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TheEarCollector
April 28th, 2006, 11:47 PM
I haven't posted in a while... to be entirely honest, I have been absolutely sick of writing for the time (too much forced writing... too many term papers, thank god I end this misery in 2 months), but this doesn't mean I have stopped telling stories...

I am at the point where I think I am ready to jump back into writing my story but I have a problem, and it is mainly an organization problem.

I have the feeling that I have to write it in order (yeah yeah I know I don't but I FEEL like something is wrong when I do it out of order). I get this feeling because I will be in one section, start working out another, and then something changes... and then I have to go back and everything evolves. Does it make the story better? Yes. Does it help me get anywhere? No.

How do you get your stories (the big ones) from a story in your head/skeleton that you can recite in a half hour oral story into the in-depth tale you want to tell on paper? Any tips are appreciated.

JWREmmett
April 29th, 2006, 01:02 AM
Check out the book 45 Master Characters... it features structural models that encompass any story.

I disected The Hobbit and LOTR, and both fit the same type. The other type describes a writer's journey rather well...

kater
April 29th, 2006, 03:59 PM
I think the important thing is to have way points marked throughout the story. Whether they are a small event or a major event, you can use them as markers both for your progress and in the, dreaded, event of editing. By setting up these way points you allow yourself plenty of room to write, and even re-write, freely between them whilst still maintaining enough basic structure to progress.

It depends on the type of writer you are, if you need heavy structure to get from a-b-c then plan it all out chapter-by-chapter - your ability to tell the story orally should make it easier because you are able to say 'this event follows this event, and then this occurs' which gives you numerable way points. If you like to write loosely then set-up four or five events that you have to have along the entire length of the story, then just write up to each one.

The other way to do it is by character. Consider each character's story as separate except where they need to cross, which allows you to write several shorter stories and breaks up the need to write for an extended period. If you work on one character's story per day then that keeps everything fresh, and the fun is putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle :)

Dazzlinkat
April 29th, 2006, 04:32 PM
Steps. Take it in steps. From the oral/in your head stage, write an outline. It doesn't have to be a perfect out line but should lead you from beginning to end.

Then go back and write in depth for each point on your outline. At this stage, everytime I add a character I do a character sheet [has description or character and items they have/ info they know(pertinent to the story) and answers who is this, what are they doing, where are they, when does this happen, why are they doing this, how are they doing it and/or how do I want them to influence the story]. When I get stuck on a outline point, I ask myself the who, what, where, when, why and how. Even if it isn't a completely written part, at least I have added a LITTLE more detail from the outlined point.

The next step I take, which only one of my WIPs has reached, is to expand on the second step, cleaning up bad writing, adding new content. Also, here I do character sheets for each scene, making sure I keep track of pertinent items used. Perhaps his ring only has three wishes but when you go back you find he used it 5 times OOPS! I also do the questions for every scene I had them in. One character 'sheet' is actually on its fifth page! (Its a main char).

After this step, I don't know, that is as far as I have gone so far.


I have the feeling that I have to write it in order (yeah yeah I know I don't but I FEEL like something is wrong when I do it out of order). I get this feeling because I will be in one section, start working out another, and then something changes... and then I have to go back and everything evolves. Does it make the story better? Yes. Does it help me get anywhere? No.


You will find no matter how well you think your idea in your head is/ how chiseled out your story is, it will ALWAYS change. If you dont want to take the time to go back and fix something, write a note on the change in a handy notebook and save it for the re-write then forge ahead.

Holbrook
April 30th, 2006, 02:45 AM
I have tried lots of times to say how I write, but in the end nothing comes close to the process.

All I can advise is open a word document and start putting down the story. Keep at the front of your mind the projected outcome of your tale. Where you want it to go and where you want it to end.

Any outline of mine never survives contact with the written work, it is altered and changed with each scene written. I suppose most of my work is like a bush, which has to be trimmed and shaped as it grows. The final shape is never what I originally imagined.

