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Reincarnated_Alphonse
Lol, I don't mind you asking, though I consider myself to be FAR from an expert, since I do start stories more often than I finish them, haha. I have finished a few novel-length stories though, so I suppose the question's fair. razz

The trick I do is mainly to figure out roughly where you're trying to go with the story right away. Try to figure out more or less where you're going to end it, though don't force yourself to end there if it goes off on its own tangent later. ((Stories tend to come alive and do their own thing. Just let them do it and surprise you. The story will be a lot better for it.)) All the same, knowing more or less where you're going will help you see your way through the rugged terrain of the middle, and give you strength to keep trying because you just HAVE to see the characters make it through to the end!

I also do my best to try and make the "less exciting" parts just as interesting as the "exciting" parts. They don't have as much action or anything, but you should never have a scene in your story that you don't need. It should either move the plot forward, or develop character. If it does neither, then you'll have to either cut the scene or not write it in the first place. I usually manage to avoid writing those scenes in the first place since they're dull as heck, but some people go off on a tangent for a while and then wind up in a dull scene and think they have to finish that stupid scene. You don't have to finish it. It's going to get cut anyway if you hate it, so why not cut the sucker now while you still have a little strength left and get back to a more interesting scene? If you think the scene is vital because it reveals something important about your story, find a way to tell that information in a way that won't bore you, or it'll end up boring the reader too.

Last, but definitely not least, know your characters intimately. If you can picture them doing strange things and then start laughing because that just sounds so much like that character, then you're probably starting to get to know them pretty well. Your characters should be fully fleshed out and completely human ((at least in the way they think and feel, even if not physically.)) Make sure you know in detail all their good traits, bad traits, and as many quirks as you can figure out. Knowing all of these will propel your story forward without you even trying, because you'll just know what your character would do next, regardless of the situations you stick them in. It may not be the choices you yourself would have made, but if it's believable for your characters to make those choices, then you're doing the right thing with them. Writing what comes next will just be automatic since the characters will be acting of their own free will because you know them so well. wink

Anyway, I hope that helps a little. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have, and I'll do my best to answer. I've studied for a long time on writing technique, so I'll try to help if anyone asks. ((Writer's block is a big struggle of mine though, which is why I'm frequenting the Gaia writing forums, since the contests kind of give me a kick in the pants, haha.)) Everyone has their own struggles. razz

Thanks for asking. It's nice to be asked about something I know about once in a while. I appreciate it. smile


I've been thinking a lot about what you said, particularly about knowing your characters well beforehand. I've never really done that before - always just started in on the story and decided to let the characters develop as I go along, but that is obviously not working out for me and I feel like what you said about this makes so much sense. I've finished short stories (a couple thousand words tops) and every time a story has gone from beginning to end for me, it's because the characters' natural reactions moved the plot along seemingly without much effort on my part. I don't really know how that ever happened - I didn't work to develop them before starting to write or anything, but I had a clear picture of them and that definitely must have helped.

Thanks so much for your ideas - I was wondering, do you mind if I put your advice on the front page for others to read? It really inspired me, and I think it might inspire others to try a different approach that they might not have considered before.

I am working on a story currently and I am officially going to compile information about my characters before I get too far into it. I think this might help and, even if it doesn't, at least I will have characters who are well cemented in my mind. Maybe if they don't work for this story idea, then they'll work for another.

I've also been thinking a lot about where I want the story to go/what I want to portray in the end, so I'll try to keep that in my head as I move forward. Here's to hoping it does something!

Also - congrats for finishing a few novel-length stories! I wanna do that someday! Haha.
Limitless Stupidity
assassinine
This sounds like a lot of fun, I think I will join.


I'm glad. Welcome to this next year.

Would you like to be put onto the reminder's list, or do you think you're good to go remembering-wise? =)

I don't think I'll have troubles remembering, but a nudge here and there might help.

I really like this idea, and though I haven't began writing, I have a pretty clear vision for what I want to do with the story. I have to do a bit of research though.
nipperofnoses's avatar

Invisible Friend

Limitless Stupidity


I've been thinking a lot about what you said, particularly about knowing your characters well beforehand. I've never really done that before - always just started in on the story and decided to let the characters develop as I go along, but that is obviously not working out for me and I feel like what you said about this makes so much sense. I've finished short stories (a couple thousand words tops) and every time a story has gone from beginning to end for me, it's because the characters' natural reactions moved the plot along seemingly without much effort on my part. I don't really know how that ever happened - I didn't work to develop them before starting to write or anything, but I had a clear picture of them and that definitely must have helped.

