Writing Quirks

etaylor

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Jan 24, 2020
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Just wondering if this was a common practice for anyone else, but I find it's particularly difficult to write anything linearly. I tend to write my conclusion first, and then let that conclusion inform the past.

And I've never finished a single thing that started with a title. The only things I've ever finished only got their titles when the writing was done.
 
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.matthew.

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I have the exact opposite problem. Starting things is easy, it's getting to the conclusion I find a challenge.

Normally once I know where the plot is going, I get bored and frustrated and just stop.

I like to write linearly from start to (near the) finish. Afterwards, I do edit passes to fix anything that no longer makes sense.

Edit: Although I agree on the title, I've still never given anything a real one :)
 

sknox

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I write sideways. I outline and try to get the order of events in, er, order. But I never seem to find the opening scene right off the bat, so it's hard to say I write linearly because I never know until later where the start is. And while I know the end in general, it's pretty difficult to write an "in general" scene, so the real ending is soft until I get pretty close to it. It's not so much the what happens part is how it happens. The tone, the final lines, that sort of thing. There's no way for me to write that early in the process.

The result is I write a fair number of scenes that at one time or another I thought were the beginning and another handful that I labeled the end, except they turned out not to be. In between those I'll do a fair amount of scene hopping. I sort of justify this. Certain scenes are important to the plot while others are important to character or setting. What happens in those scenes affect what comes before and what comes after. That's true for many scenes, but some are pivotal.

I tend to write, or at least draft, those sooner rather than later, even if the scene itself appears late. I need to get a feel for how the characters move through it, what they see and experience, and so on. These become waymarkers. I know as I write other scenes that Character A needs to get to a certain point psychologically, or a certain relationship needs to be to a certain point because a betrayal happens here. That sort of thing. The whole process when viewed from above probably looks like chasing chickens, but I've grown comfortable with it. Call it a process and no one will argue it. :)
 

-K2-

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I posted this previously in one of the MANY threads about this subject:


I'm simply a novice, so, all I can share is how 'I' write a novel and works for me. Possibly you'll see something in it which strikes a chord in you to get you moving.

1. An ending or 'goal' pops into my head. That initially is what I'm wanting to say. Initially... in that as I progress, that goal often evolves into something deeper. X grows into X+Y, soon X+Y+Z, and often A through Z as the characters grow and new ideas pop into my head. In any case, what I'm wanting to say, not the ending, is where I start.
2. At that point ideas start popping up. The first three are always my protagonist character, an ending scene (which is typically a big impact scene with a twist and punch-line) and a starting scene (which is more of a hook than substance. The one bit of substance is to make clear a problem and initial goal which WILL change).
3. Other ideas for scenes/chapters that 'I want in it' will pop into my head, but for the most part they're actually inconsequential to the problem/goal. What they ultimately will end up as are transition chapters to move the story and character along. I'll drop them in where appropriate. At most I'll only make a sentence long note as a reminder... yet fix none of them in stone.
4. I start writing... In the back of my mind the story goal is always there. But, I don't fixate on that goal. I let the character live their life and stumble into the problem, eventually working to a point where they want to address that problem, and then they go after it toward the goal.
5. As noted in #2, I have a chapter-1 figured out so I write it... As it moves along, it leads the character to a new point. The second chapter deals with that new circumstance, then onto the next, and the next... each chapter/scene always in some way encountering the problem. However, I just let the story and directions evolve on their own. No massive revelations or 'ah-hah' moments. I'm showing the protagonist facing the problem, learning and growing gradually.
6. Once the characters have reached a point where there is little left to learn or evolve, then the story moves toward resolution and I start working toward that end goal(s). Ultimately I get there.

Here's the thing though... I might fix certain scenes in my head be they fluff or big impact scenes. But, they're all flexible. The character's growth (for me) must be natural and realistic. So, they succeed at this, fail at that, yet learn each time. The story gets bigger as I move along, encompasses more, and then at some point begins to refocus. Look at the image below;



The story at the start is very small. One person going about their life that encounters a problem. As it progresses it expands out. More characters, more depth about the person, place, situation and expands to a big story. However, the characters simply live their normal life with that problem ever-looming.

Eventually, they come to a point where simply surviving/getting by isn't enough. So, they start to try and address the problem, thinking about it, considering options, learning, evolving, and gradually move toward addressing JUST that problem and the story begins shrinking focusing on addressing the problem(s). By the time they address the problem, the story is very focused... However, everything that has happened up to that point crams in all having an effect on the outcome. Nothing is inconsequential. What fills the widest point (all that has happened) must have some relevance to helping attack the problem. Everything...

Anywho, that's how I do it. I let the character's life and who they are determine how they get to the end. I want it natural, logical. I don't want moments when 'Bob and Mary' instantly find super-courage and super-powers to win the day. I want them to encounter events that form their motivations and reasons just like you or I would be moved. IOW, I let common sense reactions to events, zig-zag/pinball/spiral them out as their awareness of the world and self becomes greater. Then, focus that on the issue at hand gradually.

Take that with a grain of salt. It is just how 'I' do it.

K2
 

tinkerdan

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I just start writing;
if the characters work for me then I let them develop;
if not we part ways and it's no-one's fault.

Once they begin to develop I begin the plan.

Periodically we circle the wagons and have a conference.

Occasionally we have to 'let someone go'.

It's a process.

:-------------------------------------------------------------:
on another note I was checking this while writing this.
No one is right.
No-one is an uncommon variant form. It’s best to stick to the two-word version.
Noone is wrong.

I put an emphasis on the idea I took from the above that,
no one is right and noone is wrong,
that's how we run the conferences,
we agree to disagree,
you see.
 

etaylor

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Jan 24, 2020
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Interesting processes all. Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I'm new here and prodding about.
 

Phyrebrat

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My quirk is I find it incredibly easy to bash out words on my Scrivener app when I'm on the Tube. I can easily get around 500 words out from Walthamstow - Brixton.

pH
 

etaylor

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Jan 24, 2020
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My quirk is I find it incredibly easy to bash out words on my Scrivener app when I'm on the Tube. I can easily get around 500 words out from Walthamstow - Brixton.

pH
I'll have to look into the app. I'm using something called Notebooks right now and while I really like it's organizational capabilities, it's really not optimized for keeping track of things like page count, or effective page formatting of any kind. Lol
 
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