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June 23rd, 2007, 06:16 PM
This is mostly for process freaks like myself. You've had the million dollar idea, planned out the important events, got all your characters lined up and then can't find a way to put it all together. How does everyone got about 'completing' that idea?
('Just writing' as an answer will earn people death by ninjitsu HTML torture ;) )

June 23rd, 2007, 09:25 PM
Usually I use a "trial and error" approach. I write a scene or two and if I like it, I keep going. If not, I file it and start over. I take it one scene at a time and I tend to go in order of events as I see them unfolding to the reader in various plots.

What I get hung up on often are details. When I skip over too many details the writing gets boring and unimaginative. But when I include too many, the writing becomes a boring slog of unnecesary information. The trick is putting down enough information for the reader to understand what's going on, and adding just enough icing to enhance the experience.

I don't know if that really says anything at all. (I hope you aren't sharpening any throwing stars just yet.)

June 23rd, 2007, 11:10 PM
Do you have a list of scenes yet?

June 23rd, 2007, 11:13 PM
i know exactly what you mean about gaps Kater, one of my storylines just fell into one. I hate when that happens because I usually end up not going any further for months.

Basically I just have to sit down and have a brainstorm. I have to think about all the posible ways I can take the story, rule out what makes sense, what doesn't and so on. Just writing helps sometimes, but you can also write yourself into even more of a corner.

June 24th, 2007, 01:00 AM
Well, except for the part about million dollar idea, I know what you mean.

I've been known to brainstorm, write notes all over pages about how to get from point A to point C in a story, knowing full well I'd rather choose the X route than the B route, but not having a clue what either of them would be. I don't outline my stories until I've written the first draft.

If you're at the beginning of the process, write the parts you know, i.e. situations and characters, or both. Sometimes in the process of filling out the story you know, you find a path that will take you to an old man on a mountain... wait. That's something else.

Sometimes you write the B route, and hope you come up with something better when you edit.


James Carmack
June 24th, 2007, 08:07 AM
Ironically, the suggestion that will get me HTML torture is actually what's working to get me through my difficult-to-plot SF novel. I just write and the next step conveniently presents itself.

An more passive approach is to just wait for inspiration to hit you. You know, a dream or something. I don't recommend relying heavily on this, though, as it's by no means a regular and reliable tool.

Another option is to think on what you've got and ask yourself "Logically, what's the next step?" "What situation would help me get from Point A to Point B?"

Fiddle with the different techniques people suggest and you'll find what works best for you. (You might want to keep those other techniques in your bag of tricks as backup, just in case Old Reliable ever starts to fail you.)

June 24th, 2007, 08:36 AM
Find something in the story that can join the dots. It can be a character, a situation you want to build too, an event in the past that affects the story, an item of some kind, something that has to be done. Anything really! Just something that draws all the characters and events together and work with that.

June 24th, 2007, 09:28 AM
I do have a "just write" approach, too. What this means is: one thing follows from the other. Often, I have an outlined scene in my head, a direction. Most of the time, this outline/direction has little to do with where the scene ends up. Every written scene than "modifies the big picture". Currently, I have two conflicting endings in mind; I still tend towards the original, but elements of the new ending might find their way into the conclusion, or the new ending might take shape. There's a core-concept, and the rest of the story gravitates around that. Since the core-concept is never directly addressed (though a big part of it will be the "prologue" to part four); it's just the centre of gravity.

June 24th, 2007, 03:03 PM
Heh, it's a difficult thing for me to explain - I have 'everything' I want, near enough, to tell the story, all planned out. What's missing is that I can't see 'how' it happens, it's not a tangible reel in my mind. I have it on paper in terms of 'x does this, y does that' but actually writing down what happens and making it real is something I can't get my head around. Or elucidate it seems.
(The HTML threat was because I knew it was an answer I'd already understood :) ) Gah why do we write :o

James Carmack
June 24th, 2007, 08:04 PM
Gah why do we write :o

Because we can. It's a lot like mountain climbing, only with a slightly lower risk of hypothermia and hypoxia. ^_^

Here's an approach that might work for you: Force it. No matter how contrived it is, just make the two pieces go together and go on forward. Later, when you're going back over the manuscript, a more natural fix might come to you (or a great deal of thought will be required). Bear in mind that real life doesn't always develop "naturally", so you shouldn't be afraid of a little contrivance now and then in your fiction. It's a thought.