Writer's World

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Re: Writer's World

Postby stargazer » Jan 17, 2017 8:06 pm

Welcome back, Avra! Good luck with your newest novel draft.

Congrats, stwin! I'm looking forward to ordering and reading your book.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby SummerSnow » Apr 01, 2017 3:40 pm

It's the first day of April, which means Camp NaNo has started! Camp NaNo is a lot like the NaNoWriMo in November, but it takes place during two separate months in the spring / summer. Since June is the next month with thirty days, I think that will be the next one. I was wondering if anyone is doing Camp NaNo in April (or in June, though it's a bit early to start talking too much about that).

I am not officially doing Camp NaNo, since I don't want to commit to the time it would take. You can be a rebel (even officially, I believe), but I opted to stay out of the cabins, and instead try to work on the plot for a book idea that has been on my mind for the last couple of months.

Essentially, I am separating it out into four weeks, which is essentially characters, world building, general plot, and then more specific outlining (chapter breakdowns, specific scenes, etc).


I am definitely not someone who has ever plotted and done much of an outline. I nearly always give up in the first part of outlining. I'm hoping to change that this year, though, because although I still like writing without any clear plot, some of my books really need to be written in the context of an outline.

I'm really sliding into it easily as I can, starting with characters and world building before getting into the actual plot. I'm also not going to worry too much about specifics. Although I would definitely like to get an outline of sorts, I don't think this book will require a super detailed outline. It might, of course, but I won't find out until I start writing it.

What sort of prep do you do for your fictional works? Are you a planner, a figure-it-out-as-you-go-along writer, or a mix of both? I'd love to hear any suggestions on how to make an outline and how to plot in advance. ^_^
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Meltintalle » Apr 05, 2017 11:11 am

Ooooh, best of luck with the outline, Summer! Sounds like you have a solid plan for your plan. ;)

I'm not doing Camp NaNo in April, since I've got a bunch of stuff going on the first half of the month. Even if I were, I ought to do some editing on previously existing stories as opposed to starting a new one (as attractive as the idea may sound). ;))

I'm still working on figuring out an outline that works for me. I started just quickly summarizing the scenes/opening where I knew what I wanted to happen, but that still often had me coming to the point of, "Okay, this is the end but I have no idea what happens???" and so the endings are less than satisfying. So I've been toying with questions like:
    What's changed since the beginning of the story?
    Is there a reveal of something that's been hinted at throughout?
    Are there consequences to the reveal? (Is the reveal actually the end???)
    Am I being specific about what I want to happen? <--this is probably the biggest one so far as to making it feel like I have a plan
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Re: Writer's World

Postby SummerSnow » Apr 07, 2017 7:10 pm

Thank you, Mel! I am finding it far easier to make the plan for making my novel outline than my actual outline (if that makes sense) unfortunately. I've determined not to give up, even if I end up not getting as far as I would like, though!

Yes, starting a new story is a most exciting diversion. Even while starting on this outline, I got inspiration for another story. :p I wrote down the ideas and firmly told myself not to be distracted. Of course, then I got some more ideas for that one, and not my original.

Ah, yes, I've had that problem as well. I do like the questions you brought up! They're not too overbearing (sometimes, I find those sorts of questions make me want to run in the other direction).

Are you working on anything right now? (right now, as in more or less actively over the past year or so, not necessarily during this month, since you're so busy!) And are you still working on Harold North?
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Meltintalle » Apr 08, 2017 9:36 am

One idea does seem to spawn several others, doesn't it? And if you can quickly write them down, then you can pick the one you like the best. Or at least, that's the thought. ;))

Good luck as you enter week two and worldbuilding! It sounds like a good progression to go from characters to where they live--is it working for you?

I am still working on Harold North! Sort of. I mean, I'm still trying to plan out proper revisions for two of the stories that spun off the original and I have the outline for the one where the setting is changed to outer space. And it looks great in the outline, it's a lot of fun and I really want to read it, but I can't get the opening scene to fly. :(

The other major thing I've been poking, without visible progress, is the revision of my NaNo manuscript from 2015. It's currently a tangled mess of ideas, lopsided structure, and "Why did I choose this viewpoint character other than the fact that they're around for the significant plot events?" As soon as I can get the main character to actually engage with their character arc, the rest should fall in place, but as of right now I could take out my heroine and replace her with a cardboard cutout and it would be marginally funnier because of the slapstick of everyone else dragging a cardboard cutout through their adventures. :p

I did write a complete outline for a story based on a prompt of, "What if the Chosen One turns out to be a (formerly) trusted henchman of the Dark Lord?" It looks like it'll be fun, whenever I get around to writing it.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby SummerSnow » May 04, 2017 7:22 pm

That's what I've been trying to do. I keep on writing stuff down and telling myself that I'll simply have to come back later. Of course, there are always the ones that don't seem like the best idea, until you get a new idea connected to it when you've already started on the other one.

I don't think it really worked to separate the two that much. I didn't finish planning, but I think I will probably try this again next time I need to plot. However, it's a bit hard, though, since they're very connected. At least as far as how their environment shapes certain aspects of them. I think I do prefer working on the characters before world-building, but I might try it the other way around at some point. We'll see.

