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delboy
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« on: November 05, 2012, 03:48:37 AM »

I'm trying a new technique for the next novel...I'm planning it all out in adavnce. Never done this before. Usually I have an idea and I start to write and see where it goes. But usually it goes nowhere.

So I thought it time to try something different.

I'm up to about 14 pages of planning so far, and still haven't really got into too much character detail, locations/background or even specific events. I've mapped out three character journeys and how they overlap and what people want and why other people want to stop them. Now need to strat drilling down into another layer of detail, and another, and so on. Those original journeys will change massively as I build in conflict and understand the characters more and so on.

Iain Banks says the planning stage takes about three months. I can see how that would be. I'm hoping to make all my plotting mistakes in this stage and by the time I come to write it I'll know that on a story level at least it should work.

It all feels rather odd though. I can't help but wonder if I'm going to actually want to write the thing once I know how it all turns out!

Kind regards,
Derek
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"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 08:02:00 AM »

Planning is the way to go for me.

I've come to terms with the fact that some people can write a decent story by starting from the first sentence and writing through to the last one (and yes, they usually end up RE-writing it at least once, maybe two or three times)... but that doesn't work for me. All too often I've started that way, only to stall out 20-50,000 words later.

Recently I spent a great deal of time fleshing out an idea set in the near future but then came to the conclusion that (so far, at least) all I have is a cool idea. There's no STORY there. No major conflict. Nobody who really wants something and strives to get it, overcoming all obstacles. I've got a chain of events that leads to an interesting situation, but until I can figure out a way to populate the idea with some terrific characters, I haven't got anything worth spending the time on.

I envy you that you have all those character journeys mapped out. I wish I could learn how to do that.  Sad
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delboy
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 09:38:18 AM »

Hi Pharo',

Quote
Recently I spent a great deal of time fleshing out an idea set in the near future but then came to the conclusion that (so far, at least) all I have is a cool idea. There's no STORY there. No major conflict. Nobody who really wants something and strives to get it, overcoming all obstacles. I've got a chain of events that leads to an interesting situation, but until I can figure out a way to populate the idea with some terrific characters, I haven't got anything worth spending the time on.

This is exactly why I've decided to try the new approach. I've abandoned far too many stories / novels over the years, often after many thousands of words, as I realise the tale is going nowhere.

As I get older and time gets ever more precious  undecided I figured it was time to try something different.

Quote
I envy you that you have all those character journeys mapped out. I wish I could learn how to do that.
 

Nothing complex to it (yet). Simply where my character is at the beginning, what events transpire, what the challenges are, the wants, the obstacles etc. Do this for three separate characters and you start to see the overlaps, and conflicts. There's still not enough conflict but I can then look at building more in, hopefully in a way that isn't artificial.

I've already realised my baddie needs to be badder!

Derek
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"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 12:22:15 PM »

All my novels were planned - and using plot diagrams to spot spikes and dips in acitivity, etc. However, all of them changed direction after halfway through, mainly when strong characters told me to let them do things differently because their way was better. Sometimes, during a hike, bike or long train ride, a better idea dawned for the end game. So yes to planning but for me, its better to not tie myself to it with unbreakable bonds.
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delboy
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 02:56:00 AM »

I'm going down a rabbit hole... main character was born in such and such a year which meant he grew up with this music, these TV shows, that technology, those news stories, those books... his father was/is this and his mother does that and his sister, cousins do something else. Then there are his grand-parents...I need to know all about them because I sense at lease one grand-parent is going to have a huge influence on his life... all this and I've only just started sketching out who he is. No wonder fiction is full of so many orphans!
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"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 11:25:26 AM »

I don't plan anything at all, but I've never failed to finish a novel I've started, so I'll stick to the non-planning. I'm in awe of people who can plot an entire novel before they even start writing it, but having said that, it's something I often do in artwork. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to paint and how before I put paint on the canvas.
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2012, 01:30:34 PM »

dankwa wanka rule-of-thumb for writing #7:- you have to have a story on hand, before you can plan it out.

dankwa wanka rule-of-thumb for writing #9:- If its a book - write the last chapter first; if its a story - write the last paragraph first.
if youre a run-of-the-mill writer, this is a golden rule. It will give you direction and something to work towards and save a lot of wasted time and abandoned 'novels'..... diana ross: do you know where youre going to? do you...? if youre a genius writer like delf, you are exempt...


Iain Banks says the planning stage takes about three months --- really? its taken me years to plan and iron out some of my stories...
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Ed
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 02:44:25 AM »

I tried the planning approach, but it doesn't seem to work for me. Once I have the story outlined I tend to lose all enthusiasm for writing it out fully -- it becomes a chore. What I usually do is I have the end scene in mind, then I have to work out where to start, and the middle takes care of itself. That's how I do shorts, anyway. Not so sure it would work out with a novel.

The trouble is without a plan you fumble around and then have to edit back to tighten up the story, but there is a reluctance to edit what is there because you feel like you are losing something. That's why I don't think I'll ever make a pro writer until I overcome one problem or the other
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 03:04:06 AM »

I've tried planning stuff, but every time I end up veering off in some other direction. All my ideas start with a philosophical concept. The concept can't end any other way than I originally see it. Then, while I'm writing, the idea shifts and I come to understand the concept more fully through the eyes of my character. Discovery is the perk of writing. It gives me a chance to ponder obsessively and furthermore to do so through someone else's eyes. Or, maybe that's just how I make myself feel better about being completely unable to stick to an outline.  scratch       
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Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 03:10:14 AM »

Discovery is the perk of writing.

Well put. That's it precisely.
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delboy
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 07:49:58 AM »

And that's exactly why I wrote " I can't help but wonder if I'm going to actually want to write the thing once I know how it all turns out!"

But it's time to try something different. I've been doing it the one way for 30 years and not really got anywhere so I figured let's try it another way.

Derek
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"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
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