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What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea? : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

What's going on in your writing world? Connect with the writing community here and talk about whatever's on your mind.
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Carly Berg
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What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby Carly Berg » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:50 pm

Prologue: I finished one short novel about twenty years ago and it won a prize in a university sponsored contest. I was so jazzed, but that was as far as I ever got. And I know the ending wasn't good anyway, it just dropped off. Since then, I've started a few more but ditched them about halfway through because I lost control (of the storyline, not myself, usually). I got tired of putting in all that effort only to fail, so I turned to flash fiction, articles, and short nonfiction books. I find all of those much easier to find some measure of success with. But now I'm ready to try a novel again.

Through the years, I've tried pantsing, outlining, somewhere in between, story boards, The Marshall Plan (a book, not that other one haha), the snowflake method, plot points blah blah blah.

My idea this time is to dissect a couple of short, simple novels that I really like (not too many characters or plotlines), merge and strip them down into a skeleton and try to hang my own (original, of course) story on that makeshift framework. Maybe that way I can't get lost because I'll have a structure to tack it all down on. I have one book pretty well reduced to its framework, now I have to do the second one and blend them into a unique framework.

What do you think? Has anyone tried anything like this? 8-)
My books (available at Amazon):
Story Prompts That Work
Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get Them Published
Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash Fiction

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The Fantastical
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby The Fantastical » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:03 pm

I suppose it could work... Or you could save yourself a lot of work and just follow one of the 7 story archetypes?
“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”
― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

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Carly Berg
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby Carly Berg » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:27 pm

Thanks, TF. I've tried something like that before too but whatever I found didn't have a lot of detail. I think I'll see if that book is still on my shelves anyway, though because I had forgoten about it. Thanks for the thought!
My books (available at Amazon):
Story Prompts That Work
Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get Them Published
Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash Fiction

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nhope
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby nhope » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:28 pm

Remember, you aren't the same person you were 20 years ago. I've started stories 7 years ago and now, having changed due to life experiences, can't "get into" the story lines as they were written then as I am not *that* writer anymore.

In theory, it may work but in execution, you may have to rethink it to reflect who you are today.

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Carly Berg
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby Carly Berg » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:42 pm

Thanks, nhope. You are so right. I had originally figured I'd re-work one of the earlier, unfinished novels but the truth is, I'm really *not* that interested in any of them anymore. A new idea is forming in my mind but it's still kinda hazy. :)
My books (available at Amazon):
Story Prompts That Work
Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get Them Published
Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash Fiction

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cynicalwanderer
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby cynicalwanderer » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:18 am

It can certainly be useful to take the time to dissect books you like by other authors, and study them to see what makes them tick. You'll learn plenty about good structure by doing so. Whether or not it's a good idea to then use those books as a template for manipulating your own is debatable - you might lose some of your originality in the process, diluting what makes your own work special, and that has the risk of being just as demotivating as trying to come back to an abandoned piece and drum up interest in it again.

Perhaps go through the analytical exercise on those other books, identifying the strong and the weak elements, and then perform the same exercise on the book you're thinking about rewriting. Not to blindly map someone else's structure onto it, but to aim to have eureka moments where the knowledge you've since gained can be applied to tighten up and fix your structural issues while still retaining your own voice and ideas. For example, perhaps you have too many one-note characters. After studying more complex characters in your reading, you might hit on the notion that - hey! - these three bland, fairly similar characters that don't really have much value on their own, could have their traits and scenes folded into one: a single character of much more depth and personality. Or you might spot entire scenes of waffle and back story that, seeing how other authors have minimised such flab, could be cut and never spoken of again.

So do a post mortem on your own book, the same as you're doing for those books you admire, and be honest with yourself about what parts work, what parts needs fixing and how they could be fixed, and what parts are completely unsalvageable. My first novel, for example, was 128,000 words of sweat and tears, and perhaps 5% of that might be worth salvaging if I ever went back to it. For now, that story is locked permanently away so that the stink of it won't infect my new writing, but it was part of my learning process, so it still served its purpose, and I've moved on from it to produce work that I feel much more satisfied with since then. And so too, you might also come to grow and expand your skill set by taking the time to study the past; or you might just turf it all into a locked bottom drawer and just press forward with new material. It's up to you.
"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

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robjvargas
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby robjvargas » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:20 am

Every writing methods suck. Every plot stinks. Every style is awful.

Until it isn't.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Even when accounting for inflation.

Look up the story of Harrison Ford playing a bellboy.

Everyone has their own ideas of what works and what doesn't. Inevitably, someone comes along and destroys those preconceptions. I mean, look at how ready everyone was for President-elect Hillary Clinton, and how stunned they are that it's President-elect Donald Trump instead.

Look at your idea with a jaundiced eye. Find a flaw in it. See if you can make it a fatal flaw. If you can't, then try it. I can't tell you that it won't work. Stephen King might say it won't work. But when someone makes it work, it'll become THE NEXT BIG THING in writing, won't it?

Why couldn't that someone be you?
Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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Carly Berg
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Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby Carly Berg » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:56 pm

Thanks to everyone so far. Lots of good thoughts here. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
My books (available at Amazon):
Story Prompts That Work
Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get Them Published
Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash Fiction

williamadams
 

Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby williamadams » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:23 am


williamadams
 

Re: What Do Y'all Think of My Novel Writing Idea?

Postby williamadams » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:36 am


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