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Aserenity

Don't agonize, organize!

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so at the moment i am working at making a novel....i'm at the research stage and i have so much left to read up on (since the story takes place in another century) but i want to write NOW! i have dreams about the story and have days where the juices are just pumping and i just feel so alive and just want to write! But i kind of think i'm not ready but I want sooooo badly to be...should I start and keep doing the research inbetween or take a long period of time to research?

Also how do I get started? I want the first paragraph to be amazing (as the rest of the book) but how do i get inspired?

How do I organize my ideas?

should I make different drafts of the first paragragh?

Please give a desperate writer your advice!

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Guest Adara

You know, I've been having this very same problem lately. I have dozens of ideas, they're all in my head, ready to become real on screen and paper.

My only problem is that I can't seem to get into the whole writing mood I need to really get my story out there.

So, what I started doing was outlining my novels. I swear, I have about seven in my head at the moment. I started by breaking down what i wanted in what novel. Once I figured out which I wanted to start with first, I started to write up sentences. You know, outlining the action and what not.

After that, I began to break up each sentence and group what I feel should go in chapter one and so on. I then did some corrections, additions, deleted a couple of redundant points and finished my outline.

Now, whenever I have the muse to actually write out what I want, I have something to guide me, and something to remind me of the those great ideas I had when I had nothing BUT ideas in my head. smile.gif

I don't know if this will prove useful, but I'm sure that all the ideas the members give ya will serve to be useful somehow. smile.gif

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Guest cu-kid

I feel your pain. I'm also in the middle of doing research for a new story and I get so frustrated sometimes because there's just so much to read up on before I start writing.

Even if I'm still in the researching stage I'll write things down, mostly because I'm afraid if I don't, I'll lose the idea. What I usually do, to get my thoughts in order, is to make an outline -not of the story, though. I outline all my research, make it into one thing that I can refer to continually. Usually, I keep the outline for the story in my head. Some people swear by outlines and, in general, they are very helpful for organizing your thoughts and ideas. Some people don't use them, or feel that they're too rigid -it's really irritating when your story deviates from the outline dry.gif It really just depends on how you work.

As for getting started, for making the first paragraph spectacular... well, I don't know smile.gif A good, hooking paragraph should be initially intriguing. I guess you should ask yourself what about your story is intriguing? What is the question that will cause the reader to keeping reading? It doesn't even have to be philosophical. It could be something as mundane as whether or not two characters are going to get together at the end. There are all kinds of ways to start stories. You could start with a flashback that the story eventually leads to, you could start with a length of dialogue between characters, you could start it with just introducing a character, or something mysterious.

I always do drafts because they're a good way to really get ideas out of your head and onto paper. I scratch out, rewrite, reword, sometimes even throw it all out and start all over again.

Inspiration is all around you (how corny is that?). I look at paintings and sketches, listen to certain music while writing, watch TV shows or movies that sometimes inspire ideas. Sometimes, just talking to people is inspiring.

This probably wasn't much help smile.gif But good luck!

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Guest DarkAvenger

The only way I've found for the first bit of my story to be as good as the rest is to go back after I'm a few chapters ahead of there and re-write it at that point.

I suggest doing research as you go along. Use what you already know and then build on it as you go, doing research when you need to.

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I'm working on a lengthy story myself and I have lots of great ideas; inspiration will strike me at any time. I'm writing the last chapters at the moment, it's where my mind is taking me. If inspiration hits and you're in the flow, write whatever is there. When your muse leaves you, use that time for your research. Sorry this is kind of short, I'm at work and looking over my shoulder! pinch.gif

As far as organizing your thoughts; I don't know if anyone actually makes legitimate outlines anymore. I always sucked at them myself. But what I do is write a synopsis for each chapter, even if it's only a quarter page long. That way, I can look it over and see if the story flows, if events from one chapter carry over to the next (or are resolved, etc). It's also a good way to see if there are any plot holes, or if it's necessary to shift things to a different chapter to improve the narrative flow.

