1. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Would anyone find a step by step novel or script framework helpful?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Leicester, Aug 15, 2015.

    Hi fellow writer!

    I'm thinking of creating an online novel and script writing course and I need your opinion!

    I have done various novel and script writing courses, and I've learned some valuable lessons, but still struggled with finishing a first draft. It seemed a mamouth task and so easy to delay on, so I needed to be held accountable. I was quite good at creating characters and an atmosphere but I needed help making sure the story was gripping enough.

    I did a lot of research around modern and historical novel writers and screen writers to understand more about the way stories are written. I've found that the really gripping ones follow a very similar framework. It doesn't matter if it's a romance, a thriller, sci fi, drama, comedy etc, this framework always works.

    I wanted to know, if you were/are planning to write a novel and I could give you lots of examples of great famous novels and screen plays that have used this framework, would you be interested to use it?

    I'm thinking of creating a novel and screen writing course using this framework and drip feeding the next stages of the novel to members of my site each week. I would ask people to write for about half an hour a day, 5 days a week. The framework means they wouldn't need to plan their story, they would just let it unfold naturally.

    An example of one half an hour block of writing is: 'your main character gets a nasty surprise'. The surprise in this example will mean different things to the different writers on the course. For one, it may mean his character not receiving a letter that was promised, for someone else, it could be losing her sister in an airport, or somehow finding herself on the wrong plane. For another, it could be a village being invaded. So despite using the same framework. Everyone will have a completely different novel or screen play.

    The course would last for 9 months and then your first draft of a novel/film script would be born. There would be a small community of writers on the course. People wanting to take part would have to apply by submitting some writing. This would ensure only those of a high standard would be criting each other's work.

    Does this sound like something you'd be interested in if you were about to start writing a novel or screen play? If so what would you be willing to pay each month? And would you prefer to pay more to have your work critted by an author? If so, how much?

    Your feedback would be so much appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi, welcome to the forum. There are a gazillion writing guides out there. What will make yours stand out?
     
  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like a great idea, and I mean that sincerely.

    How much would I be willing to pay for such a course, you ask?

    I wouldn't.
     
  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see anyone of high writing caliber being interested in this. My advice is to accept all applicants. Tell them you loved their writing sample, no matter how bad.
     
  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Not as helpful as this forum :D
     
  6. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Hi, thanks for the welcome! This would be more than a guide, because it would take your story on a journey every single day.
     
  7. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Thanks but if it's a great idea, why would you not be willing to pay for it?
     
  8. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Haha! That's something I wouldn't do- I couldn't ask for people to pay to be a part of that community. But thanks for your feedback. I'm not sure this is the case, I have taken a course with a similar structure which cost more than ten times what I have planned to charge and the writers on it were of very high calibre. It was really exhilarating listening when we took turns to read our chapters aloud. We got so involved in each others work that we set up our own group outside of the class. Many people from the course were published.
     
  9. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    It wouldn't be instead of this forum. But on it there would be another small forum of people at the same stage of their novel as you.
     
  10. rainy_summerday
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    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    I think it's great that there are people who spread "the word." Writing is such a fun hobby to share.

    Having said that: While I probably would have a look at your course were it free of charge, I would not apply nor pay any money for it. Let me tell you my very personal reasons behind that:
    I acknowledge that especially in America (and some other countries) writing is considered something that can be taught. I am not as comfortable with this approach, though. To me, it seems somewhat petty to declare one technique superior, just like it seems petty to me to declare a text inferior, because it does not use a particular method. Writing is something very artistic. I am not denying that there are certain methods which can help you with writing a novel. But in the end, some of the artistic spirit will be lost if the author does it "by the book". Last but not least, judging someone's writing will never be truly objective.

    This is why the idea of your writing course sadly does not appeal to me. I hope this did not offend you.
     
  11. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds like "writing by numbers" which doesn't appeal to me. If there was a magic formula for writing a good novel it would be common knowledge; but although there are tropes, and although readers expect certain things in genres (like a happy ending to a romance novel) it's clear that the success of a novel is far less tangible than something a step-by-step guide could lay out.

    Also there are SO many excellent, free resources available on the internet. The only thing I would pay for would be professional editing, if I couldn't find somebody to swap manuscripts with and do it for each other free of charge.
     
