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treydog
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.
Padalin
Ohh thanks treydog im hoping taht this would help a noob writer like me.
Zelda_Zealot
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.
Kiln
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.

-Kiln
Agent Griff
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.
Taillus
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!!!
jack cloudy
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.
Wolfie
Writing...process? What the hell is that? tongue.gif
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
minque
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! kvright.gif

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! ohmy.gif
treydog
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.

Writer’s Block

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.
ShraX
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.
Tellie
Ok...My process:

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.
Franavu
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.
Kell-Reevor
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.
davion
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. smile.gif
Fuzzy Knight
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 sad.gif

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" smile.gif But we'll see, still need to learn from you guys here since I only knew how to write about people fighting kvleft.gif
Kell-Reevor
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.

ELFWOOD Tutorials

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.
minque
Ah that site is great Kell! I´ve bookmarked it....it will certainly be of use for me...Thank you for sharing.... tongue.gif
The Ascendant
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 biggrin.gif). 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 indifferent.gif 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.
treydog
Kell, that site is quite useful. I, too, will add it to my bookmarks.
Mazelure
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...
Kayla
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. biggrin.gif
Zarrexaij
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. indifferent.gif
The Wolf
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. laugh.gif
Burnt Sierra
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 tongue.gif ), 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 smile.gif
jack cloudy
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.
Kiln
QUOTE(jack cloudy @ Jul 3 2006, 06:05 PM) *

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.

Pretty much the same here, sometimes I grow too attached to the character and try to prolong the life of the story so I can continue to write about him.
milanius
QUOTE(The Wolf @ May 24 2006, 04:39 AM) *

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. laugh.gif

Welcomed To The club, I am [although, Yoda I am not].

I had really interesting morning today, with several poems clashing in my head... because I had so many opposing feelings, all too strong. And then, all those poems bursted out, flying away from me, leaving me nearly empty sad.gif Inspiration is just like a flock of birds, fleeting, elusive; you have to not scare them away, and not try & catch them... you just have to watch them, admire them from distance... and then, describe them at once, when your impressions are freshest.
When I write, my base of events is elusive, unshapen, like a cloud... then, things that I've dreamed about or lived come to mind; wise things I've heard or read trough my life, encluding even videogames (Thank you, Morrowind smile.gif), and this somehow manages to help me make that 'cloud' more vivid, realistic and detailed. Sadly, this can sometimes take too much time and energy; such was the case with all my stories and few poems I wrote back in the day.
The Metal Mallet
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.
minque
QUOTE(burntsierra @ Jul 3 2006, 07:57 PM) *

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.

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 smile.gif

I just want to say that I very much agree with my fellow Mod here.
The amount of stories in this section is amazing! It really shows how many talents there are out there! You´re good, all you writers, but I must say there are also quite a few stories that are abandoned and that is a shame.

So I will encourage you who have unfinished stories here to try to finish them, it would be of benefit for yourselves as well as for us, your readers! Show us just how talented you are!

And I promise..you´ll get many nice comments!!
Sir Radont
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.
minque
QUOTE(Sir Radont @ Jul 6 2006, 04:26 PM) *



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.

Now that was a good idea!....I´ll try it out when I get the contents of my HD back and can continue writing! Back at high school I always listened to different music when doing different homworks..

For example, Beethoven goes wonderfully with physics!!!! biggrin.gif
Kell-Reevor
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.
The Metal Mallet
QUOTE
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.


Yea, I attempt to do that when writing in my fic. I want to give my characters human feelings so I try to incoporate emotion within the sometimes ordinary actions done by the characters. If it's just action, action, action, with no feeling behind it, I think reading it would become a little stale. Emotion is what connects a reader to the character. Them being a homicidal maniac or a serial killer, or a superhero is just an added bonus.

I don't believe I have perfected integrating emotion and feeling into my work yet, I am still quite young. But I do hope I get better at it so that readers will like my work.
minque
Emotions? Hm I think I include that all the time in my story...that is when I get the chance of writing!
Mazelure
QUOTE
Yea, I attempt to do that when writing in my fic. I want to give my characters human feelings so I try to incoporate emotion within the sometimes ordinary actions done by the characters. If it's just action, action, action, with no feeling behind it, I think reading it would become a little stale. Emotion is what connects a reader to the character. Them being a homicidal maniac or a serial killer, or a superhero is just an added bonus.


I think that most of my work is pretty much based off emotions. Well not completley all emotions but it does have alot of emotions involved. Maybe not happy or fruitful emotions... maybe not even good emotions... but atleast they are emotions. Man... I'm am making no sense.
treydog
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.
The Metal Mallet
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 tongue.gif
Black Hand
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.
jack cloudy
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.
canis216
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.
The Metal Mallet
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.
canis216
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.
Olen
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.
redsrock
QUOTE(Olen @ Jan 6 2008, 05:30 PM) *




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.

Lol, I'm currently on 36k words with my story...
0rimus
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.
paragenic

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.





paragenic

Oh, yes of course AND when reviewing remember the surgeon's mantra:

When in doubt, cut it out

treydog
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?"
bbqplatypus
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 (READ THE NEW UPDATE 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.

...

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Crap. I've run out of things to say. embarrased.gif
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