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DarkMatter15
January 7th, 2003, 09:29 PM
Hey everyone. I've come up with a theme for a book and have been continously thinking for a year and half about the plot, characters, places, etc... The problem is, I'm having trouble organizing all my thoughts and ideas for the book into the right order. My questions are:
How long do you think about a book/story before attempting to write it?

How do you organize your thoughts and ideas? Notes? Outline?

Do you sometimes begin writing books/stories without thinking about later plot events? Sometimes just on instinct when something comes to you?

Cephus
January 8th, 2003, 01:15 AM
Originally posted by DarkMatter15
Hey everyone. I've come up with a theme for a book and have been continously thinking for a year and half about the plot, characters, places, etc... The problem is, I'm having trouble organizing all my thoughts and ideas for the book into the right order. My questions are:
How long do you think about a book/story before attempting to write it?

How do you organize your thoughts and ideas? Notes? Outline?

Do you sometimes begin writing books/stories without thinking about later plot events? Sometimes just on instinct when something comes to you?

I'm very plot-heavy. I don't put a word on paper until I know EXACTLY how the basic storyline is going to go. More plot elements always pop up during writing, but I know exactly what and when major events are going to happen. Otherwise, I've found that the story goes all over the place and never really comes together.

Holbrook
January 8th, 2003, 01:38 AM
It depends on the type of story.

A short one some 1500 to 5000 words. It is very rare I plot these out. They tend to burble out over an afternon, Then are edited, trimmed, added to and altered over a period of time as I think on them.

I also value other peoples thoughts and ideas and often put work in progress up for critique on this and other writing forums. Or send to a mate I know who will tell me if I am writing rubbish or have something going.....


Major ideas, quite often I get an idea write a rough plot line then work on it over a period of months. Doing research if any is needed, thinking of angles, characters, where I want the story to go. This can take from a few months to a year. The work can lie untouched for ages then I go back and start again. I go over the piece, alter, add etc....

A couple of times I have just started writing. Some of my best work has happened this way. Though after about two or three chapters I have to stop and think about where the story is going and how I want it to be. (I have a piece at this stage at the moment) My current novel out there seeking to be published came about this way, though it is only 86,000 words so it wasn't a heavy, detailed work more of a romping adventure...*g*

My work tends to be character driven. What the characters, feel, see, do and say is far more important in my work than the colour, size and nature of each blade of grass. Unless said grass is of importance to the characters. I try and give enough detail to show the reader the type of place/land etc the characters live in through their actions and words. Show don't tell. I prefer the reader to use their imagination rather than me set them out a blue print for everything.

Often I recycle ideas from old outlines that seem to fit a new story. Or work from a common root. Characters also jump ship and end up in another story, which fits them better.

I find you never really stop working on a peice, even when it has been submitted to publishers. ( I have just re editied my second book to suit a certain type of market)

One thing I have learned, don't rush the work. It will get there in its own time. The more you rush the more holes there are in your logic, plot line and characters.

This is my own method of working. It might not suit you, best thing is to try different ways and find what suits you.....

mistri
January 8th, 2003, 04:54 AM
"How long do you think about a book/story before attempting to write it?"

Some ideas don't seem fully formed and just sort of sit in my head for a while (up to a year or so) until another plot element jumps out at me and completes the puzzle. Other ideas are almost fully formed from the beginning. You shouldn't create a rule to say you have to think of an idea for a certain amount of time - deal with it on a case by case basis.

"How do you organize your thoughts and ideas? Notes? Outline?"

I find that when I try to write stories and novels without any sort of forward planning that I hit blocks far more frequently.

Not everyone can work by outline but it helps me. For my current WIP I used my most extensive outline yet. I created a spreadsheet in Excel with columns for basic chapter descriptions, then short scene descriptions for those chapters, and then any other important additional info. I let myself divert from the outline, however, if the story calls for it, and I don't always outline all the details and subplots that may be present. This also helps so that if I do get stuck on a scene I can start working on the next one, because I know what should have happened.

Do whatever works for you - whether it's no outline, a brief synopsis or something more detailed.

mistri

milamber_reborn
January 8th, 2003, 07:12 AM
I have a stories folder containing my novel ideas then subfolders:
-novellas
-novelettes
-short stories

I also have a research folder and names folder.

inside each individual story folder, I have the "'Title' ideas" file, and a "Title" file if I'm writing it.

I just add things to my ideas files when something opos in to my head. Short stories I think of an idea, expand it, come up with names, write it the next week, and so on.

I would never just write. I like to know exactly what I am going to write, but not in great detail. I usually think in detail the night before about the next day's planned writing.

Cephus
January 8th, 2003, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by milamber_reborn
I would never just write. I like to know exactly what I am going to write, but not in great detail. I usually think in detail the night before about the next day's planned writing.

I still think it's very odd that some people would just write with no planning and no plot whatsoever. I suggested that to some people who insisted that they could *NEVER* plot anything, they just wrote and let their characters tell them what happened.

I guess these are also the people who do 20 re-writes, as it doesn't make any sense the first couple drafts.

Holbrook
January 8th, 2003, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by Cephus
I guess these are also the people who do 20 re-writes, as it doesn't make any sense the first couple drafts.


To say that after a couple of drafts that the work is finished does not make any sense. :)

I find that once the work is finished then the hard work begins. Editing, rewriting, checking, altering, tightening, changing.

Leave the piece for a month then go back, again you can see what need improving or could be done different.

Yes there does come a point where you have to say "That's it!" But a piece needs as many re-writes as it needs....


Yes I plan, but sometimes the idea comes and I start writing..... It might be related to a pervious piece it might not.... but sometimes it helps you as a writer to just create once and a while.....

choppy
January 8th, 2003, 11:46 AM
What has worked best for me is to not plot everything out too heavily before writing because much like a battle plan, it rarely survives first contact. As soon as I start writing things change.

That being said I usually have two files for a story (novel). The first is the actual story, and the second is a reference file that allows me to jot down character names, plot ideas, notes on how things work in the universe etc. The reference file is usually pretty chaotic.

Usually at the beginning I just start with an idea and begin writing - sometimes something flows out of it, sometimes not.

It's also a good idea to have a research file as well. Especially for anything that's growing into a complete novel. I find that once I start researching, the story ideas begin to swell.

Cheers.

DarkMatter15
January 8th, 2003, 02:24 PM
Thank you everyone! I've taken into consideration all of your views and suggestions and I think I will experiment with many of them. I hope I find something that works for me.
Thank you---------D.M.

P.S. Keep your suggestions coming!

DarkMatter15
January 8th, 2003, 02:27 PM
One other thing, could someone please tell me how to get an image in my profile. I'm not very good with computers.
Thank you------D.M.