1. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    I have a general idea of what my book is about but struggle to turn it into a book

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nicholas Moser, May 8, 2021.

    Well, I am a son of a police sergeant in a small Nevada. I lived in this town my entire life. And despite being a little slow, I managed to graduate from a small community college in 2019 with an AAS degree in Criminal Justice. I am writing a book about a kabal of serial killers with ties to the CIA who together kidnap and brutal thousands across the country, often selling them into slavery for the rich and powerful and/or murdering them in a sick and twisted Satanic ritual. characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are based on real events but none of less still fictional. I will have a killer who is a cross between John Wayne Gacy and Dean Corrll with a touch of Westley Alan Dodd and Wayne Williams. As well as an Epsteinesque character who uses affluence and philanthropy to help him in his human trafficking ring as well as having a private island.
     
  2. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Not sure what the nature of your struggle is, when it comes to turning it into a book. Can you tell us more? Let us know what you need help with?

    Are you planning for it to be a crime-solving sort of novel? A vigilante chases the bad guys sort of novel? The bad guys win sort of novel?

    Who is your central character? Whose perspective are you planning to portray the story from? Who is your favourite character? Who do you want the reader to be rooting for, as they read? Will it be a law enforcement officer? A victim? One of the bad guys, who might be considering reform or who is gradually seeing how bad this situation is?

    See what you can tell us about how you see this story going. Do you know how it begins? Have you got some crucial scenes worked out in your head? Do you know how it's going to end? Who is your target audience going to be?

    Is it still in the planning stages, or have you actually written some of it already?
     
  3. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    I am not really a planner guy. It is difficult to plan and to stay focus with severe ADHD. So far I have written it from a perspective of a newspaper or a documentary
     
  4. Idiosyncratic

    Idiosyncratic Member

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    It's still not quite clear what your question is. Are you stuck on a specific scene and not sure where to go next? If so, what scene, the more detail you give us the better we can help. Do you want general advice on how to do some planning that might give you direction without taking a ton of time and focus? Do you want tips on how to 'pants' a novel (writing without much or any planning)? Advice from people who also struggle with ADHD on how they finished their novels?
     
  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Have you started writing a draft? As soon as you begin, you'll have answers to some of jannert's questions, such as who is the point-of-view character (important to know). And really her questions aren't all about planning so much as just decisions you'll make at some point anyway. Do the bad guys win in the end? Well, when you figure out how the story ends you'll know if you want them to win or not.

    Some other questions are to help you understand what kind of genre you want it to be. Is it about how the police or detectives handle the investigation? Then it's a police procedural. Does it follow the criminals, so the readers get to know them, maybe relate to them somewhat? Then it might be a crime novel.

    But I don't think she's really asking you to plan ahead, just asking you for your own gut reactions right now. Is there a main character, or will it just jump from one group to the other and maybe follow different characters (an ensemble piece, or a rotating point-of-view story). You should think about these things, to get a feel for how you want to go ahead. Otherwise how will you turn all these ideas into a story?
     
  6. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    I mean should I make my killer captured and focus on whether or not he had conspirators or should he still be unknown and have the mystery be both the killer's identity and whether there is more the one killer?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
  7. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    I attempted to post my work so far in the workshop but I just got an error message. But this is what I have so far;


    (workshop post deleted by mod)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2021
  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    You're only allowed to post your work in the workshop, so that will probably get moved there. Also, each time you post something in the workshop you need to do critiques on 2 other pieces.

    Are these newspaper articles? If so you're doing what's called epistolary writing, which is when you include things like articles, letters, diary entries etc. You can definitely do this to get across some information, but i would cut down on some of the graphic content in that first one. An article wouldn't go into such shocking detail.

    Also, a couple of things in the 1st paragraph threw me. It says two brothers were encountered by a man, but really it was only one brother—the other was at home. I was also a little confused because it just says 'two brothers', and didn't indicate they're boys, so it was a bit strange when in the next sentence he's playing on a slide. I had to adjust my idea of him from a man to a boy. But you can fix both problems easily by just saying "a young boy was playing on a slide when a man approached him."

    You could also make it more clear these are newspaper articles by saying something like 'On Wednesday, April 12th, the Normandy Sun reported...' or something.
     
  9. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    It is my work but I am awful at writing so I used new articles, true crime blogs, and Wikipedia to help me structure my sentences so that is why it seems epistolary. Also, my book is heavily based on real murder cases. I will try to be more restrained where I can but to tell this story sometimes I will have to be pretty graphic
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  10. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    sorry for posting it
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    No worries. I had to delete it because like @Xoic said, you can only post original content in the Workshop and only after you've made 2 constructive critiques of other members' work.

    That error message you got was probably because of some technical difficulties we had with the forum this week. Those have been corrected but you still have to make your critiques first.
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, @Nicholas Moser . If I had known you struggle with ADHD, I wouldn't have swamped you with so many questions at the start. Thank you for letting us know what you are dealing with. :)

    Maybe, since you struggle with planning, you might just start writing single scenes, as you see them unfold. Don't worry about making them into a whole story yet.

    I knew a writer with ADHD (although we've lost touch, sadly, after he left the forum) who was able to write truly engaging scenes. He put a couple of them up here, in the Workshop, and they captured my attention right away. They were so good! However, he struggled to put them into any kind of order, and kept getting off track.

