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What's your writing process? Do you write without thought or not?

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On the other hand, too much free reign to a story can make things evolve out of proportion. I started a Final Fantasy VII fic as a gift for a friend on another site, and all she asked of me was to start out with "It was a rainy night in Midgar" and to use a specific pairing. Well, in relatively short order it turned into a series (or should I say three?) and the pairing turned into a threesome. Granted, she gave her permission or I wouldn't have let it get that far, but this is the kind of thing that happens to me. *shakes head* The third in the series was inspired by a Christmas parody that came into my head and was mentioned in the first, right at the beginning.

my whip cracking finds known as plot bunnies have turned a stable relationship into a threesome recently so I can relate to the too much free reign problem. As a rule I try to do the what if to get the bunnies jabbering, then do a 1 page overview as an outline process to plan for some of the plotting element to stay on track. Beyond that, it depends on how well I understand the character motives and can determine which characters will coerce actions and tick off the cannons in my fan fiction writing. Staying within a cannon universe can be very tough, and few fan fiction writers bother I have found. However, I stay very cannon in universe, and try to make the characters remain true to the spirit of the original creator whenever possible. Writing fan fiction therefore is a hard core discipline for me so I enjoy the coerced exercise of being behind the cannon scenes at any given point in my fan fiction hobby.

Originals get a full snowflake treatment to give me enough fact to keep characters in mind. I design the main aspects of the world building part so I can maintain consistency. Otherwise, I let the characters do the talking instead of myself as a rule.

I noted a comment about not reading because of feeling depressed about not being as great a writer. Here's a way to turn that around. IF you admire a published writer's style, study it and learn how to improve your writing. Like Bronx and others are saying in this thread, learn from them and add those elements that are so amazing to your own writing. IF you don't study the genre you write, then you ignore a lot of important techniques that can be learned through practice. Granted, many fan fictions are totally written garbage, but even in fan fiction you will find a few genuine gems to learn new ways of spicing up your own writing. The way the great writers turn phrases is a genuine worthwhile technique to learn. It removes cliche from one's own writing also. So instead of comparing your writing against theirs, ask yourself what you can learn by reading a great story. Turn your depression on its head by refusing to put your stories against the published works of others. Focus on the benefits you can nab from the great writers and run with it until it becomes your own natural strength. Then you can go back and judge by the ones who taught you how to write that way.

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Depending on what I'm writing...I'll just break it down.

Essays: I actually write these for fun. Why? Because I like to research and learn about anything that catches my attention so I tend to write essays about them. First I research the new subject, write out my notes and then write the essay. I then let it sit for a month or so and go back to edit the hell out of it so I know nothing is plagiarized or something like that.

Fanfiction: These usually pop up in one conversation or another I have with my readers or with close friends who know the fandom. When I get a new bunny, I let it sit. I write down the idea and just let it peculate. Talk about it some. The work out an outline that will end up rewritten about 20 times during my writing process. When I start writing, I have my outline and I'm still talking with friends about it.

Originals: I rarely show anyone these while I'm writing on them. They take me more time but also come to me a bit easier since I tend to know what the heck I want to do with them. I do some research, I create my characters and outline (which usually ends up rewritten about 30 to 50 times during the writing process), create ideas, and write. Takes me time (about 6 months to a year depending on if I'm working on it every couple of days or not).

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Well it all depends. With the story that I'm currently writing I've got pretty much everything planned out well, maybe expect for the chapters and I also put my emotions into the story and lately with Abraham's Daughter, I'm starting to get way to emotionally attached with my OC, is that a bad thing? I seriously can't be the only one on here who gets emotionally attached to their stories? Anyways, I just wanted to put my two cents in this topic. :)

~Tory~

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Well it all depends. With the story that I'm currently writing I've got pretty much everything planned out well, maybe expect for the chapters and I also put my emotions into the story and lately with Abraham's Daughter, I'm starting to get way to emotionally attached with my OC, is that a bad thing? I seriously can't be the only one on here who gets emotionally attached to their stories? Anyways, I just wanted to put my two cents in this topic. :)

~Tory~

A: Having a few ideas of getting from point a to point z gives a frame for writing a story. I find it is always a great idea and allows for flexibility in telling a story. By having some key notions about what reversals will be creating friction for the characters, you can get a better idea of what types of battles your lead characters will be facing. You can attune to their personalities, and find the best avenue to help them shine when overcoming every obstacle in their path.

Personally I feel that all writers should have an emotional tie to all the characters inside their tales to keep the balance between all characters in the story. Getting overly emotional with only one can create a problem. Occasionally, it leads to losing your grasp of the other characters inside the same tale. If that happens, you might not be capable of continuing to also nurture your other characters, or so I have personally found in my ow writing over the years. Emotional investment creates dynamic characters, so definitely keep being attached to all your characters.

