1. DaveLu

    DaveLu Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    24

    I don't think I know what fundamentally makes something a story. My writing leads nowhere.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by DaveLu, Jul 28, 2019.

    I get great ideas that I want to follow, but they just end up leading me nowhere. It leads into mind numbing exposition and excessive description. My ideas just turn into a mundane series of events.

    This problem is made even more apparent when the perfectionist in me -- like in, if not many, all of us writers-- compares my writing to others', and sees their thematic value. Meanwhile mine is empty of even an interesting plot. Am I not thinking about things enough? Before I write, should I necessarily have something I want to say?

    I can list plot points and ideas that I want to develop further. But when it actually comes down to sitting down and writing a SCENE, I lack the ability. I've always struggled with this, even outside of fiction. With essays and articles alike. I can accumulate interesting topics that I want to write about and unique sources, but when it comes to connecting it all together I draw a blank.

    No matter how many times I even plan things out, plot and flesh out characters values and motivations, it just ends up back to square one.

    Part of me is wondering if I even understand how to write a story at all? At its core.

    Anyone else struggle with this? How do I troubleshoot?
     
    Sheerah and jannert like this.
  2. AndieBoDandy

    AndieBoDandy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2019
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    123
    Location:
    Canada
    First off... I think your biggest mistake is comparing your writing to someone else's. This is especially true if you are a new writer. No one writes the same. And many here will point out that just because you are "published" it does not necessarily equate with you being a good writer. A basic story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Generally speaking, your character goes on a journey. Sometimes it is an actual journey, but usually is character growth that make the more satisfying story.

    People will often point out that stories can either be plot driven, or character driven. The best stories IMO have both. When I sit down to write, I do it for myself. If I don't find it engaging, then why would anyone else? I don't worry about "being deep" or having a "message" because I find that writers who do, tend to get preachy. That isn't to say that my characters might lean towards having a PC point of view, but when they do, I often have a secondary character of the opposite extreme.

    When I write, I write to have fun, and hopefully by doing so, I create a fun and engaging story.

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do, is put those first few words on the page. Try taking one of your ideas and start by fleshing it out. Start with a character. What does your character look like? How do they feel? What do they want? What steps do they need to take to achieve these wants? Now, where do they live? Does your story take place in a city or town? Does it happen in a far away land? Is it set in the past? Try writing a description of where your story is taking place.

    These little things can often help open your mind to bigger possibilities. Don't think too hard about it. Just write.
     
    Jupie, Maverick_nc, Sheerah and 2 others like this.
  3. Dr. Mambo

    Dr. Mambo Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2016
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    831
    Location:
    Iowa
    See my signature below.
     
    GingerCoffee and DaveLu like this.
  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    14,692
    Likes Received:
    19,465
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    A hamster who runs in the wheel will never seem to go anywhere.
    Once in a ball will find a world much more worth exploration. :)
     
  5. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    4,926
    Likes Received:
    8,421
    Location:
    The great white north.
    I'm going to give the exact opposite advice. Find a writer that's accomplishing what you want to accomplish and compare what they've done to your own writing. Try applying their techniques to your stories and see if it helps. Repeat the process with many authors and eventually you'll find many ways to do what you want to do and automatically synthesize your own style out of it all.
     
  6. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    2,252
    Likes Received:
    2,638
    You start troubleshooting from the beginning.

    Plot is not a story. Story is not about plot.

    Shit happens to protagonist. He or she deals with it. That makes him change. He changes from identities (group based characterisation) to his true self, the essence, the core (individual character).

    Story is about that change. That change is the story. Plot is just something necessary for that change to happen.

    Start by thinking this.

    After that: read your stories. Are they stories or plots or something else?

    How could you make them stories?
     
    Lawless and DaveLu like this.
  7. AndieBoDandy

    AndieBoDandy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2019
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    123
    Location:
    Canada
    I think we all try to emulate our favourite writers; and we can definitely learn this way. I agree 100%.
    I was thinking more as baby steps... learning to walk before you run. A new writer just starting out shouldn't compare their work to a writer that has been crafting for twenty years or more, because it isn't a level playing field. If they are comparing themselves to other writers they could easily become discouraged. Everybody starts somewhere. There's a learning curve with everything in life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  8. DaveLu

    DaveLu Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    24
    And one thing I'm reminded of as I read over this thread is that storytelling formulas are not rules, they're guidelines. I keep forgetting this, probably due to me reading so many "how to" books growing up with all the terminology and wanting to learn the lingo.

