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116 replies to this topic

#26
zambingo

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I always like reading what you think about stuff. I loved when you would chat about the process and what you got tired of in plots (whether tropes or tripe). And now I find your insider insight to be delightful. Yes, I know... I should have put on lipstick to write this post.
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#27
Quetzalcoatl

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Here’s my problem.  Instead of building upon smaller ideas (which maybe is what’s supposed to happen?  I don’t know, I’m not a writer), I’m going the other way.  I start with the big picture.  That part comes easy, but when I “zoom in,” there are gaps that I can’t fill no matter how hard I try.  I know that A, B, and C has to happen.  That’s the “big picture,” but I can spend the rest of my life pulling my hair out trying to figure out how A results in B.  And when I am successful in connecting these events in a way that I’m satisfied with, it only results in MORE questions that require MORE backstories.  It feels like I’m trying to build a house without any foundation.  The big picture stuff comes easily enough, but I can’t figure out any of the hows and whys to my satisfaction.      


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#28
Tank

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Are you writing screenplays or books? Cause novels can do that. You just described Neal Stephenson or Stephen King.

I like world building, but I find it to be way more hard to build a world then find a story for it than they other way around.

I try to limit my world building to just the immediate setting the genre calls for, and to do story first. I think this is because you are always telling a story first.

Actually, I think that my best stuff happens when I craft them at the same time.
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#29
zambingo

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I get so bored with excessive detail in books, but those books often garner huge fan bases. JK can be that, however JRR is the worst offender for my preferences. Of course I do adore things with expansive and heavily detailed worlds like Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek, and Star Wars... it just bugs me to read it. As such, in my writing I do my best to abide by the KISS Principle... that being Keep it Simple, Stupid and not a reference to the band. Focus on the story and what matters to making that come alive. In regards to the KISS Principle, I was raised in a military household and I played sports all the time growing up (with military men coaches) so that was drilled into me. Of course that writing preference is probably quite ironic considering my social media comment/reply habit of repetition and over explanation. lol

Thinking back to being a kid, in between scouting grinds for merit badges and practices for whatever sport was in season, I remember liking making models, although I could never get the paint schemes to look good. So what I came up with was to just paint everything silver as if it was some sort of trophy or commemorative piece. Although now that I think about it I guess it is weird I didnt paint them in gold, like a first place trophy, maybe thats a peek into me. lol Interesting.

I have tried to get my kids into scouting, sports and various crafts but they just dont dig heavily structured things. However they love playing outside and learning skills, same said for indoor things both artistic and intellectual. Maybe they are just free range kids. lol That could be a good book title actually. lol

#30
Quetzalcoatl

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Are you writing screenplays or books? Cause novels can do that. You just described Neal Stephenson or Stephen King.

 

Books.

 

I try to limit my world building to just the immediate setting the genre calls for, and to do story first. I think this is because you are always telling a story first.

 

I can't do story first.  I've tried and tried, and it always ends with me building a world, far beyond what the story even needs.  That's always the first place my mind wants to go.  World-building just pours out of me, but actually writing a story is excruciating, even though its something I really want to do.   


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#31
zambingo

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History is full of already written stories. It is not necessarily plagiarism to base a story on historical events, I believe it gets sticky if you literally base a story on a specific in real life person (as an example of that Stallone came under fire for Rocky in regards to the boxer Chuck Wepner and his fight with Ali). So dont be afraid to use history as the basis of your story and paste it into your world. You could (probably more should) pick something that is important to you and/or you connect deeply with, so that your POV and emotional resonance can come across.

You can adjust the real world aspects to better blend with your world, you can use that historical event as your loose guide to get from place to place while having your story focus on say, in example, a specific soldier on a specific mission of a specific regiment of an army (although if you are going to write about an army or soldier life, probably best to either have some personal experience or at least interview a ton of people who have... the old write what you know thing).

Side Note: Study and research your topic, but do your best not to get obsessive over it. I read many scholarly historical accounts of Da Vinci when I was focused on him. In the last book I read, by Serge Bramly, (and if I recall correctly) there was a note that Da Vinci once wrote about too much study or planning destroying the impulse to create... which is also probably wonderfully ironic given how much study Da Vinci did.

Anyway...

It does not need to be war either, but looking at historical war times does provide with a lot of material to help guide your world building in conjunction with a story. Maybe the background is war but the story is about a deaf child who is lost on the outskirts of London during the bombings of WWII... of course, it wouldnt need to literally be WWII or London, it could be on the outskirts of Blue Town of Planet Z in Star System 12QE and the kid is an insectoid with a broken antenna... just an example of how to have a huge setting, but then the story being small. For a visual example of a big setting and small story look at An American Tail or Enemy Mine.

Afterthought: Even Star Wars for all its scale, is essentially just a story of two kids dealing with the actions of their ***hole dad.
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#32
The Choc

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My issue if I do try to write something is never the story of having details, its characters. What I write I feel is actually pretty good plot wise but it reads like a history book rather than a story. All of the characters just end up being like generic political or military leaders. What they do may be interesting, at least to me, but they don't really have unique personalities. 