I love to jerk tears, fury fits, and laughter out of my own readers so having an emotional stake in all of my characters' perspectives is a must for myself. I let the characters tell their tale to the best of their ability by stepping into each of their shoes while they do the talking. Because of my emotional attachment to their trials, and triumphs, the readers share the characters emotions vicariously which is the objective of a good story. I get yelled at and loved in equal measure because I do feel for my characters at every stage.

All writers get attached to their stories which is part of the joy found in writing. In the raw stage of writing a tale, that is part of the beauty of getting a lot of emotional context added in many cases. Once finished you sit on that raw, very rough draft for a few weeks then come back to it, and shred the raw draft to clean up the grammar, and all the little out of tune problems created in the freer stage of getting the tale out. You will find that you have to axe some things and revise, but it makes the story so much better and stronger of you take the time to revise and chop out the excess that goes nowhere.

Welcome to this thread, and good luck with your story, Tory.

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For me writing fan fiction invariably starts with hearing dialogue. I've usually become inspired after immersing myself in whatever the canon is. If it's a visual canon like a film or television series, the voices are even clearer, and I'm aware that I will both consciously and unconsciously add in little mannerisms that the actors bring to their characters.

Once the dialogue is in my mind, I have to write it. If it's insistent enough, I'll need to fill it in, and fan fiction happens. In the case of multichapter stories, I've never started writing one where I knew how it was going to end. A couple of chapters in I'll start seeing scenes from further on in the story - they're like little lights appearing on a darkened map, showing me where to head to. About halfway through the story, then I'll usually know the ending and the important scenes along the way, so my dark map is now a collection of beacons with little ley lines lit up between them.

The strange thing is, that visualisation of the map with the lights isn't new on me. It's something I've been aware of for a while, which is why I posted a reply to this topic. Yet, if forced to say what it looked like, I'd say it seems more like a network than a continuous line, which doesn't really lend itself to a longer narrative. But then, perhaps I'm visualising the scenes as ingredients that lead to the conclusion, rather than a sequence of events.

It's most like seeing a lighted up town from space, or a collection of synapses, or some strange mix of the two. Sorry if that doesn't make much sense.

Somewhere I read something by Stephen King, talking about how it is for him, and he describes finding a story as if it were an archaeological dig, and he only knows the shape of it as he scrapes away all the dirt around it.

I suppose it's different for us all.

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For me I've got to have a gimmick to hang the story on, such as my ...Meets the Fanboys or my Buffy vs. La Blue Girl. For my shorter stories I ususally just free write and then go back to edit them but for my longer ones I use the 5 part story arc, free write what I want to happen then edit it into a outline that I use to write the whole story. I post per chapter after I edit them (a trait I'm learning) and re-edit after getting some feedback. Also, I write long hand and then type before I edit so it takes me even longer that way cuz I write way faster than I type.

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I write because the voices in my head won't let it go until I do what they say. Considering how sick and twisted some of the stuff they come up with is, its probably good that they stick to writing...

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I write because the voices in my head won't let it go until I do what they say. Considering how sick and twisted some of the stuff they come up with is, its probably good that they stick to writing...

Seriously. Some of the twisted stuff my fingers type makes me think "I'm glad you boys are attached to me so I can keep an eye on you."

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Usually what happens is that I get ideas just before I go to sleep, then I half dream about it for several days or weeks until I write some ideas down about the characters. Sometimes I get ideas just about dialogue, and record that. Then when I really make a decision to start a story, I begin by creating a character sketch including name, background, visual description, internal and external conflicts, family history and personality quirks. I do this for the main characters and as I go along, add them for minor characters. Then I make notes of the particular scenes and places involved in the story: descriptions, locations, smells, etc. After all that is done, I create a more cogent plot outline. This may start from the beginning and go to the end, or the end and go toward the beginning, or start in the middle, etc. I put the plot together like a puzzle as I go along. Then I make a concerted effort to write the first chapter notes, and subsequent notes for later chapters. Finally, I outline the first chapter and work on each section of the outline. Often the plot springs out of dialogue ideas or ideas I get from popular culture. For instance, I might get an idea from a sketch comedy on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon or Saturday Night Live. The current fic I'm writing stems from a Jimmy Fallon sketch he did with Justin Timberlake. It may sound random, but I tend to get really random ideas and flesh out a story from that original spark. It seems to work well now that I use Scrivener, because it has sections for research, character sketches, locations, etc. I also should note that I keep a log of all the research I do and derive ideas from that as well.

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I have the plot landmarks in place as to where I want to go in the short run. The best analogy I can make is that you're standing in a field in a light fog. You can see the immediate key features in front of you, but the rest is obscured. As you move forward, the fog clears. That is enough to get me started. And then the rest, the fun part of the process, is where I end up, of course. I don't always know.

