1. Venom.
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    Venom. Member

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    Your Writing Method.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Venom., May 4, 2011.

    I've spent hundreds of hours tearing my own hair out because I don't know how to plan my stories, I'd just spent years writing them from my head, then losing interest.

    I used to look at this as a weakness. But now all I do is think of my characters, think of what is the main problems they face and then just kind of write until the story is out or I'm out of steam, then I let the story bake for a few days, I come back and adjust it.

    It's pretty much the only way I can write now.

    What do you guys and girls do?
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I start writing with only a vague idea in mind (or nothing at all) then the story will most likely derail somewhere along the way. I know some writers like the mystery of writing by the seat of their pants but I prefer to know how my story will end before it even begins. If I've a clear path ahead then I'm more likely to have a coherent first draft by the time I reach the end.

    My outlines are, in a way, almost like a first draft. They are known to end up anywhere between 10,000~36,000 words in length. Some people think "over-planning" kills the writing spirit but for me there is no such thing. I make notes on important aspects of setting, symbolism, dialogue, actions, emotions, facial expressions, sounds, scents - everything. I say it's like a first draft because it's a detailed summary of every single scene; in the outline I'm just telling the story rather than showing it. In this way I'm able to get everything out of my head quickly without worrying about using proper sentences and pretty phrasing.

    Before I even get around to planning I'll have an idea simmering in my head for at least a couple of weeks. In this time I'll get to know the characters - what they like, who they like, what they want, etc. I had the idea for a novel I began writing last July, D, from mid-April and I began outlining in the May. I never completed the outline (still sitting around 20k) and I've left the story hanging at almost 60,000 words. I'm not sure if I'll return to it. However, I first had the idea for my WIP, Black Lamb, in mid-July 2010 and I didn't start planning it until September. The outline itself is over 36,000 words in length and the project is still in progress (42/50 chapters written to date) and currently sits at 168,000 words. There's minimal word-padding, everything is relevant, there are few plot holes and most of the time it makes sense. This wouldn't be the case if I'd just winged it. I also changed the plot several times on a whim during the planning stages and this would have been a nightmare to implement after I'd actually started writing. It's also spawned a sequel so much better than the current novel (this one is erotica, the sequel is a crime thriller) that I'm now actually considering Black Lamb as simply back-story or "practice" for the main novel.

    Thanks to having a strong outline I don't feel the need to write in linear order. I have the freedom to jump around to wherever inspiration strikes and just go from there. By the time I'm finished outlining I know my characters and the story well enough that there are few errors in consistency. Also, the first draft itself is much more coherent and I rarely get writers block using this method. If I wrote without an outline my plot would've derailed months ago and I no doubt would've gotten bored and thrown it aside at some point.
     
  3. Venom.
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    Venom. Member

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    Well I'm sure you'll get ahead easier eventually. I do what you do, think about everything for weeks on end, then I just plan the ending and the middle and the beginning and begin writing to what I have envisioned. It's just easier to stick to a plan and plot but be able to be free with it.
     
  4. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just get a brief idea or work with some sort of prompt and then I start writing. I don't really ever plan, and the few times I have it has actually hindered my writing. Sometimes not planning means things don't make sense, or that you really have no idea where it's going, but I quite like that aspect. I like the fact I don't completely know what's going to happen.
     
  5. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I'm sort of a gardener writer, in that I just sort of roll with things, which I find myself having to do with how my creativity works(read about that in my response to the writer's block thread) and find it works pretty well for short stories, sort of. I've never been able to write a novel, or even a novelle, so I wouldn't know if I perhaps would eventually resort to planning in longer sections.
     
  6. DeNile
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    DeNile Senior Member

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    I work with minimal planning. I usually start with a concept, usually a sentence or two, and build from there. I end up with a few characters and maybe a bit of a plot, but nothing else. As I write the story more details pop up, and I write them down. My mind works on a subconscious level CONSTANTLY, it seems I know what's going on without really knowing, you know? Take Trepidation, my current work, I started with the idea of a fantasy world war where both sides are shown, and it's spawned 30,000 words in a month!

    I usually end up a scene or two ahead in psyche to what I'm actually writing. But it takes work to keep all the plot lines going. Especially since, until today, I didn't know what my world looked like. I had a basic idea, but now I have a map! Makes things a lot easier.
     
  7. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Minimal planning but; I know the starting point, end point and key points in between. Then I write to connect those elements. That said, there has to be a formulation of characters to some extent and an idea of how they are inter-related.
     