I'm going to be traveling for part of the summer, and so I have decided that I'm going to take some notes for research. I'm not sure if I will try to find a story for the research, but I think it might be easier if I could imagine characters in that setting. So, I'll be taking a break from my Camp NaNo plot (research, I decided, was an acceptable diversion from it), but I'll probably start working on it again in the fall. I've been considering doing it for NaNo, but I suppose I'll have to see where I am at that point.

Oh, yes, the space setting! I think I've heard a bit about that, though I don't always understand what is going on. :ymblushing: I hope you get the opening scene to work out soon. Do you think that it is the writing itself, or are you having problems with how to start it exactly?

xD I would really like to read a story about the characters having to drag the cardboard cutout all around! It would make certain things very difficult, but at least the cardboard cutout wouldn't need food or anything like that.

Oh, that sounds interesting! I'd love to hear more about that when you get around to writing it.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Sonny » May 05, 2017 4:39 am

I love the story ideas in my head but they are so hard to get out! There are novels I've started years ago that are nowhere near completed. I just... never seem to be able to keep writing. I have one particular book that I really really want to finish, but I feel so woefully uneducated... I would pick a courtroom drama as my first major novel! How does anyone do the research for that?
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Re: Writer's World

Postby shastastwin » May 05, 2017 5:44 am

Sonny, some things that come to mind for researching a courtroom drama (aside from watching LOTS of Law and Order ;)) ):

-- Read other courtroom dramas -- especially if the authors are connected to law (John Grisham, etc.).

-- Sit in on some court cases if you can.

-- If you have any friends who are lawyers, ask to pick their brains (I have a friend from church who's in criminal law, so I would definitely be pelting him with questions if I were writing something like this).

I hope that helps. I sympathize with having trouble getting words on the page and finishing things. The book I mentioned on the previous page is only the third one I've finished (and the only one I've finished and edited) in the 15 or so years I've been writing "seriously".

Currently I'm working on two projects: The sequel to Albion Academy and a short story/novella that's a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling (with a few modern twists). The BatB story is actually helping me jumpstart my writing habit after close to two months of almost no progress on the Albion sequel.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ryadian » May 27, 2017 12:07 pm

Sonny wrote:I love the story ideas in my head but they are so hard to get out! ... I would pick a courtroom drama as my first major novel! How does anyone do the research for that?


This is why I stick to the realms of fantasy, sci-fi, and superheroes. There, no one's going to care much about the details you get wrong. ;))

I know what you mean about story ideas, though. They love to show up in the weirdest places, but actually forcing them out of your head and onto paper is a lot like trying to take a 4D image and draw it on a 2D surface. ;)) Your ideas are never kind enough to sort themselves out and figure out all the details in between!

The only time I've ever really finished anything was when I did it as a NaNo project, and even then I'm usually unhappy with the end result and I never want to go back to it. ;)) Ironically, the one year that was an exception to that was the year that I just started with a brand new project where I had little to no plan and had no intention of following up with it. I've since adapted many of its elements to flesh out another story that my brother and I are working on. ;))

One thing I've been trying to do in recent years is to try to focus my stories. When I was younger and had more time, energy, and creativity (and less sense of quality writing :P ), I'd pretty much just write whatever idea came into my head, which is how I ended up juggling dozens of different stories all at the same time. ;)) I've narrowed my list down closer to 7 unrelated stories, and while they won't work as sequels, some of them at least fit in the same world, and I'm trying to identify common themes/storylines and figure out how I can make them part of a larger narrative, instead of me having the same basic ideas with different characters over and over. ;))

While this does help a bit for focusing, sometimes I feel like I'm trying to hard to squash all of my story ideas into a workable mold, and in the process I squeeze out on the weird things that made me interested in them in the first place. There are days when I'm not sure I'm a very good storyteller, I think I just like to make up new characters and justify their existence. *Siiiigh* :P

Oh well. At least I'm writing again. I found the transition from part-time to full-time work a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, so I almost stopped writing entirely for the past three years because I didn't know how to balance my time. Right now I'm working on the story I've developed most over the last 10 years, even though I keep starting over almost completely from scratch every couple years. :P My goal this time: write down a complete draft and DO NOT start anything over for any reason. Kind of NaNo style, except without the words per day push, more the "just get it on paper and stop worrying about how awful it is". ;))
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Meltintalle » May 28, 2017 2:48 pm

Summer wrote:Oh, yes, the space setting! I think I've heard a bit about that, though I don't always understand what is going on. :ymblushing: I hope you get the opening scene to work out soon. Do you think that it is the writing itself, or are you having problems with how to start it exactly?

I don't blame you for not understanding what's going on--there are days when I don't understand what's going on in the story and I'm (supposed to be) the one writing it. ;)) I think the problem is in the writing. I know the setting and situation I want to use, I just can't get the balance between exposition and action to flow and carry the characters and reader into the next scene. Ah well. I'll figure it out eventually. 8-}

*cheers Rya on* You can do it! If nothing else, you'll get a little closer to your goal. :D
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