    To grow, to be different, to change... that's a basic aspect of story that resonates with us on a human level and why we like it. Even though it's not something we consciously think about all the time. Which is why it's different than a series of events. And the more we relate (values, beliefs, motivation, flaws and all those other elements we can identify with) the juicier the story becomes for us. I think I definitely have been trying to lay too much structure on my writing.

    Even for a small example, if I were to say something like "She planned to confess about last night, but then she saw the ring." Even though it's one sentence, that could kind of function as a beat/change. It's somewhat of a story. And it's just about expanding from there... or am I overthinking things still? Am I getting warmer or colder lol
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  9. AndieBoDandy

    AndieBoDandy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2019
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    123
    Location:
    Canada
    Warmer, I'd say. =)
     
    Alan Aspie and Cave Troll like this.
  10. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    2,252
    Likes Received:
    2,638
    Maybe this gives some ideas to troubleshooting.

     
    GingerCoffee and Saphry like this.
  11. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    13,539
    Likes Received:
    15,068
    Location:
    Scotland
    There are lots of approaches to writing. The trick is to find one that works for you. But you already know this. :)

    Hmmm.

    Can you pinpoint exactly what your problem is? Or, rather, what prevents you from getting off the ground?

    Are you starting with a thought-out 'plan' rather than a vision? A plan is something you make on paper, with notes, etc. It's an intellectual exercise. However, planning can miss out the vital notion of 'presence' which is crucial to good storytelling. 'Vision,' the way I mean it, is the ability to 'see, hear and feel your story.'

    I'd advise you to go someplace where you won't be interrupted, where you can just daydream in peace. And start to do just that. (You can play music, if that helps create a soundtrack for you, as if you were watching a movie. Make sure the music isn't too distracting. If you find yourself listening to it, probably best turn it off. It should just be 'there' to evoke a feeling, or background—same as a movie soundtrack does.)

    Who is your main character? Settle in, get a good picture of him or her. What is this character doing? What's the environment like? Don't 'think' this out ...let the pictures come. What time of day is it? If they're outdoors, what is the weather doing? What is the scenery like? Again ...don't think this. Let it come. Do this till you have a strong feeling of 'presence' in that scene. You are THERE. Then allow stuff to happen to your character—who is you, just then. And go from there.

    Once you have a really strong feeling about the scene, including the frame of mind of your character (and you can scribble notes to yourself during this process, including any bits of dialogue or phrases that come to you) then you can go to your computer and start writing THAT SCENE.

    Forget about what other scenes it might link to or where it comes in the Grand Plan. That comes later. Make that scene come to life. Go SLOWLY. Over-write, if need be. Don't censor or edit your work. Create the picture you have in your mind. Try to get another person (your future reader) to see and feel it as well. Don't just tell us what happened. Let us experience what happened. Everything that happens. Don't be afraid. Nobody is going to see this but you. Take your time. Take lots of time. Create a rich picture, which will give you lots to work with. This is not the place for minimalist writing. Don't be in a rush to finish.

    I guarantee if you do this, you will walk away with a LOT more ideas for where your story is going and where it came from, and you'll be eager to keep going. You might not end up keeping this scene at all. It could be an opening scene, a closing scene, or something in the middle. It doesn't matter. You've now got a handle on the feeling of your story. If you've written it honestly enough, you'll also have an idea of what your writing style is like.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  12. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    3,026
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Focus on the character. I think when you're directionless it's mainly from not understanding your character. It's always their scene. It's not whether the world is going to end or someone wants to take over the world (plot points, scenarios) - it's what your character feeling about it, what is he going to do about. When you can understand the character just start him off with something simple - his car broke down - now what. Give him a mini dilemma.
     
    DaveLu likes this.
  13. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    304
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    I'll ask you some questions and if you can't answer them all you're problem is likely the lack of an ingredient required for momentum.

