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January 21st, 2001, 06:38 PM
Just wondering what other people do before they write a novel. What kinds of outlines do you make? How about notes? Many? How are they aranged? Do you have easy access to story ideas or character personalities?

Do you keep a writing or research journal? What's in it?

What's your writing background? Read any writing books or take any classes?

What about research? What kinds and how much?

Although I'm not currently wrtiting, I'm in the process of gathering information. Right now I don't feel as though I'm knowledgeable enough to write the book I want to.

Right now I have a couple dozen notebooks full of story and character ideas, as well as miscellaneous facts about history and other pertinent subjects. I file these away every so often under categories such as "culture", "gods, "religion", "protagonist", "quotes", "cities", etc.

I get this information by reading books. I try to buy most books, but also go to the library (although I hate not having the books after I have to return them). I'm reading many types of books from a few on middle ages, one on renaissance, one on regency England, some on wilderness, survival, and tracking, as well as several more. I have a set schedule of reading 3 books a day, 20-30 pages in each book. Its time consuming, but what I feel is necessary to get the info I need.

Rob B
January 22nd, 2001, 02:48 AM
I usually let an idea sit in my mind for a while and gather some substance. Eventually I will put it to paper(or computer).

I have a notebook that I use for most of my ideas. For one of the worlds that I will be writing in and about, I drew a map of where most of the story will take place.

Some other sections of the notebook are page to page and half character description.

I jot down an outline and basic themes and struggles I would like to tackle in my story.

I didn't take any writing classes in school, but I did pick up three very helpful books on writing:
-On Writing by Stephen King
-How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
-Character and Viewpoint by OSC

All three very helpful and insightful books.

Umesha Chalanie
January 27th, 2001, 10:52 PM
Once upon a time, there was this girl who loved to write. But, being young and naive, (and without any training except from primary ang high school english) she thought that all you had to do was sit in front of a conputer and start typing.

Now, this little girl has grown up somewhat, and after beginning to write the same novel four times over, she has realised that a good idea isn't enough. Damn it, you need to plan. So it was a good thing she paid attention in her Life Education class on how to do just that.

She invested in a big book (even though she hates to write manually) and started to plan, research, develop the setting, plot, characters and so on. After about fifty trips to the State Library, hundreds of sites on the net and just plain thinking, she has succeeded in filling almost a quarter of that big book.

Now, she still hasn't started to write that novel for the fifth time, but she's a lot more prepared than the other four times. So, while this isn't quite a happily-ever-after story yet, she (still being fairly young and niave) hopes it will be.

January 28th, 2001, 10:11 AM
Reading 3 books a day, Pluvious? If only we all were so lucky. You must have a lot of time on your hands, I envy you.

I'm self-taught, for all it's worth. I began writing when i was about 12 and wrote two stories, then i graduated from high school and decided to learn to write better. I read articles on how to write and read a few of those how-to-write books..and found that for some reason my writing became worse. I'm talking fall-asleep-after-reading-half-a-page bad! So I chucked it and went back to my old way, which is sort of doing whatever's necessary for the project at hand. the bigger the story the more of an outline I need. For my research i use the library and the Internet. I keep a file folder where I put all the notes I make, my ideas and sketches (I illustrate my own covers--don't plan on having anyone else's art on my own books) and individual scenes, all quite random. The last project I completed started with an outline that was half outline and half first draft.

January 28th, 2001, 01:25 PM
I would say I read about 2 hours everyday (not including fiction), not unlike when I was going to college. Anyway, you can always make time for whatever is your top priority. I'm sure their are plenty of people who read that same amount in fiction everyday. Unfortunately, unless the rewards seem worthwhile, not many are willing to spend their free time on something that is difficult and "not all fun", or provides immediate satisfaction. That is what seperates the published from the non-published writers. Those who get published expect to be published because they know themselves and how much they have put into it.