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  1. #1

    Writing Process?

    Just curious what everyone does when they begin a new story or continue an existing one.

    What helps me most right now for editing the plots and getting ideas for new ones, I just make a bunch of lists and outlines, moving them around to see where they fit best. Sometimes I just write out simple actions from beginning to end, or try to, without worrying about dialogue. For example: The girl picks up the fruit and puts it in her basket. She tells her friend about her dream while she's doing this. I try to keep it simple. Later I start fleshing it out with dialogue, imagery, any research I might need to do, etc. etc.

    I also try do dedicate a notebook to each story / character / collection I write. Working at an office supply store this tends to work out in my favor XD (a lot of notebooks etc. tend to go on clearance after the back-to-school season). So far I'm keeping to this method. I don't have to dig around for one character amongst the story ideas for 5 others. I don't usually start off typing it out on the computer.

  2. #2
    I am not much of a writer (and only really write for comics, I stopped writing writing in highschool (2002) when my harddrive at the time had a hard disk failure and took everything with it).

    I seem to go through several layers of things, I have a rough idea of the story, and then I start imagining up scenarios, I might do the same scenario over and over again for a while until I can resolve it, or decide it doesn't work. If I resolve it I write down a rough idea, and from there I'm either going to script it, or thumbnail it, or do a little bit of both. (This is where my writing process tends to fall apart because I'm so bad at staying focused, even after several revisions of a section before getting to the "real" thing I often still do some minor revisions, and occasionally larger ones).

    I have a onenote file with everything for any particular world or story idea in it, only problem being right now that onenote is on my older computer, and I don't have microsoft office on my new one. I really love onenote since you can drag and drop anything into it and set up tabs and things. And it's a little easier than trying to maintain physical notebooks for me since I've already got sketchbooks to try to keep up with.
    Fish heads! Fish heads! Rolly polly fish heads! Fish heads! Fish heads! Eat them up! Yum!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by lorenith View Post
    I am not much of a writer (and only really write for comics, I stopped writing writing in highschool (2002) when my harddrive at the time had a hard disk failure and took everything with it).

    I seem to go through several layers of things, I have a rough idea of the story, and then I start imagining up scenarios, I might do the same scenario over and over again for a while until I can resolve it, or decide it doesn't work. If I resolve it I write down a rough idea, and from there I'm either going to script it, or thumbnail it, or do a little bit of both. (This is where my writing process tends to fall apart because I'm so bad at staying focused, even after several revisions of a section before getting to the "real" thing I often still do some minor revisions, and occasionally larger ones).

    I have a onenote file with everything for any particular world or story idea in it, only problem being right now that onenote is on my older computer, and I don't have microsoft office on my new one. I really love onenote since you can drag and drop anything into it and set up tabs and things. And it's a little easier than trying to maintain physical notebooks for me since I've already got sketchbooks to try to keep up with.
    I can sympathize with focusing on some ideas - I try to leave them alone and come back to them later on so I won't over think it. That totally sucks about the hard drive failure If you remember any of it, why not try to rewrite it? It wouldn't hurt and the stories might wind up better than they were!

    Evernote is a free program that's a lot like Onenote. You should check it out! I use it when I'm not able to write in my notebooks for quick things like character name ideas and the like.

  4. #4
    I'll have to give evernote a try thanks for the suggestion!

    One of my other big problems is that sometimes if I'm stuck somewhere I'll start writing, then I'll forgot that I wrote pages and pages in one of my notebooks. It's always fun to find that stuff later though!

    I've sense abandoned the stories I lost way back in 2002, I've been thinking of repurposing the characters and the base idea for a while, but it's largely a thing on the back burner.
    Fish heads! Fish heads! Rolly polly fish heads! Fish heads! Fish heads! Eat them up! Yum!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by lorenith View Post
    I'll have to give evernote a try thanks for the suggestion!

    One of my other big problems is that sometimes if I'm stuck somewhere I'll start writing, then I'll forgot that I wrote pages and pages in one of my notebooks. It's always fun to find that stuff later though!

    I've sense abandoned the stories I lost way back in 2002, I've been thinking of repurposing the characters and the base idea for a while, but it's largely a thing on the back burner.
    You're welcome!

