The Story Line

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Seamus
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The Story Line

Post by Seamus » January 5th, 2010, 3:38 pm

I finished my first novel a year ago and have only recently begun shopping for representation, because I launched right into novel #2 and I also have a consuming day job. The first novel was an experiment in letting the story tell itself. I placed interesting people against a cool setting and compelling situation and then let my fingers follow the story on the keyboard. I like where it took me in my first novel, but I'm about 30,000 words into a new one and I've set up even better characters and even better situations, but it is leading me nowhere. I've heard a lot of people say that you can get through character, setting and situation without a plan, but you need a plan after that if you want a story that is worth telling. I'm trying to figure out whether or not this is true for me this time. And, related to that, is my current writer's block a product of not having a plan or not feeling any momentum over my first book?
J. Seamus Welsh
welsh.john.seamus@gmail.com
Blog (a playful place to experiment with character voices): http://oh-thereyouare.blogspot.com/
Website (shameless self-promotion): http://www.inwrittenform.com

gpetersen
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Re: The Story Line

Post by gpetersen » January 5th, 2010, 6:42 pm

Actually, I am in a similar boat too. I have finished my first manuscript and I am working on its follow up. I feel the second book is losing momentum and I can't get it back. What is helping me though through this kind of strange lack of speed in my writing is reading the first manuscript and figuring out how it connects to the new one. Then, I borrow the glimmers of awesome from the first to apply them to the second. I don't know if that will work for you, but it is worth a try.

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poptart
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Re: The Story Line

Post by poptart » January 6th, 2010, 6:09 am

For a first draft I don't think you absolutely need to have a plan. Some people find it cramps their creativity and if you can manage without one that's great. But it sounds to me like you would benefit from some kind of plan to help you keep the momentum going. Some authors are brilliant at building a story intuitively but we aren't all like that. Stories need to have structure or there's a danger they will meander all over the place and get nowhere. I can recommend a handy book called The Story Structure Architect by Victoria Schmidt which explains different types of story structures and how to use them in your work.
http://www.amazon.com/Story-Structure-A ... 986&sr=8-1
Annoying people since nineteen fifty-seven.

I blog here: http://flyingtart.blogspot.com/
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Scott
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Re: The Story Line

Post by Scott » January 6th, 2010, 9:00 am

Introduce a common enemy?

Kaitlyne
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Re: The Story Line

Post by Kaitlyne » January 6th, 2010, 9:28 am

I know for me, personally, if I'm stuck on something it's because I either haven't sorted something out enough to write it yet, or because something has gone wrong in the story and I have to figure out what that something is before I can move on.

I used to be a seat of the pants writer. To a degree I still am, but I've found that it works much, much better for me to plan in advance (especially considering plot is my overwhelming weak point). My first suggestion would be to go back and read through what you already have and see if that helps. Something might stand out as feeling off. Maybe one of the characters went a direction they shouldn't have, or the tone doesn't match quite what it needs to be, something like that.

I'd also try, just for the sake of trying, to try to anticipate a bit of what's going to happen and what the main conflicts are going to be. You can always change your plans (and probably will, the characters tend to do things that are unexpected), but at the very least it will give you some idea of whether or not you have enough conflict or the right kind of conflict for the situation. You might need to add another fork in the road, so to speak.

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Seamus
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Re: The Story Line

Post by Seamus » January 6th, 2010, 12:26 pm

Thank you, everyone. I've ordered the book and look forward to applying the other practical advice that's been offered here.
J. Seamus Welsh
welsh.john.seamus@gmail.com
Blog (a playful place to experiment with character voices): http://oh-thereyouare.blogspot.com/
Website (shameless self-promotion): http://www.inwrittenform.com

lexcade
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Re: The Story Line

Post by lexcade » January 7th, 2010, 5:45 am

*hope i'm not too late*

i'm horribly impulsive, so i will start a story with no idea where it's going. once i get a feel for the plot, though, i'll try to figure out major events to keep the narrative flowing. more often than not, it works...
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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