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WEbook Forums > WEbook's Writing Workshop > 911 Writer's Block:  Tips to Rev your Engine > How do you write? Do you plan a story in advance?
A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 11/18/2008 8:11 PM PST
What an interesting question. I think it depends on the work, first of all. My very first original work, I know that I wanted it to cover 4 years and I planned out things that would happen to my character in each of those four years. In some parts I elaborated more than others. Eventually, it got a make-over in the end and I changed it from third person to first person POV and the majority of it is flashbacks. Usually when I start a new work, I have a clear idea of where I want my characters to be. I know which characters I want to work with and I know their dreams and goals. I think I have a plan for most of them and let the rest come whenever it feels appreciate. What I'm currently working on now is all on paper (except for a couple of the early chapters that are typed up) and I make it up as I go. I know the background of my heroine. I know that there's a love triangle that will eventually come to haunt my heroine towards the end. I knew there was going to be sort of big event that would bring the other part of the love triangle coming into the work. Everything else, I just made up as i went without worrying about consequences. I just figured when I type it up after finishing, I'll figure the rest out from there. I think a lot of what I've written I will keep in. With some of my works, the ending was really obvious. I know my project White Tiger had an obvious ending because my character's makeup (you'll have to read it to find out, look under my profile)... while with Joshua Isaiah Prince, I made things up as they made sense for my character. I knew he'd go through an inner struggle halfway through, but I had no idea when I was going to end because it was a lot of fun to write.
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Posted: 11/18/2008 8:31 AM PST
it sort of depends on the length of the story. for short stories, the only planning is the idea that pops into my head. i just take it from there and get the whole thing written in one sitting (if i don't do it all in one sitting, the chances of the story reaching the end drop dramatically). for my novel, i did the same basic thing. i have a lot more big events in mind that are going to happen, and i have a vague time line in place. it's hard for me to do too much planning. i tend to let things flow and that works for me. i know someone that plans stories by making lists of character names, birthdays, relationships, as well as putting down dates for everything that happens in the story. then she changes her mind and keeps working on the idea, but rarely actually writes anything. so, it's really up to the writer, and the length of the story. short stories don't need much (if any) planning, whereas novels need a lot more planning. i mean, if your story flows out of you, you could end up messing the dates up and it would end up being a poor story just because your facts would be off.
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Posted: 11/17/2008 8:45 AM PST
Depends on the stories. I usually feel it's safer to plan a story, but if I'm getting stuck at trying to write the plan down, I won't persevere like mad. I start writing and eventually will get back to the plot when I've already got some milestones down. I think it's better to have quite a detailed idea of the whole before you write too much, 'cause otherwise it's very easy to start in a direction which is actually getting you nowhere, but might still prove difficult to give up once it exists in words. If you plan, you don't get that much. You spot wrong directions before you go through the trying process of writing them down.
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Posted: 11/15/2008 3:38 PM PST
I do a 'skeleton plot' and then decide on some scenes. By skeleton plot I mean I have an overall idea of the storyline and how it will play out, including some major 'moments.' I then add scenes just like in a movie. Things I want to see happen to further the plot or character development, etc. I decide where they fit best and the begin fleshing out the plot, inserting scenes as needed and filling in the holes as needed.
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Posted: 11/15/2008 2:21 PM PST

I got the idea for my novel by experiencing a friend who loved so unconditionally that I thought she surely couldn't be that real, but she was. Her husband had a former wife who had difficulty getting over their marriage and continued to come over. She also had a disorder. In any case, my friend helped her to get a job, befriended her and allowed her to come for dinner every Friday night to help her to feel as if she had someone who cared for her. This went on for years and I often marveled at it and over a year ago, I sat down and began a story about a woman like her and it turned into a novel. It was odd, the story just flowed out of me and as I wrote the more excited I became. I finally posted it here on webooks for proof reading and feedbacks and I have received a lot of good constructive feedback. I'm still revising it and each time I do, I add something in it. Pattimari
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Posted: 11/15/2008 11:47 AM PST
Kind of both. I have a sort of outline in my head of major events and thems and kind of the let the chacaters do what they want within these boundries. These boundries usually end up changing 4-10 times depending on how good i think the initial idea is. I once filled a notebook for an outline for my next novel (slayer's mind) and after about a month, i ended up scrapping the whole things and starting over. i paid ten dollars for that notebook.
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Posted: 11/15/2008 10:51 AM PST
I always think of a story as being like a journey. We know the start and finish and have a rough idea of the route but we always find a few unexpected detours as we go along!
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Posted: 11/14/2008 6:19 PM PST
I did 'The Final Battle' this way. I wrote down a rough, rough, draft of the book. Then, when it came down to posting it on here, I revised it to give it more detail. Then, I revise it as the story goes along, as side stories pop up, and I have to go back and stuff. But the entire time, the story's in my head.
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Posted: 11/14/2008 5:20 AM PST
I agree with both of you... I tend to just let the story write itself, but without a plot I'm typically stuck after 4-10 pages.... I get a lot written, but not a lot of useful things.... You guys have any thoughts on how you create a plot the easiest way? I've tried to just let my mind flow and write it on a notepad but I can't seem to get it stuck together... I need some methaphorical krazy-glue.
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Posted: 11/11/2008 1:48 AM PST
If I want to get further than the first few pages, I plan everything in minute detail, right down to a timeline. That way I don't muddle up my dates and end up having to redo everything. Whatever works best for you doesn't necessarily work for everyone.
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Posted: 11/10/2008 3:33 PM PST
I often ask myself this question as I am writing. I guess I write it as it comes along. If I am struggling in a chapter I stop and take stock. I grab a note pad and pen (tried note writing on the lap tip but didn't find it as creative as the good old fashioned way) and I write what I want or see happening in this particular chapter. I then just let the sentences and dialogue between characters flow.
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Posted: 11/10/2008 12:06 PM PST
How do you write? Do you plan out your story in advance? Or do you let it write itself as it goes along?
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