Careful planning vs freestyling

Octo-tater

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My writing experience is fairly limited but I'd like to start writing a story, mainly for my own enjoyment and also to eventually share and interact with others on here.

In the past I've usually just started writing about whatever's inspiring me in the moment, until the spark of inspiration dies out and the story is abandoned forever.

I understand there are lots of methods people use when constructing plotlines, characters, worlds etc but I always thought this might come across as artificial. However, it also makes more sense than writing about something that has no direction whatsoever.

I'm interested to hear what you guys normally do and if anyone has any thoughts/advice?

LLAP :alien:
 

The Judge

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Ah! The pantsers -v- planners aka the gardeners -v- architects argument, not forgetting the possibilities in-between such as plantsers (and possibly gardentects...)

This is a hardy perennial here on Chrons (that's gardening talk!) and if you've a spare hour or three, make your way through Writing Discussion and you'll pick up a few of the threads. Lots of advice there, and doubtless more will follow here, too. The best advice I can give, though, is to find out what works for you by trying different ways of writing, but don't worry what other people are or aren't doing and never accept that one person or technique has all the answers. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Indeed, what works for you with one story might not work for you with another piece.

The only way to learn to write a full-length novel, or anything else, is to write and write and write some more. Read, as well. And think about what you've read. Then go and write.

And welcome to the Chrons!
 

M. Robert Gibson

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There are a few other threads that explore this



 

DLCroix

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Hi! Indeed, the methods vary from writer to writer. Even so, I recommend you take a look at On Writing, from the Godzilla of writers, that is him. The king. I mean Stephen King. It is ideal to consult every day because he always teaches you something. At least his advice has served me well for more than a decade.
Don't take the advice about to dive in this forum lightly either; right here you will discover an impressive amount of material that can even be used by students of literature. So find yourself an armchair and make yourself comfortable because you won't leave here anymore. Be welcome to the legion. Open 24 hours. We don't even close for Christmas. :D
 

Timebender

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What I would add is to tell yourself "Finish, finish, finish." Use whatever of these methods you find that work best. Even if you aren't interested, even if the spark is gone, finish it. Then, take as much time as you need, and then look at it with fresh eyes. Just because you aren't currently interested in your project doesn't mean that you always won't be, or that nobody else will be interested either. Learning to finish is important, but also hard, so don't worry if you struggle with it. Just keep trying.

I have experience, because being on the spectrum I shift interests easily, I can be obsessed with a certain idea for a couple weeks and then move onto some other obsession and lose all interest in the previous idea. I understand the pain! There are definitely times where I need to take my own advice more.
 
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Octo-tater

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Ah! The pantsers -v- planners aka the gardeners -v- architects argument, not forgetting the possibilities in-between such as plantsers (and possibly gardentects...)

This is a hardy perennial here on Chrons (that's gardening talk!) and if you've a spare hour or three, make your way through Writing Discussion and you'll pick up a few of the threads. Lots of advice there, and doubtless more will follow here, too. The best advice I can give, though, is to find out what works for you by trying different ways of writing, but don't worry what other people are or aren't doing and never accept that one person or technique has all the answers. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Indeed, what works for you with one story might not work for you with another piece.

The only way to learn to write a full-length novel, or anything else, is to write and write and write some more. Read, as well. And think about what you've read. Then go and write.

And welcome to the Chrons!

Just shows what a newbie I am, I've never even heard of a pantster! Thank you for your advice :)
 

Astro Pen

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Total pantser here. Just set up an introductory situation hit the keys and before you know it the characters are writing the story for you.
Every day they surprise me.
Somewhere in your subconcious there is an overarching sense of structure which will arrive automatically. This arises because, as a pantser, you are also reading in a 'chicken and egg' way, so there is a reader expectation - you instinctively know when structural elements are 'due' as it were.

Re plotting. I'm not sure I could flog through something if I new how it ended, it would be devoid of surprises.

My single piece of advice is to start of with characters diverse enough that interesting interactions, chemistry and relationships develop naturally. That is almost independent of the subject matter or genre.

(Oh and as @Timebender says, echoing Neil Gaiman, finish things. :cool:)
 

JS Wiig

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I like to carefully plan my freestyle.

What I mean is, I do a basic outline of the waypoints I’d like to hit, then just write between those waypoints. When I get done, I see what’s there and figure out what changes need to be made.

Then the rewriting commences...
 
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My personal method isn't anything special. I let my imagination go wild and i just right down what i see in my minds eye. It's usually me watching from a 3rd person view whomever my story would be about. I feel like more of a scribe than a writer.
 

Wayne Mack

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I wish I could plan a story out in detail, but I haven't mastered that skill. Currently, I tend to write some connected vignettes about the characters and environment moving towards an end scene. I find myself going back and adding in foreshadowing details as I write new sections and when I am done, I still need to add, modify, and delete sections to fit the final plot line. This leads to some difficult decisions between 'I really like this chapter I wrote' and 'This chapter doesn't really move the plot forward.'
 

K.S. Crooks

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I see writing a story like going on a road trip. I need to know where I'm (or my characters) are starting, where they will end up and some things they will do during the trip. I like to know the major events of my story, but the times between or what happens while the characters go from one location to another are written in the moment.
I make outlines for my novels before I begin writing them and continue to update them as I write. Any flash ideas I write down but usually do not do anything with until I finish a novel. My outlines have a lot of information about all main characters (appearance, personality, strengths and weaknesses, etc) and secondary characters, the names of all other needed figures, major plot points per chapter, reason for characters to do what they do, what growth I want the characters to have by the end of the novel.
If you know where you want the characters to be at a few key points and at the end of the story both mentally and physically, the likelihood of writer's block is lessened. Once I start the story, anytime I'm stuck I skip ahead to a point where I know what I want to write. While I’m doing this, my mind will subconsciously figure out the part I skipped. Only a few aspects of the outline are set in stone. For everything else, if something better comes to mind then a change is made. Figuring out how I write was huge.
 

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