Thanks so much for your ideas - I was wondering, do you mind if I put your advice on the front page for others to read? It really inspired me, and I think it might inspire others to try a different approach that they might not have considered before.

I am working on a story currently and I am officially going to compile information about my characters before I get too far into it. I think this might help and, even if it doesn't, at least I will have characters who are well cemented in my mind. Maybe if they don't work for this story idea, then they'll work for another.

I've also been thinking a lot about where I want the story to go/what I want to portray in the end, so I'll try to keep that in my head as I move forward. Here's to hoping it does something!

Also - congrats for finishing a few novel-length stories! I wanna do that someday! Haha.


Hey, no problem. If you want to share my thoughts on writing with other people or put it on the front page, go right ahead and do that. If it helps people, then I am more than happy to share it. smile Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know, and I'll see if I can answer.
Oh wow this sounds challenging but awesome! I'm a little intimidated because, I've never attempted to write a novel before (not one that I've finished anyways) and I may the yongest/most inexperienced writer here. sweatdrop

Heh heh- but anyways I'd definitely like to take a shot at this.
Could you add me to the list of reminders also?
Thank you! :3
Dante Dolly's avatar

Fluff Vampire

This sounds amazing. And I think I can swing 15k in a year. I just did that for breakfast. dramallama

Really though, this is an excellent idea for writers and I love the concept. That's always been one of my favorite Buffy episodes too. heart
assassinine
I don't think I'll have troubles remembering, but a nudge here and there might help.

I really like this idea, and though I haven't began writing, I have a pretty clear vision for what I want to do with the story. I have to do a bit of research though.


Having a clear vision is a great starting place! Good luck with your research. I never have liked the research part of writing. I like learning new things and making my story as accurate as possible of course, but researching has always just sucked the inspiration right out of me for some reason. It's like I just want to start the story already, haha.
Reincarnated_Alphonse
Hey, no problem. If you want to share my thoughts on writing with other people or put it on the front page, go right ahead and do that. If it helps people, then I am more than happy to share it. smile Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know, and I'll see if I can answer.


Sweet, I've added your insights on the first page. =)

I'm sure they'll help more than just me!

I've decided that with the story I'm trying to write, it requires that I create my own world. Boy does this sure seem like a job and a half! Have you ever created an entire world for a story before? I keep re-reading stories I've enjoyed where the author created their own world just to get a feel of what's important and what's less vital (like foliage vs. politics, lol) in the pre-writing stage.
Kalista K
Oh wow this sounds challenging but awesome! I'm a little intimidated because, I've never attempted to write a novel before (not one that I've finished anyways) and I may the yongest/most inexperienced writer here. sweatdrop

Heh heh- but anyways I'd definitely like to take a shot at this.
Could you add me to the list of reminders also?
Thank you! :3


Oh don't worry about being inexperienced - we all have to start somewhere! I've attempted but have never been successful at writing a novel or longer story before, so you're definitely not alone. This will be a great opportunity for us both to encourage each other and push each other to reach our writing goals instead of scrapping our stories prematurely (which is what I usually end up doing, haha). =)

I've added you to the reminders list! Good luck getting started and feel free to ask if you have any questions.
ElricestequalsLove
This sounds amazing. And I think I can swing 15k in a year. I just did that for breakfast. dramallama

Really though, this is an excellent idea for writers and I love the concept. That's always been one of my favorite Buffy episodes too. heart


Haha, well it sounds like that must have been an extremely productive breakfast! What are your secrets to success?

You like Buffy? Oh my gosh, Buffy is still, nearly a decade after it ended, my favorite tv series of all time. All of the characters just have so much life and personality to them, even the characters who don't make many appearances. I love how every supernatural concept in the show can give insights into our real world experiences, and how it's so easy to relate to the character's situations.

Welcome to the contest! smile
Dante Dolly's avatar

Fluff Vampire

Limitless Stupidity
ElricestequalsLove
This sounds amazing. And I think I can swing 15k in a year. I just did that for breakfast. dramallama

Really though, this is an excellent idea for writers and I love the concept. That's always been one of my favorite Buffy episodes too. heart


Haha, well it sounds like that must have been an extremely productive breakfast! What are your secrets to success?

