The most basic question from a beginning writer. - Page 4


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  1. #31
    Mentor Megan Pearson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    They played wicked-violent football using a dog's skull for a ball.
    My point exactly.

    Something happened.
    "A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
    ~ John A. Shedd


  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    First, you need to find out a few things: what genre(s) will you work in, what style, in what period, and ultimately what do you want to write?

    Once you've found the answers to those questions, you start with a general idea. My idea for the first novel I ever wrote was: what would two ordinary civilians do when faced with extraordinary circumstances? From that, I knew I wanted to write a novel about how heroes are not born; they're forged by the situations they find themselves in and how they react to them.

    When you have your idea, it becomes a matter of creating a story around it. What characters do you want, who are your protagonists and antagonists, what POV are you writing it from, and will you have multiple POVs and multiple characters?

    The idea is step one. Most of the story spirals outwards from it, and though the story can evolve during the process, it's generally the case that everything logically follows from the initial idea, which is why publishers often ask people to condense their story into a one- or two-sentence tagline. You should be able to precis it back into the initial idea, i.e. two ordinary men face extraordinary situations.

    You'll find that once you answer those questions and figure out your idea, the rest will fall into place.
    I had an idea. But, it was really only a character that had came into mind. The character itself kind of dictated the genre, style, etc. My problem with it is that I don't know what to do with the character.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Megan Pearson View Post
    Welcome aboard, Plaidman!

    I absolutely love your question. I love it because all writers start out where you are and... like it or leave it, everytime we begin a new piece it's rather like learning how to start writing all over again!

    My advice is going to be a little different than what's already been offered. (And that's the great thing about the internet--you get a lot of advice to pick & choose from!) I'm going to offer three questions.

    The first question is simply, what's important to you? This first question might take different forms, such as:
    What matters most in life? What one thing (or person) would be difficult to live without? Where is your passion in life?

    The second question follows the first: What if something happened to that thing you are passionate about?
    Other questions like it might be, What would happen if this one thing were suddenly taken away? Or, what if it had never existed? Or, what if it were all that existed?

    The third (and final!) question is a combo: What would it matter to you & what would you do about it?


    My fault is in being long-winded. Let me condense this:

    1. What are you passionate about?
    2. What tragic thing could happen to that which you are passionate about?
    3. What would you do about it?


    All stories are based on the idea that something happened. The fun part is finding out what that something is and writing about it.

    Hope to see you in the short fiction challenge!
    Thank you!
    This seems like some pretty good advice. It's also going to require some thought for me. I'm not a person with a lot of passions in my life. But, i'm sure I can come up with something.

    I've seen the Literary Maneuvers challenge. Are there other short fiction challenges that I'm missing?

  4. #34
    I began my first in what became a ten-volume series by writing a sentence, "She had legs that went all the way to my libido." That sentence never made the cut, but it did get the ball rolling. After I got a paragraph, I began jotting down single word or a short phrase of what I thought would fit further along. Those thoughts became my outline and I just wrote to reach that goal, one thought at a time.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    I had an idea. But, it was really only a character that had came into mind. The character itself kind of dictated the genre, style, etc. My problem with it is that I don't know what to do with the character.
    You have the best tool in you kitbag once you have your main character (MC). There is no better place to start telling a story than comprehensively knowing/understanding your MC.

    Plotlines are about an event driven by conflict and how the MC deals with it and fails and tries again and how it effects him/her. Once you know the vulnerabilities of your MC, and decide where and when it's going to happen the 'conflict events' may well suggest themselves.

    From what you say above I think you are nearly there.

    Hint: to begin with I suggest writing in first person, you can always change it later.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    I am a complete beginner at writing. It's something I've considered doing for several years. Here is the question that is at the heart of my problem:

    How do you start writing????

    I honestly don't know. I've tried a few times and ended up with a few paragraphs (or just sentences). But that's it.

    Can anyone offer some advice on how to start?
    Open question: To what extent do emotions come into play when a writer is creating?

    I've found that once I get a story rolling, I'll notice that certain aspects of the plot or characters end up relating to things I am emotionally passionate about. I'll get an idea for something I'm working on and think that would be good..without realizing the emotional significance it has to me. By the time I realize this, I've already developed the idea and incorporated it into the story. These are the ideas that always seem to work well for the story and are honest to boot. They rarely end up on the chopping block. Hmmm...actually, they sometimes do, particularly if they involve some unresolved issue that I struggle with.

    I'm not sure if works work the other way around. I think the subconscious has a lot to do with what we put into our stories.

