1. lipton_lover

    lipton_lover New Member

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    How to start?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by lipton_lover, Nov 21, 2008.

    This is something I've only start in my head, but anyways it's going to essentially be a dream about other dreams I've had. And, in case you care, it's true. I did once have a dream where it stuck every other dream I remembered having, and others I had forgotten about, into a dream city and I walked around visiting all of them. So my question is, how to begin? The hidden question there, is should I even say it's a dream, should I do it right away, or wait until the middle/end? I've heard plenty that it'd probably be a good idea to establish that it's a dream so I don't lose readers because of the blaring impossibilities that you'll find in my dreams, but is that always the case? Could I possibly do it in a subtle way so that I show to tell?
    Thanks in advance, Nate
     
  2. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

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    I've used dreams several times in my two novels I'm writing, and I don't disclose that they're dreams until after the scene is done. However, I'm using them as flashbacks so things are more realistic...it would strictly depend on how you're using them and you're writing...you're the author so you're free to do whatever you like.
     
  3. lipton_lover

    lipton_lover New Member

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    See my piece is all one dream, it's not part of something bigger. I'm really concerned about corniness, cliché, and losing readers because of impossibilities, if I choose not to say its a dream right away.
     
  4. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

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    you can easily write it as such and then have your character wake up at the end, to tell you it's a dream...read thy lyrics to "Red Barchetta" by Rush for a example of that...you get a lot of symbolism that is basically used from a dream...and at the end you get the line "and i wake by my uncle to dream by the fire's side.."
     
  5. tehuti88

    tehuti88 New Member

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    Actually, many readers hate, hate, HATE the "It was all a dream" ending, so I'd advise against that route.

    If it's a dream, I'd say so from the start. That way you'd avoid making readers feel cheated when they read through the entire thing only to realize it "didn't really happen."

    If you start off letting readers know it's a dream, they'll know that certain rules don't apply. Also, just because a story is a dream doesn't minimize it in any way--it's just really irritating to read a story thinking it's supposed to be something that really happened, only to find that it didn't! It feels like a bait-and-switch--the reader came expecting one thing and got something else they didn't really want.
     
  6. Rei

    Rei Contributor Contributor

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    I second what tehuti said. Most people love the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, but hate the ending. In that movie, having it all be a dream works because the story is about her learning to appriciate what she really has, but people would still prefer it to have been real. 99% of the time, though, having the majority of the story as a dream does not work. If you want it to feel that way, I'd suggest making it ambiguous, the way it is in A Christmas Carol. In that story, there is no way of knowing if it really happened or not, and the readers/viewers can decide what is best for themselves.
     
  7. Emerald

    Emerald New Member

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    I like Rei's ambiguity idea. Ambiguity also ups the artistic value :p
     
  8. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenent the Unbeliever by Stephen R, Donaldson take place in an alternate reality, but the protagonist enters that world during periods of unconsciousness in this reality. There's a certain amount of ambiguity left by the author as to whether or not the other world exists outside his head (until the Second Chronicles, when a second person enters the same alternate reality).

    So the dream world device CAN be used effectively. It all depends on the writing.
     
  9. de la vega

    de la vega New Member

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    I agree that an exploration of Dickens' A Christmas Carol would be a great help to you in this dilemma. I would have to disagree that there is no way of knowing if Ebenezer's experience really happened or not. But that's an entirely different discussion. I would also recommend Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, especially for the subtlety with which Alice enters her dream in the beginning.
     
  10. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

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    I would agree, you could do it like Philip K. Dick did in "We'll Remember It For You Wholesale" which was turned into the movie "Total Recall." In that movie, and story, you never truly know if the events are real or part of the "Rekall (as if was spelled in the story)" fictional memory..it's left open for you to interpret...
     
  11. lipton_lover

    lipton_lover New Member

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    While I love 'artistic' things, I'm not sure that's what I want here. My main focus will be describing the dreams. I think I'll just announce at the beginning that it's a dream after all.
    Thanks everyone! Nate
     
  12. Saynosin

    Saynosin New Member

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    Well here I am, my first attempt at a creative writing piece. I have had no prior training or any type of help on this sort of thing and I was wondering where to start to get this project going. I have a general idea of what my story will be about but I don't know how to start this off.
     
  13. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The best thing to do is to start writing.
     
  14. Saynosin

    Saynosin New Member

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    I mean should I begin with character development or should I work on the world before I put the inhabitants etc
     
  15. Unsavory

    Unsavory Active Member

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    You will probably have to discover your own way. Why not start writing the piece and see where it goes? You'll run into problems, sure, but nobody can tell you exactly what method is going to work best for you. Some people do outlines or character worksheets while others don't.
     