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#33
The Choc

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A trick I use sometimes and this is only for me, it would never be good enough for public consumption is to use a device. Like I will write it as a historian writing about this long ago fictional past. I will pretend my sources are incomplete and often times they are biased. This kinda allows me when I have a section of the story I can visualize well to write it in great detail because I have a good "source" for it. Whereas if its a part I don't have fleshed out well I can more summarize it and just claim to have poor sources. Plus since I'm supposedly using disparate sources which could be biased it gives me a lot of room to wiggle in terms of continuity being not 100% perfect. 


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#34
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Dont discount that style, Choc, if it works for you then embrace it and explore it. It has been quite some time since I read it, but I recall that William Goldman worked in a similar vein with his beloved novel The Princess Bride, it is just also interspersed with story focused vignettes.

#35
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Oh I don't mean the style  is wrong, just that Im not a talented writer. I like the vagueness of it. The one story I wrote in most detail is essentially about a bunch of rulers who all want to rule the world, real original I know! But the thing was that even longer ago than that in essentially "pre history" there was a King like this who had a special crown which allowed him to rule. All of the different societies had a legend about this King but they were all different. One believed it was a man who was just able to conquer the world, one believed it was a God who ruled the world and so on.

 

One of these rulers vying for power sent men to find this crown and they do indeed bring a crown to him. Although whether it is the actual crown can't be known. Whether such a crown even existed, no one ones. If that crown did exist was there anything actually special about it? Again no one could really know. And none of this is ever revealed in the story because the way it's being told it is impossible for it to be told. 


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#36
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I had surgery and am on a ****ton of oxy, so forgive bluntnessaa but what you are all saying strikes me as you thinking of story in terms of plot.

Stories about people. You just hang plot on them
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#37
zambingo

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That is what I was hoping I was saying. Keep it simple, focus on the story, the people and build the world and plot around them. Maybe I should have just posted as Drunk Torch. ;-) Hope you feel better soon, Tank.

#38
The Choc

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I had surgery and am on a ****ton of oxy, so forgive bluntnessaa but what you are all saying strikes me as you thinking of story in terms of plot.

Stories about people. You just hang plot on them

I agree, I essentially said that earlier. 



#39
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For mine, Ive got the characters all mapped outsome deeper than others, but they dont all need to be dynamic. I also have the premise and a few basic ideas of what I want to happenbut no real plot. At this point (assuming I ever actually write it, that is), I figure the plot will develop itself as I go.

#40
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For mine, Ive got the characters all mapped outsome deeper than others, but they dont all need to be dynamic. I also have the premise and a few basic ideas of what I want to happenbut no real plot. At this point (assuming I ever actually write it, that is), I figure the plot will develop itself as I go.


Give your self a goal. Just write ten pages. Then ten more.

I dont think it's easier to have no plan, but you can def start with a thin one.


I had surgery and am on a ****ton of oxy, so forgive bluntnessaa but what you are all saying strikes me as you thinking of story in terms of plot.

Stories about people. You just hang plot on them

I agree, I essentially said that earlier. 

You said it first?

WELL I DID IT FIRST

I'm high. I had my sinuses taken out. Aall of them.

#41
Brando

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I have an idea for.a horror comedy about a high school reunion. I've written a few scenes, but I should write more.

I've basically taken the idea of imaging what people I went to high school with could be like now, and how those people would act when reunited and reliving the past. The nice part is the characters are all real to me, even if they are exaggerated forms.

I did a lot of theater when I was younger and wrote a lot of short plays, so scriptwriting feels more natural to me. I don't like having to describe setting so much.
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#42
Tank

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That pilot you wrote years back was great.

I am a huge beliver in vomit drafts. I just get my ideas down, string them together, and make a trash draft.

It feel a lot better to have a done thing you can spends months revising and honing than to be trying to write perfect bit by bit.
Also, the world needs more horror comedy
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#43
Darth Krawlie

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What software do you use? For prose, not screen writing.

#44
Tank

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Scrivener is great for books.
It's one project file, but it holds as many mini docs, outlines, scraps, and graphics as you want.
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#45
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Perfect. Thank you sir.

#46
Tank

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It's pretty cheap to for sofware, only $50 I think3

#47
Tank

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Choc, Robin, Quetz, Brando, Jacob...

It might be the meds, but I would like to buy you guys Scivener. will PM you download links tomorrow.
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#48
zambingo

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I had just been using the word program provided via Google. I saw my kids accessing schoolwork through theirs and I was like, hmm, and its free. I will have to check out Scrivener, a quick search shows it for $45, so thats not bad.

Edit in: You dont have to do that, Tank! Wowzer.

#49
Odine

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I could use a new car, Tank
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#50
Darth Krawlie

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Yeah man you dont gotta do anything like that. This is a hobby for us, not a career.



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