    What is your character(s) goals?
    Why do they want/need that goal?
    What motivates them?
    What steps need to be taken for them to achieve that goal?
    What are the stakes if the goal is not met?
    What is the central conflict?
    What is standing in their way (obstacles)?
    What will the outcome be? (it can be good, bad or a mixture of both)

    You may want to get familiar with structure. Take a look at the three act and hero's journey to make sure your hitting the beats and getting the pacing right.

    I hope this helped.
     
    DaveLu likes this.
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,410
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    I think the answer to your problem is to probably read more. And read good stuff by good authors. There is a formula of sorts to most stories. Pay attention to how other authors build their stories. You could also have a problem sticking to the present narrative of your story which could lead to a lot of deadness when they go on for too long. I think the best way to learn to write is to read. Read books like the kind you want to write. I do believe some of it wear off on us.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    DaveLu likes this.
  15. Sheerah

    Sheerah Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2019
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    West Sussex UK
    You are certainly not alone in this, I would say that finding your way can be eased by perhaps paring up with someone else who can help you as and when you need it. How about a project to work on, I myself have turned to Rachel Stephen YouTube. She may not be your cup of tea. But perhaps you will find another lead that will be useful. I think be wary of overthinking and don't be afraid of your writing. You will find your way, you will have a good support here. Don't give up. :);)
     
    DaveLu likes this.
  16. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    619
    Location:
    San Diego
    I hate to be the wet rag here, but you may not be an author/writer.
    I had to face a similar situation with music. I had tons of lessons for bass and piano and still cannot play without sheet music. It’s not in me and I had to admit it finally.
    There is another situation you may not have thought about, and that is all the work there is to do after you write your novel.
    I see you have very few posts and maybe you have more activity on another forum, but getting input and asking questions will improve your skill set.
    Let me add just a bit of encouragement. Get active write a short story. Avoid distractions for the time you’ve allotted to write something.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
    theclawcadet and cosmic lights like this.
  17. Mish

    Mish Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    134
    Honestly, it sounds to me like you are half way there. If you have interesting topics and plot points already, why not just put only them on paper, just so you have a foundation? And then little by little join bits and pieces together.

    E.g.

    Plot points:

    Little red riding hood got a basket.
    She meets a wolf in the woods.
    The wolf tries to eat her at her grandma's house.

    Exposition:

    Little red riding hood got a basket. Why? She needs to deliver the contents to her grandma. Where is grandma? At a house on the other side of the woods. She needs to go through the woods to get to her. She should be careful, the woods have wolves.
    She meets a wolf in the woods. Oh no! She better not tell the wolf where she going. She told the wolf where she is going. What if the wolf goes to grandma's house to eat her? She should be careful when she gets to Grandma's house.
    The wolf tries to eat her at her grandma's house. All hope is lost! If only there was someone who can save her. Who could save her? Who normally visits the woods? A woodcutter or maybe a hunter? Either one would do.

    Story:

    <You now continue expanding the links, adding dialogue, just enough description using economy of words to move the story along, you do an edit, then another edit, then another edit as your story grows larger and larger in time>
     
  18. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2018
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    72
    You've said your main issue is exposition and excessive detailing. Find one of your scenes written this way and write it like you would a script. There's no prose in script writing. You write what is to be seen or heard on screen and nothing else. You can't write about feelings unless a character has a visible emotional reaction. Each action paragraph (description of action) can only be four to five sentences.

    Once you done that then compare your over done version and your script version and then write the scene again using the script version as the base.

    If not that, you need to read books of people with concise styles of writing. For example, Matthew Reilly's books are the most to the point style I've ever read. He's got fast paced stories and fast paced writing. There's no necessary prose nor exposition and the story premises themselves are typical action plots but they're just written in a way that is very engaging. I'd recommend starting from Ice Station as it is the first in a series of his and kinda funny as well.

    If you're a writer who can assimilate styles based on what you've read recently then it'll be super easy to mimic the style. If not you're in for a lot of work on your part. But as far as I've found when writing, the longer I did it, the better I got at it. I always had issues with my action to dialogue ratio and it's still something I have to keep an eye on but for the most part I've gotten the hang of it. It's really just practise makes perfect, practice and a super blunt person to read over your stuff and tell you exactly where you need to change something.

    That extra person reading and giving blunt feedback will help immensely. Find a person to read your work specifically to give feedback on the style of writing and where you need to improve. At the end of the day, it's not your ideas that need to change, it's how you write them that needs amending.
     
