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It's not that I have a lot of writer's block, it's the mash-up of stories I'm compiling that all have to fit together in some way. I have outlines and I have a heap of unfinished stories, all going into one book(quite a mess that has amassed into 245 pages). It's been fun, of course, but I'm looking for some kind of inspiration to make the work go faster and for everything to come together in all ways and directions written of, coming full circle. I'm also obsessed with the idea that a character in a book can claim to write it.

My question is how to organize these ideas into a finished book.

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Could you please modify this in the form of a question? The whole point of this site is to provide answers to questions, and I didn't see one here! One suggestion might be to ask how you can organize a collection of stories to provide better structure for a proposed book. –  Steven Drennon Sep 14 '11 at 19:03
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Ok, additional content added. –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine Sep 14 '11 at 19:31
    
If you have no idea how these numerous stories can cohere into a single, unified work... they might not. Tell me why you think they do belong together, and I'll be able to tell you how to bring that unifying element to the fore. If you can't... maybe they're just unrelated, or semi-related, short stories, and your book will be an anthology. Does that make sense? –  Standback Sep 15 '11 at 8:05
    
They all have a similar setting, which is the Metaverse, as well as ancient earth after the metaverse is destroyed. The time continuity may jump around a little, and we see different things happening during the same timeframe. There is the ongoing idea of the 16 stones and the High Lords of the Power Gates, as well as the 4 empires. All of this pervades the scope of the major arc. I could make an anthology, which would be easier, but I want something that comes together and comes full circle. –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine Sep 15 '11 at 17:16
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4 Answers 4

You are trying to do too much at once. You're flailing around in a cloud. The easiest way for me to get out of the cloud is to start asking and answering hard, definable questions, and completing hard, definable tasks.

  • Create and define a character.
  • Decide what you want the character to do. Give the character a reason or reasons for doing it.
  • Start the character at some distance from the goal. "Distance" can be physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, any combination of the above.
  • Give the character some friends. (Or don't.)
  • Give the character some enemies. (This can include the character him/herself.)
  • Establish some obstacles the character has to surmount to reach the goal.
  • "Things go wrong." Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Sketch out an outline of how the character gets around the obstacles. Include how the friends help and the enemies hinder.

Everything else is details.

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Yes, I am flailing around in a cloud, but creation is messy, especially when you are creating a Metaverse(outside the Universe)and a new science based on 16 polarities. To quote E.L. Doctorow: "I write to find out what I'm writing, and once I get a sense of that, the hard work begins. It's like driving a car at night, when you can't see beyond the headlights but somehow you get through the night." –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine Sep 14 '11 at 19:36
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Some of the enemies are really friends and some of the friends are really enemies, which I'm sure is quite common. –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine Sep 14 '11 at 19:40
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nothing wrong with friends and enemies switching places, or having it happen more than once. And I didn't say creation wasn't messy; I was giving you somewhere to put your feet while you Fiated the Lux. :) –  Lauren Ipsum Sep 14 '11 at 19:52
    
Thanks Lauren. "Fiated the Lux" is a new phrase for me. I like it! Can you elaborate more upon it please? :D –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine Sep 14 '11 at 19:55
    
"Fiat Lux" is Latin for "Let there be light," the phrase which the Judeo-Christian deity used to begin making life, the universe, and everything in that religion's creation myth. I was punning on your comment that you are creating a metaverse. "I was giving you somewhere to put your feet while you created the universe = I was giving you a structure for your story so you have something to hang your created universe on." –  Lauren Ipsum Sep 14 '11 at 20:22
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Lauren has some very good advice there, but the one thing I would add would be a timeline. If the stories you already have are tied together in any way, then try to lay them out on a timeline to show the order in which they occur. Even if they are not tied together, as long as they have a common setting, you could still use a timeline to establish an order for telling the overall story.

Another thing to consider is looking for a common thread. If you have one character that is common to each story, then try to organize each story based on that character's experiences and the order in which the events occurred. If each story has a common theme, then group them together based on how the different characters perceive that theme.

The main point is to find some way in which you can provide some consistency to your stories. From what you have posted, I get the sense that you may have a collection of short stories or perhaps each separate story is a chapter or scene from a single overarching story. Figure out how to tie them together and then start putting them into place.

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I focused on the phrase "a character in a book can claim to write it." Does this mean first-person narration? Or are you being more philosophical/theoretical?

If it's the second, I have no idea how to help you. But if it's the first, I think that idea could be what helps you organize things. Let's say you want one of your characters to be telling these stories. WHY is s/he telling them? Think of Arabian Nights, or other collections that have a framework around them.

For example: You could have a framing story, in which your narrator encounters new people, and, in an effort to help them understand the narrator's culture, tells the strangers the stories. The first chapter/story of your collection could be the initial encounter, the last could wrap up the interaction. If you wanted to, you could have short vignettes between the stories giving more details about the framing story, and how the interaction is progressing.

This may not work - I think you need to decide what ties all your stories together. But if the main thread is that they all take place in the same world, then this framework might help.

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There's always the classic: "Joe walks through life oblivious to everything, wanting excitement and really wild things". Then have a short story of what he did in a day, and possibly write him into each story in a background way (He might be at a bar where a fight has broken out previously, and the barman is clearing up the mess).

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