You like Buffy? Oh my gosh, Buffy is still, nearly a decade after it ended, my favorite tv series of all time. All of the characters just have so much life and personality to them, even the characters who don't make many appearances. I love how every supernatural concept in the show can give insights into our real world experiences, and how it's so easy to relate to the character's situations.

Welcome to the contest! smile


Well generally I use an outline. I find the easiest thing to do is start with a random idea and write a few pages of whatever comes to mind for the main character. Then from that I structure a whole story around them. Sometimes alone, but generally I bounce ideas off my husband for longer stories. I think it's good to have a second mind there to tell you which ideas sound good and which don't and to help keep you on track.
Also I try to do work days. When working on anything over 10k words I try to sit down for four to ten hours and just write straight through. Don't worry about editing, that comes later.

I have finished a 144 thousand word novel before, but I was sixteen so needless to say, it was awful (didn't help that I wrote it all in a week...you should pace yourself a little). rofl Lately I use this method for getting through commission work, although I'm trying novel writing again this month. I'm 5k into a book I've set to be 50k words. Wish me luck XD

I love Buffy a ton and Joss Whedon in general. I attribute a lot of the amazing characterization to excellent writing and some of the most consistent acting I've ever seen. It's hard to believe it has been so long since it ended. The story is still ongoing in comic form though, I recommend reading some if you haven't already, it's really excellent.
It's inspiring the way that show could make you care about the characters, even when some of the plot lines where silly. I think the reason that even the side characters stick in the memory is because they were people where most side-cast roles would have cast them as caricatures designed merely to drive the plot.
Yutora's avatar

Gracious Stalker

14,700 Points
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  • Jolly Roger 50
Limitless Stupidity


I would very much so appreciate being part of this! There is nothing I have to do other than tell you that I would like to be added to the list, right? Considering that I have just started a longterm wip, this should help to keep me on my toes.

The story I will be writing for this can be my side project to keep my creativity up. Oh gosh, I already have a nice little idea. Question Session Time: Any genre is allowed right? Must I keep it PG 13? Are there specific things that I am not allowed to write about? And I can interpret the two different worlds as I wish, correct? Posting it as a Google Docs link would be fine as well?


Oh my, I am actually quite giddy about this. I can easily snag up to 5k of words for a story, but then my brain likes to fail me and it never precedes 10k. I believe I've only ever finished on story that is currently 18k of words - which I am trying to get published, but first I am polishing it again.
ElricestequalsLove
Well generally I use an outline. I find the easiest thing to do is start with a random idea and write a few pages of whatever comes to mind for the main character. Then from that I structure a whole story around them. Sometimes alone, but generally I bounce ideas off my husband for longer stories. I think it's good to have a second mind there to tell you which ideas sound good and which don't and to help keep you on track.
Also I try to do work days. When working on anything over 10k words I try to sit down for four to ten hours and just write straight through. Don't worry about editing, that comes later.

I have finished a 144 thousand word novel before, but I was sixteen so needless to say, it was awful (didn't help that I wrote it all in a week...you should pace yourself a little). rofl Lately I use this method for getting through commission work, although I'm trying novel writing again this month. I'm 5k into a book I've set to be 50k words. Wish me luck XD

I love Buffy a ton and Joss Whedon in general. I attribute a lot of the amazing characterization to excellent writing and some of the most consistent acting I've ever seen. It's hard to believe it has been so long since it ended. The story is still ongoing in comic form though, I recommend reading some if you haven't already, it's really excellent.
It's inspiring the way that show could make you care about the characters, even when some of the plot lines where silly. I think the reason that even the side characters stick in the memory is because they were people where most side-cast roles would have cast them as caricatures designed merely to drive the plot.


I've heard lots of mixed feelings about starting with an outline or even using one at all throughout the writing process. I tried to outline things a couple times before but I don't think I committed myself fully to the idea, and it ended up boring me. With the novel (cross my fingers) I am trying to write now though, I am doing a lot of pre-writing planning and outlining and such, and I haven't gotten bored with it yet, so hopefully that means something positive is on the horizon!

I like to bounce ideas off my husband too - he's great for giving me world-building advice and to ask me questions I never thought about before. Another mind is definitely a great asset to have.

