As we seem to have achieved a "critical mass" of writers here, I thought I would begin a thread regarding how it is we do this thing called "writing." The idea of this discussion is to maybe help each other with the creative process and also talk about how we deal with "writer's block."
Here is my process- please note that I do not believe that everyone (or anyone else has to write this way. It is simply what works for me.
Before I ever wrote the first word of Trey, I had made up my mind as to who he was, how he felt about certain things, what his "values" were. He dislikes Imperials and the Empire, hates slavery, isn't very good with authority figures, is perfectly willing to steal (although not from the poor or weak), etc.
I keep a spiral notebook in which I write dialogue, scenes, etc. in longhand. Even though I have been using a computer for (mumble-mumble) years, the act of actually writing in pen and on paper helps me connect with the material. Although I try to maintain a certain flow (chronological in the case of Trey), I have learned from bitter experience to write down EVERYTHING right when I think of it, even if it won't show up in the story until much later. To assist with finding those orphan ideas, I use different colored pens and assign them numbers. Then, when it is time, I just make a note to myself, thus "Insert 15." I usually do not write every word that appears in the final, just as much as I need to get going. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less.
Because I am doing a straight MQ story, I depend heavily on the Construction Set to get the in-game dialogue right. On the other hand, I consider how Trey will react to certain characters and situations and "create" conversations are needed if things are to make sense
Once I have enough (usually 3-6 pages) manuscript, I go to Word and begin turning my scribbling into real story. A lot of composing and creating takes place at the keyboard. The manuscript may simply say "Temple Informant." I will take actual dialogue, plus maybe some additional conversation to show the interaction between Trey and the NPC and develop the scene. A quick spell check (Word hates ES names), and I am ready for the next step.
The most important part of the process is the read-through. This is the place where I read the installment out loud to the talented and patient Mrs. Treydog. The purpose of this is to ensure that the writing "flows." If something I am reading "clunks" when read out loud, it needs to be fixed. I also find typos or missing words during the read-through. Additionally, Mrs. Treydog may ask questions or provide other suggestions.
Example- in the scene with Delitian she asked me, "How does the captain know who Trey is?"
So I wrote in the "I am Trey of High Rock" bit. Interestingly, the "... I've heard the name" response is already in-game.
Once I have fixed whatever did not work on read-through, I post the installment.
If this thread survives, I will talk later about dealing with writer's block.
Edited to fix typo and to add:
One of the hardest things for some writers to do is to decide when is "it" finished. The read-through also helps with that question. Bottom line- you have to let it go sometime. If you polish the story long enough, you will be left with nothing- particularly not the enjoyment.
Ohh thanks treydog im hoping taht this would help a noob writer like me.
Sometimes I just write what ever comes to me, if it does not work out it gets to meet mister delete button. But really most of my writing time is spent sitting in a chair stairing at the computer screen, waiting for something to float across my mind.
But in rare moments something that I really like pops into my mind, where is swims around for a few days, gaining more and more ideas, until I finally get around to writing it.
Unfortunitly this has not happened in a while, partly because I am a bit lazy, but mostly because my computer with all of my WIP's died...
P.S. Please continue with the writers block part. It might help, and if it does I might copy some of my work off "fanfiction.net" and continue it.
This thread has the potential to help those frustrated writers out there, this was a really great idea Trey.
Lets see...I usually try to think ahead of each part and I ask myself how this part will effect the character later on and if the actions of the character seem true to his or her personality.
If an installment fits with the rest of the story then I post it but if it doesn't then I usually scrap it, saving only parts that fit well and getting rid of those that don't. Make mental notes and keep in mind what you want to happen later on in the story, then build up to it.
I start each part by first developing a general idea about how each part will play out and then I start adding smaller details like how the character will do a certain thing and adding a few descriptive elements so that the reader can get a clear picture of what you want them to see. Description is a key element in writing.
Maybe the worst thing that a writer can do is to become bored with his or her own work, the most important thing is to have fun with writing the story and don't be discouraged by a lack of comments on your work, just because people aren't commenting doesn't mean they aren't reading.
I think that one of the best ways to keep yourself interested is to give yourself a goal in writing the story. I generally try to slowly change and develope the character, as the story progresses to show that the events the character has endured have changed him in some way. An example of which would be slowly changing a thief into more of a honorable sort throughout the duration of the story.
To keep readers interested I try to give the character a personal goal that doesn't have a direct effect on the storyline, from something as simple as getting a new sword to something as complex as searching for an ancient artifact.
Before I post the update I read over it to make sure it is easy to read and understand, if its not then I begin revising until it seems more reader friendly.
And the last thing I want to add is, don't forget your paragraph spacing, it is hard for people to read large amounts of text without any spaces.
I hope my words help some of those writers who are just beginning to write or are having trouble writing.
My writing style is pretty strange. Since most of my story's actions and characters are made and designed by me it's pretty hard for me to think all of it. It may be easier to tell the story of the Main Quest in Morrowind as Trey or Jack Cloudy does but I've fixated it in my mind that I will be one of the, if not, the first guy from these boards to write a tale telling the story of Oblivion and its main Quest.
But before I actually get my hands on Oblivion everything my character does is thought out by me based on some guide lines on how Knightly Guild quests were handled in Daggerfall. That's why some of you may get the sweet feeling of playing Daggerfall when you read my story. Unlike some people on these boards I don't write my story down, I think it up and write it as it comes to my head. It may be hard and a bit chaotic but at least it's satisfying for me to realise that I'm telling my OWN home-made story and not the story of Morrowind which is pretty cliche' by now in my humble opinion.
One thing, for me that I always take into consideration is who my main character is (Taillus) and what it is that he will be doing. I think making a simple timeline makes things easier. Give your character or characters a to do list of sorts. This way you cannot end up backed into a corner.
Another tactic I use which may not work for all writers here but if you are ever in a jam and cannot find a way to continue at the moment just take a break and write a small fic for the one shot stories thread we have here. It allows you to get your creativity flowing while giving you a change of scenery. Sometimes that is all it takes to get you ack on track.
Worst case scenario, you can always ask one of the writers here for help. I know that I would never mind in the least if someone wanted my constructive criticism and I bet there are a number of people here that would be very glad to as well.
A major point to remember is that no one can just fly through a story and complete it in minutes. Take time as well as pride in your work and don't forget that Rome wasn't built in a day. Do what ever gets you in the zone wether it be listening to music or anything else and never stop having fun with it!!!
I am a bit of a daydreamer, so I usually come up with bits and pieces through the day which I write down. Keeping to the Morrowind storyline as well as keeping only one character makes things easier. At least it wasn't a total disaster as with my last story which was sci-fi.
Writing...process? What the hell is that?
I just sit down at my computer whenever i get a vague idea for the next part of my story, and then i type til i run out of ideas lol
Hmm haven´t we all different tactiques? Me I develop the next part in my head, sort of "daydream" it..then of course it´s cruisal that I get the opportunity to write it down as soon as possible...otherwise I might very well forget it again!
Such as just now.....these last three days when I´ve been here in Germany, walking the streets of Stade, then I´ve come up with a lot of stuff.....So guys keep your fingers crossed I do remember it all when I come back on sunday evening!
I think we have some excellent ideas here- one thing that comes out clearly is that writing works differently for different folks. Rather than go on a quote-fest, I want to point out some of the points that strike me as being important:
-It should be fun- and that goes at the top of the list for a reason.
-Have some idea of where the story is going when you begin to write. It will save you headaches down the road. And it will keep your readers interested.
-Build your ideas on a solid foundation. That foundation may be character or plot, or better, a combination of the two. Add details and descriptions that give your story a “feel” or “atmosphere” that fits your concept.
-Give your ideas time to mature. The amount of time required will be different for different people- and different for the same person with different ideas. Writing and revising is part of that process- just don’t overdo the revising part.
-Often, a useful technique is to let your ideas “cook.” That is the highly technical term writers use to refer to the act of letting the story float around in their brains before committing it to paper.
That isn’t everything, and not all of those will work for everyone, but it is a start.
To talk about this, our greatest enemy, we have to define our terms. So first, let me describe what it is not. There are a great many things that keep us from writing- real life being the most prominent. But that is not writer’s block. The fact that your parents, husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, dog/cat/fish/ferret, etc. hates you is sad- but it is not writer’s block. And this is not Treydog’s advice to the lovelorn.
Writer’s block is also not really the inability to write anything- it is the inability to write anything that you LIKE. There is something all writers have that is called the “monitor function.” Sometimes it is useful- more often, it is a pain. The monitor function is that little voice in your head that tells you every idea you have is stupid. If you listen to it, you will be paralyzed. To write, you have to have enough confidence to tell the monitor to shut up.
Other times, you hit a place in your writing where you aren’t sure what happens next. Maybe you have written yourself into a corner- like Mark Twain did in Huckleberry Finn.
Or maybe you simply feel like you have run out of ideas.
And maybe it is something else entirely.
But the key thing is: what do you do about it? The answer is simple to say and hard to do- you have to write your way past it. The only thing that will get you past a writer’s block is to write. As some other folks have suggested, sometimes you have to put one story aside and work on another. Another thing to do is set up a routine that helps you write. When I get really stuck, I always go back to pen and paper. There is something about the physical feel of the point forming words on the page that puts me back in the proper frame of mind. Another trick is to change the scenery. Stop trying to force your way through the stuck place in the story and go around it. What I mean by that is, think about what you are sure its is you want to happen eventually in the story. Write it down. Now think about how you can get to there from where you are. I cannot repeat often enough that you need to write down every idea you have, right when you have it. It may just be a fragment of dialogue or a bit of action, but you know it will need to be in there somewhere.
Another thing that can help is to talk through the problem with someone. The very act of expressing your ideas out loud (or through IRC or IM or whatever) will force you to shape them into something more substantial and intelligible. I listed those methods for a reason- they are conversational, meaning you get instant feedback. Discussing your ideas, problems, plans, etc. via email can also work- I have actually used that technique with my story. The advantage of a discussion is that you can try out several different approaches and see which one “feels” right.
Sometimes, a stuck place is actually an opportunity. Example- in the original story, Trey once got stuck in a cave because he was hauling all of his books, alchemy apparatus, etc. around with him. That really happened in the game. And it was a wonderful opportunity to introduce some humor and to give some insight into the character. What would he give up? What would he keep? When you get stuck in your writing, go back to your original concept of the character and the story. This person is your creation, speaking with a voice you gave him/her/it. If put some time into thinking about who the character is, that planning will help you find a way out of the problem.
“What would Telina (or Kiln, or Jonacin, or Serene, or Clangor, etc.) do when confronted by a drunken Nord singing an obscene song?”
“How did that Khajiit get here? And why is he wearing a dress?”
In other words, do something unexpected, but in character. It is a fantasy world after all, so use some imagination. Just because it is imaginative doesn’t have to mean it breaks your concept of your character. And listen to what your character is telling you. If you are doing this right, that character may have grown and changed from you original concept. When I started Trey, he most decidedly was NOT going to be the Nerevarine. He was going to tell Caius to take a hike. But- it was so much more interesting to watch (and write about) his heel-dragging, whining, surly acceptance of the inevitable.
Bottom line- when you are stuck, write your way through it. If you can’t think of what to write, talk your way through it. If you can’t find anyone to talk to, talk to yourself. Everybody already thinks writers are weird anyway.
Here's my process:
I sit down at my computer (I think too fast to get everything down on paper before it flies outta my ear, so I have to type it) and just start out of nowhere, not knowing anything or what's gonna happen, who'll do what, what's gonna be said.. nothing. I improvise everything on the spot without any prior ideas etc, and it works best for me. As I write (and it's continuous.. if I ever take a break, I completely lose my train of thought and have to wait a while, usually until the next day, before I can successfully go on from where I left off), I refer to what I wrote in the previous entries and paragraphs, and even sentences, so what I'm writing in the present makes sense.
Although, it'd be nice if I wrote everything down as I thought of it as Trey posted he does. Many ideas have popped in and flown outta my head, many good ones, as a consequence of not putting them down on paper so I remember them for when I write a new entry. I'll likely never do that though, but I don't feel, for me at least, it's absolutely necessary.
1:I sit down, enjoying a good cup'o tea, or coffee for that matter. I read through my last two maby three posts, and do a little brainstorm, to see what ideas will fit in. If one does not fit in, it's usually scrapped, but if I see that it can be used later, I put it in my archive, to dig it up again some other time.
2:I get pen and paper, and actually writes the whole thing by hand, and cross out things that may have escaped me during the brainstorm. After I have written it down on paper, read through it a couple of times, and corrected what was wrong, I type it in on my comp. Then before i post it, I follow jona's advice, and readit out loud sometimes...after that I post it...and wait for the replies..which I love to get, by the way.
Okay, here's how I write. Before I started with the story I knew pretty much what I wanted to tell. I'm working toward a goal.
When I start to write a new part I've already been thinking about what I want to do and how I want to do it for a while. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks or even months. I keep te plotline in my head till I have the time to just sit down and write. Which I do pretty irregularly due to certain circumstances. But when I sit down behind my PC I usually get quite a lot done.
I do most of my writing on Friday nights, when I get home after a week at university. I write as much to tell a story as to unwind after a long week of hard work, it's a way to relax for me.
My style is a bit unsual, but for me it is a lot easier to tell my story in this format. I think you should pick the format that is best for you and the story you are trying to tell, I think that may help a lot in terms of progress.
Well, I hope the previous made sense and that someone finds it useful.
Great idea Trey, I'm glad you started this thread.
My "technique" (if you could call it that) for writing a fan-fic is to simply sit down and write. Usually I have an ordered storyline listing important events, but I have a bad habit of 'over editing' said storyline.
For something like a short fan-fic, it is just easier for me to open up Word and simply type. Once I get started, I can usually keep going until I have an reached an acceptable point. The text is then reread and finally posted here. I would not recommend this method, as the content it produces is typically serviceable at best.
For a much larger project I have in development, I can safely say that Trey's notebook pointer is among the best advice anyone can give. The difference between freehand and typing your thoughts is amazing. The very condition of the notebook can add to this effect. For example, the one I use is going on 7 years old and has survived both a fire and a coffee spill. It's aged and tattered appearance works well to set the feeling.
I recently started to use this notebook to record my thoughts. As of now, it is still fairly empty. I have different sections marked throughout it, such as: lore, tech, characters, etc. If a thought comes to me, I jot it down in the appropriate section.I usually review what I have written, then transfer what I like over to computer. Any info I don't use is still kept in the notebook in case I find a way to change it into something I like. For a project on this scale, I intend to devote years of planning before I even consider writing the first word.
Before you start writing, it would be a good idea to make sure you have the planning done. Editing as you go has its ups, but constant editing can leave you with a completely different story than what you started. Before you write you peice, you should ask yourself, "Is this the story I want to write?" If this is something you are taking seriously, then you want to really make sure its what you want it to be. Review all of your planned material as diligently as you would your first draft.
I hope this helps. Through the few stories I have written I have developed bad habits typically surrounding a lack of planning. That is why I really stress that part so much. I think Trey's advice was probably the most helpful of all, and again I would like to thank him for starting this thread.
Hey i'm back but whats new, every month i seem to dissapear don't I? lol, well this is my writing style.
Before i start i make sure i have everything i need. Make sure i'm not thirsty, not hungry, don't have the urge to have a smoke, that kind of stuff, then i'll sit down, open up microsoft word do all the paragraphing and tittleing and that stuff and where i am ganna put the words and the font and size and all that.
Then i sit there for several minutes trying to think of a name for the story. After about 2 minutes, if i haven't thought of anything that sounds good to me, i'll just pick a random name like, "Joo-Joo Bongaloo!" or something then when i get more into the story and figure out what the feel of the story is going to be, i rename it with the appropiate name.
After i get the tittle settled, i turn on music via xbox or ps2 and T.V.(input 2), and hit tab for the paragraph indention thing, place my fingers on the keys and start typing. I have no clue what i'm going to say, I don't plan out what i'm going to write, I don't even think of where i want my story to begin. This is litterally what happens, no joke!
I place my left middle finger on the W key, my thumb on the SPACEBAR, my ring finger on the A key, my index finger on the F key, Pinky Finger on CTRL key, then i put my right index finger on the N key, my right middle finger on the K key, and my right ring finger on the : key, my right pinky on the SHIFT key, and my right thumb on the space of plastic underneath the SPACEBAR.
Why did i tell you all that? Beats me i just did, thats all there is too it lol. Thats just how my hand naturally sits on my keyboard when i'm getting ready to type.
Now when it comes to writing actual story, my mind goes blank and my fingers just start bouncing all over the keyboard and i don't know how the story turns out until i'm finished with it. Then when i'm done for the time being, i go and check to see if i put the same thing mroe than once right next to each other and look for type-o's and what not.
Like the story i just started called, "Endless Oblivion" i had no idea how i was going to make my char do anything, didn't know what race it was ganna be or what gender or anything, i just named my story then placed my fingers on the key and they went off and did their own thing and when i checked back i was done with that part.
