Questions from a Writer who Doesn't Remember How to Write

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    Hello everyone!

    I’m hoping y’all can help me boost my memory a little or give me a gentle push in the right direction. I took the placement test a few months ago and it decided I belonged with the group about to advance to Intermediate if I remember correctly. I have had writing experience before about to create a novel (One Year Adventure Novel) but since last year I have not worked on any particular project. Until now.

    I have a brand new idea. A new forum and community and am older and hopefully more ready to take on the challenge of writing. However! I cannot remember the best way to go from here. (*inward cringe) I have my novel idea in a one-sentence summary (basic) but how do I proceed from here? Do I expand my idea longer than a sentence? Work on world-building? Character development? Where do I keep this information? If anyone can give me a gentle push in the next step, this would be fantastic!

    God bless! (I’m sorry I know this is a broad question!)

    • This topic was modified 2 years ago by Mariam.
    Princess Foo

    @mariam I also did OYAN! My novel got to the 2018 semi-finals, it was very exciting.

    What you should do next works differently for every author. I like plotting out the story before I get started. I make a list of all the characters and list physical and character traits. I write down what summery of the story I have. Generally, this will be enough to start giving me snippets of dialogue that I build up into whole scenes. Sometimes I write these scenes down, but that generally bogs me down into picking just the right word when I already know the scene in my head, so mostly I just imagine them.

    By now, I have a pretty good idea of the characters, world, and story problem. If the world is particularly complicated, then I will spend more time working on that. Then I start at the first scene. Where does this story start? Where does the first scene end? I think of what I want the midpoint twist to be, the moment of darkness, and the eventual victory. Then I think of what I will need to get characters to these points, drawing from the scenes I made up earlier.

    But not everyone writes like this. If some people planned everything out beforehand, they would lose steam before they got started. Do what works best for you, but know that if you don’t plot before, you are going to be doing a lot of revisions. A story naturally evolves as it is written, but it is so much easier to write things right the first time instead of going back and trying to make it work once you have gotten all attached to the words.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    Kenzie Pimpo

    @mariam: I did a bit of OYAN too!

    Well, like Princess Foo said, I do think there is a fine line between plotting too much and losing your steam and just having at it without a direction. When I get a brand new story idea I want to build on, I like to base the plot off of my character arcs- so basically I’ll get a very basic outline done (with just the Acts, Plot Points, Midpoint, Climax, etc.) then leave it be and work on my character arc. When I figure that out it’s kinda just like connecting the dots. After making the basic outline and character arc, I work from there just writing it out following an outline- and not planning out every scene to the final detail. I mean, it’s a 1st draft; doesn’t need to be perfect. That’s what revision is for.

    One thing that I’d suggest for a brand new story idea is having an ‘insider notebook’ (I have one for every single story I’m serious about writing) for all the random stuff you think of when you’re not writing/typing out the actual story. So, I’ll have mini outlines, drawings, maps, quirks for my characters, scene ideas, charts, fun little things that have nothing to do with the story, ‘behind the scenes’ concepts, brainstorm sessions for myself, yadda yadda. Things fall into place a whole ton for me when I’m just having fun writing down the most random things about my story in my notebook and it’s almost like you’re working on your story… but not. (LOL that makes sense to me but I have no idea if it’ll make any sense to anyone else. XD) But I think an insider notebook develops the story a whole lot and I think it’s super effective. Then, when I’m writing the actual story, things seem easier to write down now that I know the little stuff I figured out in the notebook. ;p

    So yeah that’s what I do… I don’t know if it’ll work for you or anyone else but it sure works for me!

    “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭94:19‬ ‭

    Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

    Here’s the way I go about it.  Mileage may vary. 😉

    At the point you mention I tend to have quite a few fragments of ideas floating around in my head for scene ideas, potential plot twists, maybe a character or two.  I like to fire up my editor and just splat everything down as quickly as possible.

    It looks like a train wreck, but the point is to get it out and hit SAVE before I forget (which is likely, knowing me).

    I like to do that with all ideas I have, whether I’ll ever do anything with them or not.  I figure at least it gets them out of my head so I can concentrate on the WIP.

    Then, if I do decide to go ahead with the story, I split the little fragments into scenes / characters / settings.  Often a scene is nothing but a title, “Kevin betrays Lisa’s trust” — I’ll worry about how/what that means later on.  Right now all I need is a placeholder so know that something like that needs to happen.

    Also good idea to try and get an ending idea in place ASAP.  Saves a lot of wandering down dead ends.

    The purpose of doing things this way is it gives me a skeleton that I can start shuffling around & building upon.  Really, from there on out it becomes game of fill-in-the-blanks, which I find a lot easier.

    I didn’t come up with this.  It’s based on a ground-up model, which, I’m 75% sure I learned from this book (can’t find my notes to confirm that at the moment).

    Homeschooling father of 10, writing Christian action/adventure novels from my home high in the Rockies.

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