want a story to go, but I have a lot of trouble seeing the bigger picture.
     

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