Trey your style works for you really well, but its not for me but some of those things you listed can be used for spell checking, taking the authentication of what your talkin about and all that good stuff.
What i don't do that you do is that i don't have what the NPC's say word for word. I find that if you do that it they sound too much like machines, just like in the game lol. I take the basic topic of what they were talking about and type it back out in my own style, to make the reader feel like the NPC chars my main is talking to are actually people and not just having the MC walk around like he's in the Matrix ya'know? lol. What works for you though ya'know what i mean? thats just how i do.
Something that i didn't see you talk about Trey, and i did a brief read so i could have skipped it and not known it but this is what helps me too.
With me i cannot write a story just out of the blue like steven king and all them. I have to base it off of a game i have played or a book i've read that i'd like to have seen more of a certain character and what not. I mainly stick to writing stories about games i have beaten.
Like i finished writing a story based on the Half-Life 2 game. But insted of writing down what you did as Freeman in my own words, my main character was Adrian Sheapard from the Half-Life 1 expansion pack Opposing Force. I called it, "Opposing Force 2" because i really wanted to see Sierra come out with a sequle to that expansion pack, so insted of waiting for them to(possably never) come out with one, i decided i should write the story based on how i think it should go down. It's not very long story, but opp force wasn't very long either. But if you guys have ever played HL1 and the OpFo expansion you'll know what i'm getting at.
But back to what i was originally talking about. Inspiration.
I make sure i know the game pretty well before I write a story about it or what i did, ect., ect., . If i know the story well enough, or if its still fresh in my mind, i'll write the story. If not, before i begin to write, i'll go into the game and start playing the game from a new char or whatever, and as i play i get random sentances between 2 random made up chars pop into my head.
Like today, i had beaten Oblivion last night, and so i made a Adventurer char to go around and get all the goodies and what not, and on my journies i came to a house and i got an idea in my head that i will probably use in the story with something along the lines like, "I had journied through The Great Forest for several days, and after my encounter with several of the wilderness beasts, i had ran out of rations so i went to the house to see if i could possably get some water or food."
And after that poped in my head i was inclined to go see who was in the house and i got in it and everything in there was thrashed, and i found noone, then when i made it to the attic i found like 2 familys worth of skeletal remains up there.
Ya'know, inspiration. My problem though is, i can keep what came up in my mind locked away until i go to sleep cus once i wake up i forgot how i wanted to do it and all that so i have to jott down what i want, and if i think that it was actually stupid when i wake up the next morning, i go and edit it to make it work with the rest of the story.
If your like me and write stories based on games, then playing the game MULTIPLE times, even if its the same story line over and over again it, to me at least, helps give you ideas and the like.
Well i think thats all my 2 cents.
Great thread you've made here Trey, now as I've come back after a break from this place I see that it's a lot of good writes here now, good quality writing and good stories! As I've made a couple of stories myself they really just popped out of my head whilst I was on the computer and I didn't put time enough to really go deeper into the stories which made my two stories pretty much die over and over again even tho I really wanted to continue
I've read the replies here and you're tips Trey so hopefully I'll start something up after a while, story taking place in "Oblivion" But we'll see, still need to learn from you guys here since I only knew how to write about people fighting
I stumbled across this website during my neverending web browsing.
It's not so much as a process than it is a group of guides supplied by Elfwood that can help writers in need. I've read a few so far and learned a great deal.
Check out the "Character Creation Form" and the Villans essay.
I hope this helps some of us who feel we need it.
Note: the link may have trouble loading at times, just be patient and try again later.
Ah that site is great Kell! I´ve bookmarked it....it will certainly be of use for me...Thank you for sharing....
I haven't written anything that I've put on here, although I do often use Morrowind/Oblivion as inspiration for English coursework stories (and I get good marks ). I'm also writing a big long story that isn't based around TES at the moment. I might dig out one of my old English courseworks and post it here for you lot to read and criticise.
Anyway... my writing technique consists of me spending a while thinking of the next part of my story and then refining it, usually during my lessons I then begin to write it on computer as and when I get the chance, adding parts here and there as necessary or removing parts that don't fit at the time and pasting them in another document just in case. I won't often use those parts in the way I wrote them, but I may use them as a basis for a future part of the story.
I always have a vague idea of what I want to happen in the story and a few points it has to pass through to get there, although I generally have no idea as to how it's going to get to the next "set" point and just write parts as the ideas come to my head.
Kell, that site is quite useful. I, too, will add it to my bookmarks.
I normaly just think up of a character and what kind of a person he is... you know like if he is violant I'll start thinking about what kind of atrocities he has or will comitt... and the story will be based of his characteristics...
I have a spiral notebook that I keep and write ideas in. I basically write down EVERYTHING.
Before I write a story, I have the whole thing planned out, either in my head, or on paper, and I just go for it.
I type my stories out in Word, spell check them, read them to myself a few times and make sure everything sounds right.
I have loads of notebooks filled with writing.
Every once in a while, I do this thing called "writing the bones". I sit down anywhere from five minutes to several hours writing the things that come to mind without any editting. Afterwards, I grab a snack, and edit stuff I wrote before. Ernest Hemmingway did something this.
Before I write, I plan out in my head what I want to do. I write a rough outline of what I want to happen. It has to be vague, because usually unconsciously I will break something specific. If I have any dreams relating to my story, I keep a journal of that with the notebook I have for that fan fiction. I'm constantly contemplating things for my story. Thusly, I know exactly what is going to happen in the next chapter... usually, at least.
I seldom do true roughdrafts of my work now. I used to, but now I just pretty much do the process of the bones and correct it. Sometimes that works pretty well. Othertimes it takes me days to complete a single chapter.
Oh dear.... My writing technique (in itself inexistant) is simply to (argh, can't find any other word, have to rip Minque) daydream it. On my walk to school (or back home) I might get a good idea for writing. This was, of course, when I still wrote fanfic.
Nowadays, hell, I just daydream.
Having looked through the fanfic section carefully over the last couple of days (after having been offline for the majority of the last few months) I think I've seen one problem a lot of the writer's here are facing. It's a fairly common one sadly, it's when writing the story stops becoming as much fun. You get new idea's you want to write about, new characters, new situations. Which is great. But, the one's on the go get left behind. There are quite a few stories that just when they were getting really interesting have just been dumped, looking ominously like they'll never be returned to. A shame as some had a great deal of promise. And which leads me to my point. Writing isn't just about the buzzword we all bandy about ( inspiration ), but is about discipline and finishing what we start. Not easy when our minds are screaming at us to write this new exciting plot, just desperate to get out.
If this sounds like a lecture I apologise, it's just the stories left unfinished had so much effort and thought put into them, it seems a shame to let them die. I for one would like to know how they end. So, for anyone wanting a task, here it is. Go back to that unfinished masterpiece and let us see how it ends
I'm still a daydreamer though I now actually put some time between the dreaming and the writing. It gives me more time to think things out. Inspiration is not a problem, I get it from the weirdest things that have absolutely nothing to do with the story. Discipline is a bigger problem but I can manage that one (barely).
Yes, those unfinished stories are kind of sad. But so are some of the finished ones. Sometimes I just want to continue with the same characters so much, I have to force myself to stop before I ruin the whole plot in a desperate attempt to keep things going.
Well I have to say my process would be considered unprofessional.
With my current fic, I had the idea bottled up in my mind for a long time. I basically had the words from my first two posts branded into my mind. I just thought the concept was interesting. The problem was I didn't get motivated to get it out in words. I've tried before, but then I would lose it when hard drives had to get wiped due to viruses and such. Fortunately I discovered this site and now I have motivation!
I consider myself to be unprofessional because I just have to get the perfect words right away. I really dislike editing, I can't see the things I should change until it's too late. That makes sitting in front of the computer with Word kinda tedious so writing can be slow. Unless I'm really interested in it. My recent fight scene I wrote really quickly (which surprized me since I've never written one before). Then there's the parts where I'm approaching a really cool part in the story but writing the stuff leading to it is a little tedious, so I take a break.
Ohwell, once it's out and I hear the nice comments, it's worth the time.
I get a small spark of an idea, whether a bit of dialouge, an action or an entire scene, then I just concentrate on nothing but that story. A lot of times it winds up quite different from what I originally had planned. 'Neron' was going to be a one chapter story where his apprentice kills him at the end. My stories play in my head like movies and I just write what I see. If I could type with my eyes closed it would be a lot easier.
Also, I try not to write anything without my iTunes playing. I have playlists for writing different scenes, like fighting, emotional, contemplative, etc. That has helped a lot.
This isn't so much of a process as it is a tool.
There are many ways for readers to identify a character's personality. IE through verbal quotes, his or her actions, descriptions of their past, etc. One method that can really strengthen the bond between character and reader is by sewing the character's personality/feelings into the text itself. (Wow, that sounded familiar, I can't help but wonder if I already mentioned this or read it somewhere.)
This is something I used in the past and have recently ressurected for more practice. Here is an example that might prove I need more work, but I feel get's the focus character's mood across:
The tech dug a finger into his ear and gave it a good twist, tuning out his superior's lecture. The old fart must really be pissed today. Still, he was bound to give up eventually, then the tech could go back to whatever he was supposed to be doing. What a wonderful career.
Maybe that wasn't such a good example, but it is a great alternative to simply stating that the character was somewhat indifferent to his superior's rage.
I'll admit I havn't read many fictions posted here lately, and I am curious to know how many other writers have attempted to use this method and how you feel about it.
Emotions? Hm I think I include that all the time in my story...that is when I get the chance of writing!
One of the things I discussed in this thread was the dreaded writer’s block. It strikes most of us at one time or another, and can hang on for varying lengths of time. Usually, it takes the form of being unable to write or to “write anything good.” But sometimes, it takes the form of “doing other stuff” instead of writing. That isn’t always a negative- sometimes you need to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge. Of course, it is also possible that the reason you are “doing other stuff” is to avoid something else- like writing.
To get down to specifics, anyone who has been following Trey knows that a climactic fight with Karrod is coming up real soon now. And it has been getting ready to happen real soon now for a couple of weeks (at least). Meanwhile, the writer has had his head stuck in Oblivion for about a month and doesn’t seem to show any inclination to get on with the story. And I have a feeling that my obsession may have been avoidance behavior. What I have done is put tremendous pressure on myself to describe the coming duel. It has to be epic, funny, astounding, and historic. It has to be the best fight scene in the history of Western literature…. And that is the trap. It isn’t enough that I just write it- it has to be perfect. But I know that I cannot write a perfect fight scene (or any other kind). But- maybe if I wait a day or 2 (or 20)- maybe the gods will smile on me, the planets will align, and my pen will sprout wings and fly across the page- effortlessly, producing that “perfect” scene. Right.
What it comes down to is this- pride can be just as crippling as doubt. And the only way past writer’s block is to write your way out of it. Which I shall try to do. Any day now.
Writer's block is definately dreaded among us writers. It's interesting that you bring up pride for causing writer's block. I can certainly see that as true, especially in a case where you want everything to be perfect the instant you write it down, which is most often not the case.
Fortunately, I haven't really hit a true moment of writer's block yet with my 'Bloodlust' fic. I've at least made my one update a week quota that I've set up for myself. I actually like that setup because it isn't as excruciating to write when you know you have a week to work on it if you want to. I generally have a period at least once a week where I can sit at the computer and have nothing to really do but write for 4-7 hours, which is quite fortunate for me. But I certainly know that not everyone has a schedule like mine to do that.
Also, during a moment of time where I'm not doing anything and I'm away from my computer, I write down a "loose plotline" for future updates. Basically I just jot down point form notes of what I want to focus on for an update (which in most cases centers around one character).
I still haven't planned far enough to know when I'm going to finish though, which is good and bad, because I'm going to be very excited in finishing it, but also quite sad that I'll be leaving those characters behind. Unless I do a sequel
I dont get writers block it would seem...there are days that go by between my updates though....how do I solve it?
I play morrowind.
Yes, when Black Hand returns home from his god-forsaken job that god mocks him in every moment he is forced to endure it (did I mention I hate my job?) he plays Morrowind still!!
I spent a good year power playing, exploiting cheats, running everywhere, finishing every quest until I realized....playing morrowind outside a Rp regimen sucks....
The former "Sethyas Velas or "Lord Velas" Was a Dunmer with the Scar-face with One Thousand Strength and Endurance with a full set of Daedric Armor....on XBox,...apologies to Divayth Fyr.
When you read things like "I unlsung my bow, and nocked an arrow and killed the Orc from the Balmora Guard Tower at Five O'clock, and no bounty was issued because I was too far from any guards to notice it" I WAS on the Balmora Guard Tower pracitcing assassinations in-game.
I try to bring the actual gameplay to my story as much as possible to keep things fresh.
And no. I dont think through what my story is beforehand. I sit down, I read my last post to see where I left off and I try to improv most of it, You read my rough draft as it were.
Maybe this will help some folks out there.
That's what I did with Oasis. When writing fanfics, nothing beats playing the game itself to get a feeling.
Though writer's block doesn't seem to be a problem with me.
I'd like to add that the most important thing is knowing your characters.
I just sit down and bang out my stories when I feel like writing. Usually doesn't take much longer than half an hour. But, of course, I'm embracing a shorter and less continuous format for my tales, and not demanding such a high standard of wordsmither from myself than I do in my other writing. For generating ideas, however, I think nothing beats just sitting down at the computer or notebook and just letting words spill out. You can always change them later.
I just thought I'd bump this thread considering the recent addition of a few newer writers to our fan fiction forum. Perhaps they'd like to share with their techniques as well?
As for my current product, I'm trying something new: writing in the first person. Personally, I never really felt the notion to do any writing in first person until I visited this forum. I'm pretty sure every novel I've ever read has always been third person, so whenever I done any creative writing myself, I've just felt more compelled to do third person than anything else. I also usually write in 3rd person because then I'm allowed to delve into the mind of any character I want to.
Since I've been to these forums though, I've realized that you can tell write a very compelling story using first person. So, with my latest work I've decided to give it a shot. Hopefully it turns out well.
Thread necromancy... approved.
From the opener, it looks like your plunge into 1st-person should be fascinating. As anyone who's read my stuff knows, I like to bounce back and forth (read: too lazy to put in the effort that one single perspective demands), and I find trying different styles to be refreshing.
Mallet: try reading Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb for a full novel in 1st person. Its not the best but its still well worth it.
As for my technique well I haven't posted here yet seeing as I've got to the 15k this is rubbish moment (I always seem to get between 15 and 17k into a story and decide its rubbish and must never see the light of day but with a re write it might pass).
Anyway forgive me the style its written in as I adapted it from a post made on another forum so it has a rather instructional tone...
Five steps to a story:
1. Work out roughly what happens. Take a walk in the park, sit with some paper and a few ciders, go for a run, do some weights, whatever. Get a basic idea. There's no right way to do this because it doesn't matter. Now sit and think on it, this is especially good to do as you fall asleep. Try fusing ideas together, or changing bits to make them quite different - play around. Once one really sings to you go to step two.
All you should have now is something like 'Empire falling apart without emperor so a group decide to put up a false heir to save it but their good motives go sour.'
2. Make a suitable character. This should be more part 1b really as its hard to make a character to fit a part and still make them deep so think about both the idea and character at the same time. Edit the idea as necessary. Once you know them answer the following questions: What do they want? Why do they
want need it? What's stopping them from getting it? Why are they being stopped?
And bam - in those questions you have the core of the plot and a few more ideas should be forming.
Like with 1 and 2, 3 and 4 are somewhat concurrent processes.
3. Plot. What is going to happen? No need for too much detail but enough to put in foreshadowing and hooks to hold the reader in. Plan a few ‘chocolate scenes’, ie ones which will be really fun to read and write. Work out how to get between them.
Also work out how you main characters will develop (don't forget the antagonist). If anyone very major doesn't develop then go back and change them (I've heard tell of agents writing 'Who cares?' at the bottom of manuscripts where characters didn't develop - brutal but to the point).
4. Surroundings. Finalise the setting, obviously its the TES world here but when and where? You have a fair bit of leeway in how to show it, is it past its glory days and a dark dangerous place where the younger generation made desperate by unemployment is forced to go dungeon crawling and robbing or is it a shining land of heroes? Is the emperor wise and just or is he distant and uncaring? There’s a lot of choice in interpretation.
Also plan some background characters, I find it useful to have a character near the main who will conflict and show things about the protagonist which otherwise may be difficult. Work out your antagonist as well, what does he want and why?
5. Brush up the plot a bit then go write. New characters come easily. Edit the previous bits as needed. If you want to change something then do it. Its part of the process. If can be bothered it will be better for a re write but really just give it overnight and read though before posting and it will be fine.
Well that’s more or less how I do it. I find the planning pays off once you get in as you know what’s to happen next.
There’s quite a bit of interesting stuff here: http://www.hollylisle.com/fm/ and here http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php
Thats what I generally do though I tend to run aground at 15-20k words as I said so maybe it doesn't work so well.
