Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

21

Having more details than you need, is not a bad thing per se. Many writers do that, and it often leads to an authentic world, even if the reader isn't aware of all these details. It is especially helpful, if you plan a long series of books for the same world. But you are describing procrastination. You do not want to start, so you do other things, which ...


17

The unfortunate part of any answer to this question is that you have to find what works for you. That said, I have heard from several writers that having a small notebook in a pocket, purse, or other bag that goes with you all the time is an ideal way to keep track of ideas. This might be ideas for starting a story, snippets of conversation that you know ...


16

The only thing that matters in planning, is doing it long enough to make you feel comfortable writing about your story. There are two types of writers, "With an Outline" and "Without an Outline". Try both styles and see which works best for you. It's important to figure out if you do your best writing with constraints or without them. Find a middle ground ...


16

Two things: I prefer to read stories where there are no overt themes being highlighted by the author (or else they're so subtle I can't tell, or not noticeable because the characters and what's going on are too interesting). Choosing themes first then constructing a story to illustrate them will probably end up sounding contrived. I find when I focus on ...


14

For fiction that can accommodate different POVs, dividing those up per author not only addresses this problem but can be a feature. For cases where you want a unified voice, if you can't get a tough editor like Lauren Ipsum suggested, try having the authors edit each other's sections. In technical-writing teams I've found that this drives the material ...


12

Yes. Write the summary. Write an outline. Write it on notecards so you can rearrange things and reconnect elements in different ways. Use string. Write up briefs of your characters. Know their backgrounds, their personalities, motivations, likes and dislikes, fears and loves. "Brief" is a misnomer. Otherwise you don't have a novel. You have logorrhea. ...


12

There is no harm in starting Nanowrimo with a basic plot outline. Writing without plotting is very hard, and few people other than Stephen King can pull it off, as I said in another answer. The reason many people fail at writing is because they fail to finish anything. Everyone has great ideas, about books that will become best sellers, movies that will win ...


11

Rather than focusing on a single point as if you are writing an essay, you may want to focus on an ethos you want to create. View your story as world-building (this is something you will find Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game reference frequently). The world you are building will reward certain behaviors by your characters and punish others. The ...


11

Some writers are outliners. Some writing advisors are adamant that outlining is necessary. Other writers are "discovery writers," because one of the reasons they're writing is to discover something (the story, the characters, what the author really thinks about some theme, etc.). Also known as "pantsers," because they write "by the seat of their pants." ...


10

I think NaNoWriMo is a great idea for beginning writers, those who just need to get their butt-in-chair time taken care of. But I don't see a point to it for established writers who already have a system in place that works for them. What's your ultimate goal for the project? Do you want something publishable, or are you just trying to get words on a ...


10

If you want to unify the voices: Get a tough editor. Explain to him/her that you have two authors and you want to standardize their voices. You might pick a passage or a chapter which particularly reflects both writers, and say "make it all sound like that." Then be prepared to have a whole chunk of everything rewritten. ETA: Examples of things which ...


9

If you're still getting novels written, and don't have a pressing need to write them faster, I'd just go with what you're doing. Make the world real to you, and it'll show up in the story. Have maps (just don't be afraid to mess with them as needed) and backstory. One of the things that stands out in Tolkien's work is the feel that Middle-Earth is a real ...


9

When I was studying sketch writing, we were taught to not worry about storylines and events, but rather about characters, relationships, and their motivations. The motivations then lead to some conflict and the personalities lead to a resolution. In sketch (essentially a five minute play that tells a short story), the arc was pretty much, introduce ...


9

Reuse the worlds! Force yourself to write novels within the worlds you have created until the number of background pages is eclipsed by the number of story pages. Surely that much detail will give you more than one story. Let the stories be unrelated, you don't have to write a series, just stay on the same planet/in the same universe. This has the ...


8

As justkt said, everyone is gonna have their own method. This is mine: Try to summarize the idea into short, detailed sentences. What works for me is to fit in as much of the premise as possible. Then, following that, put down any minute details that you want to include. The idea here is to include everything you'll need to rebuild the idea exactly as you ...