If I get stuck, I always go back and review. That leads to new ideas, or sometimes, forces me to go back and correct the trajectory.

The most thrilling thing is when the characters start to speak up. This doesn't always happen, but when it does, they take over. They're in my brain, having a total discussion, demanding to be part of the story. Even if a story is not successful, that part of it is just the best roller coaster ride in the world.

And last, sometimes, more rarely, the map is already there, all worked out. It normally takes me a long time to map out plot points, so I'm very grateful when that's the case.

I'm totally not organized. I don't do the good things like map out my characters ahead. I have a pretty good idea of who they are ahead of time. Some of the most ambivalent characters, I believe, would have really been ruined by this process. I never want to be in the position of having to say, "Well, she wouldn't do this!" So for me, a lot of the character creation happens within the story. They begin in skeletal form, and are fleshed out as time goes on.

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I assume that 'without thought' really means 'without planing', right?

I really can't imagine writing without thinking. I'm thinking way faster than I could ever type or even speak.

Usually I develop a scenes basic outlines pretty fast in my head and write them down, modifying the details on the way. I don't always plan ahead, though. And that leads to several stories getting stuck at some point.

I'm trying to accustom myself to a way of more pronounced planing, practically outlining a longer plot in advance. If I'm lucky, I will enter flow when I pick up writing and the details get pieced together without much effort.

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Lots of great ways to go about the process of creating have been listed since I was last here. I think many of them are wonderful ways to go about the creative process. I can think of several of these ideas from dreams jotted down as the spark, and across the spectrum that I have done at various times in my own writing career. Writing is such a malleable form of creative expression that I think most of us have done variations of all these ideals at some point.

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what i do is, i find the start, middle and end of my story, then i write in the flow of things, my first few chapters might jump right into action and others after slow down leading to more plot, then back into the fry and so on, its a sort of go with the flow kind of thing but with a goal in mind.

Bob is a knight, he must get to his barracks to take a mission/quest.

on the way Bob ...... hummm, something must stop him, but what?

Bob runs into two drunks fighting in the streets and pull weapons on each other, he must stop them or someone will get hurt .........

thats kind of what i do, then i try to act out some things while i think of how to write it.

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I just start writing, I have know idea where I'm going and don't remember how I got there - could be the seven concussions or maybe I have multiple personalities. My stories are some of the most twisted and conveluted tales you'll ever read, but that's what makes them fun, just when you think you figured it out BAM I give you one from left field...but don't blame me, blame the shrink that let me out!

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I used to write without planning, and still do for short stories, but for longer stories, it resulted in a lot of discarded stories.

For longer stories, I write one sentence outlines of scenes I want to include, in whatever order they come to mind. Once I've got a good stack of them, I arrange them into a somewhat coherent plot. At that point, I start writing whatever scene appeals to me to write first, which works as my first exploration piece, helping me to solidify the setting and characters in my mind. I take a couple of loose notes about that so I have a cheatsheat to refer back to. The only plan I have when I start writing proper is a very loose outline to go on, each chapter is written without much thought; I usually take notes of major events for each chapter once it's written, which helps me to make sure I tie up all loose ends by the end of the story. Working with such a vague plan allows me a lot of wiggle room, and often results in scenes being shuffled even more, because sometimes a chapter just begs for a scene that was originally outlined for later in the story to be moved forward.

Before I settled on the loose outline method, I tried very tight outlines for my longer stories, but they ended up being restrictive, and killed just as many stories as having no plan - they also make me prone to over-researching, because I absolutely love research work. If I'm researching, I'm not writing.

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If I just get an 'awesome' idea for a story (or a scene I want to use in a story at some point) I'll just start writing, with no plan or direction in mind. That's probably why I have so many WiPs or story introductions and no actual complete work. If I'm lucky during the course of 'just writing' I'll think of bits/scenes/plot to add somewhere down the track and then some kind of direction to take it becomes somewhat apparent.

There's only one story I've written where I've planned out what I want to happen at each chapter, like where I want the character to be, his situation or life, etc., and that seemed to work out very well for me (both in the result and the productivity and attention it squeezed from me while writing it while I had something more to drive for), but I haven't been able to properly do that with anything else.

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I like to wing it, I do take notes like eye and hair color (My character list usually gets a little out of hand) I usually have no idea where I'm going until I get there, makes the story conveluted but that just makes it fun tieing all the plot lines together, can get a little challenging at times, but that's what makes it fun - and isn't that why we do this?

Edited by magusfang

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I tend to write without thinking, but some stories I love thinking because I get more ideas.

