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10

There are plotters, and discovery writers. You sound like a plotter. There's nothing wrong with that. Take the time you need to outline your story so you feel comfortable with it, and additionally accept that things will change as you go. There are many different methods to creating a plot, and none of them are wrong; you just have to figure out what works ...


8

The "first draft" and extensive re-writing you alluded to is often what "pantsers" - people who write by the seat of their pants, without outlines, produce. Those aren't what I would really call a first draft, since they can be unstructured messes or streams of consciousness (though they can sometiems be good). They then take that material and structure it, ...


7

Treat fantastic, made-up facts the same as you would treat facts about our own world. Do you describe the physiology of human beings when you write a book about people like you and me? No. Neither should you go into medical detail when you write about aliens – unless your protagonist is a scientist studying them. In that case, give us the same amount of ...


5

If it's your first draft, just write it as it comes. You can't edit a blank page. After your first draft, go back through and clean up the polyglossolalia. If you're writing in third person, pick one language and make it all that. (Obviously if your characters speak multiple languages, you can decide what to keep and what to translate.) If you're writing ...


5

There isn't a one-fits-all answer here. Generally speaking, your personal talent/skills in seeing and imagining connections will allow you less effort (and "work"/"formula"/"method") in devising them. It doesn't make you a better or worse writer to have that gift, but it certainly makes your job easier. If you want a couple of tips on how to be able to ...


4

Whatever point you choose on that spectrum you will have some readers who won't like the place that you have chosen. You will never get the balance exactly right for everyone. I am sure some people would enjoy a purely anthropological study of another species, if it was well written and contained interesting insights - myself included. Equally, that would ...


4

If the characters are only reacting, give each character something to want. A desire strong enough that the character will struggle to achieve it. Then make the character struggle. For dialogue, give each character an agenda. Things they want from the conversation. Things they do not want to happen. Things they do not want to reveal. And make sure their ...


4

I think the key to building a second act is to focus on the function of a second act: To increase the emotional payoff of the ending. Raise the stakes. This forces the character to keep going, and makes the reader more worried about failure. Eliminate options. None of the easy options work. None of the merely difficult or painful options work. No, in order ...


4

Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock involved an elvish emperor who sacrificed his own people, and was frequently in conflict with human warriors. Elric's motivations and observations were described well by the author, such that the reader could relate. Heaven's Reach by David Brin involved two non-human protagonists, one being a chimpanzee, the other ...


4

You could, but having separate stories is a good idea as well. Knowing the outcome can actually make the story more interesting; think of Anakin Skywalker, who everyone knew from the beginning was going to become Darth Vader. The interesting part here is how he became evil, rather than the discovery of it. You could also, as you mentioned, fuse the two ...


4

There are two kinds of series: (a) What is really one very long story that is broken into pieces for convenience or marketing purposes. That is, if a story takes 1000 pages, rather than try to sell one 1000-page book, we instead make a trilogy and sell three 330-page books. This makes each book more manageable and makes pricing more realistic. Etc. (b) A ...


3

When there's no one likeable left alive. Or if there is anyone, you just know they're either faking it or doomed. TV Tropes calls it Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. I lasted until somewhere in the third Game of Thrones book. Or maybe it was only the second, I can't remember. Then I put the book down because I didn't want to read an account of a rape and ...


3

I doubt that there's a definitive answer to this. Different writers have different styles and different things that work for them. Personally, my approach is that for the first draft, I just throw words on paper. Whatever comes to my mind I type into the computer. Once I have a whole bunch of words down, then I go back and clean it up. I rewrite sentences ...


3

This is just a lengthy comment as an addition to Dale Emery's answer. Dale recommends to "[t]reat the three-act structure (or any of the zillions of other popular structures) as tools for diagnosing story problem". I wholeheartedly agree. (And I especially agree with the quotation marks around "universal".) People have been telling stories forever. Other ...


3

To some extent it's not really possible to write a story without three acts. Unless it's only two sentences long it will always be possible for a reader to post-rationalise a beginning-middle-end structure onto your tale. But when writing, don't worry about it. You don't need any acts in a short story. You are free to pick even the smallest atom of ...


