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Flow of Content Problem (1 Viewer)

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lumino

Senior Member
I like to revise as I write, because I feel like it's the only way to make sure I get the sentence structure and rhythm I want, but when I do that, sometimes I get the content all tangled up. It doesn't flow from beginning to end properly, and it many times it gets convoluted. I think I just need to put things in the right order and avoid repeating myself or using more words than necessary. I don't really want to quit editing as I write, so I need some other approach. But I am not very good at forming complex thoughts before writing them down. I can barely think about any subjects abundantly. So, does anyone have any suggestions? Perhaps some kind of brainstorming exercise? I'm not sure outlining would work since I need to know the content in order to write the outline. Please help. Thanks.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
I use a technique I call doublebacks.
At the beginning of the book I write the first 100 pages, until I really know the characters, then I doubleback to the beginning and use that knowledge to fill out the characters and better illustrate them.
The first 30 pages of a book are the most important because that is what people can see in the preview pane.

After that I continue to doubleback every hundred pages or so to tweak the characters, and keep the story on trajectory.
The upside to this is that when I finish the book, and get to do that first read-thru, the content is tight.
When I used to write straight thru, that first read-thru was always depressing as I could see that I had a ton of work to do.
Also, editing while your mistakes are small is a lot easier than trying to perform open-heart surgery on a 100,000+ word book.
 

moderan

WF Veterans
Learn to write it all down first, in order to preserve your idea and teach yourself to finish. Tyros always skip that step, which is the most essential of all.
 

Jack of all trades

Senior Member
I like to revise as I write, because I feel like it's the only way to make sure I get the sentence structure and rhythm I want, but when I do that, sometimes I get the content all tangled up. It doesn't flow from beginning to end properly, and it many times it gets convoluted. I think I just need to put things in the right order and avoid repeating myself or using more words than necessary. I don't really want to quit editing as I write, so I need some other approach. But I am not very good at forming complex thoughts before writing them down. I can barely think about any subjects abundantly. So, does anyone have any suggestions? Perhaps some kind of brainstorming exercise? I'm not sure outlining would work since I need to know the content in order to write the outline. Please help. Thanks.


If what you're doing isn't working the way you want it to work, then it's time to try something different.

Brainstorming is jotting down thoughts. A good first step. Then organize those thoughts and maybe even add to them. The maybe outline or start writing the story/ article. Then polish the sentences, i.e., edit. That's my advice.

You may, over time, and with practice, improve to the point where you can edit as you go. But if the editing is preventing you from getting your thoughts down in a coherent way, then break the learning into steps initially.
 

JustRob

FoWF
WF Veterans
If you don't fancy writing an outline try using a mind map just to put down the key ideas and how they are connected. There are plenty of guides to mind mapping on the Internet. Then you can decide how to set them out linearly in your text. Here's a mind map that I constructed to decide the name of a character in my novel. It's just unfortunate that it came out as James T. Kirk, so in the novel he's just called James. Click View attachment James T Kirk.pdf to read the full size document.
James.jpg
 

K.S. Crooks

Senior Member
I keep a separate document of the key events that occur in each chapter as they are planned. This gets revised as I write the story and allows me to quickly go back check when something occurred if I want to make further changes
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
I guess you can try making a 'sketch' of your idea on leftover paper, memo pad, phone/pc wordpad, or whatever handy and convenient for you, and write down your ideas point-to-point. Make that as your reflection before or when writing the full part on the script.

Also I suggest to keep larger edits for a later time. Ideas always evolve. If you keep polishing one spot, that part will be shiny, but you won't move anywhere.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I like to revise as I write, because I feel like it's the only way to make sure I get the sentence structure and rhythm I want, but when I do that, sometimes I get the content all tangled up. It doesn't flow from beginning to end properly, and it many times it gets convoluted. I think I just need to put things in the right order and avoid repeating myself or using more words than necessary. I don't really want to quit editing as I write, so I need some other approach. But I am not very good at forming complex thoughts before writing them down. I can barely think about any subjects abundantly. So, does anyone have any suggestions? Perhaps some kind of brainstorming exercise? I'm not sure outlining would work since I need to know the content in order to write the outline. Please help. Thanks.

In a way it's good that you're having this problem because it means you're aware of how things should or could sound, versus how they currently do. You just need to practise and try new things, so you know what your options are. Take a sample sentence. Put the object near the beginning. Try putting it at the end. Try it with the mian verb near the end, and see what other words that forces you to use.
 
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