  19. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,200
    Likes Received:
    4,090
    I'm not sure I understand your problem. Is it:

    1. You feel your writing quality is poor, and thus you don't feel like you can convey what you want? A bit like a person who has an amazing picture in his head and then when he puts pen to paper and draws out the image, it looks rubbish (at least to him)?

    2. You don't see how Event A leads to Event B, or at least you find it hard to think of an interesting way of linking the two up?

    If you've listed out plot points etc, how are you managing to "go back to square 1", as you say? What is Square 1? Rubbish work, or do you mean the characters have done nothing, nothing's happened? If the latter, how are you managing this if you have a list of events, I don't understand. Your list of events should, obviously, follow on from one another. You don't do a list like: 1. Grandma buys an apple, 2: butterfly is born somewhere in the woods, 3: Anna needs to win the writing competition, 4: earthquake. Like, if your events are indeed like that - just a collection of events that are not related to one another, then I'm certainly not surprised you're failing to write. But I assume you're a smart person so I highly doubt that's what you did. In which case, are you struggling to write transitions, as opposed to a whole scene?

    Many people struggle with transitions because transitions are by nature well, pretty dull. You say your stories lead nowhere even though you've got a list of events down - could it be you're getting too bogged down with making everything "realistic", and therefore dwelling far too much, for far too long, on a transition rather than moving forward to an event?

    For example, if your list of events were: 1. Anna writes a love letter, 2. Boy she fancies finds the letter and reads it, 3. Anna finds her letter missing and panics, 4. Boy looks for Anna at home because he likes her too, only she won't answer the door.

    These events clearly relate to one another, and if you're into romance, potentially quite an exciting plot really (I'm into romance lol). But it would be rather dull if you spend several pages or more describing, for example, Anna's school day. Say she finds the letter is missing, and instead of skipping to her finding out who's read it or other related event, you decide to describe everything that's happening in her English class, how she walks to the locker room, how she makes her way home, how she mulls over dinner, throw in a dinner conversation where dad's aware something's wrong but 16-year-old Anna won't talk, of course, then Anna goes to her room, decides to take a shower and blah blah blah blah. You get the picture.

    That would be an example of a dull and badly-done transition, and yes, it's going nowhere.

    Often, a transition can be done with just a few lines or, more commonly, a scene break, usually indicated by a centralised asterisk on a line of its own in your document.

    Problems with transition aside, I find it often helps if you know what you're writing towards. So indeed having a list of events or major plot points will help. You need just enough to get writing to the next point, though some people prefer to have the whole picture. But if the next plot point is uninspiring to you - for example, if you're really not into romance, my Anna-letter premise above would be dull and the idea of having to write about her panic over some stupid love letter would feel like ugh are you serious? If that's how you feel about the plot point following where you're at, it would be difficult to write anything of quality because you the author simply don't find it interesting. First and foremost, you have to be interested. Forget the readers at this point. Just entertain yourself. If you're not invested, is it any wonder the story tapers off? In such a case, the best thing you can do is think of an alternative way the story could go, until you find something that inspires you.

    However, in my albeit limited experience, usually when I write myself into a dead end or an uninspiring turn of events, it's because earlier in the book the story took the wrong path. It might not be obvious sometimes, and it might not be an issue with the event you're currently writing or even the one immediately before it. To give an example, I'd got to 80k words in my draft of a 12-year-long project when I got stuck. These were the events:

    1. Female protag A has a showdown with my antagonist, SW. A survives. It's also revealed here that a good former friend S has changed sides, but S basically does nothing. Here was my first mistake - where're the stakes if she survives? And what's the point if S does nothing but show up?
    2. Male protag W is off on a mission. Transition scene where he's travelling with companions. Mistake #2 - didn't know what could happen that's interesting, though I felt a distinct need to turn the focus back to my male protag at this point.
    3. W is ambushed by monsters that did not exist earlier in the book - I made them up because I needed something interesting. (A slightly dubious decision) W is injured. In the same scene I introduce a new character V (God only knows why)
    4. W needs to get help for his injuries. He ends up in a city with even more injured people. He's a healer so now people are all chasing him trying to get him to help when he also needs help himself. (By this point the plot was spiralling out of control - this has nothing to do with my main plot and the new character V has no role whatsoever)
    5. W overhears some soldiers talking and finds out about the military lying to him. Heated dialogue ensues where W threatens to desert the army as their healer. (By this point, the soldiers were also new characters, which means the betrayal lacks impact, which made the dialogue extremely weak and the intensity of W's emotions feel forced/untrue)
    6. (At this point I'm aware I haven't followed up on female protag A for a significant amount of time, except I have nothing to say regarding her side of the story. MAJOR PROBLEM since she's one of the protags and involved in the main plot. I also have no idea what I'm gonna do with V. I'm 2/3rds of the way to the end of the novel - I should not have this many new loose ends)