I always have a 5X7 legal pad with me. I can't tell you how many times I've been at work or the laundromat, and some great dialogue or descriptive sentence hits me. I'm also a big advocate of editing, tweaking, polishing, massaging, whatever you want to call it. But if you spend too much time working/agonizing over the same chapter, you can end up hating it and thinking it's terrible. If that happens, set it aside for a week and look at it again with a clear mind and then do your re-write/tweaking if necessary.

Of course, every writer is different and subscribes to their own technique; you'll have to find what works best for you. Good luck!

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Guest Enchanted Faery

I'd do some research first, take notes and of course make an outline before u actually start writing (if someone has already said this...sorry)

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Guest Reika

What I do is usually get a random place to type up just what I am motivated for, get it out of your system. Then you can continue with research and insert it where you like. smile.gif

As for starting out, just let things flow when you start and you can come back later and give the first paragraph the punch you want.

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thank you all...i have descided to continue researching but start making outlines and characterization charts...here's a great site that gives advice and also offers good questions to ask yourself...and it inspires you to kind of ponder more into your story..the meaning, the theme, the twist and turns etc. A good story consist of real, detailed characters, that you grow to know and love..here's the site if anyone else is feeling my pain...

http://users.wirefire.com/tritt/tip8.html

thank you so much for the advice I will do everything you guys said...I can't tell you how much this has help organize all my thoughts! ( i will try outlines, the "legal pad", and more research...also i just found some really great pictures to get me in the mood!!!!)

Thanks Again!

And keep writing!

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For some odd reason I have the urge to tell you that before you start researching, plotting and characterizations (which are important) I think you should focus on the basics like grammar and spelling. Having read your fics and reviewed them before, I feel that my 2 cents might have some value, although, of course, you are free to not follow it if that's your choice.

Personally, I think that you have a very long way to go, and frankly, I wouldn't bet on making a living from it if I were you. I'm sorry if this seem harsh, but if you are as old as you say you are, then your Lit teachers ought to be spanked.

For instance, what in tarnation does this sentence mean? It befuddles me.

Your tenses are mixed ("showed" and "decline")

The Commodore was a man that only showed decorum, such a man I was to marry. But as I decline, so did his respect to consider me an adult.

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Guest Alien Pirate Pixagi

I had the same issue with tenses when I first started. If you get a friend or someone to just look over your writing aas you write it, that can help a lot. Even if they're not the best in spelling or grammar, they'll still pick up things like inconsitancies and such.

When it comes to sentance structure, you really don't need to be a grammar nazi to at least make the sentances passable. To take from StoryJunkie's example, "The Commodore was a man that only showed decorum, such a man I was to marry. But as I decline, so did his respect to consider me an adult."

The first thing I was taught on sentance structure (in 3rd grade) was "Sentances have to make SENSE."

"The Commodore was a man that only showed decorum, such a man I was to marry"

A good substitute would be "The Commodore was a man of decorum. He was the type of man I was to marry."

Not the best thing in the world, but better. (Hey, I made it up on the fly, give me credit here! biggrin.gif )

As for "But as I decline, so did his respect to consider me an adult." well... It seems that you started on one thought and ended with another. Like you changed your mind in the middle of the sentance. I tend to do this as well, which is why I reread my work before posting. And then again AFTER posting to make sure the formatting and what-not are sound.

Also, try not to start sentances with "but." Try to use "However" or "Yet."

"Yet, as I declined, so did his respect for me." -OR- "Yet, as I declined his proposal, he declined to think of me as an adult." Adult can also be replaced with "grown woman" or "man" as the case may be.

These types of mistakes can be damaging to the quality of your work. You can be an amazing writer chock full of great and original ideas. Yet, if your work is riddled with poor sentance structure and bad spelling, most people won't take you seriously.

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Guest Narshe_Delvar

I agree with Reika on that: just get the juices out of your system when you first start writing. What you first put down isn't what will be there, ultimately.

Also, researching is a very excellent idea, always. It really depends on how much you know NOW if you want to start now. If you know enough to get by with a chapter or two, then get to writing!! But if you know next to nothing, then research, research, research. =3

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QUOTE 

The Commodore was a man that only showed decorum, such a man I was to marry. But as I decline, so did his respect to consider me an adult.