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  12. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    It doesn't sound any better (or worse!) than any other writing prompt websites. There's nothing about it that sounds unique though. Any group of people with access to any sharing platform (e.g. forums, google docs, wordpress, facebook etc. etc. etc.) could organise this for free. Why should they pay you? Do you have good credentials? Genuinely: what sets you apart?

    If you're determined, I'd advise running a beta stage, during which you offer it for free, taking care to make sure you accept applicants with good social media profiles. IMO you need an established reputation before you can start charging, if you can't find other ways to create revenue.
     
  13. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    rainy_summerday has pretty much said it for me with her post below, and @Tenderiser also gave us a perfect analogy with 'painting by numbers'. Give someone a brush and a paint-by-numbers landscape or still-life and most could easily fill in the blanks. But give that same person a blank canvas and put them on the side of a hill, and the results would be no more impressive than if they'd never done the paining by numbers in the first place.
     
  14. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I agree with everything said above thus far. It's an interesting idea, no doubt, but I wouldn't pay for it. I am also of the school of thought that writing is art, and art can't truly be taught. It is in the mind, in the heart.

    That being said, being able to workshop with a writer I admire? Sure, I'd pay a little for that. But being completely, brutally honest here: I wouldn't pay to take a course from someone who hasn't been published. Have you been published? I wouldn't pay to take a writing course from someone who hasn't even finished a first draft. Have you? You weren't clear on that part. I think to attract quality members, you would need credentials people can look at and trust. "This is who I am and this is why I'm qualified to tell you what to do." That kind of thing.

    (Welcome to the forum! I hope you don't feel that we're all bullying you out of this idea. We want you here and we don't have anything against you. When you ask for feedback here, you get honest answers. That's all.)
     
  15. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    I'm one of those types that learns best from examples. I've read many of the articles on the 'winning' format for your next novel and they're all decent enough articles. But, I would love to see specific examples. Meaning, I would love to know how Cormac McCarthy outlines his stories. How does he know the end-game? Same for many of my favorite authors.

    So, if your course were to include hardened examples of formats, I'd be interested.
     
  16. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Thanks for your feedback. I agree there is much more to a novel than the step by step guide, for one thing, the language and style can make all the difference. It's just a backbone to help inspire you to keep things interesting-something to keep you on your toes and help you to reach the end. But I really appreciate your honesty, it's good to know what you think.
     
  17. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Thanks so much, this is really useful to know!
     
  18. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Thanks so much for your message. That's kind of you to say about being bullied! :) I do really appreciate everyone's honesty. I'm not pretending to be an expert at all. To me if I was and was a published novel writer, it would be like being a dating coach and telling all men to listen to me because I'm a woman so I know how all women think. I have had short stories and poems published but that's not relevant because what I would teach would be a technique that many successful authors use, whether they know it or not. So the idea isn't based on one person's expertise but on many peoples'. Does that help?
     
  19. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    What sets me apart is I haven't seen this frame work before. And why I think it should be paid for is because a lot of work would go into it and because I think people would get a lot of value from it. For some people it could be the difference between finishing and not finishing their novel. And if they are like me, it could be the difference between an atmospheric piece of writing and an atmospheric and gripping story. Thanks for your idea, that sounds great, maybe that's what I should do- people seem unconvinced from the feedback! :)
     
  20. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    Hello! Thanks for your feedback! I agree, I definitely don't think writing can be taught. Here, the writing itself isn't. And the stories aren't because they are all different. I think for people who don't need it and can create a gripping story line with no support, that's great, and it's very admirable. But there are excellent writers who struggle a bit with crafting a story and I think this would set them free, and they'd end up with a creation no one could have taught them. I do take your point, and it's interesting. None of the writer's imagination should be left out using this framework though, it's just a nudge to encourage you to keep your characters alive. For me, I felt liberated by the nudges because it took some pressure off me trying to write a story and set my characters free to write their own.
     
  21. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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  22. Leicester
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    Leicester New Member

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    I didn't take the post to mean that. If it did, I don't agree. Painting by numbers doesn't require imagination. If everyone in a painting by numbers class had the same template, the drawings would be identical. With this writing framework, the novels are very different. If a beautifully written, great book comes out of being asked some questions while you're writing it, that doesn't make what is written less creative or less well imagined. I don't think you should look down on talented people like that, it's more like saying that the painting created by a painter who asked for help to pour his paint is worthless, no matter how beautiful his work of art is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015

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