Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by JustSpiffy, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. JustSpiffy

    JustSpiffy Master

    So, I've been having trouble recently with coming up with a story that I really like, so I thought I'd ask how you guys come up with yours.

    I mean, do they pop fully formed into your head, as J.K.Rowling claimed hers did?

    Do you start with a beginning, and end, and fill in the gaps with how you want to get there?

    Do you take it one event at a time, and slowly develop the story that way?

    Just curious, and thought it might help me. Also if you have any exercises you use to get the creative juices flowing, that'd be nice too! Personally I've found speed/impromptu writing a good way of coming up with interesting ideas... Or reading about ancient mythology is another useful one I've used a few times.
  2. Cinnea

    Cinnea Apprentice

    I often use books / films about mythology, like you. Or fairytales. Random surfing on Wikipeidia might work too :) and documetary films.

    For me, it usually start with ONE idea, often sprung from a "what if....?" when I see something interesteing. I like to take a relatively known myth / character and twist it/him/her a bit, or place it all in a very different setting. It grows from there, and is often hardly recognizable in the end.

    My plots definetly doesn't pop up anywhere near fully formed. I might "get" a scene or two (and it certainly don't have to be the most important ones) but they can be all over the place. Even though I am a plotter, I usually have to rearrange things a couple of times to make it work. Often I know the ending pretty soon, too, and kind of ask myself "to get to this point, what needs to happen before?" or "what the **** did they do to end up with this mess?" Then I work backwards (and forwards and backwards again a few times....) until I have something to start with.

    Oh, characters... they might actually pop up quite fully formed and resist me trying to mould them into what I want......
  3. BeigePalladin

    BeigePalladin Mystagogue

    they did pop up, fully formed, by her overhearing it at a café

    I start with a concept, a few characters, then plot out the storyline from there expansively, thinking about the concept and characters I had
  4. Dante Sawyer

    Dante Sawyer Lore Master

    My first full novel I wrote was completely unplanned when I began. The entire 10,000 word prologue had absolutely no plan. I was just writing. Piece by piece, I came up with a plan for the novel and, as soon as I completed it, I created a rough plan for the entire series... although I'm not sure how much I'll use it. My point is, I just started writing and everything else came together for me. Maybe that's not how it works for most, but it's worth a shot if you're stuck.
    Best of wishes and chamos.
  5. Map the Dragon

    Map the Dragon Mystagogue

    My processes are random. Sometimes, I might have a plan; other times, things are grown from nothing, maybe just a seed that I plant to see what happens. I wouldn't worry too much. Planning comes into play when that seed just isn't doing anything for you; then do some world-building and see what the result is...if a seed appears.
  6. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Dark Lord

    I'm pretty terrible with plots, I really have to work to get one I like. I'm more of a character person. I tend to write a first draft without any plot if I can't come up with one, and just say "this is the beginning, this is end" and let the process come up with something I can tweak. It's pretty much the only thing that works for me.
  7. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Grandmaster

    My way probably isn't the best, but I've been making a world and just thinking about how events changed it. Maybe there's a story in the development of the world. I guess you'd say I'm wanting to tell past stories like King Arthur and Robin Hood.

    Pretty sure I just confused my own thought process.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I don't have a story yet. Just a world.
  8. JustSpiffy

    JustSpiffy Master

    Wow, there's allot of diversity here, that's great! I guess there's no real right way to develop a plot. There's probably not even an optimal way, considering how different people are. What works best for you, I suppose. I'll try a few things that were recommended. Thanks, everyone! :)
  9. Joe the Gnarled

    Joe the Gnarled Mystagogue

    I used to obsess about planning out a plot, or developing a character before I started writing. I have recently learned that it is more important to actually start writing. Just get something down on paper, you can always go back and edit. Usually ideas will start to flow once you have started.
  10. Amanita

    Amanita Scribal Lord

    I'm currently working on two stories. For one of them I have interesting characters and settings (or so I hope) but the actual plot keeps changing all the time. I hope I have it nailed down to something useful by now though.
    For the other one, the plot is quite clear because the story is happening before the other one (about 100 years earlier) and I know exactly what's happening. This actually makes it difficult for me to actually start writing this down, because it isn't really about the characters but about the greater world around them, not caring much about the characters themselves who I usually tend to focus on. Besides the fact that it's a very depressing story and that I have five characters at the moment who are equally important to the story and the story definitely isn't about a single one of them.

    As you can see by this, I don't have a standard procedure in creating storylines even though it might be better If I did. The advice that the most important thing is to actually start writing is surely very sound. ;)
  11. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    I don't think a full storyline has ever just appeared in my head. Major plots points have, general themes, twists, awesome character details, etc. The muse will hand me the pieces, but there's some assembly required.