    It's clear now where the problem started, but when I was there I had no idea. I was stuck with knowing what should happen next with A and how to get W out of the mess, as well as how to get rid of V because I have no space or time to give her anything to do. I stopped writing for a couple of months until someone said he didn't like Event #3 (the ambush and introduction of V). I scrapped it almost immediately on his suggestion, but still I had no idea how to continue from there.

    And then I changed the outcome of Event #1 - female protag A almost dies. She is shot by none other than S himself, W's best friend. Suddenly W, a healer, is needed back at the base to heal her or she dies. S is full of guilt and kills himself, imagining that A's sure to die and W will never make it in time. W finds S's body on the same day he finds out about the betrayal from A herself (they're lovers). Suddenly the impact of the betrayal works, the heated dialogue makes perfect sense, W's subsequent drastic decisions all fall into place in light of this major trauma he's just experienced.

    I finished the book within the next 3 months.

    But you see how far off the point I was actually stuck on was (Event #5) from the event that led me there (Event #1)? The moment I changed the outcome - it required deleting some 10,000 words and the obvious rewriting of the showdown scene - everything started moving again.

    So, often, when you're stuck, I think there was a problem earlier in the plot to begin with and you should backtrack to make sure that's not the case. And be open to changing the turn of events if you have to.
     
    jannert likes this.
  20. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,410
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    I have to disagree with @GrJs about the blunt feedback. Blunt feedback is not something I care to give or receive. There are other ways to deliver honest feedback that don't have to feel like a punch to the gut. And where the feedback is coming from can mean as much as it says. So, there's that too. But if your problem is actually constructing a story, I don't think feedback is going to help to much at this stage.

    Like I mentioned earlier, reading is going to be the most useful thing you can do to help you out. Another thing is to try a short story or two just to get the idea of putting down a full story on paper. I would aim for 20 to 25 pages with short stories. That's enough for the plot to go somewhere and to create a story with a clear beginning middle and end. Another thing is to keep your outline simple if you want to use one. I prefer to write without an outline, but I feel like I've read enough to really understand the construction of a story in several forms. If you have too much going on in your outline, it could easily become too much and messy or dragging on the page. I wouldn't try and get too crazy with this short story practice if you decide to do it. Write a bank robbing story or a breakup story. We can all guess how these things go pretty much. Still, I would suggest reading several short stories to, again, get the hang of how the pros are handling it. But it will help you write and finish a whole story in less time, and it might be easier to determine exactly where you are going wrong since you will be working on a smaller scale.

    Personally, short stories are my preferred form. It's something I have studied and been writing for years. I'm working on a novel in addition to my other writing at the moment. I don't have an outline for it, but a story is there. Again, it helps to stay close to the present narrative in any story.

    As far theme or having something to say, that's not something I really give much thought to with fiction. Themes and messages emerge. When forced they can show and lose their effect, I think. Essays and articles might require some more thought as to the point of it all, but, again, reading many of these is going to help. You just got to let it all sink in and then you'll start to get the hang of it.

    Ideas are the least important part of writing. We all have them and most of us have more than we will ever have time to write. There are many people who aren't writers that still have ideas for books they could someday write. But it's the writing that counts. It's how the story is presented and comes together that counts. I know I've said this quite a bit, but reading more is often the key to finding a way out of most writing problems. And I don't mean reading how-to books, but actual stories I any form. I was once given the advice to read a short story, essay, and poem every day. Though all routines can be hard to stick to, there is something about this that seems to work well. While following this advice I pretty quickly started to notice a difference in my own writing. I can't think of anything better that will help you out of your situation.
     
    jannert and Thundair like this.
  21. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,143
    Likes Received:
    2,077
    Location:
    United States
    Reading will definitely help you pick-up subconscious elements. Sometimes those seeds will grow out of the soil of your subconscious and into the sunlight of your conscious mind.