  8. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    When I come up with an idea I immediately write it down in my little blue book, including the date. From there I start working on characters, locations and every other detail in between. I do a fair amount of research which continues through the writing process. Usually it's about a day after coming up with the idea when I start to write. I don't really have a concrete idea of where the plot is going, but I do know the key moments I want and I build the story around them.
     
  9. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    same, I don't plan my stories out. For me...idk if that's good or bad. I'm going to try planning my stories out more.
     
  10. Raz
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    Raz New Member

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    I start different depending on the idea I get, for example once I wrote a short story that was pretty linear, I imagined my main character and developed it, what he was like, how he was living, his choices, likes, dislikes and reasons to act this or that way. Then I sat down and gave him a problem to resolve, from there I kept writing adding more characters and locations as it went.

    This worked for me that time, but then I made a story that skipped in the time line, moving back and forth, I had to be careful not to make some bad plot holes so I started planning, I made a timeline in a piece of paper and started writing events and decisions since a character doesn’t act the same way twice. In both ones I used different ways and of course the stories ended very different from each other, I just try to adapt to the story not otherwise.

    Well that works for me, hope it helps.
     
  11. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    "Hard the future is to see. Always in motion is the future." George Lucas, Yoda.

    Some times the ending is a moving target. If you have an idea that causes a different ending than you planed before then stop, select Save As and make a new file. This way you can explore it and if it does not work out then you can go back to your old file. For those whom hand write, its time to get a computer.

    As for plotting your story try not to be so detailed in your planning. Just have some general mile stones that you are trying to get to. Try writing the story out as a short story first using 500 words or less. This will help you to find those mile stones and plot your story. These are suggestions and may not work for you. Unfortunately we all have to find our own way that works through trial and error. If you spend too much time focused on the tree you will never see the forest. Good Luck.
     
  12. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I don't plan at all, but within saying that, my first draft is kind of my plan. It's a poorly written jumble of characters and ideas that form a story. It's more of an outline than a novel, albeit a very detailed one.

    Then my first rewrite is really when the actual novel starts taking shape.
     
  13. Vick
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    Vick New Member

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    I write in two very different ways, depending on whether I'm writing for work or for myself.

    At work, I plan. I usually write between 10,000-20,000 words a week, so I've no time to just 'see where the words take me'. Instead, at the start of each materials, I write mega rough headings and my first thoughts on the contents of each of those headings. And whether I happen to be writing a short emailer promoting a service or a 20-page brochure about a new clinical trial, I do the same - even in the emailer is as simple as "Heading; Intro paragraph; Box with offer; Quote from CEO; Call to action." A big advantage of this is that if I find myself stuck on one section - a snappy headline, for example - I can just flick to another and fill that in. That way, I feel productive instead of frustrated.

    However...

    When writing for myself, I don't plan. I dive right into an idea that's bubbling around or a thought I've had. And, more often than not, it doesn't go well. This is just me, of course, but I think I would be much more productive in my personal work if I brought some of those 9-5 organizational skills home with me!

    Vick
     
  14. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I normally write anything. I don't come up with a concept at all. When I write, I try to describe what I see in reality or in one location. The best approach that I take is writing a scene about something and describing what I see. Here is one of my examples:

    This is just random idea, and I don't even know what the theme to this story is, unless I expand it more or something. This is what I mean by the signature under this post. Hehe :rolleyes:
     
  15. Drayzon
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    Drayzon Member

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    I always have stories in my head...always,:eek:

    What I do now is I come up with character names first. This was hard for me at first because I didn't have a plot or even a story, but now my stories are based off my characters.

    Example If I want to create a female character who is beautiful, sensual and seductive, I'll create her, but then from that, I'll be able to come up with a seduction/thriller type story and based on her alone, I'll come up with the other characters, pieces, and plot/story etc.

    It's worked for me for years and I have over 50 full length stories that I hope to publish into novels one day.

    You may want to try it out at least once, it's pretty fun and satisfying.:):D
     
  16. JMBlackman
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    JMBlackman New Member

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    My degree of planning varies with the story. Some things come to me Athena'd--fully formed and need little help from my index cards and numbered outlines. Others come as great ideas that if written would fall apart, so, I have to write outlines and set out each scene on an index card and stick it to my cork board, moving them around accordingly.

    I always have to have some form of an outline, though. Otherwise, I feel like I'll end up losing sight of what I was trying to accomplish. It changes depending on the characters, though. Sometimes what I said should happen wouldn't be something that the character would do, so the plot changes.