This is a rant so hold onto your pockets.
Everything I've learned about writing in school has been a giant, uninterpretable contradiction.
Extrapolation: How to start a story. Most people will agree that the start of a story is very important, if not the most important part. Every teacher I've ever had has said: "Make sure the beginning is interesting and grabs the readers attention." This, is retarded. Either by my own skewed definitions, or because I'm using the words in the wrong context, this sentence is contradictory to another overly used phrase: "The climax is the most exciting part of the story and IS USUALLY AT THE END OF A STORY."
Now, yes I realize you can have an exciting part without it necissarily being the MOST exciting, but why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
*SPOILER WARNINGS FOR THE LORD OF THE RINGS AND FARENHEIT 451*
I'll reiterate what I said earlier; either I'm a moron, or teachers are using the wrong terms.
Elaboration: I perhaps tie the word "interesting" with the near-synonimous word "fascinating". And this may be a fault on my part. Explosions grab my attention, so do loud noises, or sudden movements out of the corner of my eye. But some things don't, most things don't; amd futhermore somethings SHOULDN'T. If this above statement was true, every story that started with: "And the wagon imploded into a ball of fire.." would be a success. But writing a book is not about shock and awe. Now I'll use an example of how an uniteresting beginning can be arguably better. Concerning Hobbits. Do I think that entire beginning chapter was interesting? No. Did it grab my attention? No. Did I enjoy it? No. Did I read that entire trilogy anyway? You bet your boots. For the illiterate, I'm of course speaking of the Lord of the Rings. The de facto "Best work of literature of the 20th century." I'm sure that many would like to argue, but I'm certain in their hearts they agree.
Another benefit of a slower story is to actually purposely lose readers. If they're not interested in your writing, why should they read it? I find it depresing sometimes. Another example: Farenheit 451. We're reading it in my english class. It starts out with a man holding a fire hose, but instead of water it's shooting out kerosene, and instead of grim determination, the mans face has a childish gleeful expression.
How can you not want to find out more about that? Yet still my classmates threw $hit and ignored the story completely. I mean sure, Ray was a little long winded (an understatement) and even I lost a little interest at some points, but I read the story anyway while my peers were lost in stupidity. The only conclusion I could come to is that they didn't want to find out more. They weren't interested, were not grabbed by this intro at all. And I'm glad. Ingnorant tards shouldn't reap benefits for something they didn't work for. I'm not going to drag someones dead overweight carcass into a story. I simply propose a replacement: Provoke thought. Anyone can be interested in something if its action-filled and laced with overly-flambouyant words. But to actually provoke thought, that's altogether genuine; unique. Many will not be provoked. But those who are will begin to think! And what a beautiful thing that is. People attribute Tolkien's work to good description, which is true; but really it was HOW it was written, not so much the words used. And that is what created such a beautiful picture in so many people's minds: What kept that book alive. And not to brag; but probably what kept you reading to this point.
My point? Don't fight so hard to make your readers, uh, read. Obviously don't make your story UNITERESTING. Just keep in mind that you're leading up to the climax, not starting from it. Provoke thought and wonder, and don't overdo descrption. Don't carry your audience, but don't let them sink to the bottom either, to be figurative. Lol, there's that rant in five sentences. Oh, and thanks for reading.
Change the font, line spacing, font size, and character spacing of your text, as you are writing it, on a regular basis. It helps when you're re-reading to catch spelling mistakes, forgotten words, etc. It also helps you just a little bit to see the text as though you were the reader.
It gets hard to re-read and still feel objective when you are so familiar with your own text you know the word at the end of the line before you've read it. Change the layout frequently to keep you on your toes.
Oh, yes of course AND when reviewing remember the surgeon's mantra:
When in doubt, cut it out
In response to the advice to "make it interesting," I think about Shakespeare. When we read his plays, we are missing the most important thing- the atmosphere. His audiences were largely illiterate; he had to grab them right away.... So, a standard technique is to "Enter two guys in the middle of a conversation." Immediately, the audience starts to pay attention, because they have questions-
who are these guys? Where are they? What are they talking about? What is happening?
You can do similar things with the opening of your story. Jump right into the middle and tell the reader to hang on for the ride. Use flashbacks and dialogue to fill in the blanks- but don't do it all at once. Leave some mystery. Leave the reader wondering, "And then what happened?"
I'm of the opinion that there is no single right way to begin a story. To begin a story in medias res is a classic, tried and true technique to grab the reader's attention. However, keep in mind that it often delays certain necessary expository dialogue and explanation to later on in the story, which affects pacing. Different stories merit different narratives, and therefore different beginnings.
And speaking of exposition, I've always found that it's best to include as little of that as possible. Only explain as much as is absolutely necessary for your audience to appreciate the story. Some things are actually better left unexplained. If there's an offhand reference to something in-universe that isn't important to the plot, don't explain it. It helps add to the atmosphere of the story - the feeling that the world in which the story takes place is bigger than the action you're describing. The original Star Wars is a great example of this.
As for my writing process, I'm kind of a hybrid between the "high school term paper" school of planning everything ahead and the Stephen King school of making everything up as you write it.
Take the story I'm working on right now for instance (http://chorrol.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4129&pid=107309&st=20&#entry107308 cough, cough). In the time between updates, I usually have some story ideas swirling around in my head that slowly start to crystallize into a sorta story. On rare occasions, I'll even make an outline. But it's not until I start typing and I can see the words in front of me that the story starts to become fleshed out and I can put it together in a way that makes sense. (And I always type, by the way - my handwriting is far too slow to convey my ideas as they come).
For example, in the part of the story where (SPOILERS AHEAD! BWOOP! BWOOP!) Grignr goes to talk to Vivec, I thought it would be a good idea to put an "establishing scene" to convey a sense of the setting. (This is an important part of writing fiction, by the way - you want to let the reader know where the story is taking place in an efficient, unobtrusive manner - otherwise the story starts to feel like it's detached from time and space). After finishing the first sentence, I thought "Hey, wait a minute? Why not do this from the perspective of the back of a moving gondola?" And then the idea came to me: Grignr could have a conversation with the gondolier! This would be a great opportunity to show him interacting with the common people of Morrowind, and to display how he is viewed by them. After all, it makes sense that he would be rather famous, and it would additionally make the "establishing" more subtle while developing his character to boot! It's one of those little touches that your really can't plan in advance.
It's largely for this reason that I do most of my writing in fits and starts. I DON'T do my work in the "Submit Reply" section, of course - that would be stupid. Nor do I simply do one update at a time (though I come close to that at times). Rather I set out with a certain goal in mind of where I want to end the next update, plow my way through it, and then keep writing for a little while so I get a general idea of how the next update will begin before going back and editing. Sometimes my momentum carries me far enough ahead so that I can get two or three updates worth of material done. I try not to get too far ahead of myself, though. I'm really not much farther ahead in the story than my readers are.
One more thing I like to try to do is end the update on an appropriate note (whether a cliffhanger, an emotional part, a zippy repartee from one of the characters, or just an indication of what lies ahead). If you don't end it right, it just makes everything feel a bit hollow, and the whole thing just sort of falls to pieces.
Crap. I've run out of things to say.
I'm posting this to sort of show how I'm struggling through a bit o' writer's block. The following is writing/idea regurgitation for an essay I'm doing to meet a requirement for picking up my Master's degree. It takes the form of the travel or "on the road" essay, but also I think serves as a sort of meditation upon the big spaces and big changes going on in the Rocky Mountain region, big sky country. It centers around a trip from Lander, Wyoming to Missoula, Montana on 4th of July weekend, 2008. Comments/questions/suggestions are encouraged.
After reading this thread, I've come to conclusion that my writing method is rather odd.
When most people seem to have a rough idea of how the story goes, I just think of a beginning and a climax, and leave blank space in between for stuff to happen.
For example, in my current project, Grey Knight, I had the beginning 2 chapters as an idea (space marine fights daemons, gets dragged into warp), and the climax (massive siege of the Imperial city). Between these, it's just filled as I write.
It's not that strange, Bean. I do that too. Except I usually get a random idea for something smack in the middle and I'll record it so I don't forget it. I have a whole three pages of random stuff on Word.
Yeah, I don't think your method is all that strange. The Hammerfell story I'm working on right now is in a similar situation. I know (more or less) how I'm ending it, and I have a chunk of the beginning written, but all the stuff in the middle is uncertain.
Current progress on my stuff above:
Road weary and bleary-eyed I pull off of the state highway at a rest stop somewhere west of Rexburg, in the high sagebrush desert. I park in the dimmest spot I can find, force the driver’s seat into a reclining position, and pull out my sleeping bag, greasy with sweat and farts and near non-stop use. It is 1 A.M. and I have been up for 18 hours—going through some kind of hell just to make Fourth of July in Missoula.
I’ve been aching to get the hell out of Wyoming, land of the sun-baked skull, the suicidal jackrabbit, the sulfur stinking oil wells, and the starvation-crazed mosquito. The land where the government-issued Chevy Suburban conks out sixty miles short of Lander on Friday the [freaking] third of July, when all are desperate to be anywhere but stuck on South Pass watching cheat grass cure in the sun as traffic blasts by.
I’m three hours late getting out of Lander. What does that mean? It means, even in the deliriously long days of summer, that I will reach Jackson well after dark. Jackson is only real population center on this night’s itinerary (in these parts a permanent population of 9000-plus is plenty big) and my route leaves me no choice but drive right through the heart of a tourist town in high vacation season. Complicating this trouble is the fact that I’ve never before been to Jackson—I don’t know the streets.
1st graph and the rest don't flow temporally, but that's fixable later. I guess I'm giving a window on how I'm breaking my creative drought.
More progress. Why am I clogging the thread with this? It's a way of keeping motivated, I guess, and measuring my progress. Got to have goals of some sort.
Road weary and bleary-eyed I pull off of the state highway at a rest stop somewhere west of Rexburg, in the high sagebrush desert. I park in the dimmest spot I can find, force the driver’s seat into a reclining position, and pull out my sleeping bag, greasy with sweat and farts and near non-stop use. It is 1 A.M. and I have been up for 18 hours—going through some kind of hell just to make Fourth of July in Missoula.
I’ve been aching to get the hell out of Wyoming, land of the sun-baked skull, the suicidal jackrabbit, the sulfur stinking oil well, and the starvation-crazed mosquito. The land where the government-issued Chevy Suburban conks out sixty miles short of Lander on Friday the [freaking] third of July, when all are desperate to be anywhere but stuck on South Pass watching cheat grass cure in the sun as traffic blasts by.
I’m three hours late getting out of Lander. What does that mean? It means, even in the deliriously long days of summer, that I will reach Jackson well after dark. Jackson is only real population center on this night’s itinerary (in these parts a permanent population of 9000 is plenty big) and my route leaves me no choice but drive right through the heart of a tourist town in high vacation season. Complicating this trouble is the fact that I’ve never before been to Jackson—I don’t know the streets.
But all that comes later. Out of Lander—what a relief!—I can crank the stereo and cruise along at a safe and sane (and blessedly legal) 65 through the western reach of the Wind River reservation, ogling the odd ranch and the more exotic of the billboards, which almost exclusively advertise for trading posts of some ilk. There is one place in Fort Washakie, “Ancient Ways” that makes me think of my friend in Tucson, the one who wants to start his own tribe—never mind that he’s already an Apache. But—like most drivers’ glimpses of these tiny reservation towns—the thought is fleeting. It is difficult to draw out a memory and focus on it, grasp it, when the ever-varying landscape and the golden light of late afternoon assault and entice the eyes with vision after vision. The hills are the color of honey—it hasn’t rained in two weeks—and the high peaks of the west all bear crowns of snow.
Somewhere past Crowheart (population: gas station) the highway descends to the level of the Wind River, winding its way through a red rock canyon reminiscent of Utah. Lovely. The river leads me on to Dubois (population: 991) and beyond, to the high country of Togwotee Pass and the Wind River range, Wyoming’s tallest mountains—more than forty named 13,000 foot peaks. The pass itself rises to nearly 10,000 feet, and when I emerge from my shell of GM metal and plastic to walk on my own two legs, feed some mosquitoes, and piss, the air is marvelously cool, an ecstasy utterly denied in my last few weeks of wading through the shadeless sagebrush desert counting cheat grass and Russian thistle.
I also know exactly what Bean is talking about. I'm pretty much in the same boat for my next story. Then again, it's probably going to end up being the longest story I've ever written (assuming it ever gets completed).
By the way, that's some good writing there, canis. It can be pretty damn hard to get something in essay form to be entertaining, and you've certainly managed it.
(Not that I don't love writing "entertaining" essays, of course - I actually liked my Non-Fiction writing course better than my Fiction Writing course).
Well, it is meant to be an entertainment, that's for sure. I'm really going for, eventually, a sort of gonzo vibe with this piece. The trouble, of course, is that my thoughts during all of this were considerably more off-beat than my actions. Wildest thing I did all the weekend was sit barea$$ naked in an ice-cold mountain stream outside of Missoula, in a really, really popular hiking spot. Regrettably (for purposes of a really funny way to end the story) nobody stumbled upon me while I was doing it.
With first person nonfiction I think embellishment is riskier. I'm trying to maintain pretty high fidelity to the actual events, though I might mix in a bit from the couple other trips I eventually made between Lander and Missoula. But at least that stuff actually happened--I'd just be messing with time slightly.
Here's some more progress on the stuff I've been posting in here. An evolving essay, by Vehk!
Road weary and bleary-eyed I pull off of the state highway at a rest stop somewhere west of Rexburg, in the high sagebrush desert. I park in the dimmest spot I can find, force the driver’s seat into a reclining position, and pull out my sleeping bag, greasy with sweat and farts and near non-stop use. It is 1 A.M. and I have been up for 18 hours—going through some kind of hell just to make Fourth of July in Missoula.
Right now I'm doing something that I've never really done before - write "ahead" in the story. I did it for the epilogue of The Interim, but that isn't as large as the section I'm doing right now.
Like much of the spare-time writing I'm doing right now, it's dedicated to that big, ambitious mega-story that I keep talking about but may or may not see the light of day. And I think it's a damn good segment. The problem is, how am I going to set it up?
I have a vague idea of how to proceed, but I want to put as much work and research into it as I can so I make it the best it can be, and avoid any horrible lore faux pas.
Not really much point to this post, I just felt like making it.
Well this took some finding (why is it in Treydog's section?).
Here's a quandry I've been considering for a while and which doesn't seem to have been mentioned here. What is the ideal length for posting a section of story? Of course it will vary from story to story and from part to part but as a ballpark figure i have no idea. Looking through the fanfic section here I've seen posts of well under 1000 right up to nearly 3000 words in multipart epics. Too long and readers will shy away at the thought of 'reading all that right now' and decide to come back later (and never get round to it), too short and its a bit unsatisfying.
I like to write my stories up before I post them so I can do a 1.5 draft (2nd draft is a bit too grand for just reading through and taking kinks from the story line and deleting a few unessesary scenes) before I put it up. So its not even just how much I wrote that session, and as I'm coming to the end of one and beginning to think about formatting it into a postable form I thought I'd ask. What sort of post length and frequency is best?
EDIT: I'm claiming this isn't threadromancy because this thread still deserves daylight and deals with this topic so another's not needed
As to the first- I guess because I originated it... and there kind of isn't a place for "meta-topic" threads. [shrug]
As to length, I tend to shoot for around 1000 to 1500 words per post. That isn't an especially rigid rule- just what seems "comfortable" to me. And, as I tend to think of my stories as "serial novels," that allows for the dreaded cliff-rac..., um cliff-hanger endings. In truth, like a lot of what I have done, it was rather more accidental than calculated... I tend to run out of steam after 3 or 4 pages and need to sit back and consider. I try to have a few installments prepared in advance, but that doesn't always happen.
In more general terms- "there aren't any rules in a knife fight!" My feeling is that the writer should find a "good stopping place." For some, it is a whole chapter- for others, 500-600 words. Ideally, a post should move the story forward, yet be digestable. Early on, I tried to post every day; in retrospect, probably not a good idea. Esp. as comments seem to have gotten kind of sparse, a schedule of once every 2 or 3 days or maybe even a longer interval might be better.
Regardless, I will anticipate reading your work with great pleasure.
I don't shoot for any fixed number. I just find a good stopping point, and then I stop. I like Trey's thinking about "serial novels", except I'm just about the opposite when it comes to cliff hangers. I like to think that it makes the cliff hangers I do use a little more powerful than they otherwise would be, since there are generally few of them. This was especially true, I think, when I first started writing about Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun, my argonian assassin. The series started as one-shots in the Temple of Lore, and many of the subsequent updates tell one story--the stalking and killing of one person or set of persons.
For the forum I tend to write my stories in one burst, with very little editing. In this sense I am coasting on talent--relying on my ability to spin an interesting yarn in interesting language on the fly, while making very few mistakes. (This is also how I went through most of college--I'm basically a slacker, I just happen to be a talented slacker.) As I get older I edit more, take more care, but often times the stuff I labor over lacks the vitality of some of my more hurried work. It's an odd balance--spontaneity v. polish.