    Nevertheless, ask yourself; what riles you up? What makes you angry? What frightens you? Or, conversely, what makes you happy? What is something you feel a need to protect?

    Asking yourself these questions may not generate a solid idea, but they may put you in a frame of mind where one may pop up out unexpectedly.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by KenTR View Post
    Open question: To what extent do emotions come into play when a writer is creating?

    I've found that once I get a story rolling, I'll notice that certain aspects of the plot or characters end up relating to things I am emotionally passionate about. I'll get an idea for something I'm working on and think that would be good..without realizing the emotional significance it has to me. By the time I realize this, I've already developed the idea and incorporated it into the story. These are the ideas that always seem to work well for the story and are honest to boot. They rarely end up on the chopping block. Hmmm...actually, they sometimes do, particularly if they involve some unresolved issue that I struggle with.

    I'm not sure if works work the other way around. I think the subconscious has a lot to do with what we put into our stories.

    Nevertheless, ask yourself; what riles you up? What makes you angry? What frightens you? Or, conversely, what makes you happy? What is something you feel a need to protect?

    Asking yourself these questions may not generate a solid idea, but they may put you in a frame of mind where one may pop up out unexpectedly.
    To me reading is a interesting way to expose one writer to other people's passions. Let's say I read poetry once in a while, an a idea pops inside my head as inspiration. That's what happened when I was reading a book outloud. I see myself as exposing myself to the themes I like the most. That is what I am getting at.

    I want to get acquainted with naturalist writing. The kind leec likes to read, and I realize there are many genres, in different art forms. Let's consider fiction, and non-fiction an art form. It may be a lot of work searching for this material. But it triggers the subconscious. And by the same effect if I can find one on another theme I like, which stands for beliefs and values. I will read that as well.

    That's regardless of fiction genre: science fiction, and fantasy. Even music helps.

    Or even horror and literary fiction. That way I can explore more what the author believes and maybe I can disagree and make their work genuine.

    The common theme in songs seems to be love. That has an infinite number of themes. Such as love hurts by roy orbinson.

    Shakespeare's many takes: undying love, love conquers all.

    There are many artists, even movies.

    This is just an opinion. But it makes sense maybe to me and others.

    Theme is the emotional significance of the work, and is one we can develop and can be nurtured. The other imagination will come eventually with whatever someone does in the week. The subconcious must be fed. That's what ray bradbury was suggesting I beleive in the zen of writing. It's read or perish or witness or perish.I propose myself this plan. I was thinking about it but never actually took it seriously. But perspiration comes from somewhere. I have heard creative writing mayors read a lot. It's no different for other mayors.

    This is what I mean by frame of mind.

    Those questions help, but I tie them to the theme. What is the moral significance of what I am writing? Why do I write it?

    So poetry grave me an idea on the last one. I hope since a different story was triggered by a poem for my other story, I can do this. Imagine reading all the genres of poetry on a single subject? Can you read them all? There's inspiration there by the power of empathy.

    But I needed to keep working on it. Progress halted because I am trying to use technologies to teach me things in an easier way.

    My grammar is flawed for storytelling.

    So this is me talking about my inspiration process.

    Emotions are the theme to me explored, exposed, and that you learn. By getting acquainted with other works.

    Themes, if you can't find them you can always listen to music and pick up on the feelings of people who wrote the song.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; August 20th, 2019 at 12:26 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyman View Post
    From what you say above I think you are nearly there.
    I sat down this evening to work with the character. I was writing as you might start a story, with the MC in a certain situation and introduce him through that situation. That's when I realized, I didn't have a MC. I had a loose idea for a MC. Big difference. I'm not going to give up on the character, I think He has potential. But, I do need to develop him more.

  9. #39
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    I had an idea. But, it was really only a character that had came into mind. The character itself kind of dictated the genre, style, etc. My problem with it is that I don't know what to do with the character.
    I think that seals it. You can't write not because you don't have the skill. It's just that your idea is still way too much of a fetus to be written yet.

    Your first step is to develop the whole story in your mind until you know who your characters are, what they look like, their manner and behavior, what's going on with them and the story from beginning to end.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by KenTR View Post
    I've found that once I get a story rolling, I'll notice that certain aspects of the plot or characters end up relating to things I am emotionally passionate about.
    That is the very definition of "write what you know."
    People often misunderstand the adage.
    But no, you do not need to have been to the moon to be able to write about the grueling, uphill climb to get there. You simply use parallels from your own life.

    Imagine the story, but write the passion you truly feel inside.

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