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30
votes
9answers
1k views

How does one deal with world builder's syndrome?

I am a planner in the extreme. I tend to drift toward fantasy oriented novels when writing; it's just what comes out. This means that I do quite a bit of planning for the world that the story will be ...
25
votes
9answers
629 views

What are the first things I should do with an idea?

I have a lot of ideas for things I want to write, but I usually end up getting lost in a stream-of-consciousness and either lose interest in the idea, or suddenly feel overwhelmed by the breadth of ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

Decide on a theme/overarching meaning before writing a short story?

When writing a short-story, is it typically a better practice to construct a point to exemplify through the short-story when writing to highlight a certain truth? In other words, construct the ...
16
votes
12answers
759 views

How much planning should go on before beginning writing?

I really want to begin my first novel, but I'm just not sure how clear of an outline I should have before I start. Is a detailed synopsis of each chapter really necessary, or is it enough to just go ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Keeping track of multiple plot lines

How do you track several plot lines woven together? I usually run 2 or 3 plot-lines in parallel, so I detail those plots each in a separate document. But as the book goes on, it is sometimes ...
14
votes
8answers
320 views

Are there any places to have community story development?

Are there any places or ways a group (general public or individually invited) of people can individually contribute to a communally developed story? For example, a website or collobaration tool ...
13
votes
13answers
729 views

Resources for character development

I'm weak at building characters. What resources are there to create rich characters? I'm thinking beyond name generators: Quirks, biography, diseases like allergies, hobbies and jobs, wealth, omens, ...
13
votes
3answers
231 views

How do you avoid the problem of a collaborative work having separate voices?

I've not done collaborative writing before, but I've read several works, and sometimes the text strikes me as having a split personality: some parts were clearly written by one author, while others ...
12
votes
8answers
453 views

I'm not a great pantser; what kind of preparation do I need for NaNoWriMo?

I'm very appreciative of NaNoWriMo's "your first step is writing a crappy first draft" credo, and I like the motivation that NaNoWriMo encourages. I'm precisely at the point where what I feel I need ...
11
votes
3answers
248 views

Is it a good idea to write a summary of a plot before writing the full version?

Sometimes when I write a plot I get confused about the motivations of the characters and how events connect as I change elements. Is it a good idea to write a summary first in order to organise ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How does one implement effective foreshadowing?

I am a "reread reader" - that is, I like to read the same book more than once. The books I have the most fun reading again are the ones that effectively foreshadow what comes later in the book. This ...
9
votes
6answers
472 views

World Building vs Story Writing

Note, this might be off topic and belong on World Building SE? I have always been far more interested with building the world my stories take place in than the stories themselves. I will spend large ...
9
votes
2answers
311 views

How do I decide if writing expository scenes that won't be in my finished novel is useful, or procrastination?

I tend to burn out developing my stories before they even reach the page, so I'm taking some advice to pants a novel. I didn't quite follow the advice to the letter; I used an idea that had been ...
8
votes
5answers
404 views

Am I too prepared to do NaNoWriMo?

I've been wanting to do NaNoWriMo for years and finally decided that this year will be the one. But I already have extensive notes and a plot outline, and I'm concerned that this might actually trip ...
8
votes
3answers
161 views

How to go about breaking up a looooong YA story?

A while ago, I played around with a short story idea in a genre I don't normally write (Young Adult fiction). The story took on a life of its own, growing quickly to a novella, and now is definitely ...
7
votes
5answers
134 views

Getting details of a past century right

I have been gathering ideas for a novel. The basic idea is in place; the story combines two different eras but the same place. How do I get the little details about the place, the people, their life ...
7
votes
5answers
262 views

Every idea for a story I come up with seems excessively long

I already had practice with very short stories, like with 1-3k words, writing literally first things that came to my head. The next logical step would be to write something about 8-12k words, because ...
6
votes
5answers
677 views

Character Development - How much is too much?

I've read loads of books where the reaction and development of characters seems to extreme for the events that effect them in the story. However not having any development makes the character boring, ...
6
votes
4answers
444 views

How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?

The crime of conspiracy is a limitation on free speech in the united states. Merely talking about, in fine detail, a crime can get one charged with conspiracy. It is slightly more complicated than ...
6
votes
3answers
136 views

Where is the best place to “twist” a series?

I have plans for a fantasy trilogy in which the main characters defeating the threat in each book simply makes way for the new threat of the next book. This way, the main characters can continue to ...
5
votes
2answers
165 views

How/When to include twists when developing plot.

Disclaimer: This is a new question, not an extension of my other questions concerning twists. When I develop fiction, I start with a premise and a theme. I have a general idea of where I'm headed, ...
5
votes
3answers
324 views

Deciding the setting: real or invented?

I'm preparing some material because I have the intention of writing a book. I'd do this in every type of work, but considering that I'm writing Crime Fiction, this is even more important. I've ...
5
votes
3answers
270 views

How to plan dialog and keep it on track?

When I'm writing a plotline, it often works out that I know two characters will be meeting each other in a particular scene, and that they will converse. And I oftentimes know the central idea of what ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How detailed should I be when writing a character bio?

Basically, I have about 7 or 8 characters (excluding the antagonist) who each have important roles in the story. My problem is that my characters tend to develop themselves, so to speak. I have no ...
5
votes
2answers
103 views

Any helpful tips on how to, better use description in my writing?

I feel as if, the novel I am writing will have a great plot and I have some creative ideas on where to go with it. My only concern is my ability to develop description through out my story. Any tips ...
4
votes
3answers
402 views

How can I develop my ideas?