It depends on how you feel really. I'd say around 1500-2000 words is a good number - you want something substantial enough to entertain the reader, but not so big so it scares people away. I suppose it also kinds of depends what forum you're on. On one site I had to post it in 500-a-piece chapters cos' over that ran onto two pages!
Still, it's up to you and wherever you feel comfortable, but make sure you can still pick up where you've left off at the end.
Seeing as we have so many new members I thought I might wave the staff of threadromancy and resurrect this one because it's a good thread (and was still at the top of Trey's forum anyway).
I must say I think it would be better placed in the main fanfic forum to be honest, possibly even stickied (or something in a similar vein to it created).
Anyway those who haven't posted here, any interesting bits of writing process?
Looking back over some of the comments, I find I have come to the same conclusion as the dog and Illydoor on post length and frequency.
When I write, I do it a chapter at a time, and let them become as long as they need to be. I do not care about the length then, just that I convey the things I need to. When I go to post however, it is a different story. I try to stick to that length of 1-2k words per post when I can so as to not overwhelm the reader with a wall of text. So I only post one or two scenes of a chapter at at time to keep the posts in that range. Or I break in the middle of scene if there is a good place. Sometimes they run longer if there is just no good spot to do that. I do not want to lose the power of a scene just to keep it under 2k words.
I also try to space out my posts by at least two days apart, so there is time for people to come across each post and read it before the next one. Since any given chapter might be 2, 3, or more posts (my biggest was 6) it also gives me time to start writing the next chapter while I am still posting the previous one.
When it comes to drafts, I typically do four to five drafts. The first draft is the first write through of the chapter from end to end, and takes me several days, sometimes as much as a week, depending on how large the chapter is. I typically write only about 2-3k words a day. It all depends on how inspired I am and how much time I have to
waste invest in it. At 15k words, Through A Nightmare Darkly took me a full week to do the first draft. I suspect that compared to some people I am a slow writer. But I also spend a lot of time and effort trying to get the first draft as best as I can. So I will spend five minutes looking for synonyms for a single word rather than leaving that for a later draft.
After that the following drafts are easier. I go through the chapter from end to end again and look for things like continuity and grammar errors. I only do one draft a day, otherwise I miss things. I need fresh eyes to catch little things. I also compare it to my outline to make sure I did not miss any points I wanted to touch on. The 2nd and 3rd drafts typically need the most fixing. After that the 4th draft is usually just nitpicking over word choice and sentence structure. If I can still stand to look at it, the 5th draft is the same.
Speaking of outlines, I do keep an outline, which is often well over six months in advance of my writing. I put down each chapter I have planned, and all of its key events. Typically an outline entry for a chapter is only two or three paragraphs, although some can be much longer. I am not an absolute slave to the outline though. Often when I am writing things come out spontaneously that I add in, or take out. Or I might find a different direction I want to take things. In these cases I just go with the flow, as I have learned to trust my intuition (it always knows better than my conscious mind). Here is an example of an outline entry for an 8,000 word chapter:
Eh, outlines, notes, drafts; I have no need for such things. Granted, my writes would probably be better if I used them, but I can't get into them. I am a very chaotic writer. Heck, I'll change a chapter's entire events half-way through to fit with my newest vision of where the stories going.
I rarely write anything down (except the story of course!), and prefere to keep it all in my mind where it can warp and change to suit whatever need I have.
Here's a question: how much research do you do when you're writing TES fiction? I must confess to being something of a lore buff (though not a lore-khan), and like to try to maintain a fair continuity with the known history, geography, and anthropology of Tamriel. I also like to drop the odd Easter egg from the canonical literature.
For example, I am currently using http://www.imperial-library.info/mwbooks/brothers_of_darkness.shtml as a reference. And Julianos knows I like to peruse the TES cartography section.
The best piece of advice that I have ever been given on the mystery of the writing process is to first ignore all of the people who equate the act of writing fiction to the building of a house. Notes, outlines, and character sheets are not blueprints; they are studies, they are rehearsal.
Writing fiction is an act of artistic expression; One that is, hopefully, done for the benefit of an audience. And like singing, or acting, or dancing, or playing an instrument, good fiction should be looked upon as a performance. Read any page of the collected works of Charles Dickens, or Jane Austen, or Mark Twain and you can sense that these great writers consider themselves on stage for the amount of time that they are able to hold your attention. All writers possess a bit of the ham, it is why we do what we do. Embrace that aspect of your personality. Write with abandon!
Check this out:
@Canis216- I try to be "consistent" with the Lore, although I do not research it, and rarely reference it in my work. I do follow the Construction Set closely, and try not to "break" the game too much. That is easier for me, with a narrowly-focused, first person narrative. When I attempt to add "historical touches" they are usually personal rather than global- see for example the story of the hunting party told around the fire.
@Destri- Could not agree more. The only way to be a writer is to write. The only way to find your own style as a writer is to write a lot. And a lot of it will be- ah, not good- in the beginning. But fiction (and even a fair amount of non-fiction) is very much a performance. The "fun" part is finding that balance between completely immersing the reader versus seeming to be obviously saying, "Gee Mom, look how good I'm writing!"
Yes, I love talking about writing or reading or reading about writing or writing about reading....
Lore is an interesting one. For the basic concept and arc of a story I ignore it (well I don't research so just rely on what I know) becasue my mind is on other things. When it comes to fleshing out on the other hand I read everything I can find. I'm not sure I'd write a story in a very lore heavy setting though just because of the constraints. Like I considered writing something around the time of the battle of Red Mountain but decided against it on the grounds that I'd be forever tiptoeing rounds and stumbing over the lore around it.
With setting like the story I'm currently posting this is less of an issue. A look at the imperial library's map section told me about terrain but beyond that the local culture is about the only defined thing, and that's only so set anyway. Another thing I do is spend time looking at the concept art and screenshots of both cannon and tamriel-rebuilt in an attempt to make my descritpions of places feel like they should.
So I'd say I try to be lore compatable without particularly paying it more attention than that and deliberately avoiding lore heavy areas. As far as writing around a game goes (I have a few thousand words of that somewhere on the harddrive but it's no where near ready to be made yet) I largly ignore the game. I've played them enough to know the places and, though I look at maps and keep names, if it suits that a character is a little different than in game (especially if they're too wishy-washy) then they find themselves changed to suit. I like to deal in what might have been and so take things off in a different direction than the game quests go.
Be like a method actor. Take a while, and actually think how one of your characters would. Throw some of your own experiences in there, too. Don't logically make hypothetical situations, ie: 'what would [insert character's name] do?' Make it so that you can barely tell the difference between your own thoughts and your character's.
Don't think about how your characters think, think as your characters.
It's hard to explain, but when I write anything, whether it's lyrics to a song or a TES fanfic, I take on a new frame of mind on purpose. If I'm writing a sad song, for example, I'll take some time to look at all the bad things going on around me, really focus on them for a while, amplify them a billion-fold, and eventually I'll have the perfect depressing mindset for some sad lyrics. It sounds weird, but you can really play with your own head, just make sure you can re-balance yourself later.
Put yourself in similar situations as your characters. Writing about Suzie who's starving in the desert? Don't eat all day and see how you feel. Describe it. Stomach making noises? Muscles feeling weak? Describe it.
Another thing is to 'steal' techniques from writers you like. For example I really like Cormac McCarthy, so there are a few things I do to recreate what I like about his style: I use few words, but try to pick very strong ones. I use short, choppy sentences that move quickly, but leave impact. I learned to leave out a lot of narrative sections and simply use the characters' own dialogue to tell the reader what I want them to know. I write nothing like Cormac McCarthy, I simply took something that I saw and liked in his books and tried to learn from it.
hmm looks like I'm a little late to the party
I usually keep a notebook with me all day, record things I see, funny things I've heard and it works pretty well.
I often work on two word documents at a time, I write the first part and then the one after that, then I review the first and edit it, do the same with the second before going over the first again a third time.
It probably sounds a little to complicated but I find that it works pretty well.
Paying attention to the surrondings is pretty important to me, I often spend a while just creating the scenery/ setting before the actual story. (which many a english teacher has tried to correct me on in the past )
I'm pretty stubborn when it comes to the lore, whenever I'm writing I always have the imperial library and uesp wiki up as seperate windows. Just so I won't accidently piss off user ELDERSCROLLZFAN4LIFE6188!! who will hunt me down for saying that vivec had children xP
so yeah.... that's my 2 cents
Yet again I'm going to commit threadromancy on this to ask on opinions on a couple of topics which are bothering me in the planning for my next write.
The first is on planning. How much to plan? The last ones I wrote were planned utterly before I began them and had notes on everything so I knew what was going to happen before I wrote it (during which somethings changed of course), I'm not sure how this came through but it makes the writing easier having a map to follow. But it's possibly less fun and if things are going to change is it better not to fix them to begin with. Going forth blindly (I'm not really sure where the one I'm planning will go after the first phase of it) is all very well but I always worry it's really compensating for a blind (or more likely denied) spot where things won't come together. Or a weakness in character planning that I don't know what will happen.
Which brings me to the second point - where do people get characters from? I've come up with a couple but they're still cardboard and other than writing with them I can't seem to get them to flesh out and so I don't know exactly what I've got. Does anyone have any tricks?
I sort of had a point or two there... maybe... or I might just be struggling with the initial phases of planning.
I'm a document/report writer. Therefore, I have little experience in writing fiction stuff. But here's what I do for fan fics or just plain writing in general.
First I just wing it or write a very ROUGH version of my story/report. It takes less than 10 minutes to write that. Then I go back and look at any mistakes I've made. Since I use the computer, spelling is no problem but Microsoft Word is annoyingly picky when it comes to grammar. I correct what needs to be corrected and then move on to step two.
If I'm writing reports, I check my information to see if it's up to date or accurate with the newest discoveries. For stories, I write more with lots of details and more parts of the story. It takes roughly 2 hours for reports and 20 minutes for stories.
Then if I'm
lazy super busy, I publish it. If I'm not then I go back AGAIN and look to see if a couple lines are right in place. I usually call up my friends and e-mail the draft. They berate me and change a couple things around. All fun and good but most of the time, they just put this.
"Lol...what the [censored] are you doing?"
Then I publish.
1. Planning. Disclaimer: I'm all about the character. Plot. . . er, not so much. Anyway, I tend to do what I call storyboard (sort of rough outlining) pretty far out. I then hold off on fleshing out the prose until I'm in pretty close. That does a couple things that help me. The storyboarding helps me avoid writing myself into a corner or overlooking something, but by not being 'prosed out' yet, encourages me to move pieces around as my ideas evolve. Dunno if that makes sense, but it helps me. 'Course my plotting is pretty simple (most of the time).
2. Character creation. My (one and only) character's nature is the spitting image of my late wife (the first Mrs Acadian). The character herself is the granddaughter we never had. That is why she speaks to me so clearly.
1- Planning. I plan very far ahead. For the TF, I have outlines going out as far as chapter 42. Then I have some basic ideas for things beyond that. When I outline a chapter, it can be very simple. Sometimes just two paragraphs stating what needs to happen, highlighting important points. The outline helps me keep the plotting tight, and tie things together over multiple chapters.
For example Vilverin started things that did not come to fruition until the last chapter. Teresa's armor was destroyed, so she needed a new set, and got a magic one from Morcant that would be just what she needed during the Daedra attack on the IC. Likewise, she got all that bandit gear which Jensine, Simplicia, and others were able to use in the battle. etc... Without thinking ahead, I would not be able to pull things together like that.
On the other hand I am not completely rigid in my execution. My outlines are just basic ideas. Directions I want to follow. When I actually sit down and write a chapter things often come out that I had not planned on. For example, Teresa having learned to read by Simplicia teaching her with the Black Horse Courier was completely off the cuff. Methredhel's comment about her, Teresa, and Adanrel being a gang is another. Teresa's pining over Dervera Romalen was another thing that was totally unplanned, as was her feelings of loneliness on the road afterward.
Here is an example of my outline for Chapter 11
Planning- I won't have a lot to say about this, as I have tended to follow the Main Quest for each of my stories. That means the structure is somewhat ready-made. I change things as I feel the need- see discussion of characters which follows.
I still write the greater part of my material by hand, in whatever order it occurs to me. For my current story, I had the beginning and ending before anything else. So then the task became a matter of connecting the 2. Still, I keep a general concept in mind of the events that should occur, and an even more general sense of the order in which they will happen. However, I do not outline at all (not that there's anything wrong with people who do); nor do I stick slavishly to the concept with which I began.
Character- this is the heart of any story for me. If you have interesting and appealing characters, the plot can be almost anything- the fun comes in watching the characters work through it.
I am usually able to write about 2 or 3 fully-formed characters for any of my long pieces. Some people- minque, mALX1, Rumpleteasza, SubRosa- have entire populations of living, breathing 3D characters. Part of the reason I have fewer is because I write first-person narrative. Although that has not limited some of the other folks who also write first-person. For me it means, with few exceptions, that everything is seen through the prism of the narrator. And it also means that what we learn about the main character is based on what (s)he says and does.
So the narrator becomes the most important person in my story. Before I put pen to paper, I try to think about who this person is. What are his beliefs, his values, his biases? Since I already know what his world is like (Morrowind, Tamriel, Solstheim), I can begin to think about how he will interact with it. How does he feel about the gods? -the Khajiit? -the elves?
What is his background? Wealthy, poor? What about age? Writing fan-fiction about a game can give you some scope to describe the character's abilities in creative ways. Rather than simply giving a laundry list of skills, you can reveal them as the action dictates.
"Roaring, a troll burst from the brush beside the road. Fortunately, I had a natural affinity for fire spells."
I prefer to have things revealed gradually, rather than getting an "info dump" at the beginning. There are different kinds of suspense- all are based on unanswered questions. So the character can be somewhat of a mystery, without necessarily going all the way to being a "woman in black." It is useful, whenever possible, to fit "reveals" into the narrative, rather than just baldly stating them. For example look at the difference here-
"Juneipurr did not like guards. She thought they were bullies and thieves wearing city colors."
"A guard appeared at the end of the street, and Juneipurr pulled back into a shadowed doorway. She had memories of city guards- none of them good."
Both get the job done- I think the second one is better story-telling.
Last bit of advice- have fun with what you are doing.
ETA- A character's "voice" can also do a great deal for the story. Look at how Khajiit and Argonians speak in-game. Someone could have a character speaking in the Khajiiti fashion-
"Juniepurr is honored to meet you, noble lady. How may this one be of service?"
And go on in that vein for a while before revealing that she is not herself a Khajiit, but a Bosmer who was raised by Khajiit. Therefore, her cultural references and mannerisms are those of her upbringing, rather than her genetics....
Flexibility is key- one of my most succesful creations- Athynae- was only going to have a limited role in the story as I originally conceived it. But she is such a wonderful character that I had to give her more time on stage. And Athlain is less of a spoiled brat than I had planned.
Ideas for characters (for me) come from real life- Trey and Athlain are me, to a greater or lesser extent. They are braver than I, and tougher. Trey is certainly mouthier- he says the things I only think. On the other hand, I know what it is like to want to live up to a father who was respected and admired- even though we got along far better than Athlain does with Trey....
Baria is very much based on Mrs. Treydog- so is Athynae, with a sprinkling of my sister and a few ex-girlfriends....
My most successful characters are the ones that are based on real people- because that basis in reality makes the characters more real, more believable.
Give your main character(s) strengths, but also give them flaws. We may not always like what they do, but we should be able to understand it.
As you are playing the game (if your fiction is game-based), consider how your character will respond to situations- and think about why that might be....
If you are writing more general fiction, you can still "role-play" situations, conversations, etc.
In the specific fan fic I'm currently writing, I'm like Trey - I use the MQ for the plot, so there goes my planning.
In original fiction, though, I start with a scene in my mind (not always a climactic scene, just one that illustrates the main conflict of the story and the interaction between the main characters), then I develop a time line (not an outline) that gets me from the beginning to this scene, then to the end. The timeline is much more vague than an outline, and it gives me a lot more flexibility. That's the extent of my planning. For example, in a story that I wrote years ago, it started with the vision of a woman falling down an elevator shaft in trying to escape. I started asking questions about the scene - who is this woman? why is she falling? from whom was she trying to escape? I ended up with quite a story, and that inspirational scene was the first in a series of escalating climaxes. That's how I 'plan' my stories - they're pretty organic and tend to grow on themselves. Plot is not really my strong point, sad to say.
Now, character development, that's something I really enjoy doing. It starts from the same point as the storyline - a scene that inspires the entire story. In asking these questions about who, what, why, where, and how, I end up with a good sense of my characters and how they interact. In the current fan fiction, as I was playing Oblivion the first time, I asked questions about my PC as she was moving through this world for the first time. Why was she in prison? How did she end up in this situation? What is she going to do to get out of it and put it all behind her? For me, as for many other writers here, it's the character(s) that drives the story.