    When I last heard from him, he had written lots of scenes ...enough to start to cobble them together into novel form. I hope he succeeded.

    I suspect that's a good approach, if you struggle with ADHD. Just write little bits at a time. Wait till you've got LOTS of little bits written. You can even get somebody else to help you get the bits structured into a coherent story.
     
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  13. madhoca

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

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    What's the aim of your work? Who is the target reader? What do you want to focus on? (I'd narrow the scope to 3-5 different characteristics/eras/cases)
     
  14. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    Not just ADHD I struggle with (albeit it probably contributes) I am certain that I have some kind of Intellectual Disability. As a matter of fact, I would not be surprised if I score 60 or lower on an IQ test. :(
     
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  15. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Do you read books often? If you want to write it helps to read. It's sort of like listening to people speak a language in order to learn how to speak it yourself, first you learn to understand it, then you'll start to be able to speak it.
     
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  16. madhoca

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

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    Perhaps you can try a short online writing course? Or find a mentor to help you structure your ideas? Stop thinking you have an "intellectual disability". Everyone is different, and you express yourself perfectly well. My God, I've had PHd students who can't write clearly!
     
  17. ruskaya

    ruskaya Senior Member

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    Your opening post is coherent and has a good development, it feels like it is going somewhere (it has potential, you have potential). If you struggle with focus, I recommend you follow @jannert 's recommendations above.

    IQ tests were originally developed to ensure pupils were not left behind in grade school. Then it became fashionable to use it to measure intelligence. IQ tests value concentration because it is a form of applying pressure, and note how many jobs/careers are still about dealing with pressure.
    Taking longer to solve a logic problem does not make you stupid. Instead you need to find ways to deal with your lack of focus, hyperactivity and possibly brain fog. You need to be creative and think differently to cope with your issues. Many people will be more impressed with how you find your way out of a difficult situation than how well you perform under pressure like everybody else is doing. :superwink:
     
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  18. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    I struggle with reading sometimes
     
  19. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    Can I go with the flow I find it easier and less stressful
     
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  20. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    You can do it however makes sense to you, any way you think will work better. Try lots of different ways and go with whichever ones you like.
     
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  21. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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  22. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Again, I had to delete this. You cannot post work for review until you've made 2 in depth critiques of other members' work. Pay it forward if you want to get a little love from the community.
     
  23. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    You express yourself very well, using words—which is the talent you actually need to become a writer. I wouldn't worry about a 'intellectual disablity or your potential IQ score! I remember failing an IQ test as a child, because I actually understood there was a difference between 'same' and 'similar.' :) Which the makers of the test obviously didn't. :)

    Just do two constructive critiques for items that are already in the workshop, as @Homer Potvin (our moderator) pointed out. After you do that, you can put some of your own writing in the Workshop, and we'll try to help. If you're not sure what a constructive critique is here on the forum, this may help: https://www.writingforums.org/threads/constructive-critiques.20627/
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  24. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    All of the following is IMO:

    This is a huge undertaking. But there's a fascinating story in there.

    First: You don't need to be posting in the workshop until you get further along. Workshop feedback is helpful for single questions or critique of short excerpts.

    What it isn't good for is advice on how to write a complicated story. You need to get further along.

    Start with sections, chapters, or scenes. They need not be in order. They don't need to be assembled just yet. It's always easier to take writing a step at a time.

    If planning the whole plot out is not your thing, no worries, it will fit together as you develop it.

    Be prepared to change the writing and especially be prepared to throw some of what you've written out.

    Consider limiting the number of characters in your cabal. If you start writing about too many characters it can bog things down, the reader will lose interest.

    Long sagas like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings introduce story elements and characters as the story unfolds. You can leave a character or two out and introduce them later.

    Write the backstory out for yourself and plan to eventually cut it all out of the story's beginning. Once you get going you'll find leaving a lot to be discovered bit by bit works well.

    You can also start writing one way, and later change it to another. It's nice to pick a POV and tense because those take a lot of editing if you change them. No one way for your story to unfold is necessarily better than another. I write better in first person because I imagine the story in my head as I go. But other POVs have different advantages and drawbacks.

    I think if you start (sounds like you have) you'll figure out which POV and tense makes the most sense to you.


    I completely rewrote my first chapter a dozen or more times. Some people hate that but it works for me. My latest major revision was a couple months ago when I literally deleted all the backstory in the first chapter. The reader can find out as the story unfolds that it takes place on another planet colonized by people from Earth. I thought I needed that in there to ground the readers.

    I was misled by some critiques (not here, I go to a critique group) by comments I have learned from but now discard. People read your opening and they ask :"what does the character look like"; "I can't see the scene"; "where is it taking place"? I kept trying to shove all that into the 'first 3 paragraphs' or the 'first 200 words'. Turns out, that's not always a useful critique of an opening.

    But I digress.

    From my experience, write it in smaller bites. Put it together eventually, and you may find the story you wanted to write.
     
  25. Nicholas Moser

    Nicholas Moser Member

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    Albeit not sure how to find these films and I doubt my strict parents who I still live despite being 23, but I seek to find certain films like a Serbian Film, Last House on the Left,
    I struggle with reading but I think cinema may help too. I want my novel to be the book-equivalent of A Serbian Film or the Last House on the Left in terms of disturbing but I don't want to go overboard and have readings erroneously think it is a reflection of my own desires
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021

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