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Thread: Advice to those writing long stories(especially if using multiple POV's)

  1. #1

    Advice to those writing long stories(especially if using multiple POV's)

    So until recently I've been at something of a block. Not writers block- Just overwhelmed and at 30k words, not wanting to advance any other POV because it would change the others and I wasn't sure how it would all come together. I then used the following method to gain the confidence I need to weave a complete story.

    I'm writing epic fantasy but everything other than step one applies to pretty much anything. You will need at least some idea of your stories direction for this to work, and step three is only useful if your using multiple POV's.

    1.) Make in depth timeline. Plant seeds for events you plan to have happen here, if possible. This is so you don't go crazy figuring out peoples ages and earlier events. In fact, by doing this you become an expert on the world your story takes place in, which is more valuable than the outline itself. You may also learn new things about your world in the process.

    2.) Write a brief chapter by chapter outline. This is most useful if you've already written some chapters. In chronological order, number the chapters, listing the POV character and a blurb about the events while making note of any development you want to have occur. You can mention how the chapters begin and end, and since you are now viewing your story from above, you can get the perspective on what foreshadowing you might want, and how you can make every POV relate. During this step you may realize some things that you want to change, mainly with plot development, as you are looking at the whole structure.

    3.) Do individual arc chronology. Now look through that outline and take each characters POV and order their chapters chronologically. This is the most useful part, as you can see how that character stands alone, and get a feel how a reader with fresh eyes will experience their arc. You may realize that alone it is not very good, or that there is no conflict for them, only other characters. Here you can fix obvious problems and ensure character development.

    4.) Indexing it all. Get a bunch of index cards, at least one for each planned chapter+ten. Write out the POV character and as much information about each chapter on each card. What themes you express, what development occurs, what environments, concepts, and characters you introduce. Now order these chronologically, and re order it as you see fit. The perspective this grants you should let you bounce between steps 2 and 4 now to get a complete novel in index form. As your story grows, shred mediocre chapter cards and write new ones. As you need new ones, put them in. You now have a portable- easy on the eyes- reference for your novel.

    I know this might not be a terribly profound process, but random as it is, it was just what I needed. Let me know how it works for you, or if you have questions!

  2. #2
    Sounds like way too much work for me!

  3. #3
    Heh, I did all this by accident, well except for the index cards, I use a notepad app on my fire for a portable reference. I've been mulling this story over since my teens so I already had a great basis and understanding of the world, so much so I already know what's gonna happen in the next three books.
    For all Eternity I will write, for all the worlds soon to be created......

  4. #4
    Member Notquitexena's Avatar
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    I've seen most of these ideas in expanded form in "The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published" - like most advice, you take what seems to work for you and go with it.

  5. #5
    I guess that means they work for more than just me then.

    I'm very satisfied with this technique as each day of outlining I've figured out a problem with chapter order, or an individual arc, and can seamlessly swap it. Gotta love index cards.
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  6. #6
    I'm really glad I read this. I don't know why I didn't think of it, but I can already tell that that first step is going to help me A LOT. Thanks bro.

  7. #7
    I use multiple POVs all the time. I've never needed any of these. To each his own, though.
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    Member QDOS's Avatar
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    Hi, kelvinbgwwrites

    Iíve written an epic fantasy trilogy (400,000 words ish) and believe me if you donít keep an in-depth chronology of events, where they take place and how your characters evolve you can seriously loose the plot.

    However as with all good advice, how you correlate this, is as individual as the writer concerned. Yes, I write an outline and a chapter by chapter breakdown develops as I progress. I also create lists of characters and locations with added notes.

    Having said this, for my short stories, I just go with the flow. Apart from the name of my main protagonist and a premise, I just type my thoughts on events and describe the scenes as they develop.


    QDOS

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    WF Veteran Elvenswordsman's Avatar
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    Congrats. You've now stumbled upon that which they teach in fifth grade English. It's good you've come to this realization, I hope it helps keep your story in a straight line.

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    Actually because I am new at this I did it backwards, I wrote the book then went back ane did a timeline and was glad that I did because I really screwed up and a lot of it was out of order so I had to move chapters, next time I do the plot, then the time line and add the chapters.

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