Your Approach to Writing

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Plaidman
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby Plaidman » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:09 pm

[quote="wdarcy"](sometimes, through DID, they are the same person).[/quote]

DID? :?

[quote="wdarcy"]And I have no problem keeping the entire novel in my head and remembering everything I've written. As a former Wagner scholar, I used to be able to mentally perform one of his gargantuan operas from beginning to end, both words and music, so keeping a 100,000-word novel in my head is no problem at all.[/quote]

That's pretty impressive! Wagner didn't mess around. I can see why remembering what you have written isn't much of a problem for you.

If fictional writing, for me, is anything like academic writing, I'm kind of a combination of edit as you go and edit afterward. While I wrote papers I would go back and read what I had written basically to make sure it made sense and said what I wanted it to say. Inevitably, I would always find something that needed fixed or reworded. Then, after the draft was written, I would go back and reread the entire paper, fixing and editing as I went.

Plaidman
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby Plaidman » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:19 pm

[quote="T.A.Rodgers"]Another thing you have to consider when writing fiction is getting facts that are accurate and blend in with the story. If I'm writing a crime novel, I need to make sure the procedural information is correct. A lot of this research is done throughout the novel writing process, although some can be done before hand. Even most fiction is based on fact. Kind of weird if you think about it.[/quote]

This is actually one of the things that has intimidated me about writing a story. I want the "nonfictional" part of the story such as places, procedures, occupational aspects, etc. to be realistic. In other words, if part of my story takes place in a portion of Chicago, I don't want people familiar with Chicago to say 'Wow! This guy knows absolutely nothing about Chicago.' or, think that I have no idea how an average police officer would behave.

Even if I'm writing a fantasy or sci-fi story, certain aspects will need to be realistic to some extent.

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ostarella
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby ostarella » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:12 pm

[quote="Plaidman"]This is actually one of the things that has intimidated me about writing a story. I want the "nonfictional" part of the story such as places, procedures, occupational aspects, etc. to be realistic. In other words, if part of my story takes place in a portion of Chicago, I don't want people familiar with Chicago to say 'Wow! This guy knows absolutely nothing about Chicago.' or, think that I have no idea how an average police officer would behave.

Even if I'm writing a fantasy or sci-fi story, certain aspects will need to be realistic to some extent.[/quote]

The "Chicago" thing is something I don't worry about, because I'm not writing about The City, typically. I'm writing about a certain area in "Chicago" that I made up. Most things you need to know about a large city you can find online - so you don't end up putting a landmark building in the middle of the lake. But otherwise, consider how many readers are actually going to be that familiar with Chicago (believe it or not, it's not a significant number). Then consider how many would be familiar with the area of the city you're using. Then how many would know that there's not really an alley between these two made up streets, and there really isn't a deli with a convenient back door to that alley. And of those - how many are going to take nitpicking a piece of fiction to the point of complaining about it?

There's poetic license in writing. That means that the lawyers on TV shows may get the basics right - but don't use their arguments in front of a real judge. A book about an attempt on a president's life may have a lot of security stuff in it - but it's not going to have it ALL.

The internet really is a wonderful thing for questions - not just for information sites, but for contacting "experts". I got so much great information on snipers and their training - straight from the horse's mouth. Most people love to talk about their jobs, their hobbies - one guy and I went back and forth for several weeks. He thought it was cool to be able help a writer get things straight - even though I asked some pretty stupid (IMO) questions.

So yeah. There are things you need to get right. The rest - you're telling a story, not writing an encyclopedia. If you're really worried about some detail, go online, find someone who would know, and ask them. :)

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:36 am

Wow.

A lot of advice in that discussion.

I need to read it all again and try to get my head around all of that.

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:06 pm

[quote="Plaidman"]As some of you may have noticed, I am a new member here. I am also a complete beginner at writing. I have several questions for experienced writers. This is one of them:

When you begin to write a story, do you plan out your plot from beginning to end, the way you might put together an outline for a research paper? Or, do you just sit down and start writing and the story goes where it goes?

Other related thoughts:
Do you focus on creating your main character(s) before approaching the plot?
Do you think about setting then build your story within it?

The more I think about this, the more I realize there are many ways to approach writing a story. What approach do you take?[/quote]


That is a really good question. And it is one that I hope to get some guidance with from the experienced writers on this forum.

Books I have seen do not agree. Some plan, some wing it, some suggest an intermediate approach. Some are iterative, others more focused.

It seems that you need a setting, which should be easy to do. You need characters, which is easy to do but harder to do well. And you need a plot or some reason for things to happen unless you are just writing beautiful words for their own enjoyment.

