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How do you guys/girls write your stories?


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I kind of want to know how you come up with your story ideas and develop them into stories; many writers take different approaches, so I want to know how you guys do it. The creative process, developing the story, the whole works.

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Lots of thinking time! Now, I'm don't know exactly if I would call myself an actual writer, or that I'm any good at it, but I do enjoy putting ideas and stories down on paper regardless of if anyone will ever see it, you know?

 

Most importantly for myself is just that I personally have a lot of time during the day and night to do nothing but think, like while trying to sleep or waiting in lines or something. When I get home, or whenever I have a chance later, even if I can't connect the idea or imagining into something else, I still try to type it down somewhere so I don't forget or for future reference.

 

Is that an appropriate response?

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I tend to write summary notes about ideas, characters and story lines into a Word document. Sometimes I use pen and paper too. Then I write the stories themselves.

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I come up with an idea, usually at random. I could be at work, in the shower, waking up and an idea pops into my head somehow and I think "that sounds like a good idea" so I take the idea and think about how I can refine it and what direction I want to take it in. At this point I usually have a pretty good idea of what direction I want to take the story in so the next step is to decide how I want to start it which is extremely difficult for me.

 

Seriously for every successful attempt there is at least 2 or 3 failures, but eventually I come up with something I am happy with and I tend to take the finer details one chapter at a time even though at that point as I have said before I have a really good idea of where I am going to take the story.In the process of writing I will expand on certain ideas and maybe scrap certain ideas that just didn't work out like I thought they would or possibly save them for another project.

  • Brohoof 2
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The process is going to vary from writer to writer dramatically. I assume you are talking about fan fiction stories. To be honest I don't know the preferred method of some of the fan fic authors, but I'll divulge my process for writing short stories if you will indulge me.

 

With writing there are only two hard and fast rules with no exceptions.

 

Rule 1 - Read. Read everything you can get your hands on, and do not limit yourself to specific genres. Read often. It is the writer's only apprenticeship that is worth anything.
 

Rule 2 - Write. Try and nail down 500 words a day. Even something like blogging or posting here is worth its weight in gold for a writer. To be really good hit 2000 words per day.

 

What does that second rule have to do with coming up with ideas? I'll get there. It's a huge part of the process, and in my not so humble opinion, the most overlooked one. I'll try when appropriate to connect what I know to fan fiction. I have never written one myself, though I have been published, had an agent, and even go so far as a rather insulting (but oh so lovely) advance from a Publishing House. Too bad I ended up like half of the writers in the herd and didn't go to ink.

 

First things first -- you get an idea. Usually, it's a little 'i' idea such as wanting to write about a character. Sometimes, you have a more specific concept that intrigues you. This comes from anywhere. You could have a dream, be on the crapper, the shower, driving, or actively thinking. For me it happens out of the blue, or because someone said something that simply wakes the muse up. When this happens, my reaction depends on instinct. If it is an idea that screams, "Perfect. Story. Write. Now!" I jot it down or record it on something. If it is a minor idea, I note it mentally. To an author, minor ideas are about as common as passing gas. Wasting time writing each one down isn't worth it. However, that little grain may grow and become a pebble or a rock. Sometimes ... it's a diamond. That process is called, 'my nursery.'

 

MLP Example - I had a decent idea that went like this: Diamond Tiara is forced to work in the Carousel Boutique after a prank against the CMC goes awry and damages Rarity's shop. I got this idea after wondering what the hell DT will be doing when she is a full grown mare. That connection was easy, and the story concept had potential.

 

Once I have an idea, I decide if the inclination to write about it is there. If you have a great idea, but you aren't feeling it ... good God in Heaven please do not try and write a story using it. Ever. That is a recipe for mediocrity and boring writing. Please, don't do it. The example above was given to a person on this board when they asked for ideas. I just didn't want to write about Diamond Tiara at the time. If I have an inclination, next the boring part happens.

