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  1. #1
    Regal Regime Tenebris's Avatar
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    Default How do you write your original stories? (Share tips, tricks, and techniques)

    This is both a question, and a sharing of my own learned techniques I use to write and formulate my stories. I want to see if others are similar, or have things unique to them. Please share what you want.

    From what I can tell, there are two ways to write a story. Organically, or structured. A good majority of aspiring writers start off with organic style writing. Which means they do not plan extensively, and generally keep their plot and ideas brainstorming inside their head as they write. This format makes it easier to accidentally create plotholes, as there are too many moving pieces to keep track of at all times. Then there is Structured, which many professional and skilled writers use. They pre-plan and construct everything ahead of time, and the story practically writes itself. Now there are people perfectly capable of writing really well organically, but many people are just as bad at it. A perfect example of bad Organic writing, is commonly found in Anime.

    I personally can do both, but have leaned into writing structured over time. It is also advised to avoid first person, as it is difficult to do well.

    Rules that I tend to follow universally:

    1. Write what I know.

    2. Build the world/setting independant of the story first.

    3. Show, don't tell. (Avoid direct exposition in large amounts)

    4. Obey the laws of my own universe. (Avoiding asspulls, sudden ability to overcome new senario)

    5. What message/theme are you trying to accomplish?

    6. Nothing should exist for plot convenience. (Don't just include things that are cool, but have no use in the world, or not culturally acknowledged)


    While these are just guidelines, they will improve the quality of your writing significantly. Depending on setting and genre too. Some rules are more valueable in fantasy, and since I tend to write fantasy and sci-fi. These rules are very important.

    Steps to setting up a fantasy novel or short story:

    1. Create an outline:

    Outlines exist to help structure the story, and so you do not go off on tangents. I tend to create an outline, that summarizes each chapter, and list the scenes I want to happen within each chapter.

    2. Create character sheets:

    Characters are extremly important to have fleshed out. Character sheets should include everything from personality traites, likes/dislikes, moral boundaries, and apperance, relationships, habits or tics etc. The most important factor though, is what will a character do, and will not do in terms of morality and under stress? Will he kill the villian if given the chance? Would he risk his life for a stranger? Very important to keep track of these. Then if you want a character to overcome some aspect of himself, you must include a scene(s) that causes him to grow. For example Lets say you character didn't risk his life to save some, he then regrets it and beats himself up, or gets beat up for being weak, and then vows to do it next time, then does it. I also like to list what character growth I want to happen, and the scenes associated in the story.

    3. World building:

    As listed above, I generally build the world first (while keeping the idea for your story in mind). What does it take to build a world though? You have to know geography, weather, creation (if fantasy), laws of magic, and physics of sci-fi tech (really just establish rules, even if you make it up, be realistic). If creating races, you must build culture, biology, race relations, mythology, religion, history, and evolution (if exists, even in spite of creation). All of this is important to make your world a living and breathing one. The more time you spend on this aspect, the better. Lord of the rings is a good example of extremly good world building. Tolkien had entire novels worth of information seperate from his actual main storyline. I think of him, and aspire to reach that level of writing with my fantasy.

    4. Don't take breaks or try to edit immediately:

    Oh look, the rule I break all the time like a filthy procrastinator and perfectionist. I've seen this advice by many writers. Get it all out as fast as possible. You can fix it later. That's what editing is for. This is true. My best writing is some of the things I did in a single sitting. If I can hit flow, I can write 50 pages a day pretty easily. It keeps your thoughts consistant, and you're less likely to want to "redo" things and get discouraged and burnt out.

    This all said and done, I think my strengths in writing is the world building, and themes. I am TERRIBLE at dialogue. So if any of you have advice on that, please share here. ^_^

  2. #2
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    Great thread. Followed.

  3. #3
    morose bourgeoisie
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    This is great thread.

  4. #4
    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    The problem with planning everything out in advance, I've found, is that putting it into a novel feels like watching the same movie for the 50th time in a row. It just isn't fun. It's practically necessary, though, if you want to produce a really strong plot.
    [ Ni > Ti > Fe > Fi > Ne > Te > Si > Se ][ 4w5 sp/sx ][ RLOAI ][ IEI-Ni ]

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    Regal Regime Tenebris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polaris View Post
    The problem with planning everything out in advance, I've found, is that putting it into a novel feels like watching the same movie for the 50th time in a row. It just isn't fun. It's practically necessary, though, if you want to produce a really strong plot.
    My thoughts are similar. It's like choosing to write for yourself, or for money. Certain things work, it's just less fun.

    All the more while curious, on how people here are.
    Omnivariant

  6. #6
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    There's over laps here with the thread on the working up of an original mythology that I posted elsewhere.

    Tolkein is the obvious example of this, to much less extent authors like GRR Martin, I would like to create that sort of a world and write stories from within it but I'm not convinced that it would just be a pale imitation of others, like GoT or Dune or LOTR or even WoW

  7. #7

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    I write for myself. I think the moment you start writing purely for money you’ve compromised your story. I write what I want to read and not what I think others would want to read. I’m not worried about being published or self published though.

    I’m fairly skilled at dialogue and thoroughly enjoy world building. I lack a sense of pacing and dread the thought of too much structure although I understand the necessity of it. Regardless of whether you meticulously structure a story or not, you’re going to have to re-read and re-write it several times over. That means you’ll never be able to enjoy it like a first time reader that hasn’t spent hours, weeks, or months with the material.

    As for worrying about what came before, George R.R. Martin wouldn’t have written A Song of Ice and Fire if he’d been intimidated by Tolkien. Tolkien has inspired many writers. I wouldn’t worry about building a world on the level of detail of Middle-earth or trying to create the next Westeros or Arrakis- you’ll never accomplish anything if you’re paralyzed in the shadows cast by another author.

    As for my take on dialogue, I’ve read books for years and listened to how conversations flow in movies and television shows. I developed an ear for it I guess. I realize that isn’t helpful, but that is how I learned. Now, if I could just learn how to pace chapters and produce vivid descriptions of particular settings.
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    In a vain effort to placate the monotonous drudgery of my menial labors, I am absolutely prone to making snarky or over the top commentary in the workplace -- I do this for me because I think it's funny. As far as the people I work with are concerned, it can be a real hit or miss; sometimes people think I'm funny too and other times they don't. Though whether I absolutely kill it with my audience or whether I bomb completely, I keep on trucking. I feel that the same principle can also apply to writing; over the years I know I've written more than my fair share of short stories that have been total flops as far as reader appraisal was concerned.

    So are you writing for yourself because you enjoy writing, or are you writing in an effort to earn the approval or esteem of a reader? If you're writing for yourself then I don't know how you would "improve" the writing; any law, guideline or rule of thumb can readily be broken in accordance to whichever whim or preference you wish to placate. Alternatively, if you're writing to appease an audience then you immediately enter the realm of relentless criticism and backlash. I know that one of my favorite books of all time, The Religion by Tim Willocks, has hundreds of negative reviews on Amazon. I confess that reading them has been a source of personal amusement for me, in part because all too often the very reasons I thought the book was riveting and highly engaging, have literally been the same reasons others have smeared the book and claimed they couldn't get past the first chapter.

    Outline or no outline, following the laws of the universe or not, organic or non-organic; we can nitpick and create arbitrary formulas or guidelines all we like. However you want to do it, whichever 'format' you wish to follow, I still feel like the best way to improve as a writer is to keep on writing. And if you're after that ever elusive recognition or affirmation for your work, then just remember, even a terrible dart player reaches a point where they would be incredibly unlucky to not hit the bulls-eye after so many throws.

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