  16. Kursal

    Kursal New Member

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    You might want to try this:

    Take a part of your story that you have firmly in your mind. You're going to write that part of the story. It doesn't have to be polished, you just have to write it. Try and write around 500 to 1000 words. Now go away and do it...

    Right, when you get back from that little exercise you will have some idea of what bits you found difficult. If you found the plotting difficult, if it was hard to know which part of the story came next or where you might go from the end of your first piece then you might want to pay more attention to plot.

    If, on the other hand, you found writing dialogue difficult or your characters didn't seam to have a voice that you could easily write then you might want to spend more time on the characters.

    Of course, it is possible you found both parts of the process hard. In this instance I would have a look at what inspires you most about your story, plot or character. Keep building the momentum until you have something you have to write.

    For now, I wouldn't worry too much about the world that it is in. It is as well that you have a loose idea of your settings but allowing a world to grow with your story will help reveal it at a nicer pace.

    I think a mistake that a lot of 'cub' writers make is that they concentrate so hard on developing their world that they don't write a story.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Everyone has his or her own approach. I usually begin with a character, but I don't define that character in great detail. I form the same kind of first impression of the character as you would when meeting a person for the first time.

    Then I put that character into a scene or a minor conflict. That may or may not become the opening scene of the story. For one thing, the decision of what scene actually begins the story tends to come much later in the process. For another, there may have been a scene that sparked inspriration for the story in the first place.

    Putting the character into the situation and letting him or her work through it hellps define the character a bit more. The decisions the character makes, good or bad, begin to shape the character.

    As the story begins to grow, you will need to introduce plots that drive the characters along the storyline. The storyline is a chronological series of events. Plots are the forces that move characters along a storyline.

    A plot consists of an actor, a goal, a motivation, and an opposition. As a simple example, Phil is hungry. He has been lost in the woods for three days now, and didn't pack any snacks wen he started out. Phil is the actor, finding food is his goal, feeling weak from hunger is his motivation, and his inexperience in finding food in the wild is the opposition.

    That plot may be a very small part of the overall story, but it puts stresses on the character and drives events. A story typically has a central plot, which need not be apparent from the beginning, but it defines the main track of the story. There can be several related plots that more or less coincide to define the story. For instance, the main plots may be a character's survival in a disaster AND that chat character triumphing over her own low self esteem. Both plots may be equally "central" to the story, but because the goals, motivations, and oppositions differ, they are distinct plots.

    Keeping a conscious awareness of the plots helps you get the story moving again when it seems to be stuck. Much of the time, the story gets stuck because one or more of the characters needs a good push. Add a complication, or increase the stakes on an existing plot, and you can get the story moving again.

    Hopefully this will give you some ideas to get your own process going.
     
  18. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually start writing even if I don't have a specific place or characters in mind. They usually come to me as I write which is why I suggested you write a little and see where your piece is headed. You can always take the advice already posted and use outlines, etc.
     
  19. That Silly Welsh Guy

    That Silly Welsh Guy New Member

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    I agree with the [pstersx that have suggested you should just start writing for the sake of writing, and then see what develops. And then, whichever aspects of the writing that you found hardest to write from 'off the cuff' so to sepak should be the aspects you should try and tackle first in your novel/story planning - perhaps you'll find you're yourself drawing up an outline of where you want the story to move to if you have a general idea, or if you have a synopsis already drawn up but found the characters lacking substance then it'll be the characters that you'll start to develop firstly. Of course, if you don't have a very general, vauge and basic, raw story idea to begin with - then you'll best advised to start there because everything flows from there :)
     
  20. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    My initial response is always the condescending 'Start with a word, and then put another after, and another, and another, and another, and continue until you are finished'.

    But I'd say if you don't know where to start then just set a scene and start from there, even if it is just to inspire yourself, you can always rewrite.
     
  21. thegearheart

    thegearheart New Member

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    I think this is awesome advice, and it's how I usually start my stories. Just get to it and see what happens!
     
  22. Rei

    Rei Contributor Contributor

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    Some people like to do world building and character sketches first. I don't. It's more fun for me to figure it out as I go along. Of course in revisions, you write it as if you always knew everything. The fact that you're even asking this question suggests that you probably worrying a lot more than you need to. Some peple write their first novels without even consciously deciding to do so. They just write a story that keeps getting longer and longer until they realize that what they have it long enough to be a novel.

    So here's how to start: Tell yourself to relax and have fun.
     
  23. fantasy girl

    fantasy girl New Member

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    thats a realy good way to put it Rei, i might try that for myself
     
  24. sprirj

    sprirj Senior Member

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    "I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking." - Albert Einstein
     
  25. architectus

    architectus Banned

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    I would start with reading at least one book on writing like Between the Lines.
     

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