jarandhel: (Default)
[personal profile] jarandhel posting in [community profile] writers
After a long hiatus, I'm trying -- once again -- to become a writer of fiction.  This has been a longstanding goal of mine, but things always seem to get in the way.  Never enough hours in the day, right?  But after a while, that stops being an explanation and starts becoming an excuse.  I've seen that, and have started pushing myself to write again.

Thing is, it's not happening.  Since I started trying to be a writer again, I haven't written even a single scene.  Instead, I find myself almost trapped in the brainstorming stage.  Creating characters, building plot... I'm putting together a better outline of my characters and plot than I ever have before, which has admittedly always been a weakness of my writing in the past, but I worry that I may be spending too much time on creating the characters and plot and not enough time actually writing the story.  I also worry that I'm spending too much time researching some elements I want to introduce in the story.  I hope that these actions will provide a depth and direction that my writing has previously lacked, but I'm kind of scared that if I spend too much time on these aspects I won't get to actually writing until after the flames of my passion for the story have gone out.  

Plus, I do want to actually start producing something and trying to market it. If that's my goal, I feel that I can't stand around forever waiting to start writing while I work out past histories and character traits that may never appear in the story itself.  On the other hand, if I don't work on those things, I know there's every chance that my characters and even the plot itself will come across as flat and two-dimensional.

For the published writers on here: What's your advice?  How much time do you devote to planning out characters and plot, and researching elements to include in your story, before you start writing it?  How do you know when the time has come to really put pen to paper and start writing your scenes?  Do you even bother planning in advance, or do you just let it flow organically?  And if the latter, how do you keep it on course so that it becomes an actual story rather than a series of relatively unrelated incidents strung together?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-11 05:03 am (UTC)
blitzwing: ([barnaby])
From: [personal profile] blitzwing
Maybe you should try writing some short pieces for each of your characters, and not worry about whether it fits into the story. You can always disregard them or leave them aside if they clash with the character plans or plot.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-11 03:49 pm (UTC)
redbeargrl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbeargrl
It's nice to know that somebody reads my posts around here, since I was the one who pimped Chuck. Ya gotta love that guy.
I'm glad to see that you're writing now and out of the research trap. Just be aware that the "take it for a test drive" can be it's own trap...easy to get lost, in and hard to get out of.
Personally, for what it's worth, my process involves coming up with the story idea, conceiving the characters, doing a minimum of research (until it's necessary) and then I just start puking words on the page. Not elegant, but for me it's effective. Once I have the first draft it's easy to see the plot holes, where I need more backstory, etc.
Of course that's why I'm in love the the writing program Scrivner. I can write by scene or by chapter or even by snippets of an idea, put them on the cork board and shuffle things around until I'm sorta happy.
(True happiness comes after the forth or fifth rewrite but before the copy editor turns it into blood sausage.)
Seriously, about Chuck, read all of his 25 Things posts. He even has printed them up in ebook form for just a couple of bucks. Best investment I ever made. No, I get no money for pimping him.
Happy writing!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-22 11:27 pm (UTC)
lemposoi: Gillian Anderson in blue. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lemposoi
I realize this post is old now and you've probably solved the problem to your satisfaction. Let's hope so.

I just wanted to say that there are a lot of valid approaches to writing and if anything, long development is the norm. I have trouble with losing motivation if I plot too long myself, so I usually take only a day or two to outline a story (talking about the 15-30K word length here) and research only what I know I will need, adding more research as I go. It's not ideal and it's not elegant but it gets the job done. If you are able to really think your plot and your characters through and still also get the writing done once everything is in place (and development of one story can take as long as you like, and you can do other things for a while if it gets stuck), then I think you're doing it exactly right.


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