    Repurposing characters can be so hard sometimes but also fun. What I've done in the past is merge two together, as on their own they're weak, but when combining them it becomes a new character that has twice the depth and personality.

  6. #6
    Hmm, first, my general process for work writing goes like this:

    Before I ever write an article, I usually brainstorm for ideas and then list them all in a Word document full of similar ideas. For example, I used to work for a blogger that published online articles about divorce, marriage, and family law. I pretty much had a Word Doc labelled "divorce article ideas." Probably not the most efficient method of organizing, but it works for me. Then I'll conduct research and formulate talking points for each idea, until I have enough source material and original thought to create a decent-sized article (anywhere from 2-to-5 paragraphs, as needed). I list all of the talking points and sources as bullets under the original idea on the Word doc. Then I organize the points and formulate a general direction I want the article to go, and voila! Research always takes the longest, but during reading and organizing for an article, I can sometimes get an idea for a second or even third article.

    After the article is finished, I select the idea and all of its bullet points and either a) move it to the bottom of the document and highlight it as "finished" or b) transfer to a new document for "finished" or otherwise expounded ideas that had successfully been transformed into articles. I started doing b) for Word docs that got too full of finished article ideas; I don't want to delete the idea and bullet points, since I might need them for later, but I don't like to clutter my Word Doc either. New ideas that I haven't researched yet remain on the top of the original Word Doc. I usually slash out ideas that don't have enough substance to expand into articles; but I don't delete them, because who knows? I might need them later.

    Quote Originally Posted by insanejoker View Post
    What helps me most right now for editing the plots and getting ideas for new ones, I just make a bunch of lists and outlines, moving them around to see where they fit best. Sometimes I just write out simple actions from beginning to end, or try to, without worrying about dialogue. For example: The girl picks up the fruit and puts it in her basket. She tells her friend about her dream while she's doing this. I try to keep it simple. Later I start fleshing it out with dialogue, imagery, any research I might need to do, etc. etc.
    This is generally what I do for creative personal fiction. I don't do the individual notebook thing though; I used to, but I would get discouraged by "dedicating" one notebook for one purpose and then abandoning that story later. I also make so many changes to stories as I write that notebooks because inefficient for me. I think I completely quit using notebooks after I lost one full of important notes (places, names, etc...), and I already had enough notebooks that had the first few pages filled out for one story (with the rest empty), that I switched to purely digital.

    I usually work in Word Docs for story ideas, with a general document for Ideas, and separate folders for stories I'm actively working on. The folders have the prose separated into chapters, the plot/outline, and the places/names/etc... are all separate Word Docs. I always back everything up and email them to myself after I make changes, ever since the Lost Notebook Fiasco haha.

    My husband also works with notebooks, though I think he prefers One Note. I've never tried it or Evernote, but maybe I should? I might like those programs better than organizing my notes in Word documents haha.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Nattles View Post
    Hmm, first, my general process for work writing goes like this:

    Before I ever write an article, I usually brainstorm for ideas and then list them all in a Word document full of similar ideas. For example, I used to work for a blogger that published online articles about divorce, marriage, and family law. I pretty much had a Word Doc labelled "divorce article ideas." Probably not the most efficient method of organizing, but it works for me. Then I'll conduct research and formulate talking points for each idea, until I have enough source material and original thought to create a decent-sized article (anywhere from 2-to-5 paragraphs, as needed). I list all of the talking points and sources as bullets under the original idea on the Word doc. Then I organize the points and formulate a general direction I want the article to go, and voila! Research always takes the longest, but during reading and organizing for an article, I can sometimes get an idea for a second or even third article.

    After the article is finished, I select the idea and all of its bullet points and either a) move it to the bottom of the document and highlight it as "finished" or b) transfer to a new document for "finished" or otherwise expounded ideas that had successfully been transformed into articles. I started doing b) for Word docs that got too full of finished article ideas; I don't want to delete the idea and bullet points, since I might need them for later, but I don't like to clutter my Word Doc either. New ideas that I haven't researched yet remain on the top of the original Word Doc. I usually slash out ideas that don't have enough substance to expand into articles; but I don't delete them, because who knows? I might need them later.



