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I’m about to start a new project, if anyone cares I can post my real-time progress if anyone wants to see my BS in action.

It's funny also to see people saying they write things just for enjoyment. A couple years ago when my parents moved we went into attic to go through crap. I found a box full of old notebooks which bas

For my actual projects. I really need to replace all the baseboards in the house and paint. But it's hot. That's the project I need to work on.   I started selling these pom pom wreathes for $200 a p

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You know, I just realized what's been hanging me up with writing this story. I've been reading about the differences between plot-drivien stories and character-driven ones, and it dawned on me for the first time that I'm trying to do both and the two stories aren't meshing. I've been trying to tell one story with the characters, and then their is the plot. The plot has been getting in the way of what I'm trying to do with the charactes, and vice versa. I think that's why I'm not getting anywhere. I haven't been willing to compromise the plot or the characters as I have them, but now I'm thinking that one of them has to be a bigger priority. Do I change the plot to suit the characters, or do I change the characters to better fit the plot-driven story?

It can be tricky, but you can mesh them if you build in thematic triggers. A lot of stories will do the plot on a present frame, but then build character in flashbacks, for example. There's just usually some sort of cue to hand off between them.

 

This is also why the hero's journey is so often used. It's a constant hand off between a plot and the changes in the hero it triggers.

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You know, I just realized what's been hanging me up with writing this story. I've been reading about the differences between plot-drivien stories and character-driven ones, and it dawned on me for the first time that I'm trying to do both and the two stories aren't meshing. I've been trying to tell one story with the characters, and then their is the plot. The plot has been getting in the way of what I'm trying to do with the charactes, and vice versa. I think that's why I'm not getting anywhere. I haven't been willing to compromise the plot or the characters as I have them, but now I'm thinking that one of them has to be a bigger priority. Do I change the plot to suit the characters, or do I change the characters to better fit the plot-driven story?

It can be tricky, but you can mesh them if you build in thematic triggers. A lot of stories will do the plot on a present frame, but then build character in flashbacks, for example. There's just usually some sort of cue to hand off between them.

 

This is also why the hero's journey is so often used. It's a constant hand off between a plot and the changes in the hero it triggers.

 

Wouldn't the ultimate goal be to reveal character in moments that occur naturally in the plot? Rather than have to work in flashbacks to do it?

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I’m about to start a new project, if anyone cares I can post my real-time progress if anyone wants to see my BS in action.

Turns out, this might be a bad idea legally...

 

One time I professed my love for someone that was involved with a friend and somebody on here went on my Facebook, told them everything and destroyed my friendship. So I ask you, Seth... what could possibly go wrong with you posting your private information on here????

 

#StillNotBitter

 

 

 

I THINK we have managed to suss out all the trolls and monsters... I think...

I’m still convinced that it was someone who was banned at the time, and then came back, and then got banned again. I can’t imagine anyone else would do such a thing, because the people left have become such a tight knit group. Heck, I consider the people here to be better friends than most of the friends I see regularly.

 

My blog would not be appealing to most of the people here, but it’s doing amazingly well considering it just started. I have followers and have even made a really small amount of money via Amazon Affiliates.

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You know, I just realized what's been hanging me up with writing this story. I've been reading about the differences between plot-drivien stories and character-driven ones, and it dawned on me for the first time that I'm trying to do both and the two stories aren't meshing. I've been trying to tell one story with the characters, and then their is the plot. The plot has been getting in the way of what I'm trying to do with the charactes, and vice versa. I think that's why I'm not getting anywhere. I haven't been willing to compromise the plot or the characters as I have them, but now I'm thinking that one of them has to be a bigger priority. Do I change the plot to suit the characters, or do I change the characters to better fit the plot-driven story?

It can be tricky, but you can mesh them if you build in thematic triggers. A lot of stories will do the plot on a present frame, but then build character in flashbacks, for example. There's just usually some sort of cue to hand off between them.

 

This is also why the hero's journey is so often used. It's a constant hand off between a plot and the changes in the hero it triggers.

Wouldn't the ultimate goal be to reveal character in moments that occur naturally in the plot? Rather than have to work in flashbacks to do it?

In a perfect world, absolutely.

