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Progressing A Storyline

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Greetings, everyone

 

Does anyone have any tips on how to progress a storyline? I've got loads of projects started but, after so long, I run out of inspiration as I struggle to come up with ideas, plot points and characters etc.

 

I never seem to struggle to come up with an initial idea or a protagonist, hence why I have half a dozen things started, they just never get very far before I find it all too much and my attention switches. I also can't decide on the medium for a story - I might start writing it as a novel and, so far in to it, I feel it might work better as a script for a film. I've just come back to one that I thought was going to be a book and I don't know whether it would work as a comic book...

 

I've tried looking online for tips and there are a million different people all saying different things, so I thought I'd put a shout-out on here for 'normal' people to help me.

 

I'm happy if you want to PM me and we can have a bit of back-and-forth about it.

 

Cheers in advance

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Tried to reply via PM but unsure if it worked - if you didn't get it, PM me and I'll reply

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19 hours ago, leviathan13 said:

Greetings, everyone

 

Does anyone have any tips on how to progress a storyline? I've got loads of projects started but, after so long, I run out of inspiration as I struggle to come up with ideas, plot points and characters etc.

 

I never seem to struggle to come up with an initial idea or a protagonist, hence why I have half a dozen things started, they just never get very far before I find it all too much and my attention switches. I also can't decide on the medium for a story - I might start writing it as a novel and, so far in to it, I feel it might work better as a script for a film. I've just come back to one that I thought was going to be a book and I don't know whether it would work as a comic book...

 

I've tried looking online for tips and there are a million different people all saying different things, so I thought I'd put a shout-out on here for 'normal' people to help me.

 

I'm happy if you want to PM me and we can have a bit of back-and-forth about it.

 

Cheers in advance

Hello Leviathan.

I had the opposite problem.

My planned 150 page book turned into a 604 page Monster.

I'm on with the 2nd draft at the moment which although time consuming is rewarding.

Now I know whats coming and how the story ends, I have been able to tweak Characters 

personality's etc.

My first idea for a book was put to one side (like your good self, partly written but there to go back to at some point)

Other various ideas for books have also been put down along the way, but once into the new book the thing just flowed.

 

My biggest piece of advice came from Steven King of all people.

Not a particular fan of Steven King and don't really do the 'Horror' genre.

But his 'Stephen King - on writing' book has some sound advice (get the up-dated one)

Basically get it written down,

Sort it out later. 

Even if you don't have an ending,

Let the story flow,

Characters and events will come and go (or even get written out completely) 

 

I was lucky I did have a Beginning, Middle & End to aim for.

 

You might be suited to short story's to start off with but if you feel happy Script writing why not.

Something will click,

I'm sure you'll find your way.

 

So there you are.

Get it written down,

Sort it out later.

(believe me you will look back and think 'did I really write such crap')

 

Not quite sure if i'm 'Normal' enough to be giving advice

But enjoy the journey Leviathan.

 

Rocker.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Opinions and arseholes...  And this is very much a One True Arsehole subject for some.  What do you write?  Are you a blockbuster, page turner, inciting incident, rising conflict, flaws and wants and needs sort of bloke, or are you above all that?  Do you plot and plan, or do you get your head down and evacuate it all over the page?  Do you create your characters, analyse them, interrogate them, or are they more or less placeholders for whatever your themes and what not are?  Because all that, and how entrenched you are in whatever version of that you subscribe to, might influence how open you are to hearing from someone who might not work, plan, plot and write like you do.

 

So anyhow, in the absence of knowing any of that, I'll offer one suggestion: you sound like you need to be a plotter.  You need scene by scene structure and you need character analysis so that you never/seldom have to dig around for what/how your protagonist is going to think/react/do because you know his flaws, traits, background, psychology etc etc etc better than you know your own. 

 

I'm going to tentatively recommend a few books.  You might be sniffy at some, and some might be old news, but just in case:

 

Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them - John Yorke.  Excellent introduction to structure.  Positively gleeful about how some writers' work conforms despite their strenuous objections.

Write Away - Elizabeth George.  The crime writer.  Great on character creation.

Screenplay - Syd Field.  Popularised the themes discussed in Into the Woods.  Updated, and still worth reading.

Save The Cat Writes A Novel - Jessica Brody.  Yes, I know.  But it provides a backbone that you can bend and break as you like.  Better than the original on which this one is based.  But only if you're not above all that 😉 .

 

ETA: What do you write about?  You strike me as a bit Graham Masterton, but I haven't seen your posts in years and you might be now less satanism and more The Little Rainbow Cafe Of Love At Fluffy Cove.

Edited by Hecate

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

There's plenty to think about there and i massively appreciate all of your comments.

 

To answer a couple of points/questions:

 

I don't know what kind of writer i am as i've never finished any of my major projects. Years ago i was part of a creative writing group so i was massively in to writing poetry (i'm not saying i was any good at it, but i did enjoy it...), but i've never finished an actual story that i've started.

 

Most of the time i start to write and it flows until i get stuck. I've started three stories in different genres: '50s detective; sci-fi and fantasy and they all start the same way, in a bar/inn of some sort. I start them and have an idea for the endings... it's just working out an interesting/entertaining way of how to get from one to the other.

 

I've got the audiobook version of the Stephen King book but only prt the way through it (don't hate me - i got a deal where it was 99p and i could have Audible for three months).

 

But, i will investigate the other suggestions.

 

And, yes, my Satanic side has softened over time, even though i still agree with much of it.

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57 minutes ago, leviathan13 said:

Thank you all for your replies.

 

 i've never finished an actual story that i've started.

Most of the time i start to write and it flows until i get stuck. I've started three stories in different genres:

 I start them and have an idea for the endings... it's just working out an interesting/entertaining way of how to get from one to the other.

 

 (my editing )

I was stuck about two chapters away from the ending & couldn't even write my own name.

The ideas for the ending had been sewn almost from the beginning and had improved to the point I'd even the final sentences ready. 

OK, writing the ending and going back might be unorthodox but it worked.

 

Keep at it.

 

 

 

 

 

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