I'll add my unsolicited suggestion to the mix:

The Commodore was a man of decorum and considered a suitable match; yet, when I declined, he appeared to lose all respect for me as an adult. Evidently, he had been greatly affronted by my refusal of his hand.

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For some odd reason I have the urge to tell you that before you start researching, plotting and characterizations (which are important) I think you should focus on the basics like grammar and spelling.  Having read your fics and reviewed them before, I feel that my 2 cents might have some value, although, of course, you are free to not follow it if that's your choice.

Personally, I think that you have a very long way to go, and frankly, I wouldn't bet on making a living from it if I were you.  I'm sorry if this seem harsh, but if you are as old as you say you are, then your Lit teachers ought to be spanked.

yeah those are pretty old...from like three years ago. All the stories are just saved up on my computer, completed and collecting dust...so I decided to post them on here, curious of what other's may think.

Also you talk about making a living of it? Um I have yet to start life and career...Its pretty obvious that I'm very young. And starting young is like the "bread and butter" to a developed writer because I have room to make those improvements and with NEW life experiences, I can have FRESH ideas. Like they say: "Never teach an old dog new tricks."..hopefully by the time I'm your age I'll be developing and publishing stories not posting them on a website.

smile.gif

ETA: and I've never revealed how old I was.

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Guest echtrae

Yes you did when you registered. Due to a flaw in the code it got lost along with a few other member's birthdays. So you really should up that in your member information.

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Yes you did when you registered.  Due to a flaw in the code it got lost along with a few other member's birthdays.  So you really should up that in your member information.

Don't believe everything that's posted on a website... yes I'm older than 18 but I refuse to put any personal information (such as my real birthday, where I live, etc.) on the web. Its a very dangerous place.

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Also you talk about making a living of it? Um I have yet to start life and career...Its pretty obvious that I'm very young. And starting young is like the "bread and butter" to a developed writer because I have room to make those improvements and with NEW life experiences, I can have FRESH ideas. Like they say: "Never teach an old dog new tricks."..hopefully by the time I'm your age I'll be developing and publishing stories not posting them on a website.

smile.gif

I really do have to wonder about your age and you just admitted that you are "very young." As for posting on a website, it's great to aspire to something more, but I wouldn't knock this venue for anything. I've wanted to be a traditionally published author from the time I was 16. That was 25 years ago; the reality of simply living does get in the way. Sites like this can be a godsend (and that's why age issues are taken seriously, especially for sites with adult content). However, all that is not the reason for my post.

You said you were writing a historical piece. My suggestion is to read novels from that period, to get an understanding of what the societal norms and customs were of the time. It will help you give a little of that era's flavor to your writing. The way men and women acted and interacted, what was considered proper behavior, etc. Nothing bothers me more than reading a fic set one or two hundred years ago where the heroine is decidedly 21st century or the characters use modern speech. Books like "Pride and Prejudice" "A Tale of Two Cities" even "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" are great resources, because of the era in which they were written.

If you're interested in what I'm talking about, feel free to read my fic "Songs of Eros" and see what I mean. You seem to shy away from more graphic depictions of sex, so you have no worries with SoE; I deliberately wrote it as a very mild R.

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You said you were writing a historical piece. My suggestion is to read novels from that period, to get an understanding of what the societal norms and customs were of the time. It will help you give a little of that era's flavor to your writing. The way men and women acted and interacted, what was considered proper behavior, etc. Nothing bothers me more than reading a fic set one or two hundred years ago where the heroine is decidedly 21st century or the characters use modern speech. Books like "Pride and Prejudice" "A Tale of Two Cities" even "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" are great resources, because of the era in which they were written.

If you're interested in what I'm talking about, feel free to read my fic "Songs of Eros" and see what I mean. You seem to shy away from more graphic depictions of sex, so you have no worries with SoE; I deliberately wrote it as a very mild R.

ooo thats a very lovely idea!

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so at the moment i am working at making a novel....i'm at the research stage and i have so much left to read up on (since the story takes place in another century) but i want to write NOW! i have dreams about the story and have days where the juices are just pumping and i just feel so alive and just want to write! But i kind of think i'm not ready but I want sooooo badly to be...should I start and keep doing the research inbetween or take a long period of time to research?

