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When do you start writing?

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by icomeanon6, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. icomeanon6

    icomeanon6 It's "I Come Anon"

    So you've got an idea for a chapter story. How do you know when it's time to start moving it from an idea in your head to words on paper? Do you need an outline of the main events in every chapter before you type the first word, do you put the pedal to the metal before you even know how half of the story is going to shake out, or are you somewhere in the vast spectrum between the extremes? Do you second-guess yourself much before you start writing, or can that wait until you're a few chapters in so you can see for yourself whether it works or not? Also, are you happy with the amount of planning you tend to do before writing, or are you trying to change your habits?

    In recent years I've tried to have as much planned as possible before I start writing, but there always seem to be holes I didn't spot during planning and whole swaths of plot and character-arc that have to be re-planned after I finally do start. That's making me wonder if it'd be better to start writing much sooner because the actual process of writing is better at exposing problems than what I can do in my head/with notes. On the other hand, when I'm posting on forums I want what I post to be better than a rough first draft, and that usually means more planning. So I'm undecided, I guess. How about y'all?
  2. Part of the reason why my fics get updated once every century is because I think over my chapters almost way too much. I'll have the idea, then go "but wait! Can I do even better?" And just end up in a perpetual loop of editing the stuff in my head where it takes ages to finally reach the paper (or the iPad, in this case). I'm trying to cut down on it but it's a difficult habit to stop.
  3. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    I do very little planning at all. I tend to think about the idea I have more than I write things down, and start writing the story when I feel I have enough hype for it. This can vary a lot, and some ideas do get scrapped even after I start writing. If I get ideas I don't want to forget, I make notes on my phone or in Scrivener so I don't forget them (although I do fail at this sometimes, try to remember things, then realise I forgot them...)

    I honestly can't plan in depth. I don't enjoy it. Most of my planning consists of character and place name ideas, rough world building, and character development sheets. Character traits can and do change as I'm writing, depending on preference and how I feel they're developing as I write. I make plot notes as I go along, which is a new thing to me, and I make and alter notes as I'm writing.

    I'd rather just wing the story and enjoy the ride. But this does affect my posting, as I will not post chapter stories until I have enough of a cushion to make sure there are no plot irregularities. That way I can comb out any I miss during my pre-upload editing process.
  4. Bay


    I would mull over some ideas and wait until I develop some of the events first before I begin writing. I would have a good idea of the beginning and ending, but the middle I kinda wing it. Sometimes as I'm writing I might change/add certain events.
  5. The Teller

    The Teller King of Half-Truths


    I'll be honest, I thought the title said "When DID you start writing" and I was gearing myself up for a long-winded tale, but I guess now it will remain a secret forever.
  6. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    Or you can start a thread about the topic. ;)

    It's cliche, but the best way to get better is to just keep writing. Write the bad scenes, write the bad dialogue, write the worst ever story possible - no one has to see it but you, if you don't want anyone to. There's always editing on paper or rewriting later.

    Anyway, I start with just the bare bones. I'm very content to go into a story knowing the characters and little else, though since I've been tackling larger, more complciated plots lately, I've tried planning a bit more. I just can't go overboard or I lose total interest and/or forget things as I go along, which basically means I end up veering far, far from the original plans. : ' )
  7. Samayouru

    Samayouru Rabid Dusclops Fan

    Oh lawd my history with this subject is something I'd rather forget.

    Okay up until Nano last year I just sort of wrote whatever came to my head and just went wherever I thought the plot would go. This resulted in many, many many terrible documents that had decent ideas but extremely poor execution and a lot of stories that never made it past chapter 1. Of course, planning everything is now my thing because if I don't have everything mapped out, then I will most certainly get lost or experience writers' block more than I actually should. I even storyboard some chapters now so that I can get a good idea of what my characters are going to be like in the story, right down to their dialogue, before I even begin the story itself. Planning can take anywhere between two weeks to a month, so as you can all imagine my process is generally extremely thorough. :p
  8. roule

    roule take it all or leave it... I Feel You

    When I get an idea for a fic, it usually tunnels its way into my mind and refuses to leave until I write it. I can work on nothing but that fic, until I force myself to work on something else.

    That's probably why I have so many fics :p
  9. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    For me I usually find there's a point when I can't develop an idea any more just by thinking about it. Sometimes I write a few notes, but they don't really help me do much more than record what I'm thinking about -- I tend to think through ideas by writing about them, and with stories in particular I usually find I hit a brick wall a few weeks after I first have an idea where I don't know what else to do with it. So I start writing then, and sometimes I reject what I write afterwards and start over, but it's that writing process that turns the idea into a story, for me.

    I don't plan, exactly, but I'll have an idea in my head of the characters, and of certain events that will take place as the story heads in particular directions, and if I'm lucky I'll also have a vague idea of the themes I want to tackle, although like everything else themes are usually something I find myself stumbling into halfway through a story, when I've written enough to look back and go oh, right, so that's what I'm talking about here.

    As for whether I'm happy with it -- yeah, I'd say I am. It's not a very sophisticated model, but it's one that's worked for me for a long time now, over the course of which I've produced a lot of fiction, so I guess it works.

    It's true! Like, just slogging on through the bad times as well as the good is pretty much the only way there is to get any better at it. It's pretty much the only way to finish things, as well; unless you're really lucky, you're never going to just fly through a story easily from start to finish. There are going to be rough patches, and then you just have to grind at them until it becomes fun again. Sometimes those parts turn out to be better than you think, when you look back at them; if not, there's always editing.
  10. Sombrero_Frog

    Sombrero_Frog Procrastinator

    Usually for me I'll come up with some grand idea for a story, then dive right in and write out some of the scenes I envisioned while they're still fresh in my head. After that, I revert into full scale planning mode. I have to know exactly where my story is heading in order to build up to major plot points and work out the pacing. This is probably the most active part of the process, as I will randomly think of great ideas that I can work into the plot and end up jotting those down no matter when or where I am. Before I start writing, I like to map out a loose plot structure for the story (and any sequels if it could be a series) that contain some sort of call to action/hero's incentive, a major plot twist near the middle of the story, and then multiple pinch points in between to keep things moving. Of course that's all well and good, but actually writing the story from start to finish is another thing.

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