 

I am not a pantser. I am not, nor will I ever be, Stephen King. I cannot write with no checkpoints on where I expect the story to go. King gets an idea and just writes. Not me. I create what is called a simple outline. It's generic and may only have conflict, rising action, falling action, resolution, etc. It will be a messy document and have some notes about things that pop into my head as I type it up. If I am lucky I will have a rough roadmap of where I want the story to go and when happens at key moments. This can take me about an hour. Simple

 

Beats come next. I try and go scene by scene and write a synopsis for each one. Dialog comments will enter the picture, as will notable elements that I need to carry the plot forward or address characterization. This document is much longer and anywhere from 1000-5000 words in and of itself.

 

Draft Time! Write that damn thing. Fast draft or quick draft. Do not care about plot holes, grammar, spelling, stilted dialog, overused words, etc. Get the entire story down. Beginning ... middle ... and end. It will be shit. Accept it and embrace it. Now, walk the fuck away. It is poison to you now. Do not read it, do not edit it, just walk away. Wait a few days to a month depending on the length.

 

Reread your crap next. Your forced amnesia will now bless you with a critic's eye. You will see a plot-holes, missed opportunities, dialog improvements, and chucks of words you can rip out now. Pacing and cadence issues become apparent you you. All your flaws are blinking like a Christmas tree.

 

Revision comes next. This is where the story happens, and it really is my favorite part. Revision is where the art takes form and becomes more than just words. I build what existed and shape it into a new form. During this time I will get dozens of new ideas. (See? I told you I would get there). I will invariably have a novel's worth of new ideas to add if I so choose. It is also in this phase that the theme becomes apparent. Maybe you keep seeing string or thread mentioned. What symbolism was your subconscious mind suggesting on the page? Revision is where characters change, get cut, or become newly added. Point of view (POV) can change. Each revision births new ideas. Only when you need to stop ... do you. I've revised short fiction stories multiple times each. Eventually you have to ween the babe though.

 

Drafting is writing ... Revision is crafting. You do a polish and now you are done. This is grotesquely simplified, but you get the picture. 

 

A little aside and caveats on my process -- most Fan Fic writers write serialized fiction. From what I can tell it is without it being completed, so I have no idea how the hell that really works with new ideas during a revision. Perhaps it's a demand thing. I am working on something now, and I couldn't imagine not finishing the completed story at once. That is where the world feels alien to me.

 

Hope this gives you some insight.

  • Brohoof 3
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Well, generally I take inspiration from real-life situations or just let the ideas come to me. I can't think of ideas when I feel pressured to do so or when I am specifically trying to. As for developing the ideas into an actual story, I like making dot points what will happen so I can think of twists to put on it before I even develop it. This way you can also make everything add up for the ending if there's a mystery to be solved if you think of all the clues and stuff first. I often write the ending first if it's a short story. That's pretty much it. :P

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It seems like different people have different ways of writing, and any one of them can produce something fantastic.

 

With me---really, I've only written one MLP fanfic, and then I started spending my free time building a game loosely based on that fic instead, and I didn't have time to write fanfics after that got rolling.  But that one fanfic began with one idea, one scene, and then I built backstory and explanations around that one scene---ideas kept building on themselves in my head, until I had a full story, where that one scene was just something that happened early-on, almost during the exposition.

 

I think that's pretty close to how Brahm Stoker wrote Dracula; he had a dream where three vampire women were standing over him, and then a vampire man shooed them away---that was a scene early in the Dracula novel, and while that scene wasn't the focus of the novel, it was his starting point, and the novel he built around it turned out very good.

 

But, again, different people have different techniques that work for them when it comes to writing.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not good at writing, especially fanfiction, but this is how I write:

Mess around to get idea.

Get idea.

Develop said idea and make sure it's not ridiculous.

Write and write and write some more. Always with good grammar. Try to do it in one sitting, because I lose ideas if I don't do it fast.

Make sure it makes sense.

Final check.

Release it and hope people don't hate it too much.

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