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My writing process is complex and eclectic mix of sometimes this, other times that, occasionally that thing over there. My "magnum opus", the story I spend 95% of my writing time on, is an ever changing thing. I don't have an overarching design with a very specific end in mind. The whole thing started as a challenge from my wife, We enjoyed reading good lesbian erotica together (I'd read aloud to her, a kind of adult bedtime story), but the problem was, "good" and "lesbian erotica" seemed to be mutually exclusive terms. There were just enough good writers to keep us hoping we might find another diamond in the enormous slag heap if we shoveled enough crap. Finally, she dared me to try writing an erotic story. How hard could it be? I thought. Sure, I'll give it a go. How hard can it be indeed. It all depends in how seriously you take it, and once I got started, I found myself taking it very seriously.

Coming up with an idea wasn't especially difficult -- I've always had stories/fantasies run through my head in idle moments and long drives. I wrote out out Chapter 1 as a way of introducing the characters, how they knew each other, and how and why they found themselves about to become lovers. Once out of the immediate setting (briefly snowbound after a blizzard), I envisioned a series of erotic vignettes. Three Chapters in, the whole thing suddenly morphed into something I never expected. The logic of the thing demanded I go right when I expected to go left. If I went left, a few more chapters and my writing "career" would end, and I'd be able to say I lived up to my wife's challenge. If I went right, the muse Calliope made it quite clear I was getting myself into something I did not then comprehend. The sign at the right hand fork was very clear: "Warning: Here there be beastes and dragons." Going right would send me headlong into a world of mystery and wonder, teaching me harsh lessons on the Law of Unintended Consequences and other arcana. How hard can it be? I blithely said to myself. Ha! Ask a dumb question...

So I went right, and hard as it's been, I've never regretted it for a moment. I found my avocation.

I came into the story with no preconceived ideas of how a story "should" be written. I've pretty much made it up as I've gone along, going with whatever works for a given installment. I'm not, nor will I ever be prolific. I admire authors who can maintain a consistent level of excellence within a large oeuvre. My level of "excellence" is not for me to decide; my output is, and it will never be large. That being the case, I have the relative luxury of being able to write a story where the characters are primary, the plot secondary -- not so much secondary as subordinate.

Knowing my characters in minute detail is the single most important part of my writing process. If I know them intimately (and I do) and I treat them honestly (I try my damnedest), I have a fair amount of leeway in how the plot progresses. I rarely know more than a chapter or two ahead where things are going, except in the most vague sense, but if I trust my characters, I can trust they will show me where they need to go. I don't believe real life is predestined, so in a story driven by characters, I don't feel the endpoint should be predestined. The story's progression flows naturally from the choices the characters make and how they make them.

I tend to use a lot of sub-themes, some more prominent and important than others, but each crucial in its own way. I also like playing around with metaphors large and small.

I try not to lock myself into anything. Generally when I end a chapter, I know what's going to happen in the next one. That said, it's not unusual for me to discover what I thought was going to happen just doesn't work, so I have to be flexible enough to throw out 5,000 words of text if it isn't correct. On more than one occasion, I tossed an entire chapter because it turned out to be all wrong, and if you think that didn't hurt! In the process of writing, I try my best to avoid repeating a word unless I have no choice. Given that the story is at least nominally erotic, describing the sexual action is naturally paramount. I always try to do so with resorting to using F*** unless I have no choice, or if it's what one of the characters cries out in the throes of orgasm. I try to avoid the C word even more studiously, though there are times when, used in the correct context, it's simply the best word available. I tend to write very descriptive -- sometimes minutely so -- and explicit descriptions of what a character is seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and hearing. I used to have the bad habit of shifting between the two characters views of the action rather than sticking with just one characters POV, unless very clearly delineated. I also have been in the habit of trying to describe what an orgasm feels like, and though I sometimes think I've an OK job, I ultimately believe it's pretty much impossible to do with any justice -- now I'm trying to find ways to break that habit without losing any passion.

These are challenges, and for me, the fun of the writing process is in learning to master the various challenges I set for myself.

Ultimately, to my mind, the most important part of the writing process is summed up in one word: editing. There are, for me, multiple types of editing, from reworking a paragraph during the course of writing, to working over a series of drafts, fine tuning until I'm reasonably satisfied with the end product, to the reading aloud of that end product to my wife. When she gives her editorial approval, I ship it off to two different editors, one for proofreading, the other for content, stylistic, and grammatical editing. Only when I've made my final decisions on whether to accept or decline an editors suggestions do I finally post a chapter on the various sites I use to get it out there to my small but loyal readership. I will generally do seven editing run-throughs before a chapter reaches the point I think it's ready for my wife's critical ear. She's the one editor who can and will be merciless with me, and tell me if something I've written is crap.

In the end, my writing process is whatever works for a given chapter. It rarely flows out of me without effort. I use different tacks whenever needed. Part of the fun -- and writing this story is almost always great fun -- is figuring out exactly what tack works best to achieve my goals.

Well now, I guess I took a relatively simple question and way over complicated it. Too late in the day to subject it to editing -- luckily it's the weekend and I don't have to be up at 5 AM to go to work.

Good night!

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