Style or Plot and Characters


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  1. #1

    Style or Plot and Characters

    All of my life I haven't been a keen reader and the consequence of this is that I'm a poor developer of plot and characters. My style, my writing self is quite strong though. What should I be doing now? Read more? Practice on plot and character? Both?

  2. #2
    Write.
    The first 200,000 words are just practice, so get writing.

  3. #3
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    Do you want to produce or do you want to consume?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken11 View Post
    All of my life I haven't been a keen reader and the consequence of this is that I'm a poor developer of plot and characters. My style, my writing self is quite strong though. What should I be doing now? Read more? Practice on plot and character? Both?
    Writers tend to be readers, but to be a proper writer... you need to write.

    If you're worried about characters and plot, test them out first. Write a synopsis if you want to test the plot, and then post it here so you can get pointers. If you're needing help with character creation or worldbuilding, figure what you can about the world and characters, write it down and post it here. Ask lots of questions. Try to get to know your characters before you write them or they might decide to not fit your plot after all. If you figure the plot, you might have an easier time making a character to fit that plot.

    Roleplaying is a great way to find out about characters. Try to figure out how they respond to different situations before you shove them into those situation, or they might surprise you (or worse, be forced into being plot puppets).
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken11 View Post
    All of my life I haven't been a keen reader and the consequence of this is that I'm a poor developer of plot and characters. My style, my writing self is quite strong though. What should I be doing now? Read more? Practice on plot and character? Both?
    What I interpret from the above is that you are a good writer but not necessarily a very good storyteller, is that right? If so, I can empathize. I have ALWAYS been a very good writer but for the most part my skill was in writing, not in making up captivating stories. I could write a really good description, or a whole scene if I was basically told what was needed, but I was never somebody who could make up a good ghost story around a campfire on the spot, put it that way.

    Here's the thing though: Storytelling is not a gift, but a skill, one that is not terribly different than the skill to form letters, words and sentences. Imagination is in everybody. We know this because almost every young child possesses it. You don't lose your imaginative ability, you just lose the ability to harness it at will. To overcome that as an adult you have to practice. And this is where the 'just write' thing comes in.

    If you are having difficulty forming plot and character, the best thing you can do is stop thinking of them as plot and character. Take a holistic view to the story. It's not this wild contraption with cogs and springs. It's an extension of you.

    When you dream at night, your mind creates narratives from nothing. It does this without contemplating whether what it is producing makes sense or is worth doing, it just creates. For the time being you should focus on exactly that. Don't "work on X" but rather write and X will start to improve as you write until your issues isolate themselves, until its not simply 'I have problems with plot and character" but rather "I have problems with sustaining authentic dialogue in a tense scene where five characters are speaking", which is a much more specific, and therefore much easier, problem to fix.

    And yes, read. Read everything and anything. At least 20 pages a night.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #6
    Did you want to write? And if so, why? If it's a matter of money, writing fiction surely isn't a good choice.

    There are other ways to get paid for writing. Writing instructions? PR? I know nothing about that though.

    If you want to feel those creative juices flowing, that's admirable. Wait until you get an idea? Sit down and write and see if ideas come to you? That's not unrealistic, most of my writing needs fleshing out, but I always have a good starting idea.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken11 View Post
    All of my life I haven't been a keen reader and the consequence of this is that I'm a poor developer of plot and characters. My style, my writing self is quite strong though. What should I be doing now? Read more? Practice on plot and character? Both?

    Maybe post some writing samples, and the members can give a diagnosis. You be over 50 posts, so you can post your work for critique.

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