And like Trey, I avoid info-dumping as well. I like the characters and situations reveal themselves to the reader bit by bit as in real life - I believe the mystery and questions are what keep the reader going. Not just what's going to happen next? but also how is the character going to react? why is the character in this sticky situation? did the character meet that person before? what's the history here? and so on.
And Trey, are we going to see Juneipurr in your fiction sometime?
The question of planning is an interesting one, because I often wonder about that myself. For the most part, I start writing with only a general idea in mind. I focus much more on the characters that I'm introducing, and sometimes I have to write 3-4 chapters before I really know where I'm going with the plot. After that point, I keep a general plot outline in my head (and often several sub-plots as well), but nothing concrete, because I like room to make adjustments and add new ideas as well.
I also often find that the characters themselves will help direct the plot once it gets rolling, so I never commit myself to any one direction or idea prior to having a full grasp on my characters. I truly believe that the characters are the most important part of a story, and so long as I have a firm grasp and understanding of the different personalities that I've created, getting stuck or whatnot is pretty hard. My greatest joy in writing is actually the feeling of fashioning a new character at the beginning of a story. There's something wonderful about designing a new character, and the thing that I find the most difficult and enjoyable in that regard is voice. Deciding how a person will talk in terms of style and diction takes a lot of thought for me.
One aspect that I truly enjoy is adding details to my characters from the very beginning. Sometimes they'll always be seen wearing a certain thing, or some other such quirk. Later in the story, I'll suddenly realize that I can use that detail for something significant, but I often don't realize that until the moment arrives. Before that, the detail is merely seen as something to make the character more realistic and distinct, but you never know where these things will come in handy plot-wise. That's something that I've always enjoyed.
With regards to mine, all the planning I did was that I simply decided to set myself a challenge: Complete the Mage's Guild questline, and nothing but. With a suitable alternate start mod getting the blimmin' MQ out of the way, away I went.
Ra'jirra's voice came from asking where this Khajiit had come from, and his motivations for coming to Cyrodiil, at ruinous expense. General impressions raised by Bethesda's writers and voice actors helped create a loom to weave whole cloth about this unprepossessing framework.
Currently I want to start a new character to launch into the Fighter's Guild quests, except there's a gimmick I associate with the dope that I'm uncertain about because it could dominate other aspects of his personality.
Planning- For me, it depends on who is in the chapter. If it's one with Wrothken, then all I do is follow the quest and ask a few questions: What does the quest need to be completed? Who does it involve and what is their relationship to Wrothken? Does it conflict with his morals? How? What can he do avoid that? Does it bring up a part of his past? Is he so busy that his heartbreak can be momentarily forgotten? Are the people acting too normal? How can I play on their insanity?
If the chapter is set in Kvatch there's a whole new set of questions: Is it Kirsty, Lilitu, or Awour that we're getting to know? What are we learning about them that will show up in later chapters? How are they developing? Where will they be by the end of the chapter?
Once I know the answers, then I begin writing.
Characters- First thing I do when I make a new character, is have a character sheet
I hereby invoke the spell of Threadnomancy and- bah. I'll get to the point.
Sometimes, like right now, I have problems involving the introduction of the story itself, and the introduction of characters.
For example, I can't introduce Bob without info-dumping you that he's the bloody Incarnate and how he defeated Ur. I plan to tell the audience that he's the Nerevarine in a later chapter, but sometimes I just find myself staring at long, jarring text wall five minutes later. Just look at my newbie story 'The Mourning Stars'.
So, I have problems with introductions and I'n stricken with the disease of info-dumping.
Since Chorrol is home for pro writers, can this not-so humble kid ask you guys for advice? Please?
I'm speaking just in generalities here about doing an early info dump on a character. Not specifically regarding your writing or story at all. In my humble opionion, introducing your lead character is different than introducing a supporting character. In either case, it boils down to limiting info to that which is relevant and pertains to the moment. I'll assume you are talking about introducing a lead character and you are doing so from within his/her perspective.
He is likely not thinking about the facts that (just for example) he is a Nord living in Bruma with blue eyes dressed in sack cloth pants who was chosen by Azura to slay dragons and save the world and.... Rather, he might be thinking about the fact that he is hungry or thirsty or his head hurts from a hangover. I know you fairly soon want to give your readers a 'picture' of enough to hang onto (like name, race, sex and location) regarding your character, but that should be woven into the story.
In this case, your character hears a knock at the door. Upon opening the door, snow flurries surround his visitor who states, "By the Nine, Bob, it's morning and you look like you just got home from Olav's Tap & Tuck. I thought you Skyrim fellows could hold your drink!"
Ah. Now we know the name, race and sex of the character and that we're in Bruma. That is enough for now. The rest can be doled out naturally as events allow via actions, conversations and judicious use of internal dialogue.
Character introduction. That's the fun part of writing, I think. The most common trap most writers fall into is failing to see their characters as real people. Look at yourself. As you go through your day, do you constantly think about yourself like this: I'm eighteen years old, but look sixteen. I'm medium height, with average looks. I dress average - for a modern-day student, that is. But I know things most eighteen-year old students don't know. I can swing a sword, face down a clannfear, and cast a Silence spell with a wide area of effect. I'm the Nerevarine. No one can beat me in a fair match. Of course you don't think of yourself like that. Your mind is on other things.
What I do is imagine that character going about his/her day-to-day business. I start by describing that character's actions, his thoughts, the environment that character is moving through. I hoard personal descriptions and dole it out very frugally.
How do you get to know someone in real life? If you're a student, what happens when you notice another student? Or how does your teacher introduce himself on the first day of class? If you're a working stiff, how does your first day on the job go? Or what happens when someone new starts working in your office/place of employment? When you see someone interesting on the street, what's the first thing you see? Wild hairdo? Crazy tats? Weird clothes? Or maybe it's strange behavior that attracts your attention.
Once you've done the initial introduction, what's next? I introduce bits and pieces of my characters' personalities and histories through action, through conversation (dialogue), and inner thoughts. I build them up slowly, layer by layer. That's how I avoid an info-dump.
Here's how I introduced a character in a story I wrote some time ago:
I am not sure how much more I can add that has not already been said. Except to think of the background you work up for your characters and setting as an iceberg. The reader only needs to see the tip of it, so that is all you have to show them to start with. Reveal the rest when the character somehow experiences those things. That way it flows naturally from the story.
For example, in the TF I did not reveal that my main character was a lesbian until chapter 5. I did it then because she saw an attractive woman and reacted. She did not stop to think "Oh, btw. I'm a lesbian." She just saw the other woman and started day dreaming about sleeping with her. The reader could fill in the rest.
Likewise, I did not reveal that she was an archer until chapter 3, when she saw a bow and thought "Hey, I can use that!". Before then when she was talking to the Emperor it did not matter, so there was no point revealing it.
For an example of showing setting information: I always knew that in the TF, there were miles and miles of farmland and villages surrounding all the major cities in Cyrodiil, enough that you would travels for days and see nothing but farms. But I did not show that until my main character was actually walking down the main road outside a city, and all these farms were rolling by.
No words can express my gratitude, really. So I say this to all of you; Thanks!
Now, only thing for me left to do is learn, reflect and (hopefully) create a story that'll encompass my previous ones!
Thanks, yet again! Whoo!
You're welcome! Good luck!
Here is an idea that just came to me. For a good exercise, try writing a protagonist who has amnesia. Linara is doing that http://chorrol.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4524. It is a great way to avoid info-dumping, because the character literally has no info!
Aha! Nice suggestion, dear Sage! Hmm... an amnesiac protagonist.. That's going to be challenge. Thanks, again!
Black dribbly candles... yep it's necromancy time again
This time two things, but first a few words of explaination. I have been writing fairly solidly since ther last thing I posted. But recently I found myself on the fifth reworking of what I was sure was a good idea, I had 25k words down (again) and a good idea of where to go. But it was the fifth rework for a reason, it had taken ages and wouldn't flow so ultimatly I packed it in because it was no fun any more.
I looked here and followed Destri's advice on finding an interesting bit of lore and filling it out. And the new one is going swimmingly, but I have rather hammered it down to push through the block with internal editor set to 'off' (I'm kinder to my internal editor than Haute... ) so it's very rough. Which brings me to my first question:
How do people redraft? Any tips? I generally tend to write fairly close to a finished product first time and then just edit descriptions, word choice and balance things a bit. But this needs more than that and I wondered if anyone had any effective methods. I lack patience and have a tendancy to resort to cut and paste.
The second question is more one of taste. What do you listen to while you write? I tend towards soundtracks and (some) classical which don't interfere but create a mood but am interested in what other people listen to, especially as I'm getting bored of my limited collection.
I wish I could offer some better advice about my redrafting process, but all I really do is read though the piece and look for things like continuity errors, repeated words, misspellings, things like that. Like you, I try to get it very close to how I want it in the first draft. Hence I spend the most time on that.
I do keep a outline, and I also check it against the piece when I do my redrafts. I sometimes find things I missed that way, and add them in. Or I might find that I really did not need them in the first place, and leave the story without it. Here again, I always have a solid outline with all the major events in the story before I start writing.
As far as music goes, I listen to all sorts of things. Most of the time just whatever cds I am in the mood for in general at the time. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Kamelot. Or I start winamp and put in on shuffle, and listen to my mp3s. Once in a while I will go for specific albums when I want to help myself get in the mood. For example, when writing The Battle of Bruma, and later editing one of the Vols chapters, I listened to the Gettysburg soundtrack.
I tend to the "make the first released draft near as damnit to the last draft" style of writing myself.
Currently I'm revising the FanFiction.net editions of my works, partly because of style (FF's filters eat most conventional section breaks) and also because sometimes I make massive clangers:
1. Calling Caranya Caminalda - who was offed in chapter 2
2. Referring to the same day with three different dates - and two different eras!
3. Referring to the Bruma guild in the present tense and making Volanaro the new guild head.
4. First, indicating Ancotar is at Black Plateau, then suggesting he was killed several chapters on.
Most of these are flubbed sanity checks, relying on my imperfect memory instead of going over what I've written.
This is particularly vexing, since I have so much catch-up to do on the crossover fiction.
As for listening material, I tend not to listen to anything. I need all the concentration my braincell can handle.
Which he won't be, mALX. The end point for that fiction is just after [redacted]. He'll leave further exploration to the younger, more expendable types.
Let's just say I'm playing with the idea of an alternate universe "Freaky Friday"-style swap. If I go through with it, Slippery Elmer's going to hate me.
Something else I want to do is write the biography of Zul gro-Radagash, as a nonfiction document countering the terrible guff expelled by his fan. Ra'jirra is very eager for the truth to be known >;)
Nope. This is a completely different splay of the Bethesda multiverse, because Zul already did the main quest in a radically different fashion.
Elmer's going to find himself in the body of a Dunmer (an Urshilaku barbarian, actually) and vice versa. The entire prologue is just an excuse for doing this.
Part of the fun here is the two getting acclimatised to radically different bodies, parts of which have been [UNTRANSLATABLE: TYPE III CONCEPT] through judicious application of handwavium compounds. Apart from that, it's really rather routine; Elmer (technically) becomes a courier again and Theldyn Assurnibipal becomes a courier, period.
Obviously I'm writing it now, but Theldyn is proving more difficult to write.
Here are several of the thoughts that go through my head when I'm typing away...
-How much information do I want the reader to know at the time? This is what creates tension, that feeling of not knowing exactly what's going to happen. Info-dump, as I've read, is a hurdle that many must learn about and avoid, because giving away too much means the tension gets spoiled. That tension is what keeps your audience interested. They want to find out what happens next. That is why I strive to only write into the chapter the plot information necessary, and make the rest filler.
-On that topic, I also strive to ensure all that extra filler has real meaning. Every word that is inserted into the tale needs to belong there, because pointless filler is just that: pointless. Having too much random babble makes readers bored. What do I mean by filler that has a reason for being there?
>Describing the setting
>Chatter, so long as it builds character
>Getting a quick chuckle out of the reader
I'm sure I can think of more, but not at this time (and that's filler for I ran out of ideas ).
Essentially, I write the plot to make the readers need to read more, and write the filler to make the readers want to read more.
-I always keep the overarching conflict in mind. Writing a good fanfic is like writing a good TV series, where every episode has its own little picture to paint, but the combined pictures provided by all the episodes form the overarching main plot of the conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist.
-On the topic of antagonists, I feel that better results are obtained if the readers are aware of his presence, but know nothing else about him for a considerable time other than he's trying to make life difficult for the protagonist. This ambiguity helps to build the tension, as the readers will never truly know who the big bad is until you out and tell them.
-I try to have two strong characters at the forefront of the story, the protagonist and a good side-character. This opens up so many options for storytelling that often cannot be accomplished with a lone wolf protagonist. Things such as learning about each other (which incidentally gives the readers a reason to care about the story), to help each other grow into even better versions of themselves, and finally, it gives me a viable reason to... perhaps... pull a fast one on one of them, which can make for one heckuva plot twist and completely change the course of the story.
-Oh, and don't introduce both at the same time. The Star Wars prequels made that mistake and it resulted in the viewer being unable to figure out who they were supposed to support, or who's story was being told. Stagger the introductions, it will make your story easier to read.
There's more, but that should do for now...
I am so glad I found this thread. As I stated in the Author's Notes of my FF thread (shameless plug), I am not a writer at all. Heck, my education level is a G.E.D. that I got when I was 16. In the 33 years since then (everyone get their calculators out now), I have read a lot, but written precious little. I started reading some fan fiction and "got bit by da bug", thinking that it sounded fun to try. I was right. So far I have found it to be very enjoyable.
I am babbling...
I really appreciate all of the material in this thread. My "writting style"...have I been writing long enough to have a style?...has been make it up as I go. I do have a plan of sorts, but I never thought to outline ahead of time, or storyboard, or use any of the other techniques mentioned in this thread. I want to thank Treydog for starting this thread over 4 years ago. And I gotta give a shout out to Acadian for helping me get started.
A lot of people tend to have a large number of chapters queued up for their tales as they go through them, editing and revising as they post. I, however, do not do that. I focus my full attention onto a single chapter until it gets posted, then return to draft the next segment. The main reason people are performing the former strategy here is because what we are seeing is not the first version of their story, but rather revised versions of chapters that have already been posted elsewhere (I.E., BGSF before the mass-exodus of the major Fan-Fiction authors around this time last year).
I do not have the luxury of having a large backlog of chapters available to me, as I am a rather recent comer to this arena. I have developed my own style with writing a completely new story that ensures that my mind cannot get too fragmented. By focusing on my writing one chapter at a time, it allows me to keep focus, and therefore keep going.
That being said, everything that occurs in the tale has clear direction and purpose. I keep tabs on everything that happens, and my visions for what will happen extend all they way to the distant end.
I sit at the opposite end of the spectrum. Until the entire thing is written I post nothing. The main reason is that if a piece gets stuck, and mine do around the 20-30k mark, people won't have wasted their time reading something which I'm simply not going to finish.
Another reason is that it lets me go back and tweak things. The whole I need such and such now is rather easier to insert with less planning. Likewise if a character changes (and if they don't it's a sure sign the piece will die) I can foreshadow it, or even rewrite sections. So basically it's about producing a tighter end result. It also means that there won't be vast gaps in my posting when RL gets too heavy.
On the minus side it does mean that I go long times wihtout having anyhting going up, and at the current rate it will be next year before I finish the TES piece I'm working on. Basically it comes down to choice: if you like having people comment in real time, and there are advantages, posing as you go is great, if you want more freedom to hack things around holding it all works better.
I am also of the "pre-write several chapters ahead" ilk. This is my first attempt at writing fiction for someone else to read, so I had no preconceived plan on how to do it.
I found that once I started, it was like turning on a faucet. The words just poured out. Acadian and mALX actually had to get me to shut the valve some because I was posting massive installments at a dizzying clip. So instead of posting as I wrote, I just continued to write and diminished the posting rate, and size. This resulted in the aforementioned pre-write style, quite by accident.
It has already helped me in way that was probably inevitable. Pre-writing provided a buffer between a bout of writers block and being able to continue posting anyway. Where at one time I was eight chapters ahead of my posts, that number has dwindled to one. Definitely a handy by-product.
Out of curiosity, when most of you folks are talking about a chapter, what exactly do you mean? It may seem like a stupid question, but I have found that people often have very different ideas of the definition.
For example, often I see people comment in the TF and use the term chapter to refer to a single post. OTOH, when I say chapter, I mean something much larger. My chapters take up multiple posts (the current one, Inheritance, will take 7 posts to put up. The one I just finished will take 25 posts to put up.). Obviously, I have gotten long-winded in my sunset years.