    This is generally what I do for creative personal fiction. I don't do the individual notebook thing though; I used to, but I would get discouraged by "dedicating" one notebook for one purpose and then abandoning that story later. I also make so many changes to stories as I write that notebooks because inefficient for me. I think I completely quit using notebooks after I lost one full of important notes (places, names, etc...), and I already had enough notebooks that had the first few pages filled out for one story (with the rest empty), that I switched to purely digital.

    I usually work in Word Docs for story ideas, with a general document for Ideas, and separate folders for stories I'm actively working on. The folders have the prose separated into chapters, the plot/outline, and the places/names/etc... are all separate Word Docs. I always back everything up and email them to myself after I make changes, ever since the Lost Notebook Fiasco haha.

    My husband also works with notebooks, though I think he prefers One Note. I've never tried it or Evernote, but maybe I should? I might like those programs better than organizing my notes in Word documents haha.
    I forgot about the losing notebooks thing - I guess I should start backing this stuff up as everyone seems to be losing them XD I'm scared to lose mine now ._.

    What you do for the word doc things is what I actually do sometimes for my art ideas XD Just make a list of ideas and whatnot for later use. I've separated my big story from miscellaneous stories I'm working in my files. I don't like clutter - I get OCD when the files become a mess. >< Though I love that you shared insight on what your process is for non-fiction. It's such a different field and not something I can ever see myself doing. It also seems difficult to do.

    As for Evernote: It's really nice. It's got digital notebooks and you can move them around, rename them and reorganize them as time goes on. And it's free. XD So it doesn't hurt to try it!

  8.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #8
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    I guess I've never really had a 'process' per se, but lately I've been doing the following:
    1.) Sit at the desk for long periods of time (many hours), thinking. I will have a blank document open during this time in case I come up with something decent.
    2.) Once I have a basic idea, start an outline. I write the whole story in bullet points. This process takes a few days, sometimes longer, because I try to make it all make sense. If I get stuck, I go back to step one and start thinking about how to resolve it.
    3.) Once I have a complete outline, I walk away for a day or two, then come back to it and read it again. This is where I'll re-organize or make changes if I can see a better way to do something.
    4.) Write a rough draft.
    5.) Walk away for a few weeks or a month, then come back and re-read. Make changes as necessary to the plot.
    6.) Read it again and try to fix basic things, like language, sentence length, etc.
    7.) Read it again and check for any other problems.
    8.) Read it again just for the heck of it.
    9.) Send it to someone I know for his or her opinion, and then make those recommended changes if I think they're good.
    10.) Read it again if I decided to make changes in step nine.
    11.) Story is more or less done.

    I'm doing it this way now because my process used to be: start writing, write for a while, get stuck for three months, start to lose interest in the project, start feeling hopeless, force myself to sit down and finish it, walk away feeling like the final product is garbage. Needless to say, that method wasn't working for me, so now I plan things ahead of time. That way if I get stuck, all I have is an outline, so I don't feel like I've wasted a whole bunch of time writing a bad story. I also spend a lot more time not writing, and just thinking about things. Some people can write gold right from the tops of their heads, but that's not me. I can write bronze that way, but sometimes I like to try to write gold, and that takes some consideration.

  9. #9
    Senior Rilvor's Avatar
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    Right now I am mostly writing short bits that I felt inspired to write on a whim (Which has been fun, enjoyable, and good for development I think), so it's hard to say. I tend to roll an idea or concept around in my head for anywhere from a day to a couple weeks flicking through mental images, dialogue, character interactions, emotions, etc., before deciding to just fucking do it already and suddenly it all kind of falls together.

    I have tons of scraps of paper with ideas or images written on them for when the mood catches or the prompt on it leaps out at me with motivation.

    But then on the other hand, my fiance recently challenged me to write something out of the blue with just the vague prompt and it somehow turned out great. So I don't even know.

  10. #10
    Frank: I like that you're able to walk away from your work for a bit to let things settle. Its always good to get a fresh perspective on something you've been staring at for awhile!

    Rilvor: I've just started practicing writing with prompts. It's definitely different, but I like that it makes you think about different situations and things you wouldn't normally think of.

 

 

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