    One of the most difficult things to teach is game sense. I can talk until I'm blue in the face about how important rotating (see: scene structure) is in Rocket League, or loadout is in Battlefield or Call of Duty (see: word choice), but no matter what game you're playing, the effectiveness of all the elements is limited by your ability to put them together in something known as "game sense". Some people come into a game with a natural "sense" for it, and just need to practice the different elements to improve their game. Others can hit the ball really well but are an awful teammate because they don't have that "sense", that fundamental understanding.

    If this metaphor isn't working for you, what I'm trying to say is that you're halfway there. You have ideas for settings and plots, you've got suitable characters, you can write well with metaphors and symbolism and mood and theme. But what brings all that together, and makes it alive?

    One thing you didn't talk about, for instance, is how to hypnotize the reader. When you watch a really awesome magic show or magic trick, you're so enthralled that you hardly stop to analytically try and figure out how they did it. After you've seen the whole trick, sure, you go "How in the hell did he do that?" And you start thinking about the smoke and mirrors, the table, was there something under the floor, etc. When you're reading a truly gripping story, you may only stop to admire different things for a fleeting moment, until it grabs your hand again and whisks you onward in cartoon fashion.

    You're at the fun point where you realize all the conscious stuff you've been doing to try and wow and impress your readers needs to ride shotgun. Watch that presentation linked by @Alan Aspie. I've read Wired for Story; her presentation is about what is at the core of story. What makes people *care*.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
    jannert likes this.
  22. Saphry

    Saphry Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2019
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    35
    I’ve just finished watching the link @Alan Aspie posted here; Wired for Story. There’s much food for thought in there and I think it might help you figure out what makes a story. Thanks for sharing, Alan.
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.
  23. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    1,882
    Location:
    A small town on the outskirts of a Walmart
    That's a good book, definitely worth having on your bookshelf. She also has a couple Ted x talk videos floating around YouTube.
     
    GingerCoffee and Alan Aspie like this.
  24. Lawless

    Lawless Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2018
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    103
    I always struggled with school essays. Throughout my life, people have been telling me how well I write, yet I find it difficult to put things into logical structure and to connect them in a way that comes across as natural.


    Please explain what you mean by ending up on square one.

    Do you mean you begin to write a story, but then find you somehow can't write a complete story with which you'd be happy?

    If so, can you tell me one story idea you have? (I promise I won't steal it. I've got plenty of my own.) I believe in choosing one specific problem to shoot rather than discussing abstract principles.
     
  25. Jupie

    Jupie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    235
    There are so many approaches to writing that it might seem overwhelming at first, but that can also inspire you and reassure you a bit. What works for one doesn't work for another, so it's important to find your own way of doing things. Some people write as they go along, others prefer planning. I generally fall into the first category, but a bit of planning does definitely help. I used to write continuously, doing reams and reams of work but not taking enough time to really feel the scene. The story always suffered as a result. My new approach these days is to take one chapter at a time. Because I have Scoliosis, I can only write for a little bit before my back really starts to ache, so I don't try to write lots at a time. The key I think is do a little and do it often. If you think of writing in terms of one colossal novel, it's going to seem really intimidating. If you focus on one chapter and take your time with it, you can then get ideas for chapter two. I find it's easier to know what to write once you've gotten started with something.

    But don't rush. You'll find your ideas change over time and the story takes its own direction. Let it tell itself, and don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you enjoy writing, you'll find a way. If you feel bored writing, take a break and do something else. Do the garden, go see a friend (chatting about writing helps a lot for inspiration) or better yet do some reading. Eventually you'll feel more rejuvenated and you'll write a better scene. I might only do 400 words a day but I want those to be good words. By the end of the week, you've got the length of a chapter on your hands. Worry about the editing later -- if you have a half decent story you've already won. Others may disagree, but I always put story above the writing. You can change that once you've got the shape of a story on your hands.
     
    jannert likes this.

Share This Page