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JBI
July 27th, 2006, 03:10 AM
Just wondering, how much of your story/novel/literary piece do you guys have planned out before you start writing. Do you know everything you plan to write? or do you write it as you go? do you add characters in as you go, or are they all prewritten and just added in? How much of the plot is pre-descovered and how much comes in as you go?

Just curios, share opinions/answers please.

PlanetRetcon
July 27th, 2006, 03:18 AM
I've tried it pretty much every way, and for me personally, I need to know the start (duh), the end, and the characters. Intermediate goals are nice, but I usually come up with those on the fly. So long as I keep the ultimate goal in sight everything seems to work out, and the plot can go wherever it needs to. It can even change my ending, if a new, better ending presents itself. I love it when that happens.

Characters, though, I have a tendency to fall for my characters, and a minor character that wasn't even planned for can jump out at a moment's notice to totally derail my story. I have to keep them very much in check. I've had more than one story go to pot because characters kept leaping out and demanding larger and larger parts of the spotlight. Most recently, I actually FORGOT about the MAIN character for about 20,000 words. By the time I realized it, the story was pretty much ruined, and I haven't got the heart to start over or try to fix it.

All this is, of course, extremely personal. Some people need to know exactly what'll happen before they write it. Others cannot know, lest they feel to constrained. I fall somewhere in the middle for plot, and toward the "more planned" end for characters, though I tend to write both more off-the-cuff than I should. That's why I prefer writing serials and short stories to novels. Less time for me to screw up :D

JBI
July 27th, 2006, 03:27 AM
Characters, though, I have a tendency to fall for my characters Pygmalion eh, just kidding. Does that have any affect on how much air time or how they end up in the plot? Since you are pretty much building most of the novel as you go, does you love of a character change their role?

Holbrook
July 27th, 2006, 04:24 AM
Just wondering, how much of your story/novel/literary piece do you guys have planned out before you start writing. Do you know everything you plan to write? or do you write it as you go? do you add characters in as you go, or are they all prewritten and just added in? How much of the plot is pre-descovered and how much comes in as you go?

Just curios, share opinions/answers please.

50/50... Depends on the story, but most are based on a lot of research which forms the backbone of the work.

Akkarin
July 27th, 2006, 05:51 AM
I have the bad habit of often writing without much thought beforehand. I usually have an idea of the characters, and a vague idea of where I want the plot to go, but little more than that.

It's probably the reason most of my stories fall flat on their face.

PlanetRetcon
July 27th, 2006, 07:08 AM
Pygmalion eh, just kidding.

Hehehe.


Does that have any affect on how much air time or how they end up in the plot? Since you are pretty much building most of the novel as you go, does you love of a character change their role?

Well, when I say "fall for" I don't mean like romantically or anything :D But generally, if a character hangs around for more than a couple pages I start to think about thier past, their likes, their dislikes, where they live and where they grew up, why they moved from where they grew up to where they live, why they broke up with their first girlfriend... And suddenly it's 10 pages later and the main character is nowhere to be found, but these 4 other characters have taken up his torch and are saving the world for him. 50 pages later, they're mute and the guy who sold them a latte in chapter 7 is swinging from a chandalier. It's disturbing, and unless I keep a very careful check on the characters, it happens every time.

My best book (in my opinion, as very few have read my stuff), the 5 main characters spend most of it totally alone, cut off from the rest of the world. I can NOT throw new characters in, so the ones I have actually make it all the way through.

KatG
July 27th, 2006, 11:32 AM
I've found that the less I have worked out beforehand, the better. Nonetheless, I do have basic concepts in mind, and as I go, I do research, which results then in plotting ahead of the writing, at least by a little bit. The hard part is keeping track of the ideas for later in the story that pop up in your mind when you're, say, driving a car.

Hereford Eye
July 27th, 2006, 12:40 PM
I usually start with a character and a problem -say, a Radthorne cg picture - and go from there. I can remember the time when the research brought things to a stop - or, at the very least, a lengthy pause - while researching some needed information. Nowadays, the internet provides me eveverything I need as I go so there are no long diversions away from the story.
Or I start with a problem and go find a character to fit it as I did for The Cold Cliches. The title and story from Tom Godwin's The Cold Equations kept going through my mind, I had just re-found it in an old American Lit textbook. My title was solid; I just needed to a story to fit. Once the story started, I needed to compute how long it would take to orbit a star at a 40AU distance. Thank god for the Internet and for Neil. Even with the data available, I still managed a classic goof that Neil graciously and tactfully got me to correct.
Started with lyrics for a few stories and verses from Shakespeare for a few more, announced to my subconscious we were ready to start, and characters showed up to take the story where they needed it to go.

Rhiannon
July 27th, 2006, 02:46 PM
I usually know a very big chunk of the story before I start, though things can always change as I'm writing. I'll know the main characters and some of the minor ones, the beginning, the end, and the major events on the way to the end. I don't really try to figure these things out, they just occur to me as I'm thinking of the story, which is why planning is so fun for me. It's like an idea chain-reaction in my head.

I cannot even concieve of what it would be like to write a story without knowing what's going to happen next. I'd feel so lost.

kahnovitch
July 27th, 2006, 03:12 PM
Do you know everything you plan to write? or do you write it as you go?

As abe Simpson would say... "A little from column A, and a little from column B."

Stories and characters tend to take on a life of their own at certain points and you can easily get lost in the moment as you let it flow out.

I think this is inevitable though as the creative process never stops.


I needed to compute how long it would take to orbit a star at a 40AU distance.

About 248 Earth years, i.e. roughly the same as Pluto?

I am right! Do I get a cookie! ;)