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The problem I'm having is, the character story that I'm wanting to tell requires a different backstory than the plot-driven story I want to tell. For example, the plot of the story requires a certain character to have backstory X, but I'm finding that I need this character to have backstory Y for the character story to work. But if I change the history of said character from X to Y, then the plot changes too because the premise of the story is contingent upon X. That's what I mean about not getting them to mesh. So now I'm stuck on X vs Y. The only way I can see doing both is to compromise on some things that I'd rather not. This is what always happens whenever I try to write something. I inevitably get stuck with this kind of dilemma, and now I'm recognizing that at its heart is plot vs character. I never know which of these two should be in the driver's seat.

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I just thought of a good analogy to illustrate my dilemma. Stories typically have an action-driven component, and a character component, right? In ROTJ, we see the rebellion lead an attack on the DS, while Han and Leia are down on Endor trying to disable the shields. That's all plot driven stuff, right? Meanwhile we see a more human story play out in the thrown room, a story where people aren't just reacting to external events, but one in which their choices are the focus and shape future events.

 

So, which typically comes first in writing? Is the human story born out of the plot-driven one, or does the human story come first and the plot is framed around that? I feel like my plot-driven story and my human story are struggling for dominance. I already know the beginning and end of the story, so I know the bounds. But it seems that the character story has grown outside those bounds. Changing the bounds means changing the story on a pretty fundamental level, and I'm reluctant to do that because I really like what I've done and I don't want to part with it. But maybe I should? Maybe that's how stories evolve? But it somehow feels wrong.

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Unless you're writing military hard scifi/fantasy, character based os the way to go. Everything plot driven with the OT was framed around Luke's journey.

 

If the two things you have are incompatible and you don't want to change either, you're probably looking at two different stories.

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I've always liked stories where the lead character is a nobody who gets swept up in something big, and this is what I was originally going for. The lead character led a very sheltered existence. He's a human raised in dwarven mines and pretty much knows nothing of the outside world or of his own people. This character has to leave home for the first time to go on a quest with a group of strangers. For the most part, I have the quest figured out (the destination, the purpose, the role the lead character must play in it, etc.)

 

But at some point, I decided that this is a story about betrayal. This character betrays everyone in the group. He does this due to being conflicted. His whole life was spent devoted to a single cause, and that was taken away from him (I'm thinking he's an excommunicated knight). When the reader is first introduced to him, he is in a very bad place. He's broken and robbed of his identity and purpose in life. Throughout the story we see him heal and form strong bonds with his traveling companions, especially one in particular. Through the quest, he finds a new purpose. A big twist comes when he is offered a chance to return to his old life, and in a moment of weakness, he accepts, betraying everyone in the process. If this is what happens, it would mean giving the character a more complicated backstory. He's got a lot of emotional baggage that he's carried around from earlier experiences. Its no longer a simple story of a young inexperienced nobody who gets to go on an adventure, and that's the story I wanted to tell.

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Had my first day of work today since my surgery. It's 2 weeks ahead of schedule so I didn't know what to expect but I actually felt great. finished the entire 8 hour shift with no problem at all. I actually felt physically better than I have in a long time. I suppose it has something to do with the increased blood flow to my heart but it's also got to be my attitude.

 

It's cliche but I really do feel like I have a new lease on life. I'm doing everything the doctors told me to do: I'm eating healthy, walking daily, following up with all my doctors... I have a whole team of them now lol Primary Care doctor, Cardiogist, Cardiology Surgical specialist, Pain Management doctor, Orthopedic doctor, Dermatologist, Psychiatrist and soon to be a Cardio rehab therapist.

 

The Cardiologist said that if I do the right things I could live to my 80's, possibly 90's. So far I'm doing it and it's not really a struggle. The walking has been challenging some days only because my back is messed up. The eating right has been very easy. I eliminated all salt, eating steamed veggies and I bought this AMAZING indoor grill called the Foodi Ninja Grill and it had changed my life! I bought chicken breasts from Costco and have been grilling them up with spices and it's just flawless. Cleanup is a since too. I also lost 44 lbs in the past 6 weeks so that's a plus!

 

Things are going very well.

