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How to plot/ get ideas?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Nbafan, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Nbafan

    Nbafan Dreamer

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    Basically An idea struck me for a series. I know the Beginning, Middle, and End but am struggling on everything in between. Has anyone else experienced this and if so, what did you do? (I already have written the first 2 chapters and feel that they are solid. They just flowed out while the third I have scrapped a total of 3 times.)
     
  2. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

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    it's the same with me nbafan:) i got the idea for a series and was like "what now?" a few things that helped me were, 1. i got a note pad and put at the top "what if?" then i just wrote random ideas like, what if seara-nindolf(a city in my book) blew up?. before that i would not have even dreamed of blowing up a city i had worked hard to design, but now it happens. 2. do you have any other cool ideas that are neat but don't seem to fit? try and stick them in anyway!. the wildest things can be put together to make a great plot. i drove by a sheer cliff on the interstate and now the climax of the first book in my trilogy takes place in a canyon with huge walls. 3. time. it does just take time (at lest for me) to work out a plot. but eventually you get it all right, and when you do it's great. cheers:)
     
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  3. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

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    hey nbafan. as a side note i thought i would recommend a book to you, it's called OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL. by k.m. weiland. it was a great help to me, and a lot of the stuff i wrote above was drawn from that book. just thought i'd let you know
    happy writing!
     
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  4. Nbafan

    Nbafan Dreamer

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    Thanks again! I'll have to look into that- sounds like it could be extremely helpful. And thanks for your previous post- I will definitely try what you suggested. A little less school work could help out too so I could focus more on writing...
     
  5. My advice? Slow down and let it come naturally. There's no hurry, is there? Most likely, your idea simply isn't mature yet. Don't write anything down - don't even write the idea itself down. By writing it down you are locking it into a defined shape and keeping it from growing, and that will make it harder to change later. Just let it linger inside your head for a while.

    Whenever you get an idea, you will have an impulse to write it down directly. This is perfectly natural, but learn to fight that impulse until you have the full picture. Then you can start writing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
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  6. advait98

    advait98 Sage

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    There are, I think, two ways you can go about this.

    One, as Anders said. The first aspect of serious outlining. Deliberate study and thought to make sure that you choose the best ideas and form them into detailed plot lines. I personally don't follow this myself nowadays, but it is a method employed by 50-60% of writers out there or maybe more and I suppose that's because it works for them.

    I am actually quite jealous of you, because I knew just the beginning and the end of my story, but absolutely no middle. I had to work hard to get my story where I wanted it to be, and I ended up expanding the plot so much that it didn't fit the one-off I was going for and now might be a 3 or 4 book series. And I -it worked really extreme for me- achieved this by...

    Two, just writing the story down, not caring about which idea is the best, just targeting the finish line, and since you know where the finish line is, it should be easier. I got stuck outlining (which is why I don't do it anymore) and reverted to the discovery writing approach, which is basically writing your story as it happens, fitting any idea that comes into your head into the story as you go along. Maintaining deadlines (I found) is beneficial in getting the best out of this method.

    It helps in getting plot information that was previously inaccessible to your mind (it worked for me). So choose whatever you like best. I recommend going with what Anders said first, and if you feel it's not for you (as I did), then you can discovery write.

    Here are two quite recent threads that delve deeper into these two methods-

    Do you need to know where you are going

    Plot first?
     
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  7. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Basic ways to fill out a story:

    Who wants what? What characters do you have that can look at the situation and decide he only needs to save part of the world, or she can only save it by being sure she gets the credit, or know how to recruit an enemy minion to their side? Have you taken a close enough look at what other things a character wants (even if it's just stopping to save these lives right now) or what parts of the story could sprout characters wanting to fight or bargain for that part, and how each of these is different from other characters? These can complicate your story like nothing else.

    What other ways are there? This is the basic test of "realism," the old "why didn't they leave the haunted house," but it's also the way to build suspense and to really define what your world and characters are. Think of what they need to do to move forward-- and then write about what ways they might use to sidestep the problem, and how the world shows those won't work or they get partway through the plan before it collapses. Most of all, be sure you work through your characters' needs: show the coward trying to run, the bully making trouble, before they grow up and accept what they have to do. That brings them to the key part with just the right kind of momentum.

    Hope these help.
     
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  8. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    My problem is probably an excess of ideas. I have so many of them bubbling in my head that it's hard to single out one which resonates more than the rest.
     
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