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  1. Forde

    Forde Member

    Jan 22, 2009
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    Just outside London, England.

    How do you construct your writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Forde, May 21, 2009.

    Over the months I've developed a draft-intensive writing style. I will write an overview of what I want to happen in a chapter, then I will gradually flesh out each point, rearranging and rewriting constantly.

    For example, a point might begin like this:

    Darkened throne room, Main Villain on throne. Emily sneaks in next to a large column. Describe throne room: it's huge and she's never seen anything like it.

    To become a little more refined:

    Emily crouches in the dark. She is armed with a sheathed short sword, although she knows the weapon mustn't be used yet. She is hidden behind a large, fluted column (one of many) from around which she peeks at the large armoured figure on the throne. It's still too dark to see much, despite some torches.

    To become this proper first draft:

    Emily Mortan crouches in darkness.

    The sword at her side gives her more courage than she expected, but she knows it is not yet time to use it. Indeed, to unsheathe it now might mean her death. The time would come but she must wait for the signal. Slowly, carefully, she leans to one side, craning her neck until she can see past the thick, fluted stone column that she hopes shields her from view. The throne room seems awe-inspiringly colossal to her young eyes; the massive column that she leans against is but one of many, all flanking a long, thick, blood-red carpet and disappearing into the seemingly ceiling-less dark above her. Iron-bound reed torches hang from intermittent brackets, their flickering flames bravely trying to illuminate the emptiness, but their numbers are too few and the room too vast to enlighten anything other than their immediate surroundings.

    I like my own technique but the constant rewriting does seem frustrating sometimes. I'm interested to know how everyone else writes. Do you just write it perfectly from the start or are you more like me?
  2. arron89

    arron89 Banned

    Oct 10, 2008
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    I don't plan what I'm going to write about like that, I just write it, and then make revisions until I'm happy with it. I can see how writing the way you do would be efficient though, especially if you can't write that part at the time and need to just move on...
  3. hellomoto

    hellomoto Contributing Member

    Jul 11, 2008
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    The Great Southern Land
    Yeah, I usually just write it all out at once. I think it really gets me in the scene, as if I'm reading it, when I just type it all out as I imagine it in my head. That way I can make it more entertaining and realise it might be getting boring when my inner-self wants to put the book down.

    I might try your way though.
  4. Agreen

    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

    Jan 19, 2009
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    I plan everything out in broad strokes- I start with my intro point and the ending, fill in the transitions and climaxes of each act, and then break things into sequences of scenes. But these are all general, I leave plenty of room for exploration and character development in my early drafts.
  5. bluebell80

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    May 20, 2009
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    I just write. When my last idea struck me, I had an opening scene and the conflict that was about to happen. I had two main characters in mind and an enemy. I wrote out part of the first scene, then stewed for about three days, and finished off the whole sequence of events leading to the first initial conflict.

    After about 7k words, I realized I would need to go back and start the story a little earlier than where I opened it. So I put in a quick note of what a possible opener might be. I have about six options for myself to come back to later.

    From there I just let the story take me where it naturally wants to go. With each conflict I get a couple of options of what direction to go as a result of the conflict. I come to a resolution for that scene's conflict, then with that decision my character now has other options leading to more conflict.

    I've changed directions after writing a few hundred words into a scene, then realize that is not the direction I want to go. Yesterday I made a major decision about the ending...though that is a good 75k words away. But now that I know how I want it to end, I reduced my choices of events leading up to it. But, it opens up a possibility for my story to continue along after the end of this book.

    I don't like to plan too much. For me planning is like setting something in concrete and I don't like that restriction, or excessive steps of wasted planning time. I hate outlines with a passion.

    To me, when I read, I like to feel that the characters behavior, decisions, and actions reflect a natural progression of the events. I've read books that felt like the writer had the idea, planned it to death, then created the events surrounding the plot--but they feel like puzzle pieces crammed into the wrong spots.

    I don't know if any of you remember those storybooks in the 1980's, many were Disney stories, but some were not, where they had multiple choices you could make for the main character? Every choice you made would lead to one of three or four outcomes. I loved those books. I like the idea of looking at my own story that way.

    I am presenting my character with these set of choices, the one that fits my vision of the character is the one I choose. By doing that I am setting the reader up to understand my character's psyche better, by the choices they make. I have read a few books where I didn't like the main character because of the choices the author was making him make. If I were to write her character, I would have made him a different personality type. As it was I didn't finish the book because of it.

    So, I don't over plan.

  6. sprirj

    sprirj Contributing Member

    Feb 2, 2009
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    My structure is a bit bizzare, but I write the key points of my story, these become the chapters, so for example my current book has 10 key points in the story that moves it along, so it is ten chapters long. Then on a page for each chapter I will make very rough notes on what will happen to the characters in that point.
    This will turn to several paragraphs as more ideas arise. Then I start my 1st draft with is hand written and not too much thought for 'creative' dialogue or descriptive scenes etc, just keeping the story moving to the next point in the plot. In my 2nd draft I will flesh out the story, and smooth out the plot joins.
    By this stage I have something I can edit and correct without too much hassle.:)

    ....thats the plan!
  7. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Aug 19, 2008
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    I do the first parts that you wrote down in my head. This happens in seconds. Then I write something like your first draft.

    I continue doing that for each paragraph. I visualize (day dream) think of the primitive elements, and then write the paragraph.

    Maybe try doing the first two parts in your head.
  8. AwkwardlyYours

    AwkwardlyYours New Member

    May 22, 2009
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    I work in parts.

    First, I work on character data sheets. I create an entire life. Complete with memories, ideas, goals, family, friends, etc. I create a history for each individual character. Starting with the main character. Then I move down through my minor characters and give them histories.

    As I do the histories and such, I brain storm different ideas and problems each character may face.

    I sort of just start with characters and put them into random situations. Sometimes situations I've been in, sometimes something I heard on the news. Sometimes a situation someone I know has been in. And I just bring the character to life in the situation. I just sort of put myself in my character's shoes. And decide from there what my story should be about.

    Or if I just feel like writing and don't feel the need to go through all that, because I'm brainstorming or journaling, I just slap ideas on paper.
  9. Nervous1st

    Nervous1st Senior Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    I work in a similar way to you. I start each chapter with dot points and expand on them as I go. I don't follow a strict outline as I've been known to change the outline as I go but if I don't follow some structure I end up lost on some tangent with hours of time wasted.

    In addition, my mood often influences my writing (a sign of an amateur, I would expect). Keeping with an outline helps me to keep my characters independent and protects them from my unreliable temperament.

    You wouldn't start a road trip without looking at the map would you? So why do people insist on writing a novel without some kind of plan or direction? I envy those who don't need to waste time planning, but it certainly doesn't work that way for me.
  10. Sphi

    Sphi Member

    Apr 27, 2009
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    That's a really cool way to do it!! I might try that next time. :D

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