I ask this because for example, I write an entire chapter at a time rather than a single post at a time. I write it as long as it needs to be to tell the story. Then I split it up into digestible increments and start putting it up every few days. Because putting 10-15k words in a single post would be insane. That is why I not only number the chapters, but put a decimal point to increment each post within the chapter. (The first post of Inheritance was Chapter 31.1, the second 31.2, etc...) Haute does the same, as she has the same view. This is also why I carefully use the term "episode", or "segment", when I refer to a single post, and never the term "chapter".
Well since December, I've been doing a rewrite, so most of the chapters are already lined up. Though on my current one, its still in the works...somewhat (I'm a bit burned out on it at the moment :/ )
To answer SubRosa's question, generally I refer to a chapter as a post, but that's only because my chapters are generally one post long. However, this last one I'm doing is two or three parts so I refer to it as a section, rather than the chapter.
Off-topic rambling? I must disagree with you there, Rick.
Also, just because yours is a gameplay narrative does not mean that will be the downfall of the tale. Look to Old Habits Die Hard for a case-in-point example of what I'm talking about. We don't care about the plot nearly as much as we do the characters here (which may mean I am in trouble, because characterization is not one of my strong suits). Talendor is delightfully endearing, and that alone is enough to make every title you bring forth to us worth every second of our time.
For me, I write my story in a chapter, sub-chapter format, and each one is numbered right at the beginning. I do not title the full chapters, only the sub-chapters.
Due to my inherent weaknesses with reading people, it is rather difficult for me to characterize in my writing. That is why my story instead take the approach of a complex, adventurous plot that tugs at the mind and (in some cases) the heartstrings. I live off of the idea of hooking my readers into the tale so thoroughly they can't help the urge to find out what happens next. My strength lies in action and immersion, so that is where I will be playing from. My hope is that I can develop good characterization skills as things progress. Then, once I finish, I might go back and create a revision alongside whatever else I might have planned.
I have a quick question, when your character recalls back to the past mid scene, how do you handle this?
It's just, the chapter I'm writing now really requires it, and I'm not sure how I can make it clear that Helena is thinking back. Especially as it happens in the middle of dialogue.
Thanks Trey! That's wonderfully helpful.
I use italics for the voice in her head though, so I'll have to think of something.
I use italics for both flashbacks and inner thoughts in my writing. But I use different verb tenses to differentiate between them. I use the past tense for the flashbacks (same as in the main narrative), but present tense in the inner thoughts.
Let me give you a couple of examples from my own. First I set up the flashback to follow naturally out of the current events/thoughts my protagonist is experiencing:
All I can do is agree with the above comments. I use italics for any "inner head" expressions, whether they be thoughts or dreams. Unfortunately, Talendor cannot remember his past, so the idea you are asking about doesn't apply to him...yet. Still, I think italics will work just fine.
I’ve been writing each post separately with a rough chapter outline, and I think it shows. I’ve rushed some sections, and I’ve tossed out others because they didn’t fit within a reasonable word limit. For the next chapter I want to write the whole thing, then break it into posts. Maybe that will help me learn how to develop a plot. I find that I’m often confused about what fits in the story as opposed to what’s there because I like it.
Binder clips are my new best friends. I have a notebook that I write in when I’m out somewhere without my laptop, and a tiny notebook so I don’t get stranded without anything to write on when I don’t think ahead and bring the regular notebook. But sometimes the tiny notebook and the regular notebook both get left behind (sitting next to the laptop), so I write on gas receipts, napkins, envelopes, and the like. Then I often throw these things away without checking the back for scribbling. But no longer! I sprinkled a bunch of binder clips around wherever I might have access to a pen and a scrap of paper, so now I binder clip the scrap and don’t toss it! Woo hoo!
Sometimes it’s the little things.
Oh my....you're all so very talented here....like professionals, and I can't even dream about catching up...yet. So I will lurk around for now.
I'm not sure I dare continue Serene...with this massive competition, then again, I normally finish what I start even if it take ages!
The great thing is- we do not compete- we cooperate. So we have all won. I WILL catch up on my reading (shakes fist defiantly at RL).
And as for you- you simply MUST continue Serene's story.... Don't make me deploy the "Puppy Dog Eyes of Extreme Begging!"
There is no competition, just wonderful stories! Besides, you could hold your own on any stage, minque. You are Serene's mother and Serene is Athynae's mother. Athynae inspires dear Athlain. Athlain inspires dear treydog. And so on. . . . And you all inspire the rest of us so very much.
Who else could possibly tell the story that we all so fervently hope will continue?
Minque - do you know what is amazing about this forum? We all learn from each other, we all inspire each other. There is no competition here, but rather a brother/sisterhood of writers who are very passionate about the TES world and who share that passion with each other. Since coming here and posting my story here, my writing skills have developed so strongly and so much that I can see a distinct difference between the novel I wrote for Nanowrimo last year and the stories I wrote five, seven, ten years ago.
No doubt this will reflect in your own writing, when you are once again inspired to sit before your computer monitor and start beating on your keyboard.
Being the newbie around here I have read some of several writer's contributions and all that has been said is absolutely true, you all have incredible talent but even more than that, as I read the comments in each thread the one thing that is constant is the wonderful support you give each other.
Minque your ability to put a picture to words is incredible, do not doubt yourself! You have a true gift and speaking from experience, allowing yourself the freedom to put your heart on a page sets your spirit free. It allows you the ability to release into space the experiences that you would not be able to share otherwise. Your pen is waiting word master, and your fans are frothing at the mouth for another dose to quench their addiction to your art.
Trey, thank you for inviting me to this wonderful world!!!!
Essentially I'm just going to echo the above - there's a reason I post here and only here. The internet is full of writing places where there's competition and a rather unpleasant atmosphere, maybe good for development (but probably not) and certainly no fun. Chorrol is different, there is useful criticism but there isn't the competitive element, just cooperative.
One thing I will add though is that it's been two years since an update - that itself can be stressful. Getting back to something that's been left is daunting, at least I find it to be. If you keep finding yourself meaning to, but not quite doing it, I'd suggest setting a time when you're going to write some more and not let RL get in the way, then just write. It doesn't have to go up, but it will get the thing flowing again. Even writing a short sidepiece can help get back in the mood of the story, and in the mood for writing.
Certainly I have a date set for getting back to it once I'm finished exams... otherwise I never will.
And if I might be so bold as to add one other thing, the same thing I've been saying since 2005...
There's only one person who ever has doubts Minkey - about your story, your ability, about your way of making Serene a compelling, thoughtful, layered character. And that's you. Don't doubt yourself. Those same people you say make you feel, I don't know the right word, intimidated maybe? Those are the same people who react with pleasure and joy when you've updated your story in the past. So...(to continue this increasingly laboured point ) if our forum writers here know their stuff, as you say, maybe you do as well....
SO GET BLOODY WRITING!!!
I, for one, want to know what happens next!
p.s. Mind you, it occurs to me that I'm a fine one to bleedin' well talk. I can't even remember the last time I wrote something here. Maybe we both need to get our backsides into gear
Hi, I wanted to at least finish Chapter One of Serene of Cyrodiil before I spoke up.
I can imagine a lot of reasons why a writer would put a story aside and not return to it. RL gets busy, and they might move on to other interests. But if you still want to continue Serene’s story, let me add my voice to the chorus encouraging you to do so. This community amazes me. Just look at the number of characters who are able to move through different writers’ stories. I’m guessing it takes a lot of respect and co-operation to accomplish that! What a group of thoughtful, generous, supportive, inspiring individuals. All brought together (in this forum at least) when someone writes a story. The Writer Sub Forums are like treasure chests to me. I would love to know there is more to anticipate from you, Minque!
The fact that I am a frequent offender on the "I can't write anymore" blotter was one of the things that prompted this thread.
And, although you seem to have already found your muse once more (YAY!)- I will still second what Olen said-
The only REAL way to get past writer's block is to write your way out of it.
To be a writer- you have to write. Find that "moment" or "place" or "chronoclastic infundibula" by enacting your particular "writing ritual." For me, that means going back to a spiral notebook and a blue G2 pen. The entire sensory experience of writing that way reminds me of why I love it.
The words are not important at that point- the act of putting them on paper is. The "right" words will come with time; if there are NO words, the right ones cannot emerge, either.
Or someone could threaten you with a balding spell like I did Treydog, fixed his problem real quick....
Awwww.....thank you all for most encouraging comments! (Yeah Burnie! You and I reeeeeeally should take ourselves by the collar and START WRITING, right?)
Anyway....as usual my mentor, my idol, sweet Treydoggie just put a spell on me...(.or was it forwarded from Athynae?)
And so I've sort of started outlining chapter 8. I think what stopped me has been that I do have a great deal of the chapter already written, but there has been a deep river between where Serene is now and how to get to the point that I already have written about!
But the spell has showed me a way.....yay
So beware and be very afraid ( ) Serene will soon be back!
PS goddamnit, such a bad english, plz forgive me
Congrats to everyone who has picked up the proverbial pen again and graced the forum with your talents again!!
Yes mALX and where is YOUR next installment????? HHMMM???? We are waiting.
Agreed--I like what Olen said about writing it out--that's something I've discovered a short time ago when I was going through that ghastly Block... But I got around it much quicker than usual by that advice!
Also, writing everyday is something I would have to endorse--even if I can't write out a story, I write ideas, and sort of brainstorm--if only to keep the creative juices flowing! I've noticed that those times when that dreadful "B" word strikes is after I've had a day or two of not being able to write or even to think about writing.
RL can sometimes get so busy we tend not to think about our stories, and what not--but we should, if we are able, set aside even five or ten minutes just to brainstorm ideas. Or think about it while you're sitting down to lunch--even if you can't write it down, just thinking about it--how you would write it--helps tremendously.
Anyway--now that I've gotten all of that out! *whew, sigh of relief!* Minque--I am glad we all convinced you to keep writing. As a writer, never forget--you must write for yourself, not for anyone else. Share it with us, because we love it! But never write for someone else--do it because you want to do it, because you are moved to do it. I have not read much of Serene's story, but what I've seen is excellent. Once I get caught up on all the other stories I've already been reading, I intend to pick up a couple more to read, and Serene's is one of them at the top of my list!
Writer's block, how I loathe thee!
So what do you do about a story that has two very separate story lines? Should they get different threads? Or just keep them combined?
I am going to answer a question with a question. (Don't you hate that?) Wait- that's TWO questions!
How close are the story lines? Will they "come together" at some point in the future? If so- one thread should do.
I think I just found the cure for writer's block! I went on vacation for two weeks, and I've come back to more new material than I've ever seen in that space of time. Slow down, please, I need to catch up!
I...think I got over it now! The Block I mean! Wish me luck, I have material out for editing now and if it comes through....it will be POSTED!
3 CHEERS!!!!! HIP HIP HORRAY!!!! HIP HIP HORRAY!!!! HIP HIP HORRAY!!!!! That is news worth toasting with vintage wine!!!!!!!
No. No. No. NO! Minque, having read your work I can assure you that ‘if it comes through’ should never make it past your internal BS detector. You are a writer . . . plain and simple. Your recent block did not arise from an inability, only disinclination. I implore you to have as much confidence in yourself as the rest of us have in you. Congrats and I look forward to seeing the new stuff!
I was planning on making a topic, but here seems the appropiate place to ask. I am planning a story that will expand for four centuries. Revolving around two vampiric characters who were born with vampirism into a noble Cyrodilic family. While in their home, they are raised and instructed in the ways of the Order. I got those chapters written down, but as for story, I am totally lost. I had ideas of throwing in a College of Cyrodiil lore and Arcane University as a potential story arc in the first century of the story.
What, as readers, makes you interested in a story?
What pulls my interest more than anything else are good characters. Make them believable: with goals, likes, dislikes, faults, and and strengths. Which is to say, like real people. Nothing is more boring than an uber character, or one who is otherwise too happy, or too nice, or has everything go their way all the time. Make them people that we can somehow identify with, and feel empathy for, and you will have succeeded. Lady Syl does a wonderful job of this with her character of Syl in her fan fic. Syl is a character that can be pretty well described in one word: evil. Yet in LS's tale, we find ourselves feeling sorry for her as she suffers horror after horror, and cheering for her when she strikes back.
I see. And yes, I have read most of Lady Syl's work, "Memoirs of a Madwoman" on the other Bethesda forum. And I usually try to justify "darker" characters. I was always a staunch supporter of such things, but I don't want to be too selfish when writing a story. Syl's story was superb compared to other fan made stories I've read. But we can only do so much with "Anti-heroes". Since the majority of people can't compare with power-hungry megalomaniacs with justified goals as to why they are that way.
I agree with SubRosa. Character is always a good place to start. As long as the characters are interesting I find that I will follow them just about anywhere. I like the idea that you plan to go with, especially the part about them being born with vampirism instead of contracting it the usual way. I think that sets you up for some very interesting views of the characters toward their vampirism.
However I would point out that four centuries seems like a long time to spend without falling into gratuitous angst. There is nothing more tedious than the whining of a vampire at the emptiness of spending eternity alone, especially when all he/she has to do to end it is step outside in the morning.
I see. And true, true. Vampire stories can get very tedious, dealing with various scenarios well-known to us such as vampire falling in love with woman, or vampire not accepting his vampirism or vampire trying to save the world. But don't worry, I got extensive knowledge on Elder Scrolls vampires, more than the usual person
And besides, Cyrodilic vampires can survive in the sun, if well fed. But thanks for the response. I will get to it.
Edit: Oh, one more thing. When you guys write stories, do you update your story by going along and adding new scenarios, or do you already have it all written down and just post regularly?
I second everything SubRosa says about characters, and will add that it's also important to have the characters *around* your main characters come across as real and believable, even if you have much less space to flesh them out - all the main-character-development in the world is going to fall flat if it seems like the world around them is full of cardboard cut-outs who revolve only around the MC. The best plot, IMHO, is one that arises naturally from your different characters and their ambitions and goals, and there's little I dislike more than reading a story where it feels like the characters are being bent to follow the plot than the other way around.
As far as writing goes, I figure it depends on how you write? For instance, if you know you can churn out, say, 3-4k words of story every week with only rare exceptions, then posting as soon as you finish writing is doable. However, my writing is far more erratic than that, so I need a buffer. Another danger of posting as you go along is that when you write later bits you might come up with ideas or change your mind on some things which makes previously written material wrong. If you've already posted things that are now inaccurate, this can be pretty frustrating. I know some people refuse to post at all until they've finished the entire story because of this.
Relatedly, something I've been meaning to ask is what size chunks people like to post or read? Lately I've been doing around 1.5k-2k in mine, SubRosa's said she posts 2k-3k...
Thanks for the feedback, all!
Okay, I have a conundrum here. I have a piece of drafting that doesn't really seem to fit in anywhere in my grand scheme... but at the same time I don't want to get rid of it.
It is hard to give a very specific answer without more details. But just speaking in general, write it. Write anything that moves you to do so. Even if you never post it. The more practice you get, the better you become.
One of the most helpful tools I have is a file named “Jerric’s Story Didn’t Use.” It’s mostly scenes that I wrote and then cut from the story, either in the last edits or from the outline when I wrote too far ahead. (There is more written from Darnand’s POV in this file than in the posted story.)Keeping the material somewhere makes it easier for me to trim it, so I can go ahead and write out the ideas that sort of seize me without worrying too much first about whether they’ll fit.
As SageRosa said, practice makes you better. I don’t regret a single hour that I have spent writing, whether or not the material gets posted in any form.
I agree with SubRosa and Grits and I'll add that I go as far as to save, somewhere, fleeting thoughts or single sentences. Technology obviously makes this much easier, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth I had a notebook that had as many napkins and pieces of brown paper bag as it did regular paper. The benefit to me, sometimes a single sentence can shake you out of a black hole.
I have few "rules" when it comes to writing- but one of the few is:
Write EVERYTHING down!
If an idea, a sentence, a word- grabs you- there is a reason. It may never "fit" with the story you are currently working on- or it may. If you do not keep it, you will never know. Sometimes an idea or an image is so compelling that it becomes worth your while to figure out how to "get there from here."
At worst, it may become a seed for something new.
Thanks for the advice, all.
I've moved the passage to a newly created "Cut Content" file to keep on hand in case a better context comes up for it later on, or if I choose to do a between-chapters interlude, or whatever else comes to mind.
That's what I did with Blanco's interlude in OHDH. I wrote it while the story online was still in the first Oblivion Gate stage, because I couldn't get that damn white horse out of my mind. When I promised him that it would be put in at the right point, he settled down and waited as patiently as Old Paint.
I've been in this situation before - I'd be hard at work on one story, and the creative juices just divert themselves to a new idea or a different concept. All I can do is write it down, put it aside, and find my focus again on the WIP. It helps to refocus if you write the distractions down and get them out of your head (like Boxee and his plot bunnies).
*nods* Sometimes I get seized by things that are far in the future for Adryn and end up going "no, it's not your turn yet!" but later regretting that, when I have to write it when the enthusiasm's gone out of it. The installment I'm just starting to post now took me <em>ages</em> to write, because at one point the idea just grabbed me but then I was still writing an earlier section and wanted to proceed in linear continuous fashion! and by the time I actually reached it that was gone and I really struggled with the dialogue and everything. So now I have some documents marked "Adryn - snippets" in my SitC folder; I know that often I'll need to rewrite chunks of it by the time I actually get there because I'll have changed things around in the intervening time or maybe toss the whole thing altogether, but that's better than the alternative.