Never tried work days before, but that sounds like a great idea! I think tomorrow I am going to do that - wake up when my husband goes to work, and then go to work writing myself! It'll be interesting to see if having that sort of set time for writing will help keep my mind from wandering off into other pursuits. =)

5k is a great start! Good luck working on that novel! Just the fact that you've written a 144k story before makes me feel like you'll have no problem at all getting through 50k. Even though you were younger when you wrote it, that's some pretty impressive dedication! Thanks for your insights and advice!

Oh yes, all of the Buffy characters seem like people I would actually hang out with instead of the more usual side characters who don't have any depth or personality. The comics are good, but they don't feel the same to me as the tv series did - the actors really helped make the series shine for me. The writing impressed me so much - the dialogue was always so witty and natural. It's amazing to me how a series so amazing could come from such a poorly put-together movie, haha.
Yutora
Limitless Stupidity


I would very much so appreciate being part of this! There is nothing I have to do other than tell you that I would like to be added to the list, right? Considering that I have just started a longterm wip, this should help to keep me on my toes.

The story I will be writing for this can be my side project to keep my creativity up. Oh gosh, I already have a nice little idea. Question Session Time: Any genre is allowed right? Must I keep it PG 13? Are there specific things that I am not allowed to write about? And I can interpret the two different worlds as I wish, correct? Posting it as a Google Docs link would be fine as well?


Oh my, I am actually quite giddy about this. I can easily snag up to 5k of words for a story, but then my brain likes to fail me and it never precedes 10k. I believe I've only ever finished on story that is currently 18k of words - which I am trying to get published, but first I am polishing it again.


Thanks for the tip, and I'm so glad that this contest seems like it might inspire a longer story to form for you. =) I'm a lot like you in that way - hard to keep going with stories and never really surpass 10k words, except I've never written an 18k story before. That's awesome, and I wish you lots of luck getting it polished and published!

Yep, that's all you have to do. I've added you to the list!

Any genre is welcome, there's nothing that you aren't allowed to write about, and you can interpret the prompt anyway you like! As long as the prompt is in there somewhere you're good to go. Google Docs would work well - that instrument rocks when it comes to sharing stories with others online! You don't have to keep it PG-13, especially since you don't plan on posting it on Gaia. smile

Feel free to ask if you have anymore questions!

This is an exciting time - the moment where people get started writing. I'm only about 1,500 words into what I will be working on this next year, so I'm still feeling all giddy about the beginning stages. Good luck!
Yutora's avatar

Gracious Stalker

14,700 Points
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Limitless Stupidity


The funny thing is that I caught this by pure coincidence, and that my longterm wip that I plan on having from 100-150k of words is called Multi-Verse for now. It amused me. I am building my own world, which is straining my creativity a bit, but it is fun naming places and people, giving them their own gods and currency (which is a Raven Shekel), flying cars and slaves mixed up in a bunch - that is it right there, lolol. I was stunned when I read the prompt and for a moment I thought I could maybe throw it into this contest, but considering on how long I plan it to be, I think that would be a bit too much. Besides, the other story that popped into my head seems to be fitting as well and working on two will keep me on my toes. I actually have a few of my friends bug me once in a while, so I don't forget to keep moving.

Maybe you should set yourself a daily word goal? That's how I do it with my current one. I have a daily word goal of 1k, and my punishment for missing that is having to write 3k the next day. I started this story 5 days ago and I have chapter one finished with 4.5k and chapter six is done with 5.5k so overall I have 10k of words. Yes, I am a skipper, lol - I hop from one chapter to a completely different one, I will be working on chapter 2 tomorrow and then jump from that to the ending because I already have it in my mind. And considering I have been rather mean to my character so far, I don't think it will be all that happy (but his journey will have pleasant things).A daily word goal can really help! It doesn't have to be long at all, just 200 words a day could even do it. I am a sucker that likes to aim high, so that when I miss the mark by a few inches I can still be happy. Google Docs is my current haven.

******** yes! Everything is allowed. emotion_awesome That makes me happy, because my entry certainly will not be PG-13. I am a bad person that likes to break her characters (although it makes me cringe at times. I know them far too well, they are all so fleshed out in my mind that I could easily answer anything you ask of me about them). This really is an exciting time and I have to thank you very much for thinking up this contest - can I donate towards the pize? I believe this is a wonderful idea and I am even more so surprised that you yourself are writing one and then handing out prizes to other people. Very smart way of getting people worked up. I suppose I will set my word goal as 60-70k for this one.



