1. Neural

    Neural Member

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    Questions from a new writer

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Neural, Oct 28, 2016.

    I apologize for not being more specific in my post title, but I like to avoid making that sort of thing lengthy.

    I have a couple questions related to my the writing I have done in the past. Please note I have no formal schooling or anything like that beyond what I was taught about writing in high-school. This was only mildly touched on as part of the over grammar and composition education.

    First, I am trying to figure out the terms that cover what I write. I'm not talking about Vignettes vs. Flash Ficiton vs. Short Story, etc. At this point I don't really care about length.
    What I want to know is if there is any category that my style fits into.

    I have several ..um... threads?

    Example: A long time ago I created a character and wrote her into a two paragraph journal entry on Deviant Art (as a graphics artist I have posted there in the past, so text was an option. I put it in the journal for reasons I don't remember).
    A week later, I wrote another little blurb, involving the same character. It was only loosely related to the first one in that, in my mind, it was "later" chronologically.
    Over the next half year, I wrote and posted several short stories (some of them a lot longer than two paragraphs). Each one a story that could stand on it's own, but each one using the same characters, locations, and details. All of them in an un-stated chronological order. Almost like how some TV shows work.

    Is this chaotic style even a legitimate form of writing?

    Also, I have this problem with writing outlines. It's not that I can't do outlines. They just... turn into stories. Not that I write an outline, and then make a story from it (that's the objective), but I mean literally while writing the outline, the bullet points becomes sentences. The sentences become paragraphs, and then suddenly I'm no longer writing an outline, I'm writing the story itself.

    Is there a way to utilize this to my advantage? Should I clamp down on myself and try to force myself to stick to "outline mode" until the outline is done?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    There's no rule that you should make an outline or not. It works for some people and not for others. Making a story from an outline is a totally valid way to write.

    As for the legitimacy of your "chaotic style", I don't think anyone here can answer that. Legitimacy depends on what you want to do with it. Are you trying to be traditionally published? (as in agents and publishing houses) Are you planning to self-publish? (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.) Or are you just writing for the sake of writing?

    Keep in mind, there is no wrong answer here. But I think your question would be more aptly answered with a little more info. :)
     
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  3. Neural

    Neural Member

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    I guess I'm writing for the sake of writing, and then posting on a blog (though honestly I have concerns about that due to ignorance on how to retain my intellectual property rights on the things I post).
     
  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    I wish I had this problem. If you're trying to outline stories but coming up with full stories instead, as long as you're happy with what comes out, don't worry about an outline. On the other hand, if what you're coming up with is full of inconsistencies, abandoned plotlines, and deus ex machinas, yeah, then you need to clamp down on yourself and make a plan. Search for the term "pantser", it means someone who writes by the seat of their pants ("Pound the keys, boy!") rather than someone who maps things out carefully and then fills in the words that tell the story. You sound like a "pantser" trying to be a planner. I, on the other hand, am a pantser who needs to be a planner. I come up with these cool (in my opinion) scenes and bang them out, but then have no idea where they're going, or where they came from.
     
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  5. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Legitimate according to whom? Since you say that you are "writing for the sake of writing", legitimacy is determined by you. It really only becomes an issue once you decide you are seeking to appeal to a readership (paid or otherwise). I, personally, think that anyone who worries about how their writing will be perceived by others is writing to be read by others. In fact, I would guess that most people who write do so because, in their heart-of-hearts, they fell they have something compelling to say and want others to know it. My impression from the above is that you really haven't decided what kind of thing you are writing. It's possible that your journal-entry stories could be a testing ground for ideas for a more conventional kind of storytelling, and I would encourage you in that direction IF your desire is to be read by others.

    You already have. It's working for you. I wouldn't change it or worry about it. Outlines should always be left bare-bones and loosely fit so as to accommodate the changes and nuances in both story and characters that naturally occur to you as you write.
     
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  6. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm sure @Steerpike will correct me if I misstate anything, but your intellectual property rights remain, insofar as you can sue anyone plagiarizing your posts for gain. What you sacrifice (usually) is the ability to sell that writing to someone to publish, since you have already utilized the first publishing rights yourself.
     
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  7. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

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    Chaotic is ok. But it helps to have some general goals, like you want a character to start one way and end another way - generally, arc goals.
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yes. The only slight correction is that copyright infringement doesn't require any kind of financial gain. You have a claim for infringement against someone whether they're making money or not. If your work isn't registered, it probably isn't going to make sense to go after them if they're not making money, unless it is important that you stop them. If you registered your work in a timely manner, you can get statutory damages and attorneys' fees even though they're not making any financial gain.
     
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  9. Neural

    Neural Member

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    Hmmm.. my reply seems to be triggering a filter. It contains no URL's, email addresses, or markup, and, not going to assume here, there is no vulgar language. Is there anything else that I should look for that would trigger the spam filter?
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Angle brackets and some other characters sometimes cause input to be rejected on some sites, as an anti-hacking safeguard.
     
  11. Neural

    Neural Member

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    I'll try and break the replies up here.

    I'm most familiar (but still quite limited) with copyright law as it pertains to digital visual arts: 3D objects, textures, characters, etc. Do authors share similar protection? If I create a superhero named Dwayne the Drain who has speical powers of draining energy out of his target, and I post a story about him on a blog, do I have recourse if someone else writes and monetizes a story using the name Dwayne the Drain? Or if they write a story about Pyfun the Syphon, who has the exact same super powers? I realize that this is the internet and you likely do not have the legal authority to make a binding statement or such on that, I'm just asking what common knowledge is.

    I think if I'm honest, I would like to convey my stories to others. My drive is that I have these incredible stories to tell, and I want to inspire in others the same passion and emotion that I feel about my characters and stories. So yes, I would like an audience, but I've never really done more than publish stuff to DA or a blog, and then send URL's to friends. I know that, like my artwork, that it is destined to have a very limited audience because while I may be creative and artistic, I am a zero when it comes to marketing. I loathe marketing. It completely drains my motivation and desire to do anything creative. As such, I plan, for now, to stick with keeping stories "local". Friends, family, acquaintances, etc.

    Thank you all for the info so far.
     
  12. Neural

    Neural Member

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    Yay! It went through! I think the problem was that I was trying to direct parts of the reply to specific users using the @ symbol. Not really sure. I'll see what the admins say. Thank you all for your patience :)
     
  13. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    Anything you post is your intellectual property, and as such, it is yours and yours alone, unless you specifically state that it is public domain or posted under a specific license (Creative Commons, e.g.). To be safe, you can always add a copyright notice wherever it's posted - if it's yours, you can legally claim copyright, no matter what it is.

    As for the writing aspect: like Ed said, there's no "legitimate" form of writing. If you want to do a series of super-short stories on a blog, go for it. It might not gain as many readers as, say, a series of actual short stories, but if it works for you, then that's all that matters.

    (BTW, the forums place a restriction on URLs and such until you've been a member for... two weeks, I think? Check the rules - it's to prevent spammers and such. Profanity is fine.)
     
  14. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think most writers would agree. Your plan to go slow and stay "local" for the time being is reasonable. As your writing evolves, you will develop a sense of what kind of audience you want to reach. For now, I'd advise working on the writing.
     
  15. amerrigan

    amerrigan Active Member

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    The writing style you are asking about sounds somewhat similar to how Dracula was written...
     

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