...also, there's an idea ghosting around my head that I might eventually write if it solidifies more which is actually a crack DnD/Morrowind crossover set in Adrynverse. Chances of that ever making it into SitC are just about *zero* but it's fun!
I do that too. For Wrothken's stuff I have a doc for the current chapter and then another one where I store all past chapters and at the bottom are little reminders or full scenes I have planned for the future. Only bad part is I get sucked into some of those and neglect the current one
Does anyone sit there and go right I have a start, middle and finish of this section, and then as you're writing, everything gets so far apart that you can barely imagine finishing the thing?...Or is everyone so disciplined that it all comes out just the way you thought?... ...
I tried planning large portions in advance... that got me nowhere fast.
I work much more in the short-term now. All I define in the broad spectrum is where I want things to start, who the Big Bad is, and how things will end. Then I just let the tale write itself from prelude to conclusion. My individual segments tend to follow a similar style as well, except replacing the Big Bad with whatever I want to happen at that time. I then keep track of what has happened to determine when and where I can make something else happen for it to carry weight with the readers. Pacing is everything. Don't bore your readers with endless heart-to-hearts and one-on-ones, but at the same time don't tire them out with chapter after chapter of nonstop action.
Keep all channels open for ideas, and let your characters direct your fingers on the keyboard. The rest will come through time, patience, and a lot of editing.
I usually end up rewriting large portions of my conversations up to three times before I finally feel it is "right." As in right, I mean everything comes naturally, there are no breaks in character, and it doesn't feel like anything is being forced along.
My problem has always been time. Time and procrastination. I've always been meaning to go back to my old story The Interim and re-write it. It's...got problems, to put it mildly. There are parts of it that I can't even bear to read. I could do it a thousand times better now.
But now I don't have the time - largely because I kept putting it off when I DID have the time. And now it might never end up getting done. So yeah...my advice: just suck it up and do it. Not very profound, but more difficult than it sounds if you're like me.
What NOT to do is what I just did.
Since Skyrim is approaching, and I'd only played and modded Oblivion, I thought I'd try something earlier. Morrowind is still theoretically for sale, but I can't find a copy in the shops. So I download Daggerfall and install it. I want to play my fave Oblivion character, Blossom, but you can't play an Orc in Daggerfall. So I start modding the game so I can.
Then I have to make some more clothes and armor for her, and look at how the quest system works, and ...
I just stopped myself from re-installing MS Visual Studio so I could rewrite a save game editor that wasn't working properly.
I just caught back up on the stories I've been reading, now to catch up on what I was writing!
*Attempts to wrench eyes away from Orc in thigh high boots and thong... ...*...
Aye, the only reason I plan is 'cause of something I read in the Terry Brooks book "Sometimes The Magic Happens". He says in it that he gets totally lost if he just leaves the plot wandering ...So he has the beginning, middle and end. He also has every character with names that will turn up, and all the rest of it. I'm not going to be that strict but I appreciate what you said about different styles for different writers and all that.
Oh, and the time thing...I have two hours to write in during the day...And that's if I get up at an ungodly hour...Which I haven't for the last two days...I hate that...*Wails* I wanna be young again!!!.... ...Too busy in work and stuff...Too tired!!...*Goes off to make coffee...*...
I'm with treydoggie here.
My writing process is pretty much organic. Often I start with a scene that won't get out of my head, and I start asking questions such as:
Who are these people?
Why are they in this scene?
How did they get there?
What are they doing?
Where did they come from? Where are they now? Where are they going?
When did this scene happen?
The five basic questions of journalism come in handy when writing fiction, I've found. I've crafted an entire story around a character in a falling elevator. Another originated from a character being attacked by her fellow passengers on a luxury liner. Stuff like that.
At the moment, I'm doing pretty well by writing when I'm meant to be working - um. By that I mean, I'm a PhD student and I'll frequently go work in a coffee shop and write fic in the breaks where it feels as if my brain will melt if I have to write one more equation. But as soon as you give me other things to distract myself with, writing never happens. :/
(Should add: I have a vague idea of where the story is going that gets more fleshed out the nearer things are. Although frequently surprising things /will/ happen in a scene, or a plotline will insert itself where one wasn't before, the overall framework remains. And I actually have a lot of subtle plot threads going on that will get picked up later on.)
Something fun I realised the other day - I deal very badly with mastermind-type characters. I just think the world is too random for their plans to ever work out! And I think this is something that had been bothering me about the Tribunal plot forever - it just seems as if it shouldn't /work/, and I never actually finished playing it because I felt so railroaded.
However! I realised that I do absolutely love it when you have several mastermind characters and their plots all crash into one another until nobody has the slightest clue what's going on anymore. And now I have some plans for Tribunal, ohohohoho I do. *rubs hands together evilly*.
...also, I tried playing Daggerfall a while back - it's sort of relevant for Adryn, how will become clear with time - but I died at the first enemy or something. I /sucked/ at the controls. Very embarrassing!
One of the specifics of my preferred style: details matter. You might note that LtD has a lot going on in the background, from the everyday lives of the townsfolk to the major events such as the Oblivion Crisis and the attack on Cathedral Dibella. Sometimes, one thing that happens to someone that seems mundane enough might re-emerge later down the road. The crowd and the world is as much a character as Derelas and Ariella and Carahil. Another is how strictly I adhere to the first-person viewpoint of the story. Every single observation is from Derelas's point of view, every single world-building or story progression is through his eyes. There are some exceptions, though, but so far only one has ever surfaced.
My goal is to make the reader believe they are him, experiencing the world as he would, and learning about him as he learns about the world. Every little detail exists to help put you there. Some are simply random, others are seed-planting for later adventures, but all are designed to engross the reader.
Right, I've got a story where it could be said that I have a few characters...And I love them all...I can hear them in my head...Shut up Drell!!...And I want them to have decent "screen" time...And of course then new ones that hadn't been intended to be in there turn up and they just demand time...As happened this morning when I was having trouble with something...A character turned up, and instantly he was just what I needed. I knew exactly who he was and what he looked like and sounded...So there's another one...
Dammit, I've gotten myself lost...
Oh yes...When yer writing your stories...How do you keep everyone interested and not lost?... ...'Cause I've got Plot A (Outside the fort), Plot B (The Commander et-al in Kvatch) Plot A then divides into C and D, D then splits into E, B and A combine (oo-er) with "Overall plot" making it's first appearance there...
You see what I mean?...How would everyone else manage something like that in 1500-2000 word episodes?... ...
And yes, I can see answers of Too Many Characters, Too Many Plots...But I swear, I have it all worked out...And the next two stories too...Honest...
I can’t answer as a writer, but I can give you some ideas about what helps me as a plot-impaired reader.
Putting cues into the story that wouldn’t necessarily be there if it was a book read in long sittings, like you did with the “Beyond the windows they covered, lay the city of New Kvatch” line.
Starting with a little last-episode recap outside the story, like Acadian and several others do here. For your story it could be a last-time-we-saw Caroline recap, or whichever plot you’re picking up in the current post.
Occasional faction/plot updates when it gets really complicated. mALX does this for A New Sun Rises, and I am tremendously grateful. I can refresh my memory and then dive right into the story without any head-scratching.
I haven’t seen anyone do this, but maybe a character index somewhere with a list of original characters? This may seem extreme, but I know I’ve had to search back through stories when an original character pops back up after only a short time in the story but months of real time. Maybe there could be an appendix thread for this kind of thing. Others with more experience probably have better ideas about how to do it. And for everyone who is laughing themselves out of their chairs right now, just think how fortunate you are to keep everything straight in your head!
I raise a toast to you Grits, HERE HERE!!! Yes, and yes and....well, yes! The recaps are worth their weight in words! Without them I would just be reading the same things I have already read over and over thinking "Hmm, this seems familiar..." As for the rest, well, I can't say much, I am just writing Thyna's words and letting Trey deal with all that PLOT stuff. Sorry, I know it seems like cheating, yep it's cheating. But I am working on one, we just have to get through BOTM first.
My strategy for recaps is that I don't give them during the body of the current thread, I instead go in roughly 200 post blocks (similar to the BGSF posting scheme, where a thread is closed and restarted after 200 posts). In my final post for that thread, everything that happened in that particular thread gets recapped in one post. This way, any new reader who wants to catch up quickly can simply jump to the end of the threads and there they are, consolidated on one page. Of course, I still encourage people to read the whole thing, but just in case they simply want to be on the same page as everyone else and are relatively new to the forums, they are there, easy to find.
My objective for keeping people up-to-date with the story is to keep things simple and concise. It may seem like there are a huge number of plots going on, but that's not true. there is only one main plot: Dere's experiences and journeys. Also, the story has gradually shifted from being story based (as in thread 1) to character-based in the current thread. Thread 2 is much slower-paced than thread 1, and also easier to follow as I have gotten everything together with the story and know what I want to do. Some things in the first thread didn't work out that well and got dropped (and if there were to be a revision, that would be reflected), but I am still aware of everything that happens that I wish to continue, although most of the major plot points are currently on hold so we can explore Dere's character a bit better.
Now, another musing of mine:
Character building: I don't like using straight-up archetypes that pre-define my characters' actions or decide exactly what they are at the start, I prefer to build those as I go. The idea is that I don't want to have my characters easily summed up in a few words. By not doing that for myself, it makes it easier for me to keep others from doing so, too. I try to make then distinct, but at the same time ambiguous. Every major character we've encountered so far has a mystery behind them, Dere's is why a vampire Ancient is hunting him, Faith's (who will return) is her motivations, and now we have Ariella, who quickly retreated into herself at mention of her birthsign. I then build my characters around how they react and cope with these overarching mysteries, and eventually, what happens between them when the secrets are revealed. Each major character exists not only to further the story, but to develop the others. The only planning they really get is their personality and what their secret is, and then you learn of their deeper selves as they interact with each other. You could call it "social development," in a way.
OOooh, good idea with the recaps...I shall endeavour to mess about with the "Previously on KOTN," idea... ...
I can see how a thread about Dramatis Personae (oooh see that? And at half four in the morning too!! ) would be good, but I think for some of the longer running threads to go back and find all of them might be a problem...I'll see how it looks at the start of the section...Y'know...Starring - J'Drell!! Caroline McWylde!!...Special Guest Boo-Hiss Baddie -...Y'know?... ...
As for character archetypes...As a lot of my chars, and indeed a lot of the types of chars that I read are Knightly or Heroes then I will admit they tend towards the same sort of thing...But I'm hoping that there will be subtle differences between them in there...
I'll be going into this more in the second bit, but Caroline is a former Legion General's daughter. She was trained in sword technique by her father, who also trained several other notables including, Robert McWylde, Farn Olfsson, The Emperor...Aaaand someone else that's apparently alright with a sword these days...
J'Drell was one of the top Investigato officers before being called to the Knights...
Thedret, Oholin and Mazkay Dinai are all basically Legionaires to the core...
Y'know...I'm going for the subtle in amongst the cliche... ...
Technical change of subject.
What external editor are folks using to draft their content before pasting it into here? I've been using Wordpad, and re-adding the markup for italic and bold etc. after pasting, but I'm sure there's something better suited to the task. The perfect solution would have grammar and spell checks and know all about BBcode markup and the forum's selection of emoticons, but what's out there short of the impossible?
I always use Word to do my writing in. Then I copy and paste as you do when it is finished. Likewise, I have to manually add italics and bold tags to everything afterward.
Like SubRosa, I use Word. I've been doing it long enough that I just draft things using the bracket symbols required when I want italics etc. I also conduct several of my edits, along an episode's long journey, in the forum format . I find the simplest (and safest) way to do this is via a PM to myself in the preview mode right here on the forum.
As far as the formatting I use (bold, size) etc on each episode for the title and such, I use a template for that so I just have to change the number and name of the episode in the heading.
After the episode is posted and before I archive it, I do go through it again to remove any forum-unique symbology.
For now, I write in note pad and use the board post to spell check. Writting in the codes is pretty close to second nature by now, but codes are the easy part.
I....use an expert!
I use Word and if I'm going to need any html in the story I just type it in manually so when I'm ready to cut and paste, its all set
Umm...Yes, I use Word...Add all the Italics tags and size tags 'nd stuff on a new page, then copy and paste it to my reply...Preview it to check it's all alright then voila...
My drivel is presented... ...
To all the newer writers,
A list of things to help you succeed:
Don't plot the little things. Let them come naturally. If you plot every aspect of the story (beyond the over-arching storyline (which I rarely plot, just have the beginning and end in mind), then you're bound to feel mechanical).
Let characters do what the character would do! This was one of the hardest lessons it took for me to learn (and I learned it from practice). Do not control the characters. Let them make choices (and I know this probably doesn't make sense, but when you've spent a while writing, you'll understand).
Make three-dimensional enemies. Nothing is more boring than Lord Bob Soulcrusher the Destroyer of <Insert Place Here>. Use enemies who have feelings, who care about certain people, who may (or may not) have scruples. Essentially: Don't make the big evil bad guy the big evil bad guy. Give him a reason to do what he does.
Let their actions have adverse effects. Sorry, no one's perfect. In Legacy, Kalian (the protagonist of the prequel, Oblivion's Edge) is revered as a God. And in the Theocratic Tamriel that exists in the story, he is the only god worthy of worship (all others are heresy). If you save the world from seemingly impossible odds, people are going to love you and even worship you. That seems great...until fanatics appear.
Heroes who are actually every-day people with delusions are just as interesting as actual heroes. Read Don Quijote. The story of Don Quijote is known across the world and in many advanced literary classes in college, you'll read about him and study him. He's an average individual who believes he's a knight and fights everyday things believing they're fantastic monsters! But in the end of each encounter, he'll realize it's a real thing and believe a wizard transformed it into a normal thing.
More to come...
I read somewhere that you don't have to be well-read to write well...
Aaanyways, what does everyone else read?...And does it influence the way you write?...
I read Star Wars, Warhammer, Clive Cussler, Dr Who...Stuff like that...All of which are basically multi-character romps...And I think it shows... ...
Aaamywho...What about everyone else...To read or not to read?...
I read as much fantasy books as I can. I also read some books that have been inspired by history, and science fiction books, but then I'm a lot more selective. There are books laying all over my room, because even though I've got a card for the library I never use it(mostly because they've barely got any books in English), I buy them instead.
But then I love reading, not everyone does. I don't think you've got to read a lot to be a good writer, though it certainly helps a bit(I think). You get access to a lot more variety in language when you read. And I think it have influenced my way to write a bit, though I couldn't point out anything specific. I use a lot of words that none of my friends or family understand, and I'm quite sure I've picked them up from books I've read.
I'm very fond of reading. The library was a safe haven in middle/high school. About half the boxes still waiting to be unpacked are books, though since I don't have any bookshelves they'll be in thier boxes awhile yet, probably a near equal amount are electronic and I have dog earred bookmarks to 'story-sites' on the web. I stick mainly to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but I've several Romances as well as Supernatural/Horror. Anne McCafferey (RIP) is my favorite and most common name. About the only requirment I 'have' is the leading female not be a doormat, the more focus on her the better so a lot of my books feature strong female leads. This means several 'classics' are not in attendence, though I have read and enjoyed some, just not enough to make them a perminate part of my collection.
As far as them influenceing, probably more then I've realized. I'm more an avid fan of writing then a writer myself, but it has stimulated my imagination a tad. Lonely childhoods make for very active imaginations, I just have issues actually 'getting' it down. I also suffer from the 'Ohhh Shiney' effect when it comes to things, so my own writing has suffered with Skyrim, though I'm setting an hour or so a day this week to writing.
Hee! My reading list looks exactly like the list of writers who read me!
Seriously, I have read a fair amount of fiction over the past several decades and suspect that it can be helpful for turning a nice phrase or painting an immersive description. I have also read a great deal of nonfiction (much of it not by choice) and believe that can help enrich vocabulary and enhance logical thinking. That said, I believe the experience of a long life lived passionately trumps all.
I now find that simply reciprocating here among my own readers provides a beautiful selection of fiction to enjoy and from which to learn and grow. Since I spend so much time immersed with words in the writing process, I find that excessive reading at this point simply invites burnout.
I take writing very personally here, and do not separate the writer from their story. As such, I am drawn to writers who display a gracious humility and encourage others. I find this more important than any technical aspects of storytelling - particularly in a forum venue.
When I read the work of others here, my purpose is two-fold. First, I want to return the support of any writer who takes the time to support my own humble efforts. Second, I try to assess what that writer’s objectives are and attempt to respect whatever those may be via cheerful encouragement.
That said, my fave fiction is character-driven and set in Tamriel (no surprise there).