Also how do I get started? I want the first paragraph to be amazing (as the rest of the book) but how do i get inspired?

How do I organize my ideas?

should I make different drafts of the first paragragh?

Please give a desperate writer your advice!

Get it all out - fix later. That's the beauty of editing. biggrin.gif I've waited and regretted before. Now I have 100 page's worth of a fantasy novel that probably won't ever be finished. sad.gif

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This is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. A lot of my work is fly by the seat of your pants stuff. Everyone is different in how they approach things. I've tried to write an outline for my stories and by the time I'm finished with it it's so far off the mark from my original concept it's not even funny. I honestly feel stinted and chained when I try to keep to a plot that I've already come up with.

Most of the time when I sit down at the keyboard I just let my fingers move for a few pages and then go back and re-read what I have, make a few changes and then pick up where I've left off. I'll finish a chapter and then sleep on it. The next morning (or night if I have to go to work tongue.gif ) I'll re-read it again and make what ever changes I feel are necessary. My brother hates me for it too. He'll agonize over a sentence for a week until he has it just right and then he's lost the thread of what he was trying to do.

As far as research goes - I tend to do that as I go along. I'll go get my books and paper, pens and what not then I'll make sure they're near by for my every need. I also keep a notebook with me at all times so that if something strolls into my head I can write it down. I tend to put everything in there too - like what song I was listening to or what the weather was like - yada yada yada...

I guess all I really wanted to say was it's all individual. You will find your way of doing things eventually and then wonder how in the hell you ever did it any other way.

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First - my apologies if this topic's already been done. I didn't see a similar one, then again, I have to admit that I didn't really look that hard. wink.gif

Up until this point, I have always written off the cuff. Whenever I get the bug, I just go with it. It's worked for me, but I've noticed that I end up losing some REALLY good plot lines because I can't write enough to get to that specific turn in the plot when I think of it, and by the time I do get there, I've forgotten it.

At long last I think I've come up with a winner of a story. An original story. Up until now I've only written cliched, immature fan fics that I hate... but I have some devoted readers that I can't bear to disappoint.

So I want to do this the right way. The entire plot is up in my head and I want to get it all down before I jump in and forget about it!

How do you plan for writing? Does anyone really outline anymore? I'm the outlining QUEEN, but only in my history classes. smile.gif I tried a preliminary outline of my story, but for some inexplicable reason, doing it caused me to lose that passion that I had for writing it. It's too clinical for me... I've always been the kind to just let the story develop on my computer screen.

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For school, I usually did outline. But, for fiction, I usually worked differently.

Originally, I would ponder an idea for a while, then sit down and write it. Usually the writing was more a means of pinning down the revolving wheel of possibilities of a plot or scene than anything else. Did this happen or that happen? Did it happen this way? Or a different way?

Now the stories are getting longer and more complex...And there's so many of them running through my head that I have to get organized.

When an idea pops into my head that I think will make a good story, I ponder it a bit. Then I sit down and write out some story notes. This is especially important when I don't have time to work on the idea right away.

Story notes include: Main characters. Original characters get more description and definition. Canon characters from a fandom less so. Details: Physical characteristics, personality, pertinent background information, and of course, why is the character there? Enemy? Love interest? Protaganist?

I usually include the "hook" -- that would be the interesting event or situation that starts the story. A fight, and abduction, a discovery...whatever. Often this is the initial conflict...By definition a story must have some sort of conflict.

I also include a synopsis of the plot, at least as far as I've been able to think it out at the time I jot down my notes.

I include any special scenes I've already envisioned, hopefully in the context of the plot. Love scenes, fight scenes, important conversations or revelations, etc.

If any particularly good lines of dialog have occurred to me, they go in there too.

Any other info I think I might need will probably get chucked in there too. For instance, if it is a song fic, or inspired by a song, I might include the lyrics.

All this is written solely for my own benefit, as no one else is ever intended to read these notes. They don't have to be pretty or well worded. The point is to get enough down that I will be able to pick up my train of thought later when I'm ready to write. And once I start, I can go back to my notes to see if I'm heading too far off base.

My notes might be anywhere from a paragraph to three pages, depending on the complexity of the story and how much pondering I've done.

'Nuff said.

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