To me that plot or whatever happens is the hard part to get done. It takes both creativity and a lot of analysis to make it the best that it could be.
So it would seem that an iterative approach to the characters/plot would help bring them all together for the best possible story. Of course you could write a story around any ensemble of characters but would it be the best story. If all you want is some story then it doesn't matter. I presume that once we have enough experience then we could even do a good story with any bunch of characters. But as a new novelist, I don't feel comfortable totally defining all the characters first. I can see where as the plot is developed that I could see where one more character could make it better.

For some sort of fantasy world perhaps the setting and characters must be done first to be practical. But for ordinary real world settings we can easily use what exists and focus on the other aspects of the story.

I look forward to seeing the older wiser experienced writers here explaining exactly how they do write their novels.

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:11 pm

[quote="T.A.Rodgers"]We'll assume for a moment that you are not the same poster that keeps asking the same question. And forgive me if I'm wrong. :D

There are so many ways to write a novel that they can't all be listed here, but I'll name a few ways.
...
For Organic Writers (Pantsers):
They just write. Well, mostly. Some will write a few notes down about chapters. Some will keep notes about their ending or a scene or something about a character. And some will keep no notes, nothing. They will just write where the wind takes them. A plotter may say, how in the world can you do this without forgetting where you are? If you write at least 1,000 words a day, you can write a novel in 3 months. That's a short enough time to remember where you are in the novel. Just think if you write 2,000 words per day. And if you get lost, you just go back however many chapters it takes to remember where you are.

Again there is no right way or wrong way. It's what works best for you that matters. The most important advice is to sit down and actually write. You can plot until you are blue in the face, but without actually writing all you have are notes.[/quote]

I have a good memory. I also have lots of notes, as well as backups of WIP.

My question is how does this method ensure you get to the end if you always have more scenes in mind.
What is the trick to ending it so the reader will be satisfied.

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:18 pm

[quote="ostarella"][quote="Plaidman"]
When you begin to write a story, do you plan out your plot from beginning to end, the way you might put together an outline for a research paper? Or, do you just sit down and start writing and the story goes where it goes?
Other related thoughts:
Do you focus on creating your main character(s) before approaching the plot?
Do you think about setting then build your story within it?
The more I think about this, the more I realize there are many ways to approach writing a story. What approach do you take?[/quote]


....I ***don't*** write *whatever comes into my head* ; and then do massive editing at the end - I edit/revise/rewrite as I go, and also making sure each additional piece fits with the previous piece. When I come to a "fork in the road", I consider which route seems to have the most potential and that's the way I go. [/quote]


So would you say that basically you plan incrementally as you go instead of planning in advance.
Which is equivalent to plan a little , write a little, edit a little, repeat no rinsing or lathering, until you are finished?
As opposed to plan a lot , write a lot, edit a lot and finish.

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:23 pm

[quote="rob-lost"][quote="Plaidman"]
I realize that writing fiction and academic papers are two different things. But, by doing that I was able to organize my thoughts. It may help me keep track of subplots and minor characters. But, as I am not actually ready to write anything as lengthy as an entire novel, I should be able to remember what I'm doing.

Thank you for your help![/quote]
Well... they're two different things, but so is Science-Fiction versus Romance.

...
"Springfield to Boston to Providence to NYC" is an outline. ...[/quote]

Without the way points isn't it harder to get to NYC from Springfield without wrong turns and running into construction delays?
And if you don't even know you are going to NYC how will you ever know you arrived at your destination?

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:26 pm

[quote="T.A.Rodgers"]Another thing you have to consider when writing fiction is getting facts that are accurate and blend in with the story. If I'm writing a crime novel, I need to make sure the procedural information is correct. A lot of this research is done throughout the novel writing process, although some can be done before hand. Even most fiction is based on fact. Kind of weird if you think about it.[/quote]


If it were not based on facts then wouldn't it be fantasy?

plughmann
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Re: Your Approach to Writing

Postby plughmann » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:32 pm

[quote="Plaidman"]
This is actually one of the things that has intimidated me about writing a story. I want the "nonfictional" part of the story such as places, procedures, occupational aspects, etc. to be realistic. In other words, if part of my story takes place in a portion of Chicago, I don't want people familiar with Chicago to say 'Wow! This guy knows absolutely nothing about Chicago.' or, think that I have no idea how an average police officer would behave.

Even if I'm writing a fantasy or sci-fi story, certain aspects will need to be realistic to some extent.[/quote]

Indeed. Authors need to research facts that are observable by the reader such as real life cities and their streets.

Everything needs to be realistic for the setting or the reader will be confused and annoyed.

You may not need perfection in everything in order to avoid legal issues. NCIS uses Annandale and other Virginia neighborhoods
in a realistic manner while coming up with a fake street name with a fake coffee shop name to avoid conflicts with a real place where the owner decides to sue for the way they were depicted.

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