And thank you very much! Once it's polished I will be proud enough to send it off.
Yutora
The funny thing is that I caught this by pure coincidence, and that my longterm wip that I plan on having from 100-150k of words is called Multi-Verse for now. It amused me. I am building my own world, which is straining my creativity a bit, but it is fun naming places and people, giving them their own gods and currency (which is a Raven Shekel), flying cars and slaves mixed up in a bunch - that is it right there, lolol. I was stunned when I read the prompt and for a moment I thought I could maybe throw it into this contest, but considering on how long I plan it to be, I think that would be a bit too much. Besides, the other story that popped into my head seems to be fitting as well and working on two will keep me on my toes. I actually have a few of my friends bug me once in a while, so I don't forget to keep moving.

Maybe you should set yourself a daily word goal? That's how I do it with my current one. I have a daily word goal of 1k, and my punishment for missing that is having to write 3k the next day. I started this story 5 days ago and I have chapter one finished with 4.5k and chapter six is done with 5.5k so overall I have 10k of words. Yes, I am a skipper, lol - I hop from one chapter to a completely different one, I will be working on chapter 2 tomorrow and then jump from that to the ending because I already have it in my mind. And considering I have been rather mean to my character so far, I don't think it will be all that happy (but his journey will have pleasant things).A daily word goal can really help! It doesn't have to be long at all, just 200 words a day could even do it. I am a sucker that likes to aim high, so that when I miss the mark by a few inches I can still be happy. Google Docs is my current haven.

******** yes! Everything is allowed. emotion_awesome That makes me happy, because my entry certainly will not be PG-13. I am a bad person that likes to break her characters (although it makes me cringe at times. I know them far too well, they are all so fleshed out in my mind that I could easily answer anything you ask of me about them). This really is an exciting time and I have to thank you very much for thinking up this contest - can I donate towards the pize? I believe this is a wonderful idea and I am even more so surprised that you yourself are writing one and then handing out prizes to other people. Very smart way of getting people worked up. I suppose I will set my word goal as 60-70k for this one.

And thank you very much! Once it's polished I will be proud enough to send it off.


Multiverse sounds like a very fitting story title for this contest - if you do finish that one and want another pair of eyes for it, then I'd love to read it sometime! That's a high word count goal, but definitely doable. Oh my goodness, I'm creating my own world for the novel I'm focusing on this year (when referring to it in the future, I'll just call it the Veranguh story, lol) and creating my own world is stretching my creativity and pushing me outside my comfort zone to the extreme. The only thing that makes me feel better about creating my own world is that I have brought my husband in on the project, since he's super smart when it comes to cultures and politics and countries, plus he's an awesome artist and he drew out my world for me, so now I have a good basis for writing and filling in the blanks. I've never tried to make my own world before because I've never felt comfortable with it, but yay for new challenges!

The raven shekel sounds like some pretty beautiful currency. I'd want to collect it and never buy anything with it, lol. Does it look as cool as it sounds? I haven't created currency yet - instead, my main character has referred to having money as having "funds." I dunno if I'll make it more specific or not yet - there's so much about a world that I don't know if I should include or leave out to keep the readers' interest. It's way more complicated than I ever would have thought.

Having a daily word goal is a good idea - I'm currently trying to do work days, where when my husband goes to work during the week I'll go to work on my novel. I started it just this past friday, but it worked pretty well. I got a lot more world building done and wrote 1k more, so now I'm up to 3k, which doesn't sound awesome yet but it's a good start! Wow though, you've got a lot of words on your story already! That's awesome! Is skipping from one chapter to working on one further into the story difficult? Do you ever have to tie up loose ends or go back and add stuff to previous chapters? I've never tried skipping before.

Your poor characters, lol. But hurting characters and putting them through bad situations does make for a compelling story. If the characters were allowed to be happy the whole way, it'd get boring super fast!

Sure, you can donate to the prizes. Anything you donate will go straight to them. smile

I'm so glad this contest is getting people potentially in the writing zone - I made this literally so that I could get worked up writing as I saw other people going through the same process, so it definitely works both ways. Knowing that other people are working toward the same end is getting me pretty pumped up and ready to write. Even when I'm doing other things, I keep thinking about my story, haha. 60-70k is a great goal for this! I feel like I'll probably aim to make the Veranguh story at least 50k, but if it goes over that I won't complain. =)

Do you have places in mind you want to send your 18k story off to?

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