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Thread: Planning out a story

  1. #21
    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    ? You mean 'wrote'? Yes.
    Oh wow, I wasn't clear at all. I meant, "short story that I wrote, that you also read."
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    Oh wow, I wasn't clear at all. I meant, "short story that I wrote, that you also read."
    Ah. Well, they both read like that. The world was clearly understood and the plots were fine for short stories but didn't seem developed as main plots for a novel. Is that what you're asking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    Ah. Well, they both read like that. The world was clearly understood and the plots were fine for short stories but didn't seem developed as main plots for a novel. Is that what you're asking?
    That works. I just need to start writing, no matter how crap or how incoherent it is.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    Do you write short stories, or novels?

    I'm torn. I've read some blog posts by authors that are arguing for outlining, and they make a pretty good case. But I've also read some authors arguing that seat-of-the-pants writing is more organic and is better, and they also make a good case.

    I know it's one of those "whatever works for you" kind of things, but that means work on my part. Not even work on writing (which I'm well-acquainted with), but work on the method of writing. I need to work on how I'm going to do it. It's hard.
    I write short stories in my spare time. I've occasionally entertained the prospect of turning them into longer works, but I never get around to finishing it. I like to say that I have an unfinished novel of unfinished novels.

    And yeah, I agree that it's a "whatever works for you" type of deal. Good luck to you on whichever path you ultimately choose.
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  7. #25
    tWebber Carrikature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    Interesting, thanks. I've (sort of) thought about doing the November novel writing challenge, but it just doesn't really appeal to me. I can't imagine that anything I wrote in that month would be at all good anyway.
    It's not supposed to be. My sister had the same concern when she was considering doing it this past November. I'll tell you basically the same thing I told her: start out with the assumption that whatever you put together will be ugly. The point is to write. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to be coherent. Just write. The artists and authors and craftsmen of all sorts that produce things you like started out making junk. It's going to be junk because you don't know what you're doing yet. The only way to change it is to practice and practice and practice. So make a bunch of junk and don't worry that it's junk because it's just the first step of many on your journey. When you get a little ways in and think "this is junk", you can tell yourself "so what" and keep moving. When you have moments of goodness, and you will, you can proudly say to yourself, "for a bunch of junk, some of this isn't half bad".

    The second thing I told her is this: part of the point is to establish a habit. It doesn't matter if you hit 50k or not. Write every day. It's a common enough claim that it takes 30 days to start a new habit, and NaNo is a good jump on it. If nothing else, the sheer need to write, to just get words down, is momentum begging to be used.
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  9. #26
    tWebber Carrikature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    So to get specific, this is my problem: I don't have any characters yet (no primary ones, anyway--I may or may not have some secondary ones), and I don't have a plot yet. I have a general setting, and some good--I think--ideas. What should I start with? I'm not going to get really excited about outlining right now, but I still need some sort of starting point. Any ideas?
    Start with what you have: a setting. Ask yourself a bunch of questions and write down the answers. Some questions to consider: who lives in this world, what do they do, what do they wear, what do they like, what problems do they face, do they have the power to fix their own problems, how do they feel about this power (or lack thereof), how does their own power (or lack) affect how they treat other people, and what motivates them.

    I haven't read your stories, so i don't know the setting, but people are people. Most settings need rulers of some sort, and there's probably a religious order (or fifty) with god(s) that are worshiped in a bunch of potentially conflicting ways. People need to eat, and the guys who make the food tend to be the bottom of the totem pole. Some of them don't mind, and others have kids who dream of being heroes. Somebody somewhere is cheating on someone else, and there's probably a jealous significant other waiting in the wings. Man vs man, man vs nature/universe, and man vs himself are the cornerstones of storytelling. Pick one of those (or all of them, if you're bold) and put them in.
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  11. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrikature View Post
    Start with what you have: a setting. Ask yourself a bunch of questions and write down the answers. Some questions to consider: who lives in this world, what do they do, what do they wear, what do they like, what problems do they face, do they have the power to fix their own problems, how do they feel about this power (or lack thereof), how does their own power (or lack) affect how they treat other people, and what motivates them.

    I haven't read your stories, so i don't know the setting, but people are people. Most settings need rulers of some sort, and there's probably a religious order (or fifty) with god(s) that are worshiped in a bunch of potentially conflicting ways. People need to eat, and the guys who make the food tend to be the bottom of the totem pole. Some of them don't mind, and others have kids who dream of being heroes. Somebody somewhere is cheating on someone else, and there's probably a jealous significant other waiting in the wings. Man vs man, man vs nature/universe, and man vs himself are the cornerstones of storytelling. Pick one of those (or all of them, if you're bold) and put them in.
    I do actually have one story posted here, but...it's not very good. My other two, which I'm not going to post here, are much better. I think, anyway.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

  12. #28
    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    I do actually have one story posted here, but...it's not very good. My other two, which I'm not going to post here, are much better. I think, anyway.
    You're wrong - it a good story with potential. You need to polish it.

  13. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    You're wrong - it a good story with potential. You need to polish it.
    Oh, thanks. I am intending to rewrite it, I just wanted to announce, in case anyone here reads it, that I don't think it's very good.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

  14. #30
    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    It wasn't bad. However, if I were you, I'd read six or seven books or stories by Poe THEN work on the rewrite.

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