Ever since I was a child I used to read voraciously. But in the past decade or so I have just not had the time with everything else in life. So now all I read are fan fics online. Back in the day I read Tolkien, Harry Turtledove, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Moorcock, Lovecraft, Brian Lumley, Karl Edward Wagner, Parke Godwin, Anne McCafferey, the Star Wars Tales Of... anthologies, etc... I have also read a lot of history, mostly about the ancient world, such as Thucydides, Peter Connolloy, Victor Davis Hanson, etc... Plus comparative religion/psychology like Jung and Joseph Campbell, not to mention Pagan books like those by Chris Penczak, Starhawk, Kerr Cuhulain, and so on (many of the latter I have met too btw.).
When I was in my teens I did not have much money, so I would buy my books at the local used books store, and trade them in when I was done. I would buy half a dozen books in a shot, then come back the next week for half a dozen more. So my collection is actually very small, but I have read tons.
It certainly influences how I write. Because when I read a story, I cannot help but to 'look under the hood' at how the author is crafting the story. I take note of what drives the piece, be it character, setting, or plot. I see how they go about doing that, etc... Basically I deconstruct the story, to see how they pieced it together. I learn a great deal just from other fan fics in fact. Case in point H.E.R.'s habit of doing very small flashbacks, often just of one sentence, is something I have picked up doing as well to refer to small things, without wasting an entire scene on them.
I know it’s been a long silence from me but I hope you will indulge my two cents on the matter. Reading as a writer is very different from reading for enjoyment. Enjoyment can be had of course, but I find myself studying what I read in order to help my own writing. I also find that, like Acadian said, reading while you are in the process of writing can hinder your efforts. Ultimately, that you read is more important than what you read (and I can just see my old English Lit professor rolling his eyes at that statement). I learned a lot about the pacing of an action sequence by reading Raise the Titanic and Treasure, so I am right there with you on the Cussler love, McBadgere. I also spent most of my thirteenth summer in a cast surrounded by Tolkien, Piers Anthony, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the art to read Gatsby, Moby D#ck (really forum censor?), Madame Bovary, Huckleberry Finn, or anything from Charles Dickens and Jane Austen to discover the sheer music created by the perfectly formed sentence. Read The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird or the Killer Angels to discover that genre is not a determiner of the perfect novel. Read the short stories of Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont if you want your mind turned into a contented jelly (no surprise since they both worked on the original Twilight Zone). Above all, just continue to read. Always.
I used to read Lois Duncan books to death. Then I discovered Dean Koontz. Omg, omg, omg, I love his books! I also admit I'm a Harry Potter fan. I haven't read the sixth and seventh books in years so I can't tell you what happens in them, but I loved them. I've read some Edgar Allen Poe and I loved Shakespear's Titus. The thing I've read the most though are books on witchcraft. Even if its a book I'm not really liking, I try and tough it out just to see how they do things and see what it is I don't like so I can try and avoid it.
Hey guys! What's up. I just have a question regarding....a most natural topic, but seldom encountered in some of the ES storie's I've read; sex.
How far could we go with a sex scene? Using it in stories too much is a "no no", I am sure. So maybe once or twice. But how much can we put in? I did not want to make a chapter of mine composed of paragraphs full of pornography, but it ties in with the character and the overall events that will lead after.
Yes, go read Acadian's latest chapter... ...And Subrosa's a few episodes back...*Loosens collar*...
Thanks guys, I think I have an idea. Thankfully, I won't go as far as to add "Spear polishing" or "Kneed the loaf".
And mALX: Yeah, they are erotic creatures, which makes me want to modify the content down.
Eh, me and the mods do not tread common ground. But I will reread my work and see if it's suitable. Stinks that someone complained about your post. And by the looks of it, it wasn't even too sexual(Prove me wrong maybe).
I hope you don't mind mALX, I sent you a PM with the brief sex scene.
I think as long as you do not get into minute detail about licking genitals or swallowing fluids you will be fine. I have kept my erotic scenes down to describing kissing and caressing, but not gone any further. You can end the scene and let the reader imagine what happens next. I have also written them from the next day, with the character looking back fondly upon events of the previous night. Again, without going into exacting detail, but enough so that the reader knows the mattress was danced upon.
I tend to do the fade to black in the sex scenes.
Anyway my question is, I been writing rather allot this past week, thing is most of the chapters are for different characters, how should I go around to posting them? Should I just say who is the character for the current chapter, or well my plan was to post couple of chapters for the same character then switch to another.
Another thing, I currently have 5 chapters for my Jericho fan fiction, should I make a new thread or should I just keep all my writing in one thread, in that case I'll have to change the name of the thread and dedicate the tread to my writing, but I'm afraid that will just confuse people.
I suggest a different topic for each character. That will keep readers from becoming confused about who/what they are reading about. There is no limit to the topics you can have open here, so make as many as you want.
Word limit? Anyone have a call on that? And how long should I wait before I post another chapter?
I like episodes of less than 2000 words and a posting frequency of no more than once or twice a week. For what it's worth, I also recommend only one open story at a time so you are not asking readers to split focus.
Ah thanks guys, I'll put my Skyrim one on hiatus while I edit the chapters around, and start my Oblivion on since I'm writing about it more and it somewhat comes more naturally.
As for word limit, well I personally love long stories, hate it when they end so fast haha. as posting another chapter well I'm not sure, I have not posted because school, hospital and what not, Just don't force yourself to write it
[quote name='Acadian' date='Jan 23 2012, 04:21 AM' post='138145']
I like episodes of less than 2000 words and a posting frequency of no more than once or twice a week. For what it's worth, I also recommend only one open story at a time so you are not asking readers to split focus.
[/quote] Sounds very reasonable.
quote name='mALX' date='Jan 23 2012, 04:23 AM' post='138147']
[quote name='Darkness Eternal' post='138144' date='Jan 22 2012, 10:16 PM']
Word limit? Anyone have a call on that? And how long should I wait before I post another chapter?
Usually if it goes over 2000 words with no break points - it ends up being a wall of words and can burn a reader out a bit. As far as frequency goes, many try not to post more than twice per week. That gives the other writers time to read other people's stories (and work on their own as well).
Same thing Acadian said. Thanks.
and now you have your third vote...sort of. I am a step child around here, I contribute to Trey's story. I do agree with mALX and Acadian on length as well as frequency for the most part but don't LIMIT yourself to a rigid word count. IMHO by doing that you run the risk of stifling and "limiting" the story. If you write a particularly long piece and there is a good breaking point (usually one that leaves the reader dangling from a cliff) use it. But if breaking interrupts the flow of the read, DON'T break it.
Just a couple pennies I thought I'd share.
Generally, I go for a minimum size of 2000 words, and a maximum of 5000 for each chapter. I make exceptions for one-shots, which usually turn out longer, but otherwise that seems to generally work best. Plus, by the time I'm done with the events of a chapter, that's usually the length they end up as.
Ladies, gentlemen, and those on the waiting list:
As I've mentioned before, I'm effectively ghostwriting (me and my big mouth) a Halo/FO3 crossover for a fellow I've previously described as a Scottish blurt. Because that's how he seems to write.
I just received a piece of writing (if you can call it that) from him, which is almost readable - he's almost using paragraphs! But...
When I finished the last piece I sent him, the story was on the verge of an action scene. Unfortunately, what he wrote can be summarised as:
1. John Spartan charges into the Super-Duper Mart and kills all the raiders yayyyy!!
2. SUDDENLY! Giant 5-metre tall acid spiders that are meaner than deathclaws and owe a lot to Dead Space, Resident Evil, Silent Hill and... God help us... Doctor Who.
3. A history lesson on same.
My problem is working out how to tell this little Scots terrier on meth and sugar rush that this is a truly terrible idea that'll wreck the whole story - basically 'too many cooks spoil the broth'.
Well, one idea is...Tell him that 5-metre tall spiders are a stupid idea, and if he doesn't like it he can do it himself...
Another is...Let him do it himself...
If you're getting paid for the ghostwriting, fine, fair enough...If not, why the hell?...
Point out that 20 foot tall spiders (plural) are going to put a dent in anyone's post-apocolyptic world...And Halo-troops or not...That's just silly...And let him do it himself...
Point out that 20 foot tall spiders are silly...
Point out that if you put these 20 foot tall spiders in the story it's going to seriously c*ck it up, and so could he please change his idea please...Or he can do it himself...
I know a story about Noel Gallagher and Ghostwriting, and why Oasis changed after What's The Story (Morning Glory)...
I hate that...Ghostwriting sucks...
20 foot tall spiders suck...
Good luck... ...
Unless you are being paid, I suggest you simply not do this ghostwriting and let the Scots terrier do it himself.
The scrawls of Jericho?... ...
And I'd only written a couple of things about 15 years ago...And aside from the odd thing for junior school...Not properly...Ever...
Just try...It's all you can do...Having read your other journal stuff, it's bound to be good though...You've good stuff there...
Fair dues, I hope it leaves you with enough time for yer own stuff though...
I also hope that one day you can carry on with that story you started about the Imperial dude...That was brilliant...I really was enjoying that...*Applauds*... ...
Good plan about telling him...It may be better than mine... ...
So, crossovers is acceptable here, then? I remember seeing something regarding the island of Solshtheim!
I believe that as long as it's Bethesda (it isn't called Chorrol.Com for nothing ) I think it's a case of write what you want... ...
Cardboard Box's is an Oblivion/Fallout 3 crossover...
But Colonel Mustard is writing a fantastic Fallout New Vegas story that has no Elder Scrolls in it...I'm really really enjoying that btw...
I think crossovers are fine...If we like it we'll keep reading it... ...
If you want to crossover to Halo or X-Files or what-have-you then that place that Colonel Mustard also posts, Fanfiction.net, is probably more receptive to it... ...
But I think crossing over between the Elder Scrolls games is fine...Well I hope so...I got plans for me characters in Skyrim anyways... ...
I mean as in a character from another person's story make a cameo apperance, and vice versa. Or have one character from a single story appear in the other one.
Erm...Within yer own stories, yes. of course...But I think permission should be sought if you want to use someone else's...
And that whole Blood On The Moon/Memoirs of a Morag Tong thing is...A complicated arrangement anyways... ...
mALX has used a couple of other people's characters...Grits had a location from Acadian's story...Y'know, stuff like that...
Permission is the key...
And don't kill any of them off...It's Impolite... ...
Oh, I know the procedures. I was just curious as to how often it was done here. I know taking other people's characters without permission is a no no
Ignore post, written in the middle of the night when my brain was actually dead and my memory buried earlier.
Typically, I think, the borrowing is for a chapter or so if the character is actually playing a support role, sometimes it is just a cameo like Aravi (sp?) appearing in mALX's story. In treydog's story he borrowed one of Minque's characters, Serene's daughter Athynae, mentioned in the beginning of her story as the reason she is writing it all down. Now, Trey has blown her into a leading support role and well, the rest shall we say is history...and the characters in three stories now share (with permission) alternate universes.
Working with writers you admire, and in my case actually becoming the writer for one of those characters just by odd chance, it a wonderful experience. I so appreciate Trey and Minque sharing Athynae with me, and Black Hand allowing Seth to play such an integral roll in Athynae's life.
Now, guys, apologies for getting a little behind on the reading, I'll catch up, promise. And you will all see soon why I got behind.
That's what I thought when I read the credit on Grits' story...But I will admit to not knowing anything about Mod names... ...
Ooooh, plus...Something I thought of this fair morn...How we all use magic in our story is different...And while we can multiverse each other's characters, they will not do some things the same way...
Something else to think about when multiversing... ...
GAAAAH !! I was wrong. I sent the horse ranch (called the IC Horse Ranch), the Show Horse Jumping Track, etc - (all by Zira) to Acadian, but he never used them - and he made up the name too
I got a question, how do you guys deal with Writers Block, er well It's not writers block per say, I know what I want to write but I can't seem to get it into writing.
For me, whenever I've gotten stuck, I wind up writing a different bit...Doesn't matter whether it was supposed to be the next bit, as it were.
That's where that last part of mine came from...Perhaps I should have sat on it though...It seems to have confused things too much... ...
Just try to write something...Anything...
But don't stress that it isn't the very next part of the story...As Trey said, something that you know you have...
Thank you guys! I went to read what you posted on writers block Trey.
I've taken both of your advices and just came up with I guess you could say "plotlines" that won't happen for a while.
I think that I'm going to do it like you McBadgere, I'll see if I can write it different, maybe I can pump those creative juices stuck in my head to my writing
Go outside, use ideas. Plants, trees, buildings, people, lakes etc. Or watch movies for inspiration. Or just keep writing McBad said.
Reading other's stories can inspire, and that works for how you want to say something as well.
My last chapter had a segment where one description was inspired by something I read in Darkness Eternal's story.
Alexander (this Site's Administrator)'s story "Cyrodiil" inspired a whole different way of writing a story for me.
If, say, you've been an ar$e and deleted the next part of your story from the computer...Pffft...As if...
Erm...Do you a) rewrite the bit that you deleted
or f) Re-hash the plot and start afresh with a new bit...
And yes, the bit that went had more overarching things than the whole of what went before put together...
Just wondering what anyone else had done when faced with a complete re-write?...
I am not going to say anything about "why" or "how" this happened....(raises eyebrow at stuttering badger). But what I would do is, first take a moment and breath. After that think about where the story is right now, are there any 'things' that need additional information, clarification etc and write them down, then think about where the characters are, what they are thinking and how they are feeling and (ok, here goes my weirdness) step into that essence and look back at what you wrote down. That will hopefully get you started....and if it doesn't just be happy that you aren't as weird as I am....
Moot question- due to someone else's perspicacity...
However- to answer anyway-
What may seem a disaster can be a place to build anew. While it might have been the greatest post ever in the history of posting- 'tis gone now-farewell old friend.
But- the seeds still exist. I would not try to recreate the exact post. I WOULD try to get the parts I know need to be in there. And then- see where those take me.
Which is rather a way of describing how I have somehow gotten to over 400 pages of my current story- which was originally going to be the "shortest one."
I once dumped an entire chapter (sixteen posts, IIRC). I had to grieve first before I could start over. Then I made a tiny skip in events so that I wouldn’t get stuck where things went wrong. I realized that I had started second guessing things before I wrote the chapter, and the whole thing was unnecessary. I was much happier when I went back to the original outline.
Realizing that I had made a big mistake was a real learning experience, once I quit kicking myself over it. That was the hardest part. I ended up with a lot more confidence in my characters, because I had seen my mistake.
Of course in this *cough* theoretical example, it sounds like the deleting was the mistake? In which case thank goodness for mALX and that … someone … didn’t finish off by lighting their computer on fire.
Time skip. It's safe to skip four days in a story right? I've seen it done before. I just never really did it.
It's safe to say I have no problem with messing about with time... ...
Treydog: Can you believe it would of never thought of that? Flashbacks! I used it before, but never in a time where it was truly required. Thanks! I will take what you said to heart.
McBadgere: Eww. Sounds like a bad case of defecation to me.
I don't know if it was answered here or not, but how many stories can we have? For example, can we just have a second story? Or what?
I don't think there is a real limit, especially if you finish one before starting another. But assuming you meant simultaneously, I suggest you keep it down to just two or three at most. If you don't, then before you know it you'll be juggling five stories, all with multiple plot-threads. Doing crazy stuff like that has scientifically been proven to lead to burnouts lasting several years.
So yeah, try to focus on two at a time.
Thanks. Two was my plan anyways. I can't see a person that has three to four stories at once can be stable. Haha.
How many of you folks use music in your stories to express a certain scene or chapter? Or maybe even inspiration?
*Insert song here*
Mr.Warrior walked along side the road, eyeing the birds and the bees.
Not Screamo music or anything like that. No, not even rap or hip-hop for Redguard. You know what I mean
I have certain songs I play when I'm writing for certain characters. Example:
Vicente: Cry Little Sister
Gils: Unforgiven II
I tend to set the mood with music and have various playlists. Film scores are good, by design they set a mood but aren't distracting. The gladiator score sees a lot of use. Likewise music from games can be useful (often buried as mp3s somewhere in the install).
While in general I prefer music without lyrics there are a few tracks which are great for setting the mood. Joan Baez http://youtu.be/bpD5_c2j1OM is a good example.
I'm not sure DE means what music do we listen to to write...
Isn't it -
(Web-link to song to fit mood - Ernie the fastest milkman in the west)...
Bert walked briskly down the road, bottles jingling in the moonlight. He was somewhat alarmed when Mrs Scroggins from number 24 decided to start chomping on his throat.
"Ere!! Get owff meh!!" he cried, "I've got a round to finish!"
"Rawr!!" said the undead matron sporting bright green curlers, flannelette nighty and floral slippers.
Sort of thing?...
No, I wouldn't do that personally...
You won't want to be listening to Starship, Yes or the Three Degrees' Givin Up, Givin In... ...
EDIT...As you were...I think that's what's meant... ...Sorry about that... ...
Powered by Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com)
© Invision Power Services (http://www.invisionpower.com)