A problem I run into frequently is that I am struck by an idea, more accurately termed "a premise," for a story, but then I can't decide what to do with it. I think of a million ways to present the ...
4
votes
6answers
366 views

Can't write, can plan

I can plan all sorts of specific aspects in a novel such as characters, locations, and the plot in general, but I struggle to actually write it the way it is in my head. How do I learn to write rather ...
4
votes
3answers
79 views

How to write when thinking in multiple languages?

When writing, scenes come to my mind in different languages mixed together. For example in a single scene a description will be in French, some dialogues in English, with a few words of Spanish and ...
4
votes
2answers
125 views

Websites that offer book/movie/story analyses useful for writers?

I was wondering if there are any websites that offer analyses of stories, written or otherwise, with the intention to teach people something about writing and storytelling? I realize I can just ...
4
votes
2answers
178 views

How do you visualize plot structure?

I want to visualize the internal structure of my plot. I noticed several contradictions, and want to better understand what's going on in my tale. I'm not talking about differnt characters doing ...
4
votes
2answers
171 views

What existing platforms use crowdsourcing to develop creative writing and editing?

What existing platforms use crowdsourcing to develop creative writing and editing? What are the barriers in developing an active community? Why would this not work? Has it been tried? Was it ...
3
votes
8answers
454 views

Is it OK to invent as I write, or should I plan the entire story first?

I have read Harry Potter and am a big fan of J.K. Rowling's writing and I had always had this urge to blog and to write. So, I started a blog - 2200 Common Era. I've the basic idea of writing a ...
3
votes
7answers
194 views

Story development: Multiple characters premises

I am used to stories which have one premise which through sequential events is proven by the character. A few stories like war stories can have several premises each linked to a specific character, ...
3
votes
5answers
288 views

How specific should I be when outlining the plot?

One problem I often run into when trying to make a general outline of the plot for a story is how specific I am in the descriptions of events. Generally, this happens when I have written a portion of ...
3
votes
3answers
64 views

Non-human protagonist - Good, bad, or up to the writing?

In a novel I plan on writing soon, the main protagonist (and indeed nearly everyone else in the story as well) is an elf. Humans are present, but they are far in the mountains, living in disorganized ...
3
votes
6answers
79 views

Where does the power granted by a theme come from?

A novel that has a theme - that is, something to say, a message - has a weight to it that a novel without a theme cannot achieve. I'm sure there are those that might disagree with this, but I believe ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Is a chapter the equivalent of a sequence?

When I do my daily writing, questions often pop into my head, and I jot them down to ponder later on. I was going through all the papers on my desk today and couldn't help but wonder: are chapters in ...
2
votes
4answers
152 views

How about a story as a series of anecdotes?

I have a concept for a story I'd like to do where my purpose for writing the story is simply to explore a hypothetical society by means of anecdotes about the members of the society. But this sounds ...
2
votes
3answers
109 views

How to develop a more regal language

I'm trying to write a story from the medieval times. As expected, some of my characters are kings and nobles and I'm trying to make their conversations.... More regal..... More elegant, you could say. ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Dealing with lackluster plot failure

So, I wrote the beginning of something about novel-sized. I drafted totally sweet, lovable protagonists in an interesting, original relationship, I placed them in a solid world, I painted the ...
2
votes
3answers
160 views

How can I cut my prep work to get to writing more quickly?

When it comes to fiction writing, I love creating characters and watching them run with the story under my pen. I spend a lot of time at the office coming up with exciting ideas of what and who to ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

How should I execute this idea?

I'm writing a story. This story will be longer than a short story and shorter than a novel. The story is of a hacker. He is at a stage in life where he wants to reflect therefore he writes his story ...
1
vote
7answers
368 views

Thinking of a story for the past 10 years as an inexperienced writer, what should I do?

What should I do about a story that has been in uneducated development for the past ten years? Should I delete the story and do something else with my life? Below I provided a quick summary of the ...
1
vote
7answers
120 views

Three Act Structure - How do I include it?

I've been writing for four years without knowledge of the three act structure. When I discovered it about a year ago, I therefore had no room for it in my writing process, mainly because I had ...
1
vote
4answers
79 views

Getting help and/or mentoring, later in life

For context, I am a forty-something male from the Great Lakes region of the United States. I work full-time as something other than a writer. About 25 years ago in high school, I was an ...
1
vote
3answers
107 views

Stranded Society Speaking Same Language

Let's start with a scenario: a dozen babies are left on an island in the middle of the ocean and are brought up by monkeys. When they come of age, they are mean to find a message somewhere on the ...
1
vote
3answers
37 views

Pieces missing from my narrative

I have this (IMHO) cool idea for a general storyline I want to write about, and one or two ideas for characters. However, I'm really struggling to go about fleshing it out. It's like having a string ...
1
vote
3answers
64 views

How do you call the non-writing parts of creating a text?

When I sit down and put words on paper or type into my computer, that aspect of creating a text (like a novel or software manual) is called "writing": I store the content of my text in letters. But ...
1
vote
3answers
186 views

When developing a stage play, whose gender matters more? The characters' or the actors'?

When striving for gender balance in a play: What is more important, balance among the characters or among the actors? (Given that all characters are written as individuals, and not as stereotypes.) ...
1
vote
4answers
200 views

Visual methods of plot development?

My 9 to 5 job is in an office, which has made me very adept at using flow charts and graphs to plan out my projects. Are there any writing methods which employ charts, graphs, or other visual ...