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Questions About Writing

I need to ask a few questions about writing, specifically new ideas and outlining. Should you leave new ideas for a while, brainstorm and look into it more, plan etc; or should you dive straight into it?  Which is better? Or does it suit different people?

And outlining. I’ve always thought myself as a discovery writer (and I love the name) but would everyone be better off if we all outlined? If so just how. I don’t know how to actually plan and outline properly, other than character development…

Also is it really bad if you can’t stick to one project/story? Because I never can, and while sometimes having a break from one story is actually helpful, it means I can’t focus on one story, and finish it. Come to think of it, despite generally actually writing quite a bit I haven’t finished anything since NaNo 2012. Too many WIPs. Gah…

<strike>Oh hi. What? I abandoned my blog? And writing? Erm…</strike>

*

Well at least I’m trying to sort out a schedule of some sort- but it’s proving to be harder than I think to stick to it. The last month’s been hectic, and I think I used the word appropriately. We’ve moved house, I’ve had quite a few exams, including a scholarship exam (which I’m super excited to say that I got it! :D), gymnastics competitions and more. Erg.

But, erm, I guess I’m saying hello again? Sometimes I really don’t know why I write a blog, for many reasons. Gah.

And no, I’m not doing Camp. But I’m trying to get writing again. I changed the progress bar slightly, because some days I just can’t write, so I’m aiming for around 5-6 days of writing each week to start off with and 10,000 words a week- which will be a challenge, but a good challenge.

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9 thoughts on “Questions About Writing

  1. Personally, I usually do an outline.
    But I can’t really say what would work best. I do think the character development is very important, and is important to outline though. If that’s good enough outline wise, I think you can head into it. Do you have specific events that create character development? If so, then I would think you are good. 🙂

    • Thank you! I don’t really have any specific events, I just do character developing sort of exercises I guess, and use character forms… The only part of outlining I do is character development, but even still it’s not very systematic.

      Would it be okay if I asked how exactly you outline? Is it specific? Do you do it all in one go, or do chapter by chapter as you write? Or just a basic story line? As you can see, I am truly clueless on the topic of outlining.

      Thank you! 😀

      • I outline the general story line. If there’s an especially complicated chapter(s), I would outline that.
        It’s no problem if you are clueless. I am pretty clueless too. 🙂 The key is to see if you really think you need an outline. The best part of outlining, is that you know the details and don’t forget them, and see ahead of time how everything fits.
        This is a pretty helpful link: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/novel-outline.html
        Since I’m not sure what kind of story you are writing, I think that link could help.
        I hope this helps!

  2. Ideas: Well. If you asked me that question two years ago, I would have told you, it’s important to let an idea sit in your subconscious for a little while before you do anything with it. You might come up with a better way of implementing the idea than you had before, and it’ll give you time to flesh it out before you start really writing. If you asked me the same question only one year ago, I would have told you, if you have inspiration for something, use it immediately.

    If you asked me that now? Well, it really depends on the idea. How developed is it? Do you think you could start writing with it immediately, or do you think you need to plan/brainstorm/percolate? If you think you can start writing it immediately, and you really want to, then you probably should. If you don’t think you can, or if you don’t want to write it really badly, then let it sit there for a while. I’ve never found it to hurt anything to let an idea percolate a little in the back of your head, because, to be honest, if you let it sit there and you lose the inspiration for it before you write it, then chances were, that idea probably wouldn’t have taken you very far anyway. But if it doesn’t go away and keeps telling you, “Write me! Write me!” then you’ve probably got something good on your hands.

    Outlining: this depends on how in-depth you want your outlining to be. Are you wanting a really detailed outline that tells you what happens, scene by scene? If you want something like that, I suggest looking up the Snowflake Method. If you want something more simple…well. Do you want something that gives you, say, a paragraph of information per chapter, but it doesn’t have much detail, so you can discovery write the rest as you write? Do you just want something even more basic, as in, say, maybe a paragraph for the whole book? One sentence to describe how the story starts, three sentences to tell the basic of what happens in the book, and then another sentence to tell how the story ends? That way, you know the direction you’re going, but you can really discovery write the whole rest of it—and, you have LOTS of room for change.

