Tying It All Together

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Tying It All Together

Post by Garmar on Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:49 pm

So you have a story idea...how do you go about creating the necessary conflict and character interactions to make that idea into a story?

Obviously you need a main overarching plot, but what about the small sub-plots that really make the story interesting?

Do you give "plot" much thought in the first draft? Or wing it, then strengthen and add to what you have in the next draft(s)?

How do you finally bring all of your plot lines together into one cohesive unit?

How often does your main plot line actually play out the way you thought it would?

If there are any elements not covered here, please feel free to discuss and add to the subject.



Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.  ~Italo Calvino

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Re: Tying It All Together

Post by willow on Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:50 pm

Hi Garmar,

I never have a plan when I write. I have a brief notion. Something like: I want to write a story about werewolves that are brother and sister.

I sit down and write.

The only thing that really needs thinking about (for me) is where to begin. Once that is established the rest just flows. I try to begin in the middle of something fantastic.

I never know what is going to happen in my stories. I don’t know how many characters will be involved or what they will do. Things change on a daily basis.

I always try to go with my gut instinct. There have been times that I’ve thought…maybe we need a witch here or this would be a great place for a ghost. That happens about 2 minutes before it’s typed out.

Every twist is a complete surprise to me. I don’t see it coming until it is on the page. This may change as my writing progresses. To date I have one full, one-half, one third, and the beginning of a fourth. So far, it’s played out the same with all of them.

I’m curious to see how others come up with their story ideas. Mine usually come from a ‘what if’ question that pops in my mind. What if vampires were real and having a civil war right now? How would we know? Lol

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Re: Tying It All Together

Post by NaClmine on Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:29 pm

When I was a kid, we had a simple game. I would make a single mark on a piece of paper. The next sibling would make the next mark on the page. It could be anywhere on the page; there were only three rules. 1) Each line had to be on continuous line and 2) could not exceed 3 inches. 3) We could not communicate with each other so nobody knew what kind of picture the other was trying to draw.

As each of us took a turn, a picture would evolve. After twenty or thirty "lines", some pictures became quite elaborate. One person would be attempting to draw a puppy but another person used "his" line to make it into an elephant by adding a trunk. An airplane in early state could easily be transformed into a helicopter of even a sail boat.

Writing a story is the same way. I start out with a distinct plot in mind, but as the writing progresses, it might take on a different form and become something else entirely. Rice Wine started life as a touching short story about consequences for one's actions in life. But, it has evolved into an action-adventure story set in southeast asia and a father-son duo who escape from Cambodian communists - yes, the same nasty people who gave us the Killing Fields. More often than not, my writing follows the plot line, but I do allow for "new lines" on my drawing.
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Re: Tying It All Together

Post by ebyss on Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:08 pm

I have to agree with the NaClmine and Willow. I have a plot then things happen to my story as it progresses. This happened in my first ms, and I am finding that it is happening with my second.

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Re: Tying It All Together

Post by Guest on Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:34 pm

I try to establish a story line from A to B, but as the characters develop the need to come up with ‘in character’ actions and decisions pulls the story line all over the landscape. If I don't control that, the pacing gets uneven, with long boring segments that make sense for the characters, but are not good for reader interest. The hardest thing for me is making the characters react to what they know, not what I know or what the reader knows at that point in the story line.

I do not believe it is possible to write a story (vs. a narrative) without some kind of a story line or plot structure. Unfortunately narratives went out of style in the 1930s. Try reading some of those old hardbacks you see for 10-50 cents in junk shops and you will see why. Some are great, don't get me wrong, but most are paper sleeping pills.

Pacing is one of the most important elements of a storyline. I know some people who claim to write a perfectly paced thriller without a clue where the story is going when they start, but when they start talking about their research I start wondering how they knew what to research without a storyline. Did they stop writing to research every scene, location or technology? Or just wing it?

O.K., some of them DID just wing it. I’ve put down more than one “good” book because it relied on some kind of lead balloon to get the character over the hundred foot deep pit three bad guys dug overnight with their fingernails. I wouldn’t want to put my name on something like that. Person preference.


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