Getting the Story Straight

Since my last post on the new novel idea I have been working on, I have of course completely changed it. I tend to do this a lot with novels – they start as something then either fizzle out or mutate into something better and solid. It has made me realise how many drafts I must go through in my head. Multiple revisions are happening every hour – characters are changing, settings are adapting and worlds are renewing over and over. It’s like being in a kaleidoscope – none of the images seem to settle.

Thinking is one of the things that tends to be overlooked in writing blogs – mine too! It is surprising how much time we all spend running around our heads trying to pin down ideas without realising it. Perhaps it is because every time I try to write them on paper, suddenly they seem different and don’t make sense, like when I write down a dream.

I’m excited about my novel but exhausted with the changing and chasing. I wish the idea would just settle so I can start writing! If you are a writer, how do you speed the process of plotting along? Is there a special trick I am missing or do you work in the same way? Comments welcome! 🙂

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4 Responses to Getting the Story Straight

  1. I’ve learned to be patient, let ideas percolate in my head and not rush to write them down. Of course, as soon as I do start writing it down, things go in other directions, but that’s okay too. I wrote something related in my blog yesterday (http://bit.ly/ooBT7u). I spent years spinning stories in my head before starting to writing them down.

  2. Ellie says:

    I have changed my planning recently. I write a brief synopsis, say 400 words. I then write a chapter by chapter breakdown, just a couple of lines to provide structure. Then, I start writing.

    By the time I am a few chapters in I can already see how things are altering and return to my synopsis and chapters breakdown and update them. I then continue this process throughout the full first draft. (keeping each version for reference).

    Another process I have started this time is is to provide a daily diary of each character – only because I could see my time scales sliding and I had hoped to have the full novel play out in seven days.

    I am sure I waste a lot of time, but I do believe until you get cracking and you truly discover your characters, you can’t fully know what will hapen.

    • Thanks for commenting Ellie!

      Your process seems quite similar to mine with the chapter breakdown, although I admire your patience and organisation with the daily diary. That kind of thing must aid synopsis writing so much! I’d like to say I am too swept up in the book once I begin to write anything else, but I am sure that just equates to laziness!

      Do you find the ideas sit in chapters straight out of your head, or do you do some brainstorming and playing with ideas on paper first?

      Stop by any time 🙂

      • Ellie says:

        Oh if only the ideas did just sit straight into chapters! Sometimes, I can have the equivalent of six chapters worked out, but it is a starting point. Then it is a case of working out how a gets to b. plus for me I write a lot of crime fiction, so even if i don’t know all my suspects, I can gauge how many I need, and have just a general ‘introduce suspect 1’ Like I say, I return and update as I go through – planning in full before starting just can’t work for me.

        Oh and it isn’t laziness on your part, you just have to do what you need to. I return to these planning stages when I am burnt out for writing, like today, i had written 3,000 words, and suddenly came to a standstill. Rather than forcing the words, I use these diaries as thinking time. I sent a script to the BBC that I am very proud of, but one of the things they pointed out became an embarrassment for me – if only i had revised my plan as i wrote. Guess you could say lesson learnt.

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