Author Topic: I need help with direction...  (Read 3416 times)

Offline Nimyth

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Re: I need help with direction...
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2014, 01:22:46 PM »
I usually write poetry and maybe I should stick to it as I seem to be having trouble writing anything else.
I believe if  you can write poetry, you have a unique ability to write characters with lots of depth and feeling, and do it in a way that will engage the reader.

Where do I go from here? how do people write stories? Should I have an outline, a plot, sub plots etc or should I just be 'free flowing'? Some advice from other writers would be fabulous - thank you - Isabella

Everyone has their one style, but from personal experience it helps to make notes. Especially if you are the type that has 'random lines' or 'images' that pop into your head at odd times. I try to write them down as soon as possible and keep them in a file. Quite often they work as excellent writing prompts, as I already have an 'feel' of something, I just need to add the details.


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Re: I need help with direction...
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2014, 04:01:28 PM »
Just because you write poetry shouldn't mean you can't also write prose. But the two are totally different processes in my experience.
Both start with some kind of flash - an idea or image that you want to explore and write about. In a poem it's usually a place or experience or memory. But in a story it's usually about a set of characters and what they get up to, or a series of events that might develop into a cohesive plot.

How do people write stories. In my experience I usually come up with the bare bones of a plot, a main character (or possibly two) and a setting in mind. Then I decide how the story should start - aiming to provide maximum impact . . . and let the words flow, If you know your characters well enough (and it's vital you do) you can trust them to lead you from one scene to the next. They live out the story and you just take notes.

I'm against planning too much in advance - I'd rather have my characters surprise me, have them get into situations that I've no idea how they will escape. That way they surprise me - and by association the story should surprise the reader. If you plan everything then there's no spontaneity, no urgency. With the plot all neatly tied up like a ribbon bow even before the first paragraph is written I'd get bored.

The extract you have provided doesn't sound like the opening to a story. It sounds like a journal entry describing how you saw someone being attacked then set loose. It's flimsy to say the least. And addressing the reader the way you do doesn't make much sense to me because I know for a fact you didn't see this happen to me. . .
So - first question, what inspired you to write this? The idea of someone attacking a defenceless person then suddenly letting them go? Why did the attack take place? Where and when did the attack happen? Is it a contemporary setting? Historical fiction? In a city? On another planet? Who's the victim and what if any is their relationship to the attacker? And what is about to happen next?

You're asking us where you go from here. By answering these ^^^ questions and making the reader interested enough to discover what's around the corner.

At the moment all you have is the vague idea for an opening scene. Good luck.


Offline Don

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Re: I need help with direction...
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2014, 07:41:00 PM »
All very good advice, Isabella. The one thing missing is the what if question. What if this happened? Or what ifthat happened? Or, to use your example:

What if I hired somebody to beat up my boyfriend who just dumped me but he didn't do a very good job, so I ran them both over with Daddy's Hummer.

Whether it's a novel or a short story, the thought pattern is the same. Think of a desirable consequence. That's your ending. Then think of something that would start you (your characters) on a path toward that consequence. That's your beginning. Most of the story in between will figure itself out. Good luck.

Don -

I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.

Offline DSConnaughton

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Re: I need help with direction...
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2014, 08:42:07 PM »
I agree that a lot of it depends on what works for you.  Personally, I start with a rough outline of main plot-points that expands as write into a chapter outline- but its an ever evolving outline because sometimes my characters don't do what I planned for them to do.  I can say that the one problem with the way I do it, having everything plotted out, is that sometimes if I plan a grand scene in the outline and then build it in my head, by the time I get to writing it never lives up to my expectation or what I had planned.  It doesn't always happen but stinks when it does.

Moving on- I really liked the piece you put here- I got the sense at the end that it was the narrator taking the actions against the person and I wanted more to see if that was the case and to see what happens. 

Offline Isabella du lac

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Re: I need help with direction...
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2014, 06:27:14 AM »
Wow - thanks everyone, some really concrete and insightful comments. I feel more positive now and will persevere - 'never give up, never surrender'. I'm gonna crack this writing thing!

Offline Gyppo

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Re: I need help with direction...
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2014, 09:57:02 AM »
When you ask the 'what if?' questions Don mentioned don't just grab the first idea which pops into your head.  There's a good chance the reader will think of it as well, so let your mind dig deeper for other options.

Just as an example...  Let's say your writing about a love triangle.  The man suspects his wife is having an affair, which she is.  But it's not with a man, it's with another woman.  There's your first twist.  But not just any woman.  It's his sister.  Or even mother.  Now you're moving into dynamite territory which can blow the whole family's relationships apart.

Dig and search ;-) 

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