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I've always liked stories where the lead character is a nobody who gets swept up in something big, and this is what I was originally going for. The lead character led a very sheltered existence. He's a human raised in dwarven mines and pretty much knows nothing of the outside world or of his own people. This character has to leave home for the first time to go on a quest with a group of strangers. For the most part, I have the quest figured out (the destination, the purpose, the role the lead character must play in it, etc.)

 

But at some point, I decided that this is a story about betrayal. This character betrays everyone in the group. He does this due to being conflicted. His whole life was spent devoted to a single cause, and that was taken away from him (I'm thinking he's an excommunicated knight). When the reader is first introduced to him, he is in a very bad place. He's broken and robbed of his identity and purpose in life. Throughout the story we see him heal and form strong bonds with his traveling companions, especially one in particular. Through the quest, he finds a new purpose. A big twist comes when he is offered a chance to return to his old life, and in a moment of weakness, he accepts, betraying everyone in the process. If this is what happens, it would mean giving the character a more complicated backstory. He's got a lot of emotional baggage that he's carried around from earlier experiences. Its no longer a simple story of a young inexperienced nobody who gets to go on an adventure, and that's the story I wanted to tell.

Yeah, those are two different stories.... unless you go epic and do a Canterbury Tales / Hyperion type thing where everyone in the party gets their own disparate back story. Maybe you make the incongruity your device and go big.

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That's rough, man-- really sorry.

I'm waiting to get paid on a few jobs, just took over a mortgage I've been splitting for a decade, and I am stockpiling for a possible writer's strike in the spring.

 

But I will throw you something if I can wring money out of these rich ass studios soon.

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  • 5 months later...

So I'm still working on my fantasy novel, I'm more than halfway through a first draft.

 

I just wrote a scene (well, started on it) where half of my knights are squirting out their asses after eating some wild berries. I had to google search "diarrhea color" to try to get a really good, disgusting description. So that'll be in my search history forever. Hope my NSA agent enjoyed all the pictures.

 

I'm pretty proud of it so far. It's awful and I love it.

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So I'm still working on my fantasy novel, I'm more than halfway through a first draft.

 

I just wrote a scene (well, started on it) where half of my knights are squirting out their asses after eating some wild berries. I had to google search "diarrhea color" to try to get a really good, disgusting description. So that'll be in my search history forever. Hope my NSA agent enjoyed all the pictures.

 

I'm pretty proud of it so far. It's awful and I love it.

I would love to read it.

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  • 7 months later...

Here's an update on what I've done.  I've developed my world more.  A LOT.  That's the only thing that's going well, and evidently, the only part of this that I can do.  I can't write a story.  I'm still in those initial stages of trying to put a story together and after just a few minutes of thinking about it, I'm frustrated to the point that my brain hurts.  And the more I force myself to think, the farther away the ideas recede, even ones that are clear and sharp when I'm going about my day.  They're gone the minute I sit down and actually devote time to them.  I dig deep, and there's nothing there.  Is it possible that I'm just not cut out for this?  That my brain isn't cut out to do what I'm trying to make it do?

I'm still stuck trying to marry character and plot and I'm still struggling with which comes first.  For example, when I look at the SW OT, I would say it's a story about redemption.  If I could sum up what that story was about in one word, it would be redemption.  But I guess you could also say that it's a story about temptation/seduction.  That's a theme that runs through all the SW movies.  We also see that theme recurring in LOTR.  Now, my question is, what comes first?  Does the writer first decide what those human elements are in their story, and then go about formulating a plot to illustrate that?  Are does the human story grow out of the plot?  Which exist in the mind of the writer first?  Did Tolkien and Lucas first decide that they wanted to tell a story about temptation and corruption by power, or did they first set out to tell sci-fi/fantasy stories about a hero and a quest, etc., and developed those deeper human elements later based on what the plot called for?  Which drives which?  I'm trying to develop them parallel with each other, but that's not working because I can't merge the two.  I can already see that the plot isn't going to go in the direction that I want it to.  If I want to tell a story about divided loyalties and subsequent betrayal, but the plot isn't showing that, what takes precedence?  Do I throw away the whole premise of my story and start from scratch, or do I throw out the divided loyalties/betrayal theme and let the plot tell me what the story is about?  So far, I feel like I'm trying to force divided loyalties and betrayal into a plot that won't accept it.  

