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Topic: **How do you keep your thoughts straight??**

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Subject: **How do you keep your thoughts straight??**
Date Posted: 8/6/2013 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2009
Posts: 73
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I have a few ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for a few years that I want to write. I have made a few attempts in the past and they are all disasterous! I start out one way and then mid-way through the book I have taked a completely different approach. I then realize I will have to re-write the entire beginning and I quit. Other times I start writing but then get confused as to what I have already written (especially specific events/traits of characters), so yet again I get discouraged and quit. I have at least half a dozen failed attempts tossed to the side. Any thoughts, suggestions, advice or similar stories?


Thanks for the help / guidance.

Date Posted: 8/6/2013 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Best thing I can advise you to do is BEFORE you start writing the story.

Write a short summary of what the MAIN story arc is going to be. IE  Girl gets kidnapped by wizards and taken to a college to force her to learn how to use magic, during that time she finds out she speaks a different wizard language and wakes a dragon who leads her to an old wizard college previously thought lost. (this is my current storyline that I am working on atm)

Then write out a timeline, showing events major ones to start with.  (can be done by time, day, month or even by scene).

Write down the small story arcs in the story. (girl makes a mistake of seducing her buddy and has to gain back his trust..  girl translates older documents into english to work out the dragons clues, girl seeks others who can read the old wizard language and translate it into the newer language).

Then as you write the story, ADD to that timeline adding minor plot points on that time line.

Character sheets are a MUST. If you don't know your characters well enough to write one up, then they WILL change and things get messy. http://www.eclectics.com/articles/character.html   Is pretty intense and long BUT you will know your characters at the end.  DO one for all major characters and a shorter one for minor characters that impact the story line.    If you are writing and invent a character mid story, stop and write up the character sheet, add them to the story line.

Also a good writing program can help.  Ywriter http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html  is a good, free and easy to use writing program.

Rewriting is the main thing all writers do, to get better, to tighten a story and to have it make sense :)


Date Posted: 8/10/2013 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Most first drafts are a mess. Don't panic, clean it up later and keep writing. I honestly believe finishing things is the more important than fiddling endlessly with things in a first draft. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

ETA - Also: writing is hard. It's a lot of work and sometimes awful and heartbreaking (i.e. when you realize you have to rewrite the whole beginning). That's unfortunately the gig. The only thing that makes it better is writing a lot.

Last Edited on: 8/10/13 5:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1