    The closest I've ever come to have an entire plot 'appear' to me was when I thought of a great ending for a story, and then decided on a good beginning. I sat down and wrote about twenty thousand words in a couple days. A week later, I wrote another twenty thousand. Just poured out, and it was all pretty good. I got from beginning to end in a week, and actually liked the story that resulted. Usually takes far more work for me.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  12. CicadaGrrl

    CicadaGrrl Lore Master

    I'm a character girl. So I design the character arcs first. The arc the book takes each other the characters on together will necessitate certain scenes: these two characters have to bond of their disparate histories. Where and how and why fit that in? Some violence has to happen if he is going to freak out to her about killing someone.

    Basically, I'm a fan of Inspiration software and the big piece of sheet metal stuck to my office wall. Inspiration is brainstorming software that I can go scene to scene on, but I need six feet of metal, and billion magnets and paper to rip off to really groove. I spin around in my chair, or listen to music. Or dance to music. Or stare at my notes. Every time I come up with an element in my book, no matter how big or small, I rip off a strip of paper, jot it down, and stick it to the board. At first it is a mess. Eventually, the elements clot together. Then, they start moving into more and more chronological order. I usually have a working board the book, since every now and then those little bastards will jump around again.
  13. Draconian

    Draconian Apprentice

    I'm what you call a mood swing kind of person. For one day I may have an idea I write it down, for another day I will have an entire scene of story in my mind. What I realised that is most important is to write EVERYTHING down. Though mostly I start to work with a character and some history for my story, a couple animals and a few ideas here and there and just see how my mind puts them to together. A good way of getting ideas for me is to let the creative juices flow freely not just whenever I want and also enjoy life that helps too but most importantly just do stuff you think is interesting that really gets my juices flowing.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  14. Well, mine is quite unusual. First, I made a map, which was supposed to be more populated depending on what part of the oval people played in the most (this was four/five years ago in primary school). Note: It did not turn out like it at all.

    From that map I came up with other continents of the world and slowly a story. It is much better than it was. I then wrote the book, undecided on what the story actually was. Author's Note: Do not attempt to write a large, confusing fantasy story without a plot in mind.

    For my other story, it once again started with a map. I was drawing random shapes and then decided, 'Hay, this looks like a pretty good map. I should use it for a story.' So I redrew the map, with a world in mind, and then decided how awesome it would be if - this other stuff happened. I'm not revealing my story. Don't try and trick me.

    Anyway, I think that if you're stuck for good ideas, take a story someone else has already written and come up with your own version of that with things changed. That helps sometimes.

    edit: writing short stories can help too. Come up with an archetypical story and mold it out from that.
  15. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Scribal Lord

    I am trying to be character driven, I know my world, and my main characters. I like the idea of chasing them in a tree, writing about how they react, and then throwing rocks at them.

    I try to have a general arc written, and a cast of secondary characters on hand to throw rocks and chase in to trees.
  16. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

    I usually have a beginning and a rough idea where to end, I just let it roll from there.

    I get inspirations from many places for the path in the middle.
  17. Deborah Dalton

    Deborah Dalton Journeyman

    I guess I'm like Draconian. I have to write everything down - sometimes it's a really interesting character. Usually, it's just really cool plot points, and I have to create the string that ties them all together. Some stories are character driven, others are plot driven.

    Like Telcontar, there is usually some assembly required.

    I take notes and notes and notes, and then have to re-read through ALL of them and try to fit them together.

    I actually wrote the end of the series I'm working on now, All Things Impossible, a little over ten years ago. Obviously, there will be some polishing required by the time I actually get around to wrapping it all up.
  18. InsanityStrickenWriter

    InsanityStrickenWriter Journeyman

    I tend to start off with a vague idea of what I want to write about, and then I just take the occasional note or two as I plod along making things up as I go.
  19. Eliazar

    Eliazar Journeyman

    I started planning my book 5 years ago, and after several futile attempts to come up with something at all before, I decided to just create some characters I would like and brainstorm a classic plot in one night. So I did, and since then didn't really read it anymore untill a few days ago (as I thought I had it all in my mind still, which wasn't the case). Turns out that what I thought I had written differed a lot already from what the story looks like now in my head, but it helped me to focuss on some aspects and gave a rough outline for more in detail development. Also, I was asking myself a lot of questions about how and why certain things in the plot would happen if it was for real, which in turn lead me to revise it and gave me some more ideas. Also, with some plot at hand, it was easier to develop the world.

    Now, though, I came up with a lot of interesting stuff I want to include after the first part, and much more ideas are flowing for part two than for part one, so I think I will start writing the sequel before the actual first book, which is strange, but well, can't help it ;)
  20. DameiThiessen

    DameiThiessen Master

    When I was 14 (in 2006) my story's idea came to me in the shower, and as soon as I got to my bedroom I got out my notebook and wrote it down. I wanted to write a vampire story with magic and witchcraft, and I had three characters - a short, blonde main character named William, a tall, thin, white-haired witch, and a dark, muscular vampire hunter.

    In those 7 years my story is now fleshed out with the help of astrology and includes 12 named characters, motivation, development, and lots and LOTS of symbolism. Learning about psychology helped me to write deeper, more interesting characters and has kept me from blending their personalities together (as they often did when I was role-playing).

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