I've been working on my synopsis and,

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JustSarah
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I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by JustSarah » September 22nd, 2012, 12:19 pm

I wondered, how do you get from synopsis to full length novella? As it is, I always start out with a brief summary and a leading question to stimulate my thought processes to write the first three chapters. However I often get stuck at around 2000 to 5000 words because of a research or knowledge issue.

How do i direct my research to only what's' specifically relevant to the novel? In my first project three years ago, it was because I had no idea how boot camp went during the viking years of iceland. During my most current projects, it was how I have limited knowledge of military structure overall.

I'm sort of starting a short story that has less of a military element, and trying to get it up to 2,000 words. (The amount I get done in roughly a day when inspired.) But I eventually want to try to finish an earlier project when I have more of an idea on how modern and futuristic warfare works.

Edit: I hope this is the right section.D;

Gypson
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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by Gypson » September 25th, 2012, 1:18 am

Good questions and good thoughts. Hang in there =)
JustSarah wrote:I wondered, how do you get from synopsis to full length novella?
I think this takes a different route for everybody and you'll have to stumble across your own. My stories stretch into novels when I write characters who I love and who do things that surprise me. An interesting character making a grevious mistake with severe repercussions will keep me writing on the edge of my seat. I want to see what he's going to do now that his back is against the wall, I want to see how this situation can go from bad to worse.

Similarly, my stories stretch when my characters have interesting, intense relationships. I want to see how the power struggle plays out, the exact cost of their friendship, the sacrifices they will make.

Or I could have just said "conflict." Small wonder I need to harness concision in my writing. =P
JustSarah wrote:How do i direct my research to only what's' specifically relevant to the novel?
The more you explore and learn about your characters and story, the more specific (or broad) your research may become.

As to researching only what's relevant to the novel, I have never been good at that. I tend to research widely and narrow down my findings into what's the most interesting and applicable to my novel. Not everything I read (or invent) ends up in ink.

A starting point might be to think about any careers or hobbies that are important to your characters. Researching those interests can help solidify your characterization as well as provide unusual sources of conflict. Or if your story takes place in a specific environment, you could research real-world settings that are similar in ecosystem or culture.

JustSarah
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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by JustSarah » September 25th, 2012, 9:02 am

Its mainly an issue when I want to look up things about the military, understanding ground tactics and guerilla warfare. Things like how logistics work, and other fine details. With my other projects it was always as easy as, "I want to understand 19th century france legal system, so i'll buy the Napoleonic code."

I mean I can construct a plot: Create a character, what is the worst thing that can happen to this character, bring this worse fear to the fore, resolve this fear with a natural ending. Boy loses his dog, boy goes to retrieve the dog, boy gets his dog back.

And I tend to write in a very abbreviated fashion. (As some of you may have noticed.D: I'll crit your stuff, just trying to learn how to do it.)

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dios4vida
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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by dios4vida » September 26th, 2012, 3:37 pm

JustSarah wrote:Its mainly an issue when I want to look up things about the military, understanding ground tactics and guerilla warfare. Things like how logistics work, and other fine details. With my other projects it was always as easy as, "I want to understand 19th century france legal system, so i'll buy the Napoleonic code."
There's a lot more information out there than you'd probably think. If you start googling specific questions you have, or topics you need to read up on, you'd be shocked at what you can find. (I mean, I have an illustrated guide for how to kill a sentry silently that I found online - so there should be at least some information on guerilla warfare and ground tactics lurking around the internet somewhere).

Honestly, if I had a very specific and difficult subject I needed to study up on, I'd head straight away to my local library. The research librarians there are brilliant folks and they can direct you to all kinds of resources - books and internet, both. I think at the library I used to work at we even had some military guidebooks in the reference section, which may be just the kind of thing you're looking for.

Do you know anyone in the military? Ask them about it. If they don't know specifically, they may have friends with whom you can arrange an interview to get some information.

You may even be able to find a forum or other online community for military folks - you can always post there and let people know you're a writer and looking for people who'd be willing to answer some questions and give you details on how things work. Most people are happy to talk about what they're good at, especially to writers. I guess they think it's glamorous or something. :)

Does that help?
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

JustSarah
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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by JustSarah » September 26th, 2012, 4:41 pm

it helps a bunch actually, and will actually help multiple projects i have in mind.:3 i guess for my current synopsis, i can also look up accounts of recent War On Terrorism veterans as well. The middle eastern wars are particularly relevant.

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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by Graeme o'Winnipeg » September 29th, 2012, 3:29 pm

Hi Sarah,

I can offer advice that may help, as I just wrote a novella and sold it a month later, and that success came fully from following the tips I learned at a writing workshop.

Outlining is key, as you're doing. I might suggest you google "the structure of story" or "the 3-act play". There is a basic structure to a story that is common to every story (though sometimes it can be greatly abstracted, it can always be analyzed out): opening sequence, turning point one, second act (or main action), pinch one, midpoint (where the game changes), pinch two, turning point two, climax and resolution. Start with a premise, then spread out the main sections of story on a sheet and expand the premise, filling in what you can. As you go along, you will encounter characters or settings, so sketch those out on their own sheets. Once you have the story well-fleshed out, spread the main sections out over about four pages and copy over what you have from the one sheet, except fill it and organize it better. Keep adding characters and sketching settings and details. Once you feel ready, then start writing, keeping your character sheets updated and at hand when you write.

This method can be varied all to your liking, but I've found it helps in general to have some structure to follow with outlining so that you get the details filled in and keep moving forward. As you proceed into yuor prose, it's very hard to stay on track if you don't have lots of knowledge of the characters and the settings the story will move through.

I hope this little tidbit helps. I wish you the best with your writing!

JustSarah
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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by JustSarah » September 29th, 2012, 5:30 pm

I sort of figured out a way. Basically I just need a load of different micro premises to help support the main premise. And then derive actions that support each micro premise. I figured out its important to keep your premise simple and concrete. Especially when writing a graphic novel script and not a novel.

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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by LizV » October 2nd, 2012, 12:13 pm

dios4vida wrote:(I mean, I have an illustrated guide for how to kill a sentry silently that I found online
How cool! (Er, for strictly fictional purposes, of course. ;) ) Do you happen to have the link handy?

JustSarah - If it's research that's holding you up, LiveJournal & similar social-networking sites often have research-related communities. You might want to check out little_details and military_beta on LJ, for example.

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dios4vida
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Re: I've been working on my synopsis and,

Post by dios4vida » October 2nd, 2012, 12:18 pm

LizV wrote:
dios4vida wrote:(I mean, I have an illustrated guide for how to kill a sentry silently that I found online
How cool! (Er, for strictly fictional purposes, of course. ;) ) Do you happen to have the link handy?
No, Liz, I don't. But if you PM me your email address I can send you the PDF.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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