1. Azarro

    Azarro New Member

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    Writing structure

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Azarro, Apr 17, 2019.

    So I'm not a writer but I want to start writing. I want to write a prologue from one of the characters past and then start the first chapter with an incident or a scene that happens further in the story. Then in that same first chapter I go back some time ahead to when the main characters met. Is this structure fitting or is it confusing?

    What do u think?

    Another thing is I don't normally read books so do u think it would be possible for someone like me to write a story.
     
  2. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, reading books is probably one of the easiest ways to learn how to write books, but I wouldn't say it's impossible, just that you're doing yourself a disservice.
     
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  3. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Active Member

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    If you don't read novels, then don't try to write one, it will be a mishmash in its organization. Maybe writing a screenplay would be more appropriate, or graphic novels (comic books to those really old!). Both are equally valid storytelling devices.
     
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  4. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    Yes. It is possible to write a story even if you don't read.

    But...

    Most published authors seem to be bookaholics. That is the base level. Competition starts from that level.

    So... Start reading. Buy a book a week - and read it. It'll help your writing a lot.
     
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  5. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Member Supporter Contributor

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    Libraries are also an option if you're on a budget.
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I think the lack of reading would make it much more difficult. Is there any particular reason why you don't read books? And how many have you read in the past? If you've read a lot of novels and are taking a break from reading now, I would regard that as different from never having read many novels.
     
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Reading is where I learned how to structure a story. The easiest way to learn is by example. There really isn't a short cut. Nothing anyone says here is really going to help you much if you don't understand how a story is pieced together. @Alan Aspie is right that most if not all successful writers are readers. Honestly, I can't understand how someone can be much of a writer if that aren't a reader as well. I also don't understand wanting to write much outside of journaling for yourself or whatever if you don't like reading books. And just know that this is a really competitive thing we're all trying to do. Your competition is going to be well read (for the most part) and that's going to show in their work just as much as lack of reading will probably show in yours. If you really want to do this, crack open a book and see how the pros are doing it. Personally, I found structuring a story to be a pretty easy thing after years and years of reading. Read feverishly. It will help way more than you can imagine.
     
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  8. jannert

    jannert Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hi, Azarro! I agree with what everybody says about reading. Reading gets you familiar with the medium you are choosing to tell your story. It's not impossible (I suppose) to write without reading, but I can't think of any examples of this.

    Is there a reason you don't read? I know some people have eyesight issues, which means they can't read from the printed page very well. In any case, I would highly recommend that you get hold of some audio books. You can listen to them just about anywhere, when you have some free time. While you'll be listening to the stories being read out loud, they are at least in the format you'll be trying to re-create. It will get you familiar with how novels are structured.

    As far as your specific question goes ...well I have done exactly the same thing! Started my novel with a prologue from one of my characters' pasts, then moved forward (skipping several years) in Chapter One. However, I would be cautious about too much in the way of flashbacks after that, though. They can work, but they can also become distracting.

    At one point during my writing of my novel, I got so fed up with my flashbacking that I actually sat down on the floor with my manuscript and a pair of scissors. I cut all the flashbacks out, then re-assembled them in chronological order, interspersed with the other scenes I was writing about. It was funny how clear events became, when they were told in chronological order. Seeing it spread out in front of me like that told me what I needed to do in my story.

    In general, I'd say avoid writing flashbacks unless they are absolutely essential to be presented like that. They can be distracting for the reader.

    Anyway, welcome to the forum! We look forward to seeing you around, and getting to know you better. Have fun! :)
     
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  9. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    I agree.

    But you can't underline, write remarks, check things when you want to... if you use libraries.

    I've been told that you can also listen as much books as you like by getting some kind of "book spotify". (Some of my friends use these.)

    And recycled books are free or almost.

    And many ebooks don't cost much.

    But... you know... There is always enough money to buy books. (Don't buy cloths every year/decade. Eat less. Don't drink or smoke or travel.... There is always something less important you can skip.)
     
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  10. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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  11. talltale

    talltale Member

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    Prologues generally have nothing to do with the protagonist, so I would advise against putting the "meeting" there.

    Also, I would advise against putting both the past and present environment in the same chapters unless you plan on this back-and-forth being a story telling mechanism.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Prologues usually do have some sort of break from the main story--they may be far way in time, in place, or they may, yes, feature a different character. But I wouldn't agree that they generally have nothing to do with the protagonist. The Harry Potter prologue, as I recall, was about Harry as a baby. The prologue of In This House of Brede was about the protagonist several years (maybe a decade?) before the main beginning of the story. And so on.

    Edited to add: Hmm. Interesting; apparently what I remembered as the prologue in Harry Potter was just the first chapter? I don't have the book handy to check this.
     
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  13. Hammer

    Hammer Active Member

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    Pretty much anyone can write a story. Story-telling is one of the fundamental facets of humanity. We start as infants trying to explain why the broken window/missing cake/singed cat was nothing to do with us.

    Whether the story is publishable or even readable adds many more layers of complexity. There are generally accepted norms like spelling and punctuation which contribute to being readable, but on top of that there are subleties and style which make it enjoyable.

    The best way to start writing is to pick up a pen (metaphorically, perhaps; you can use a word-processor if you prefer) and write. The best way to learn to write well is to write a lot. The best way to learn to write with style is to read a lot.
     
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  14. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Hello friend, worry not. Despite the opinions of many, it is entirely possible to write without reading books. DON'T think to yourself "Oh, I guess I have to read before writing this thing I want to write"--no, don't do that. Pick up your computer, and write the chapter--however you can, as fumbling, poor, and terrible as it might be--write it. Just go do it. Right now.

    It might not be any good. But that's not what you care about right now. You're writing because you want to write. You're writing because it's important to you. You have the inspiration and energy and desire to put something from your brain onto paper--don't waste it.

    You can learn how to write better, and apply it to your writing later.
    At some point, you'll need to read. You won't necessarily have to read fiction, but you'll at least have to read books on how to write fiction, if nothing else. But that can all come later.

    The worst thing you can do right now is ask for other people's advice and opinions. I know it's scary to start something new, but forget what everyone else says--forget what I say, if you want. Just do the thing you want to do. You have to start somewhere, and you have to fall down and fumble through the dark for a bit. You probably won't write something publishable your first time through. But that doesn't matter--that's not the point. The point is that you're starting something that you WANT to do, because you want to do it. Just do it. Go do it. Go write.

    Everything else can come later.
     
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  15. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    That’s the main reason I started buying kindle books. I bought one on Amazon today- (a textbook) the kindle version was $9.99 while the print version was $79.99. I still buy print books, there’s this feeling I’m helping someone keep their job when I do, plus some books just aren’t available in a digital format. I have roughly 400 books on my iPad. Try lugging all those around as print books.
     
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  16. Azarro

    Azarro New Member

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    That's a good idea I didn't think bout that thanx
     
  17. Azarro

    Azarro New Member

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    I just find books boring in general. It's difficult for me to find books that really catches my attention. I dont hate books tho, there are books that have caught my attention lately and I'm planning to read but I'm not a bookaholic.
     
  18. Azarro

    Azarro New Member

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    Thank u:)
    I actually don't read books cause I find it boring a lot of times. Maybe because I've chosen books with stories that don't really get me. I've read good books too, It's just that the type of stories I like are difficult to find. That's one reason why I wanna write. I've read fanfics too so I don't know if that really counts but I think that idea of audiobooks is a really good option. I will try that and will be cautious with flashbacks. Thanx for the advice
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  19. Azarro

    Azarro New Member

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    Thanx for this good advice, it really gets a pressure of my chest reading this. Honestly I don't want to let these ideas in my head vanish cause I think they would make a pretty good novel in the far future. Plus like u said the desire to write is there and I can't waste it. The thing is I had the insecurity that something like storytelling is only possible when u read but thinking bout it everything can help u with storytelling and what u mentioned that reading is to help make ur story publishiber and readable for others. So what I understood is after u know what u wanna tell ur gonna have to learn how to tell them (by reading books), but at least u won't forget what they were cause u wrote everything. Thanx again for this advice:)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  20. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    @Azarro No problem!! If you want a great video about this, feel free to send me a PM and I'll send it over.
     
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  21. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    Idea is a start. Execution is The Thing.
     
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  22. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Member Supporter Contributor

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    I thought Childs was The Thing. Or maybe it was McReady.
     
  23. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    Not anymore. The Thing got executed. So... Execution took it's place. Now execution is The Thing.
     
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  24. jannert

    jannert Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It does take a while to find books that you really like. I know I struggle sometimes to really get into a book, and I'm a voracious reader, and always have been. But something just has to 'click,' doesn't it? It's like anything else, really. TV, movies. You won't love everything you watch either. But some of these things will become favourites.

    Don't worry about forcing yourself to read what somebody else tells you is a 'good' book. If it doesn't grab you, it doesn't grab you. Everybody's taste is different.

    However, if you find it boring, it's a good idea to pinpoint WHY it's boring. Then, whatever that writer is doing, don't do it yourself. A lot of writers say they are more inspired by reading bad books than good ones. They read a bad (or boring) book and think: I can do better than THAT!

    You might want to try browsing through Amazon. Put a category into the search bit (Fantasy, etc), and take a look at what comes up. Read the blurb, and then open up the 'look inside' feature. If what you see sounds like something you'd enjoy, give it a try. The 'look inside' is crucial, because it lets you make up your own mind whether you're likely to enjoy the book or not.

    What is important (in my opinion) is to find a few books you DO like. You can then keep them in mind for your own. If they don't bore you, they are good role models. How do they handle giving information? What are their descriptive scenes like? How do they present their dialogue? You can do worse than imitate an author whose book you enjoy. Obviously you won't steal their story :eek: but it's perfectly okay to steal their style. :)

    edited - I do agree with @Infel. It's important to write. And write without asking for opinions, at least until you're done. Get that story that's in your head out there on paper (computer), so your ideas don't get lost and you don't lose enthusiasm for it. You can work on the form of the story later on. Don't let worry hold you back. Get writing! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019 at 7:33 AM
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  25. almostvoid

    almostvoid New Member

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    ah you mentioned style --- I came apart at that. Wasted thousands of words. Trying to write like Lovecraft! Talk about hubris---there was a good -at first- British horror writer ----Campbell --- who started at first doing this -ahem much better- but still it read different even as this writer is exceptional--and when he found his own style he was really off and away and doing some creative malfeasance which left that other American author somewhat predictably tame in comparison.
     
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