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I was half-way there, then the lights came on.

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chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
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Location: People Republic of Northern California
I was half-way there, then the lights came on.  Reply with quote  

Question: When writing a story, how much of the plot do you have figured out before you begin the actual writing? And, if you find yourself in the middle or even three quarters of the way through a project, and you suddenly come upon a brilliant new idea that you believe may make your work better, but will require completely re-writing the work from the beginning, what do you do? Do you start all over again to incorporate that idea? Or just try to finish the project first and then go back and see if you should put in that brilliant new idea? This happens to me frequently, I would greatly appreciate some advice on how to handle it.


This happens to me fairly often as well. I'd say that what you want to do before anything else is work the story out to a logical conclusion in your head, using the new idea. Diagrams, in your head, notes, circles and arrows -- whatever, but don't start changing anything if it's not going to work beginning to end, and then and only then, I'd start wrting the rest of the manuscript as if you had already integrated the idea into the previous part. Don't start over, or you're likely to do this again and again. I can't stress enough how important it is to finish a first draft. At least then you have a framework from which to write.

Post Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:19 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
slow_loris
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thank you  Reply with quote  

thanks for the reply, I'll keep those suggestions in storage until the next brilliant idea comes along. I too believe in the power of the first draft. The second draft always kills me, though.

Post Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:30 pm   
funbagz



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
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For the book I am writing right now I had no idea what it was about until the 20th page, then I slowly worked out what it was going to be about. I'm almost done, but because I had no idea what it was going to be about until well into the book, I'm going to have to completely rewrite the first chapter. does anyone foresee any other problems with this approach?
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Post Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:50 am   View user's profile Send private message
chris
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Nope

Post Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:23 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
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Location: near Cleveland OH
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I thought you were asking us a writing question this time, Chris. I had a momentary lapse of reason Shocked
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Post Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:36 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Fairydust



Joined: 23 Aug 2004
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I'm writing a short story right now I knwo what I want it to be about but it's coming out really bad. I started writing a story when I was 14 and I didn't know what it was about until I was 18 and I just stopped writing it.
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Post Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:50 pm   View user's profile Send private message
KatarinaNavane



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For a short story, absolutely nothing. A sentance maybe. I just start writing with nothing and see where it goes. Often nowhere, but there's always editing to make it make sense.
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Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
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Location: Northeast U.S
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Wow- I'd say every project is different- the folks in my critique group call my approach "organic" which I think is a kind way to say "chaotic" ...

Anyway- the first novel began as an exercise in description and a plot formulated very quickly- what I've discovered is that it makes rewrites challenging- Having an idea about where you want it to ultimately end helps a lot, providing the framework in which to explore the fun stuff, like character....

The soap opera spoof was plotted before I wrote it ...

The second novel is mostly plotted, at least the main storyline is ....

For short stories I have used a series of prompts, from doing a tarot spread to decide what should go into it, to word lists- or a vague idea of what I want to address formulates and it moves from there...

Post Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:02 pm   View user's profile Send private message
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