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A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 10/24/2009 1:48 PM PDT
Writing backwards does limit how much the story can evolve, but there is so much that can happen in “the past” when you write the ending of a book first. Different possibilities that could of happened to get to that last point. I'm still stuck on how to move the book forward from where I am now. I don’t know what to write next, or even how to put it words. So I decided to skip ahead and write the ending. I knew the ending I wanted and depending on where the story takes me I may or may not keep that particular ending.
Writing the ending as also opened my eyes on how to treat the main character. He began as one guy who doing/living two different things. Now I see that I should treat him as two completely different people who share the same body. That’s where the meat of the book should focus on. It sounds weird but I think I could make it work. In this case writing the ending has helped me out a lot. I guess everyone and every book has a different way to go about completing the story.
I am going to take a break from the actual writing and start going deeper into my character analysis. I think that the main reason why I'm stuck is because I don’t truly know my characters and why they function the way they do.
Posted: 10/23/2009 10:07 PM PDT
The problem I see in writing backwards is it makes it harder for you to let the story evolve on it's own. In my own work, I have a general idea where I want the story to go, but I just let it flow. I started with a cast of 3 characters and a single premise. Now, because I was able to let the story wander around a bit, my cast has expanded to 14 named characters with 6 more yet to be introduced, 3 solid subplots and one more subplot that I just started two days ago. My general ending is still intact, but I have a lot more freedom in the narrative.
I'm not saying that writing backwards won't work, it's just my opinion that it's the harder way to go about it. The story I tried to write a few years ago aborted itself because I knew exactly how I wanted the last scene to go. The problem I had was I needed the characters to stay fairly static, but they wanted to evolve. I got 20-25 thousand words into it before it collapsed. A lot of work to abandon!
Maybe take some time and work just on the wife. Get super detailed in her summary. Where she grew up, what her relationship with her parents was like, what was her childhood was like, etc. Sooner or later you will give her a detail you will be able to latch onto.
Posted: 10/23/2009 7:02 AM PDT
JDLee- I actually watch Dexter religiously and I have never made the connection between that and my story, thanks for pointing that out. It kind of help me get my thoughts together.
SilentDaVinci- When ever I come up with ideas for the later chapters I do write them down so I wont forget them, but maybe I should write the chapters instead and then go back and fill in the blanks.
TJSharky- That’s exactly where I wanted the story to go. The two worlds crossing (in which his wife is the main reason they cross in the first place) and him having to choose which side he really wants to belong to. I just have to figure out a way to get there.
I think I’m going to work backwards. Write the ending, and move backwards. I do write character summaries, but the wife is giving me the most troubles. The characters basically write themselves but she’s not giving me much to go on. Thanks everyone for the ideas I do appreciate them.
Posted: 10/17/2009 10:36 PM PDT
While I don't know where you want the story to go, you could always have the two lives cross paths. For example, he could be out on a hit in a public place and have his wife show up, or have him out with his wife and have him be the victim of a retaliatory hit attempt. Either one could give you a nice path to wander down.
Posted: 10/4/2009 3:04 PM PDT
Except Dexter is a serial killer. (side note: read the books. Jeff Lindsay is an amazing writer)
When writing, you don't have to follow a pattern. You don't have to start with chapter one, then two, then three. You can jump around. Sometimes it's easier to write the ending first. Or you can write chapter twelve without having written the previous ten. It's like a puzzle. If you get stuck you can always look at what you have and try to find ways to string it together.
Posted: 10/2/2009 1:44 AM PDT
It sounds like you're writing the TV series "Dexter". One way to overcome writer's block when you're going in the wrong direction is to work on your characters more. Write a page or two or three about your primary and secondary characters. The more you know about your characters, the more you have to say about them and the easier it is to stay on course.
Most important of all is knowing how you want your story to end. If you can visualize the ending then you'll find your way there. And, if you change your ending when you get there, that's okay.
Posted: 9/10/2009 3:39 AM PDT
I never thought about having boths sides be good or evil. That is a great idea. Almost like picking the lesser of two evils, instead good vs. evil. That helped out a lot. Thanks for your help.
Posted: 9/9/2009 4:10 PM PDT
Why does one side have to be bad and the other good? To me, it would interesting if both sides were equally good or bad, and your main character was forced to choose one or the other. Would he choose a wife & family? Would he choose chaos and murder? Why? What would entice him to leave one for the other?
Posted: 9/9/2009 1:23 PM PDT
Im writing a book, and Im totally having writers block. Like I know where I want to go with the story, but I cant see the road that is going to take me there. I see pictures in my head of what I want to happen, but cant connect the dots. Did that make sense? So hopefully someone can help me out. Here is a little about what I have now.
My main character is living two seprete lives. In one world he is a hitman; in the other he is the model husband. The first chapter starts off in his crime world. It explains briefly what he does and how he does it. Its just one of his "missions" he has to complete. Chapter 2 is his model life. His life at home with the wife, her having a conversation with him. Him paying attention but not really(you know how husbands really are). Then in Chapter 3 I have the story go back in time(flashback style) how he got into the business and how he met his wife.
I just dont know where to go from there. I just feel like im going/went in the wrong direction. I really think that Im doing the whole cliche; two different worlds, one good one bad, but must pick one side theme, but I dont want to give up on it. I really feel like it has potential. So can anyone help me out with this? Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.