    Once you figure out kind of what outline you want, it’s easier to actually do it. I’ve heard people using spreadsheets. A few times, I’ve made an outline that kind of resembled those you have to write for research reports and that. (Y’know, the I. II. III. A. B. 1. 2. ones?) I also sort of showed you how I do it with Scrivener.

    See, Kiwi, there isn’t ONE way to outline. That’s why there’s so much non-useful information out there; there’s no right or wrong way of doing it, so nobody can really tell you how to do it. All we can do is give you our personal ways of doing it.

    Story glue: I’m going to go ahead and say, no. It’s not bad if you can’t stick to one story. I mean, it has it’s bad sides, but at the same time, so does sticking to one story for a while. My personal belief is, if a story can’t hold your attention that long (or at least, can’t bring your attention back to it if you’ve been distracted), then it probably isn’t one that’s worth writing. The stories you want to write are the ones that you love, no matter what, the ones that, well, seem to grab hold of you and refuse to let go until you’re bloody finished with it. Sometimes, it takes a while to find it, and you have to bounce back and forth between three million different ideas until you do. (Granted, this is coming from the girl who’s been complaining for months now of having “lost” her connection to her stories…but I had it, at one point. Shimmer’s story had to be told. I just wasted the opportunity, and so I have to re-find that story.) The trick is to, when you find it, DO something with it. Do NOT do what I did and rewrite the beginning over and over and over and over (etc.) until you’ve exhausted the story and there’s nothing left to tell anymore. That’s how I screwed up Shimmer, and as you know, I’ve had almost nothing but problems with her since then.

    Heh. Welcome back to the blog, Kiwi. I gave you an essay. *sticks tongue out* *then hopes this is helpful*

    • That was actually very inspirational. AND I’M NOT JUST SAYIN.

      I looked up the snowflake method when you first mentioned it, but to tell you the truth it really confuses me. The thing if though, I think I actually do know why I don’t like outlining so much now. IT BORES ME. I just want to get on with actually writing the story. I think that’s probably a horrible thing, seeing as if I’m bored of the ideas and all, then… erm.Maybe the problem is I don’t have good ideas. Let’s blame the ideas.

      I love the name story glue by the way. 😉

      • Really?

        Hmm. Well, maybe you need to do something other than outlining. If you’re that against outlining, then don’t do it! Writing isn’t supposed to be something that stressful.

        So. Hmm. If you think the problem is with your ideas, then maybe you need to brainstorm with somebody. Tell somebody about your idea, and see what they think, and tell them the parts you like and dislike and… well, just start talking about it. That’s always gotten the blood flowing for me. And then, let it percolate in your subconscious for a little while. Sometimes think about it, too. Like, if you’re sitting in bed, and you can’t sleep, just start thinking about it. Sometimes you’ll think of something, sometimes nothing will happen, and sometimes it’ll inspire a cool dream. (I’ve had that happen several times… hehe.)

        Anyway, if you have a developed idea that you like well enough, then you don’t even need to outlining, really. And if you write down your idea, and it’s for the whole story, guess what? There’s an outline! Believe it or not, but you can outlining a story in three sentences. Or five. Or even one.

        That’s kind of what I’m doing for my November NaNo novel.

        Heheh, I was just being silly with that… I couldn’t think of anything else to call it.

  3. Hey Kiwi, (yay for late responses!)
    I outline before I write a book, I would like to say I write an outline for an entire series before I start writing the first book but that is not the case. I get too excited to write and barely finish the first book’s outline before I start typing “Chapter One”

    When it comes to ideas, I write one series at a time. I’m not good at writing multipul story lines at the same time. I just can’t. I have a lot of ideas so I put them in a journal and then stuff it in my desk drawer until I need some inspiration. I, sometimes, fidle with different story ideas but -as to your question about multiple projects at once- I keep myself on a short leash. I like to keep the story I’m working on fresh in my mind. That leaves less room for error when editing and gives me more chance to actually finish my project!!

    Hope this helps! -Jordan

    • Thanks Jordan! I on the other hand always tend to work on multiple projects and then don’t manage to even write one. I’m trying to briefly outline each chapter now, and it helps a bit. 🙂

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