8

That is a tricky question, there is a good reason for a cliffhanger at the end of the first book to increase the interest in the second one, but that might be hard if it's your first book sale. I think the best way to go about it, at least in the case of your first book, is to hint that there is something bigger in the background. Both through out the book ...


8

One planning task I find useful is listing out all the chapters and a 1-2 sentence overview for each of what happens. If I have a better idea of what it'll be about, I'll also say what I want to reveal in that chapter, eg. Shows Character A's weakness for peanuts. What you end up with is a pretty good idea of the plot and how it progresses, but it's still ...


8

I assume every anecdote would have it's own plot, conflict and resolution? Otherwise there would really be no point in telling them. There are four types of stories: world based, event based, character based and idea based. While it's true that all stories need to have some kind of a plot to be interesting, the plot is not the main focus of every type. ...


8

I decide what should be written next only when I am writing that. This called being a "pants writer" or a "pantser," meaning that you write by the seat of your pants. It's completely valid as a workflow, IF you are then willing to go back to the beginning when you're finished and edit with a firm, even harsh hand. Just because it spews out of you ...


7

This is kinda obvious but it does definitely affect breaking up the story, so I think it deserves emphasis. Being a recent graduate from the Young Adult market, I strongly recommend that you divide it in such a way that each standalone book ends on some kind of incredibly surprising cliffhanger, or an ending that has the reader ferociously needing to know ...


7

Some writers produce better stuff when they plan and outline and world-build a lot. They're sometimes called outliners. Some work better by just jumping in and writing (discovery writers). Everyone is different, but you can learn which one you are (or rather, where you sit on the continuum between the two extremes) by trying both, for example: I began ...


7

As the other answers suggest, this is largely an approach to be decided upon by the author - will work for some, and not for others. Stephen King said in "On Writing" that he preferred to get the story out and focus on theme afterwards. In fact, he considered it a part of revising and editing. I tend to agree with him, in that I have discovered the more I ...


7

Before starting your story, write as much as you need to feel comfortable with the character. That could be pages and pages, or only a paragraph. (For example, the Harry Potter trio were asked to write up something in the voice of their characters. Radcliffe did a page, Watson did 20, and Grint did nothing. When asked why, he said, "Ron would never turn in ...


6

If you have a point that you do want to convey, this is certainly a legitimate practice. You shouldn't make artificial points just to have them, however. It is important to ensure that your point does not become too contrived, as well. There are cases where everything should be a microcosm of your main theme, but they are rare, even in a short story. You ...


6

So you like NaNo's credo, you embrace the idea, that you are allowed to write a crappy first draft. But it looks like you haven't understood it. I do not know you, but interpreting your question you sound like someone avoiding the real stuff (writing) by finding an excuse that sounds reasonable (prep work). In reality it's only the little sucker in your ...


6

No, actually, I think it's perfect. NaNoWriMo kills your excuses for Not Writing. You've done homework, you've done plotting, you've done character sketches, blah blah blah fishcakes, just start writing the bloody thing already. The benefit of NaNoWriMo is that it encourages/forces you to dump onto the page. Don't worry if it's any good. Seriously. Just ...


6

There is absolutely no reason not to start the book with NaNoWriMo. In a recent discussion I was having about the writing process, someone brought up the idea that there were two types of writers, those who write like architects, and those whose writing style mirrors a plant germinating out of a seed. The architectural style requires a great deal of ...


6

Fearing procrastination is procrastination ;) First: No-one said you are not allowed to develop a character when pantsing a novel. But if you take three days to add detail on detail for just one character, then you are doing it wrong. Sit down and write your story. If you encounter the problem, that you need more information about one character to go on, ...


6

I agree with SC about conflict. The other thing that will help you decide how to tell it (voice, characters, etc.) is theme, theme and theme. Look at your world. Decide what you want the main theme of your story to be, because that will help you decide which people or groups to use. In your example, do you want to explore the ways in which humans cope ...


6

'Setting' is not the same as 'place' or 'world.' All of which are close enough in definition but since you said crime fiction I think what you meant is the setting, even though you go on to say 'the place' but let's cut to the chase and see what's going on here: Edit: I swear I'd read 'place' somewhere in the Q! Place: This's a subset of 'setting.' The ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible