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  1. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    how do i utilize what info i gathered?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BillyxRansom, Oct 21, 2020.

    i can look at the characterization, worldbuilding elements, plotting how things may play out... but when it comes to actually using it for writing the thing? :bigfrown::confused: no idea what i'm doing..

    can someone guide me through this process?
     
  2. DriedPen

    DriedPen Member

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    You asked a pretty broad question, so its difficult to say in just a few lines, but you can concentrate on using an outline to organize your ideas. I like to use Microsoft Word, using the navigation pane and highlighting thoughts by first, second and third titles, and jotting down other points of research in between. I can then move things around according to plot, character arc, etc.

    But another point is, realize you cannot always use all your researched information into a story either. Don't feel like you have to use all of it.

    But as far as writing goes, there is no law that says a writer must start at the beginning of the story. I often write my favorite chapters first, and then fill in the other chapters to make the story work, later. Over time, I find these "boring" chapters get refined, and I rework them until I no longer find them boring. Most of the time they are not really boring anyway, I just have not put enough thought into them yet, and refined them to the point where they are interesting...yet!
     
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  3. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    The answer is deceptively simple. If you have all these things ready to go, just start writing. You'll see this advice all over the forum and read it in every writing manual. Just start writing. It doesn't matter if it's any good. Get started. Your first draft is just that: a first draft. You can refine and perfect it all later. A common analogy involves painting. You don't start in one corner of the canvas and end in the opposite corner. You paint by layers. Similarly, you write in layers. The most rewritten lines in any book are usually the opener, so don't worry about it. Just start writing.

    Once you get started, you'll find it gets easier and easier to put words on the page, not that writing ever gets easy necessarily. Most professional authors still agonize over their work, but starting with almost anything builds the confidence to continue. You've read books, I'm sure. (If you don't read much at all, it's far more difficult to write.) So start with what you like. If you like books that jump right into the action, do that. If you prefer books that create atmosphere in the intro, do that. This writing thing is effing hard, but if you wait until you have the perfect first line, you'll never make it to the second line. Just start writing. :)
     
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  4. MWB

    MWB Member

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    I think being able to visualize the things you're researching or scenes you're creating is very important...it's not enough to just write a character's backstory...things they did and people they know...you need to be able to imagine how those people met...and how those things they did actually got done, and write about it.

    a real-world example...

    During my research I found several newspaper articles...in one article there is a one-sentence line about the sheriff and a pilot taking the sheriff's office's plane up to search a specific location to find a body.

    Another article from a different newspaper mentions that the reason the search of that location was made was due to an anonymous call directing them there.

    Both of these points of fact were used to write an entire chapter...I put the sheriff and the pilot in the plane together and gave them a little backstory.

    -they both went to high school together and had a friendly, platonic relationship from previous police-related flights (small town)
    -The sheriff hates flying and the pilot happens to jokingly enjoy scaring him a little on their flights together.

    This created some very nice interaction and dialog between the two, cast against the chapter's goal of revealing that there was an anonymous call made (and that's how the search came about) and getting the authorities to discover the scene of the crime. These two characters are never seen in the story again, but it's one of my favorite chapters because I love the interaction between them.

    Take a point of fact from your research/character development and imagine the scene, then write it, assuming it's relevant to the overall plot and moves the story forward of course.
     
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  5. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    You need to know why you're researching something, and where you want to use what you've found out, preferably before you start researching it.
     
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  6. Lazaares

    Lazaares Contributor Contributor

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    This exactly. The order should be:

    First draft -> Research -> Second Draft

    Else you may just end up with a pile of unnecessary research or statistics. That is, unless you also enjoy worldbuilding.
     
  7. LazyBear

    LazyBear Banned

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    You will get stuck if you add too many constraints from the start
    The hardest thing about writing a full novel is that each fact has to be checked against all other facts, which means quadratic growth in complexity relative to the story's length. If you begin by writing based on details meant for a 500 page book and haven't even tested if these work thematically, then you should have made a pilot chapter first.

    Compare writing a story to coaching a football team
    Making a huge world first is like entering the grand finale of a world championship with a team that never played with each other before. Each character and plot idea is like a player trying to steal the spotlight from similar team members with similar names and personality traits. They might fall over each other from having one character per plot idea. The pilot chapter is like selecting your team members one by one and making sure that they work together. Try to attach as much as possible to the main characters to give them depth while keeping a clean cut in personality for the prose.

    Reusing existing world-building
    Go through your material and list the most evocative keywords to pin down what would make a good pilot chapter. Then feel free to rewrite anything in the world building to fit your hook in the first chapter. The log of background information should only include details already written in the story because everything else will most likely ruin the story unless tweaked a bit. If an idea has to be written down just to be remembered, then it shouldn't be in your story anyway. Good evocative ideas will persist deep in your mind and scream to get out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  8. theCount

    theCount New Member

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    In my experience, I've found that using and outline can help a great deal. Knowing the structure before-hand can aid in fully utilizing all the given information. Following something like the Dan Harmon story circle can make make knowing when to fleshing out the environment easier. Take for insistence, the first point on the cycle: You. On this point you can coherently depict the story story setting, characterization and identify the main character's central flaw. The Return can see how things have changed. You can explain new conventions and tie lore together.

    Word to the wise (I picked this up from Robert Mckee), keep your story setting as condensed as can be. The more constricted, the more potent the tale; the more you can explore more aspects of an established idea.

    Hope this helps. I'm new to the game myself, but I have done extensive research on the writing process, and am particularly adept at constructing well defined worlds and tying them to grander narratives.
     
  9. DriedPen

    DriedPen Member

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    Whether a person is the writer-type that likes using outlines to start, or just sitting down and writing the story, a very real situation can crop up with research:

    Paralysis by Analysis

    That is where a writer gets so caught up in the research that they never really get going on the story itself.
     
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  10. Chuck_Lowcountry

    Chuck_Lowcountry New Member

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    For the big story, I would do this.

    Create a simple outline. It can be simple with only 3 scenes or more detailed.

    Remember the three acts.
    • Act I - define status quo
    • Act II - main character reacts, antagonist grows stronger, etc.
    • Act III - climax and final resolution.

    For a scene or a chapter, I prefer to do this.

    Find a place where you can pace and talk to yourself without being judged. :)

    Imagine a scene with your character. You know a little about them as well as their location.

    For example, you are the main character (MC) for this exercise. You are standing in the kitchen, with a knife sticking into your midsection. It hurts like an SOB and blood is oozing out.​

    Ask yourself.
    • What do you do with your hands? Why?
    • What if the attacker is still there looking at your? Laughing at you?
    • What if you accidentally stabbed yourself? Or stopped a running child who carried the knife?
    • Do you yell for help? Who helps?
    • What is your goal for this scene?

    You do this. Pay attention to the following.
    • Are the MC responses realistic?
    • Does your characters use colloquialisms? Cliches?
    • Does the scene play the necessary role depending on the structure (Act I, II, or III)?
    • What information do you keep from the reader?
    • Is the scene predictable?
     
  11. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Erm... what does this have to do with how you use research?
     
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  12. Chuck_Lowcountry

    Chuck_Lowcountry New Member

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    I focused on this question in his first sentence: but when it comes to actually using it for writing the thing? :bigfrown::confused: no idea what i'm doing..

    I think applying research to a story independent of a general structure and outline is not very easy to do. I have hundreds of hours preparing my WIP through research, interviews with professionals, and creating SF physics. The "process" I describe above is how I took all that effort and put it to work for me. The poster asked about process.

    Everything I lay out above is connected to the research and world building. Perhaps I didn't make that clear.
     

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