1. SaySay171
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    SaySay171 New Member

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    Writing a Huge Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SaySay171, Apr 25, 2011.

    Okay..so I really need some advice. I'm writing this huge story that's based on the FBI, and it's turning out to be larger than I intended. Is there something I can do beside my outline to keep my information in order? I want to keep up with what I write without having to print every chapter, I'm going to print it all once it's finished that way I can edit it. Outlines help but not with a whole family tree!
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I know some people do spreadsheets in Excel. You could try that? Ot just make your own family tree? There must be downloadable formats for family trees and you can just fill in the names...
     
  3. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    I am either concerned or confused by the use of the term "huge." For clarification is it a multi generation epic in the vain of the God Father. To get an understanding of nepotism in the mafia google Nicky Scarfo, Nicky Scarfo Jr, Joey Merlino, you will hit a vein of info

    Philadelphia small enough to have one "family " as opposed to the much bigger New York with 5 crime families how the feds related to the single family is a method in which you can take digestable bites
     
  4. SaySay171
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    SaySay171 New Member

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    Epic...long...something, either way it's going to take a while, and I need a way to keep up with my characters, rather than having to write an entire family tree out on paper, they're all original characters and I'm horrible with keeping up how people are related to other people. It's not like the Godfather, it's tracing a murder victim's family to see if their may have been a secret within her family being the reason she was killed. I'm finding it very difficult to keep track of names and dates.
     
  5. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    I use TextTree to organize all my thoughts now, but I used to just keep Notepad files with info from each character
     
  6. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm also writing a story where all the characters are connected somehow, though not through family. I found just writing all their names on a big sheet and drawing lines between them helped the most. I scanned it in on my computer later.

    I also have two documents on my computer that I have ready at all times while writing. One called "character quick list" and a "character list". In the first one it just says their name, age and a single short sentence about who they are in the story. The character list is more detailed and also contains physical appearance. The most important characters get a document of their own. I update all documents as the story goes on. It might sound tiresome, but it's actually quite inspiring working on them.
     
  7. SaySay171
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    SaySay171 New Member

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    Ahh! You guys are seriously the best! spklvr, I'm going to have to try your method, it sounds like the best one! Thank you!
     
  8. SaySay171
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    SaySay171 New Member

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    Thank you! I think your method might be the one that works best for me!
     
  9. Dark Dyer
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    Dark Dyer Member

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    It's a great idea to write out all of the names and draw lines. I've never written something with that many characters. I just make a notepad file with their name, major details, and close relations.
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I rarely forget important things about my stories, no matter how many characters they have. I don't really understand this, then, but I do worry about anyone who has a project so overwhelming they can't keep it in check. :p After all, I wrote a sprawling epic spanning 5 centuries with a cast of at least 30 or so named important characters over the thing, and a zillion lesser ones, all while doing my GCSEs/A levels, kept all the characters in check, never forgot anyone, where they were, who they were related to, etc, or the emotional state I had left them in when I wandered off. And I am a pretty easy-to-distract bimbo by most counts. :p Maybe I just put all my brain into the novels, but still... I do not understand how someone can write a character and forget with them. Even the characters from tiny stories that never went anywhere I bonded with, and still feel some connection to them, just because I wrote them. If you're forgetting key players and details it can't be good for the novel.

    Anyway, I don't understand your reluctance to plan it either. Writing is hard work - I plan in my head, but some people use a lot of paper up. It's one or the other - you can't try and cut corners and not write out the family tree because it seems like hard work, if the alternative is forgetting someone.
     
  11. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I've had stories explode in length before (for instance, one of my current ideas started as a simple two-part story; now it's a five-to-six-part novel series at least), so it's nothing to worry, I think.

    One thing you may want to try is having index cards when it comes to the various scenes and/or chapters, which was a suggestion I found in one of the writing advice books I have. It's actually pretty useful to a degree, because you can shuffle around the scenes or add in new index cards (i.e. add in new scenes) or remove some with a lot of ease. Actually index cards have been used for a long time anyways, so it probably has had some use somehow, anyways.
     
  12. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    The last novel I completed was an FBI story so I can sort of relate to what you're going through.

    The idea of writing a quick list of characters with simple explanations of their purpose/quirks is cool but you may be doing them a great injustice by not wanting to expand them further.

    Who knows? Maybe you'll start to write out something about one character and find them interesting enough to want to change/tweak their story a little bit. Writing is not easy despite how quickly the letters sprawl on the page with just a few effortless keystrokes. Definitely invest some time into putting your characters/setting/theme together before diving head first into the project.

    You'll definitely be thankful you did.
     
  13. SaySay171
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    SaySay171 New Member

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    I don't forget their names or important facts, it's dates I forget. I applaud you for being able to keep everything in check but I'm different. This wasn't something I planned on writing, it happened because I wrote six pages of dialogue and now I'm trying to back and plan a story around dialogue. I'm one of those spontaneous writers, who writes whatever pops into her head at the time. I hardly ever plan stories like this because I write mostly fanfiction so working with original characters is something new for me. I tried an outline but I found that outlines aren't the right format for me because I rarely use them. I was just curious if there was another format I could use because my outline doesn't work. I'm new to using original characters so I'm unorganized and unsure about this.
     
  14. SaySay171
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    SaySay171 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I'm mostly just curious about the different formats for staying organized. Not really looking for shortcuts just looking for some formats that might work better for me than an outline. I'm definitely invested in the characters, just looking for a way to organize them in a way that works for me.
     

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