    Again, it just depends on the story. I think you should try some different things and see what works for you. There are a lot of great methods here and you can pick and choose and combine to find what gets you going.
     
  17. Earlychop
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    Earlychop Member

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    I do most of my writing when I'm asleep. Actually pressing the keys is something I do afterward. I know that sounds odd.

    Usually I'll have a dream and it will be a scene or a a feeling, perhaps a short piece between a few people.

    I'll then start on the first chapter - without a title, and get a feel for the prose and description.

    Next come's the "One sentence" idea. I'll write this out in maybe 5-10 different variations, all saying the same thing just in a different way each time. This is what I want my story to be about in very broad terms.

    I usually visualise my story as an actual movie and plot it scene by scene. This helps to keep track of conflict, suspense and the amount of exposition in any given chapter. I might write this as a separate document so I don't forget what has to be in any given chapter and it allows me to chop and change things.

    E.g

    Chapter one - The Girl, The diner, and the asshole.

    Scene - one

    The girl is looking out into the desert. description of locale. She hints at reason for being there. She lets the reader know why she ran away, and why she cant go back. Girl is interrupted by Dom - the diner owner. They share familiar banter as if they have known each other for a while, humorous. Reader is given hints at her past but nothing solid. Scene has quiet peaceful quality to it and ends with a jump to humorous/non threatening dialogue.

    Scene - two

    The girl enters the diner kitchen doors and starts to prepare for her morning work as the chef/cook. reader has no idea why yet. blah blah blah.

    I will inevitably continue 'dreaming' my story every night after that - waking up with my laptop next to my bed so I can jot down the little bits of dialogue/action/ or plot twists and subplots that come to me in the night.

    I only write around 500-1500 words a day. Actual story that is.

    My little plan is nothing more than broad sentences covering a scene's content. I try to pay particular attention to the first and last paragraph's in each chapter, and look at whether I have included Lead - Objective - Conflict - Ending, too each.

    Like a lot of other writers I come up with my endings and key scenes at completely random times. I usually get over excited about them and drop everything in order to start writing them.

    I can't really think of anything else right now lol.
     
  18. Gothic Vampire Queen
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    Gothic Vampire Queen Member

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    Well, I write when I feel inspiration. But, right now, I am trying to write a little each day. Even when I feel like crap, I still write a little. Then I come back to it a week later and then do the editing for the chapter and stuff.
     
  19. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Not at all. Some time after a 6 hours session I will dream about the story.
     
  20. Leatherworth Featherfist
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    Leatherworth Featherfist Member

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    My writing method is sort of hit or miss. I usually just let my story, characters, and plot develop as I write. This process is messy, but I feel that it's necessary to get the feeling of what I'm trying to write about. After I make a mess I go back, weed out the crap, and I usually discover where I want to take the story.

    Occasionally I'll map things out before I start writing, but I often find myself getting restless when I do that. I suppose I should suck it up and spend the time preparing and outlining a story before I write. I guess it just takes practice and discipline.
     
  21. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    Welcome to the club! I have had this idea for seven years now, and I still don't know how to start the book and what should really be the plot. I used to think of my characters as wasted (since I had no "beginning or end") and I put them and the background universe on the shelf for years. Then I realized that I had to develop the characters more and hold on to them! The more I develop my characters, the clearer everything becomes and the more ideas I get. I write several hours a week just to develop my characters and my background universe, and just some weeks ago, I got my first idea of what to write. I'm not really sure, but the idea just came up. But I feel I need to develop my characters more before I start with the "real thing". I just need to know everything about them.


    I usually write short stories about my characters. Sometimes I have the whole story clear in my head, and sometimes only some vague glimpses. If I lose track, the world has not gone under.I think like that: Ok, I lost track, but I got to know a lot more about my character and my fictional world. It is not wasted. Right now I am taking things very easily because I am only writing for training and character development.

    I've done book projects long time ago and I always lost track. That is why character development and background development is extremely important before starting to write out of the blue.
     
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  22. eMotive-
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    eMotive- Member

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    Usually, the plots of my short stories form around sentences that I think of. Whenever I think of a particularly poetic or interesting-sounding sentence, I write it down and the plot takes off as I develop the writing and evolve it according to the theme of my story.
     
  23. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    That is a good idea. It would help develop your character and give clues as to how they would react in your novel. :)
     
  24. nalysale
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    nalysale New Member

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    Planing is must for writing.Just keep in mind theme and keyword of your story.
    Patience and good concentration and daydreaming around your story would make ideas.Give a big plot to write.I always used to these kind of writing.
     

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