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On 1/1/2021 at 9:41 PM, Quetzalcoatl said:

Here's an update on what I've done.  I've developed my world more.  A LOT.  That's the only thing that's going well, and evidently, the only part of this that I can do.  I can't write a story.  I'm still in those initial stages of trying to put a story together and after just a few minutes of thinking about it, I'm frustrated to the point that my brain hurts.  And the more I force myself to think, the farther away the ideas recede, even ones that are clear and sharp when I'm going about my day.  They're gone the minute I sit down and actually devote time to them.  I dig deep, and there's nothing there.  Is it possible that I'm just not cut out for this?  That my brain isn't cut out to do what I'm trying to make it do?

I'm still stuck trying to marry character and plot and I'm still struggling with which comes first.  For example, when I look at the SW OT, I would say it's a story about redemption.  If I could sum up what that story was about in one word, it would be redemption.  But I guess you could also say that it's a story about temptation/seduction.  That's a theme that runs through all the SW movies.  We also see that theme recurring in LOTR.  Now, my question is, what comes first?  Does the writer first decide what those human elements are in their story, and then go about formulating a plot to illustrate that?  Are does the human story grow out of the plot?  Which exist in the mind of the writer first?  Did Tolkien and Lucas first decide that they wanted to tell a story about temptation and corruption by power, or did they first set out to tell sci-fi/fantasy stories about a hero and a quest, etc., and developed those deeper human elements later based on what the plot called for?  Which drives which?  I'm trying to develop them parallel with each other, but that's not working because I can't merge the two.  I can already see that the plot isn't going to go in the direction that I want it to.  If I want to tell a story about divided loyalties and subsequent betrayal, but the plot isn't showing that, what takes precedence?  Do I throw away the whole premise of my story and start from scratch, or do I throw out the divided loyalties/betrayal theme and let the plot tell me what the story is about?  So far, I feel like I'm trying to force divided loyalties and betrayal into a plot that won't accept it.  

I think you’re starting with the wrong question, especially with Tolkien. The guy was a once in several lifetimes genius. But, from what I understand, Tolkien started with the idea that he wanted to create a mythology for Britain. Lucas started with the idea that he wanted to make something like Flash Gordon. If you read through some of the old Star Wars drafts, you can see that he didn’t have a lot definite beyond that, but he kept working on it. 

Tank has used the term vomit draft to talk about just getting ideas down. In your case, it sounds like you’re suffering from analysis paralysis. You want to analyze and know where everything is going, but that’s not how most amateur writers work, or even some professional writers. Many professional writers have said that they’re surprised by the end result of their stories. 
 

I would say, write the story as it works and then see what you have. 

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Yeah, I think you nailed it.  My brain wants to create the big picture first (the beginning and end), and then I try to write everything in between.  Then I get frustrated when it doesn't lead me to my already adopted conclusion.  Like you said, I'm going at it backwards, and my brain doesn't want to do the reverse.  When the story starts to evolve differently, its hard to let go of my original vision.  Without that, I feel lost.  

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Quetz, I'm not a writer at all so take this or leave it but I was just thinking...

Kinda sounds like you're writing 2 things at the same time, which seems like an impossible task. If your world building is going good, why not continue to flesh that out until you have a reasonably concrete idea about the universe/backdrop you want to tell your story against.

Then leave it and dont change it. Then it'll be a massive gear change, but think about some character driven story you would like to tell, keeping it focused and intimate. And rough the character progressions out without thinking about the wider context. Then when you know where you want to go with the character story begin trying to weave it into the detailed world you've created.

Maybe youre already doing this and I'm a dunce, but that's what I was thinking I'd try do. Easier said than done I suppose.

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I'm in revision stage, having finished my first draft in mid-November. I've done a read through and taken a lot of notes, and now Katie's doing it for me. Once she finishes I'll work on a second draft, send to a few other people, and that's as far as I have planned. I'm amazed I've stuck with it so long and to have done as much as I have--I've never done even half this much on one story before.

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