Hereford Eye
April 30th, 2006, 08:44 AM
I am always amazed and in a little awe when I see the discipline with which writers proceed in their work. I suspect that it is what missing in my stuff, discipline, because to me it is never work until I go back and start editing.
The process of telling the story is pure, unadluterated joy. I start with an idea, as with my last short story, the image of a hands holding a bowl, a tea ceremony, and the idea that the personhood is being sacrificed for the benefit of the client. From that starting point the story flowed, not because I knew where it was going but because it developed a life of its own as my fingers played with the keyboard. I passed a couple of hours in sheer fun just letting it come.
This is true of everything I've written; it always starts with an idea and goes wherever the idea takes itself. The work happens when I go back to edit the thousand little goofs my fingers accomplished during the process.
As I mentioned, I suspect this is why nothing ever sold, undisciplined musing mostly of interest to me. Coming to grips with the 'okayness' of this idea has taken a while.
I yield the discipline to the rest of you. Me, I'm just going to keep playing.

TheEarCollector
April 30th, 2006, 10:40 AM
I think my pure unadultered joy phase comes from imagining the story/occassional storytelling (it has to be the right mood), but writing, actually putting it down on paper, can sometimes be a chore.
The story changes, the wording doesn't feel right, there are so many little things to get hung up on and I think that is just what the biggest problem for me is... getting hung up on little stuff.

I honestly can't tell you where my stories are going until they get there.
Can I make an outline? Somewhat... but only as far as the story has played out in my head, by the time I get further into the project more of it is developing (sometimes quicker than I can record and stuff is being lost... I hate that) and sometimes that is all subject to change depending on how the story is altered once it is in ink...

Expendable
May 2nd, 2006, 01:10 AM
Ask yourself what would happen if that little detail wasn't there.

Better yet, write it.

When it's time to edit, you can look at it and ask yourself if adding that little detail is important or not.

Get writing.

TheGhost
May 2nd, 2006, 07:23 AM
Are you suffering from computer fatigue? Sometimes it's of benefit to just leave the computer behind, particularly when you're feeling that writing is more chore than joy. So do your writing somewhere else and in another way. My suggestion: write by hand. I hand wrote almost all of my 2nd manuscript -- currently editing, sort of. Get some small office supply notebooks (around $5 for ten 50-page flip notebooks) and keep one or two with you at all times. When I was taking classes last year, I would get a lot of writing done on the train, and other times I'd go to the food court at the local mall. I think I went through 30 of these notebooks before I was done.

Writing by hand also has the nice side benefit of discouraging immediate editing.


Ghostie

KatG
May 2nd, 2006, 09:19 AM
I think my pure unadultered joy phase comes from imagining the story/occassional storytelling (it has to be the right mood), but writing, actually putting it down on paper, can sometimes be a chore.
The story changes, the wording doesn't feel right, there are so many little things to get hung up on and I think that is just what the biggest problem for me is... getting hung up on little stuff.

I honestly can't tell you where my stories are going until they get there.
Can I make an outline? Somewhat... but only as far as the story has played out in my head, by the time I get further into the project more of it is developing (sometimes quicker than I can record and stuff is being lost... I hate that) and sometimes that is all subject to change depending on how the story is altered once it is in ink...

You may have to give up outlining altogether, EC. One of the surprises I found was that I'm not an outliner per se. At a certain point into a story, I start outlining because I'm figuring out where the plotlines will go from what I have, but the writing does work easier for me, at least in the beginning, by not having a plan. And whatever I've written, I may end up changing.

It may be that you are wise to write "in order" so that your brain can make up stuff as it goes. But you may need to throw out the outline altogether or stick to very basic notes that you may or may not follow. Because it may be that if you work with an idea in planning, you kill it in writing, but if you pair planning and writing together, it will work for you.

Walter Mosley said that he saw writing ideas as like smoke -- if you put them away for later instead of playing with them, they would dissipate and you wouldn't be able to dredge up what interested you in the idea in the first place. That may be what is happening to you -- you plan out the idea to write someday later, and then when you finally get to the writing, the interest has evaporated. So if you put off the writing part for less time, with less pre-planning, you may be able to reverse the effect.