3

Are you writing for fun and to relax after your job? Then follow your inspiration as David Roberts suggests. But do not expext to ever finish a book, because very likely what you perceive as inspiration is the joy in dreaming up stories coupled with an unwillingness to do the less pleasant parts of a writer's job. Or are you writing to publish? Then finish ...


3

Well, this is a tough question. You've provided a lot of background and it's still a tough question to answer. I'm tempted to say yes and no, at the same time. In fact, I'm gonna stick my neck out there and just say it: yes and no. Yes, your highly detailed outline is essentially a first draft. But it's also not. Many authors craft extensive, ...


3

I think that the greatest factor you have to consider is the length of your story. Would combining the stories make your book into a 150,000 word epic? Or if they were separate would there not be enough substance that you would have to invent a lot of filler just to get the word count up? There is precedent for having the stories separate or combined, so ...


3

J K Rowling said that she imagined her entire story nearly all at once in one sitting. That means that while the readers were doled out a single book at a time, she basically had one giant story, broken up into seven parts. If you think about it that way, connecting all of the stories together is not much more complicated than connecting elements between ...


2

Up to the writing. If you create characters with whom your audience can identify in some fashion, someone to root for, then their species doesn't matter. Diane Duane has many non-human protagonists and hero characters in her various books: sentient fish and trees in her Young Wizards series, Romulans and Vulcans in her Star Trek books, a series about ...


2

George Lucas describes a basic three act structure as introduce your characters, put them in the worst situation possible, and then get them out of trouble. This works well. it is not the only way to do it, but it is a good one to start with.


2

Trust your story. Short stories in general--and very short stories in particular--often have no middle. Treat the three-act structure (or any of the zillions of other popular structures) as tools for diagnosing story problem. If the story has a problems, a story structure can help you figure out where the problem is. If the story doesn't have a problem, ...


2

A book has a moral premise. A character has a goal. You can have as many protagonists and parallel storylines as you want, but your book (or series) still only illustrates one single moral premise. The moral premise is what bundles a bunch of otherwise unrelated narrative strands that would better have been presented as separate publications into a ...


2

An interesting option I have noticed used, in mostly older movies, is the late introduction of, ultimately, the most important character. For instance, there might be a multi-character story set on a moving train in which various characters act out their specific issues (one's nervous about seeing family, another's heading to a new job, etc.) and they each ...


2

Originally, in folk belief, elves where dangerous and mysterious beings, whose motifs where unfathomable to man and like forces of nature beyond the categories of good or evil: if you put your hand in the fire it will burn you, without any evil intent on the fire's part; if you dealt with elves they were just as likely to help as to hurt you as the wind or ...


2

Focusing on the theme can help immensely. You described it as: (The main point of the story is how each person sees the world differently and interprets the objective reality through subjective lenses) All prior stories I am familiar with that explore this theme use overlapping timelines, e.g. the same event told from 4 different characters' POVs. You ...


2

One way of approaching this may be to commit to the linguistic styles of your characters and let the story develop a "slang" that you introduce to your readers through annotation provided by the narrator. Exact, literal translation is not as important as conveying meaning. Consider providing frequent, explicit crutches early in the text before settling on ...


2

I guess it really depends on the readers. There's a lot of fuss about GRR Martin, and if he does have a tendency to kill off characters unexpectandly, there are less murders in the books than in the series. And there are some author more prone to characters killing, as can be seen in many internet memes. Nevertheless, IMHO, the key isn't the death toll, but ...


2

I use sequence diagrams to map non-fiction (design) stories. Update after comment @what: A very simple example of a sequence diagram is: Or perhaps I want to write a story about me and my mapmaking obsession. Then I would start like: On the top row are the story's participants (humans, object, places, moments in time etcetera). The arrows visualize ...


2

Something you need to be aware of when creating a theme before characters etc is that you can end up shoehorning characters into the theme they are telling. If you're not careful with character development they can end up being stiffled by their 'role' in the general theme. The benefit of ignoring theme until the story and characters are written is that ...



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