× Please remember that experience is relative. Just because you aren't a completely new author doesn't convey a right to throw around the weight of your experience as if you are Stephen King, Jim Butcher, or Brandon Sanderson. Unless you ARE Stephen King, Jim Butcher, or Brandon Sanderson... in which case, go for it. :)

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The process of writing -- discussion

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2 years 4 months ago #52211 by Anne
Anne created the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
I am, as I have discussed here, (or maybe not) among other things, a discovery writer. I rarely go beyond the first scene of a story before starting to pound out a draft. Thus none of my story, not even the original Idea gets committed to electrons until I set it down. Often as not the story first occurs to me as I'm resting for the night, or while sitting and idling away an hour or so at video games. But without an outline, or at least some what of an idea of what the conclusion is that the story should have, I often find that I have a whole disk full of story starts with none complete!
I'm aware that I probably should jot down what I think of as my opening scene, then write at least a bit of why that represents a crisis worthy of a story, and what the resolution of that crisis should be before I go hammering up 23,000 or so words in a ramble such as I have posted as Nowherevile here and that in this one as with many others I failed to think through the title I gave it. I have this one on my disk as Vibes, and am not particularly enthused about that title either. So how many people get an initial idea here and actually analyze it and write an outline before they start hammering things down on their keyboard if that is where you do your initial work. If you don't work directly to the computer, how do you use a note book and when and why?

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2 years 4 months ago #52215 by Valentine
Valentine replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
What's an outline?

Oh, I generally have an idea of where I want to go, but the trip is an exploration into the unknown. I've even had characters just take the reins and go where I wasn't ready for them to go.

Don't Drick and Drive.
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2 years 4 months ago #52216 by Anne
Anne replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
Honestly, for fiction, a minimal outline of crisis and resolution would probably do. I just get scenes. I'm not even sure if the scenes are crisis, resolutions, or just slices of some character's life that is interesting to me at that moment.

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2 years 4 months ago #52218 by null0trooper
null0trooper replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion

Anne wrote: So how many people get an initial idea here and actually analyze it and write an outline before they start hammering things down on their keyboard if that is where you do your initial work. If you don't work directly to the computer, how do you use a note book and when and why?


Not me! Which is to say, well, not exactly. Let's start with two examples:

"Let's start with a different reason for a kid to end up at Whateley, and make it dark" became the initial idea for Abelyn Marie 'Smithy' Elliott. Later came the brainstorming regarding how a family could have gotten to that point and what could mean for the child, but we already had a challenge and a resolution.

Reading a bit online about Danish culture + a demotivational poster that amused me became "Rudolph the Danish Drill Sarge" as I thought more on what it would take for that photo to be taken, and what would happen after someone got their hands on it. How would the school react? How might his government react?

In place of an outline, I do have various notes and story fragments collected in text files here and there to describe the characters and what needs to exist or have taken place to get them where they are. I also have a few rough calendars of events for things that could impact the characters, or not. Beyond that, in my head I have a number of scenarios that might be interesting, but whether they get used depends on how the characters evolve along the way.

Anne wrote: I'm aware that I probably should jot down what I think of as my opening scene, then write at least a bit of why that represents a crisis worthy of a story, and what the resolution of that crisis should be before I go hammering up 23,000 or so words in a ramble


"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans."
-- J. Lennon (He's dead now, by the way)

The setting has defined challenges and milestones built into it. Whether they are crises or not depends on what the characters know and how they react. Sometimes the resolution is that the characters fail. Or, the logical outcome of the putting X characters in Y setting is that they would not put themselves in that Z situation.

Forum-posted ideas are freely adoptable.

WhatIF Stories: Dream A Little Dream For Me

Discussion Thread
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2 years 4 months ago #52220 by Anne
Anne replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
Thank you for your input. I hope others are finding this either informative or helpful. It is somewhat good to know that my writing style isn't entirely unique. And that maybe if I can get just a bit further over the hump of finding the resolution for my stories, that I may actually be able to write something that more than half a dozen people read!

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2 years 4 months ago #52236 by Katssun
Katssun replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
Honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if outlines or frameworks or overviews or whatever I plot out, are actually hurting my ability to finish anything.

I get an idea, muse goes crazy, stays stuck in my mind until I put it to text, and then she's satisfied because I wrote out the laziest of stories: a summary of the beats.

Yes, it helps me come back to things months or even years later, and occasionally I'll get another wave of demands from my muse to work on a specific story...but I'm not getting anything done. The middle never gets written because the setup, narrative hook, climax, and conclusion were written out.
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2 years 4 months ago #52237 by Anne
Anne replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
That is interesting, everyone it seems has a different set of areas where they are weak. I don't know how well my latest effort has gone, I kind sorta got Kelly to Whateley now, but that is maybe the end of the first part of the story, what happens next? Shall I abandon her and Sally to tell other stories? Or shall I see how she interacts with people like Razorback, Diamondback, Imp, and the Secret Squirrels... Who would be about to lose their minds over her in some ways! The ultimate (since they don't know about Jade's actual power set) spy!
All I know is that where I am now is a weak ending, yet I'd like to be able to call the story done. Not because on the web we have any word limits, but because it just seems to me to be a fairly natural breaking point if I can pull it off, certainly I don't want to end up with in essence a wallatext while trying to summarize things to pull off the end of the story, which is what I usually end up with. Of course with the paucity of feedback I only know that right now some people have told me that the whole thing reads a little stiffly. Which, by the way I'm aware of, but what is posted to the forum here is at best draft .5... Which means that if I can actually get a fair ending on the thing, what I need to do, and need some help with is to help smooth things out and to break up the points where I start writing sentences that could compete with Paul in the Bible for complexity!
So while this thread isn't about that in particular, is anyone willing to come alongside me and help me past that set of humps?

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2 years 4 months ago #52240 by Sir Lee
Sir Lee replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
I can't give good writing advice, because if I knew anything about writing long-form fiction, I would have managed to finish at least one of the... let me check... twenty ideas for stories I have sitting in my hard disk. A couple of them have been sitting there for twenty years.

But I can (sometimes) write short stories. That's because short stories are written around one single concept -- and, once I have that concept, the rest sorta fall in place around it. In a short story, lack of depth, backstory etc. can be a strength, removing distractions from the single core concept. That's in a nutshell how all my Whateley Micro-Scenes came to be; that's how my single TTH story, "Italian Passion," came to be; that's how a short Star Trek: TNG fanfic I posted to the lists a long time ago came to be...

But when I try to go into long form, I get bogged down in the details. Take my Whateley fanfic "Mezzo", for instance; I have way more than in most of my writing projects -- a well-defined protagonist, a rough outline of how Jana gets her powers, I know how the story ends (at Whateley, with her a student, natch -- it's a prequel, after all)... but I STILL seemingly can't make it flow. I keep adding stuff, and then figuring out that it doesn't work and having to cut it off...

But mostly, my main problem with writing is that I have trouble figuring out how the story should end. I think of an interesting setup for a story, and then... what? It's like I have an idea for a neat scene, but it's just a couple minutes in a movie. Like, say, if the only idea George Lucas had about Star Wars was the duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan. It's a neat scene, but how do I get from this to a whole movie? Sure, that scene implies a lot of things I can work from backwards to create earlier parts of the story where the characters are introduced... but going forwards is an entirely different problem.

Don't call me "Shirley." You will surely make me surly.

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #52243 by Anne
Anne replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
Well when I first met Kelly (the story I'm currently working on) I wasn't even sure it was a Whateley story. It was just about a boy, badly injured, not even sure how he came to be injured, in the woods, knowing that he can barely see a landmark that dominates his home town. So, can he make it home? Oh! Oh! There's something wild and hungry in the woods! Can he think well enough to escape those? There's the landmark, it is certain that he has found that much, he's against the fence that defines it... but it is a long way around that fence, wait a minute, maybe he can get under the fence? Does he want to get under the fence? Oh! Oh! There are wild and hungry things even closer, but there might be a ghost at the house inside the fence. What should he do? Inside the fence and facing a ghost is better than inside something wild and hungry!
But now he's cold and wet, he needs shelter, but with his injuries can he make it to someplace sheltered? And even if he does, will he survive? Because as cold and wet as he is he needs a fire to get warm eventually...
Ah, there's the house, he arrives, not without struggle though. And then... He's burning out! Now he's too hot! Need to get back in the water. Good thing there is some close, and he's able to think of that.
That actually was as far as I was going to go, except that I wasn't sure about having Coyote there, and Coyote just happening to be a female shard, and then the story got away from me. But the first three sentences of this piece are about what I started with, that and the idea that the place he could see might be haunted.
So, considering what I have posted, how well did I do on conveying his struggle, his angst and his eventual winning through, though not without complications? Take the first 'chapter' and treat it as if it were the whole of the story...
Last Edit: 2 years 4 months ago by Anne.

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2 years 4 months ago #52257 by Camospam
Camospam replied the topic: The process of writing -- discussion
I guess I look at it more as telling a story, is it to entertain, convey a message, get that nagging monkey off your back who won't let you sleep cause you can't think about anything else (that last bit might just be me). I like to have a plot as opposed to an outline, then have objectives / high points to achieve that plot, I will usually write the high points then mesh those into the story.
For me doing it that way helps me see if the build-up between objectives is good enough to satisfy and support that high point and keep writing toward that end goal - moving forward with a purpose: tie up loose ends along the way, prepare for the next hurdle.
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