WatchNon-threaded

Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Message

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

Tips?

6 months ago

Hey guys, I've really been trying to gain motivation and creative juice to write a solid CYOA here. I have plenty of ideas flying around in my head, but motivation is hard to come by these days (depressing life shit) and I need to find it somehow. So, if you guys have anything that helps you on that front, please leave those down below.

But the main point of me posting this thread is transitioning from a comic book writing format to a full-fledged story. Some history: I've been writing for about 5 years, but as a child, I was literally grounded all the time and spend all of my free time writing. Well, in this time, I was not writing novels or short stories, but rather writing and drawing comics in an issue format. Ever since then, I've had plenty of ideas in my head that would fit neatly into this said format, but, I'm having trouble getting my thoughts into a novel format. I've also been out of writing for a couple of years.

I was just wondering if anybody would know how to train myself to format and plan my stories in a novel format (and I've browsed Google, and read plenty of articles that say plan, plan, plan, but I find it so difficult to do so.) Usually I have a solid plot with an open ending and endless subplots that keep the story juicy until the overarching plot is resolved. I found that I was very good at writing subplots and developing characters, but novel format is difficult for me.

I don't even know if this made sense, but fingers crossed somebody understands and will take time to help me out. Thanks.

Tips?

6 months ago
If planning doesn't work, have you tried just writing? Just sit down and start typing and see where your story goes.

Tips?

6 months ago
Commended by EndMaster on 2/17/2018 8:39:55 PM

I don't really have experience with issue format, so this advice might be a bit general.

Remember that with purely written stories, you can have a lot more vagueness. Stuff like time, when things happen, is going to be a lot more vague than in say, a movie.
Time vagueness is probably present in comics, but less so since readers will probably fill in the transitions between panels with their imagination.

The way things actually look can be surprisingly vague, given the prevalence of description. Note that you don't have to describe a character perfectly, describing each piece of their outfit and features will take a while if you go overboard. Same thing goes for the location the scene is in, it can be vaguely described.
In comics, since you draw things, character outfits and the locations will be a lot more concrete, less imagination in that regard on the readers part.

Granted, all this isn't a rule, it is more of a common path (from what I gather). Depending on your style, you can describe characters looks a whole lot, and you can describe the locations a lot. Heck, even with time you can get more specific (although I feel this will be a bit more difficult to achieve compared to the other two).

Anyway, the main point I'm trying to make, I suppose, is that you should keep in mind that different mediums have different strengths. Try to play to these strengths, or at least keep them in mind, it might help you when trying to figure out how to go about translating your ideas into writing.

If you have the spare time, try taking a look at a movie adaptation of a book, and then read the book (or the other way around), and play spot the difference.
Obviously comic to novel is going to be different, but it might help you get over the issue with converting between two mediums.

As was suggested, give writing without planning a go. You don't necessarily have to try and do this with your main ideas, but just writing anything might help you figure out ways to plan better in the future.

Writing/art collaborations is a thread by CrashAndDive that you might want to give a shot. Try asking for a prompt, and writing something for it. If you are the first one who does this you are pretty much guaranteed a drawing!
Why do I suggest this? Well seeing the way people translate your writing into a drawing could be interesting, specially since you might already have a good idea of what would look nice given your prior experience. It should also highlight the vagueness I mentioned earlier, as the drawer will have to use their own imagination to do a lot of the work (assuming it is more than just a sketch).

Another thing you can try and do is to write in issue format without the pictures, and then doing paragraph breaks for the different panels. Then just add in some description for what would be seen in the pictures if they were there.

Have you heard the saying, a picture tells a thousand words? Keep that in mind, since you probably don't want to be writing a thousand words each time (since the scene might not change much, or it might end up ruining the pacing). This sort of relates to the vagueness of description I mentioned earlier, it is a useful skill to be able to make use of the reader's imagination. Obviously but, do what works for you, as there really are many ways to go about writing.

I should also mention, don't be overly critical on yourself either, perfect writing without redrafts/proofreading is pretty much impossible the first time around. Also, while it is important to spot the mistakes in your writing, you don't want to forget about the good parts. Not to mention that if you constantly focus on the negative, you'll probably find motivation harder to find as well, which is never fun.

Another thing, I suggest starting on the smaller end, since CYOAs really aren't the easiest thing to write. They have all the hurdles of regular stories, but then you add in a bunch of CYOA specific ones. This is another reason to try the thread I linked above, as it won't be a CYOA (meaning it should be considerably easier to write).

TL;DR
There are many ways to go about writing, above is just my advice based on how I understood some things.
Remember to look for the good in your writing, can help motivation, is also a good thing to do.
Play to the strengths of the medium (ie. vagueness and using the readers imagination, but there is a lot more to it than just this).

Tips?

6 months ago

Thank you for taking the time to write this out and help me. Describing things has always been my fatal flaw in writing novels. I feel like it's either to basic or it's to much, I never am satisfied with the way I describe characters and environments.

Also, when I begin writing and have to stop for unforeseen reasons, it's almost near impossible for me to pick back up where I left off. I have a graveyard of stories that I have 40,000 words to but have major trouble going back and adding onto them (i think it's also because of the intimidating CYOA format).

Tips?

6 months ago
What is it specifically about the planning phase you're having trouble with? Plotting a novel isn't significantly different from a shorter story or even a comic book. As far as the actual major plot beats go, a story is a story. In fact a novel is the easiest thing to write in a lot of ways. You can be more indulgent in what you actually include and give scenes more time to breathe without a tight length restriction or the need to actually draw and caption everything.

Anyway I'm not able to go all out with any kind of effort post tonight but it would help to identify where the actual hangup is for you.

Tips?

6 months ago

I think my main problem with plotting a novel or a CYOA instead of a comic book is the fact that I have a lot more breathing room. When writing a comic book, I almost never had the ending in my mind when I start, but for some reason I have an urge to decide exactly where the story goes, because this is what authors do to make there stories more concrete.

Sometimes I would simply walk into an issue after a plot would resolve and simply write the next one blind, and it would spin off into plenty of other interesting subplots. Instead, when writing a CYOA, I could see the story getting extremely messy and incoherent, especially if I write to many paths and have to go back to an unmotivated plot that I have long since resolved (and/or forgot about).

I also have a formatting problem. I used to handwrite my plot lines, but as of now it's very difficult for me to sit down and write and plan. I think it may be because I don't have any organization skills or any way to format it to appeal to me. I would write plotlines in chunks, say, a subplot with a character gains an interesting development, and then I would know the general area it would go next. Again, I never had an ending in mind and was always open-ended (kind of like the only story so far I've published, which wasn't planned at all, and you can probably tell with the randomness of that story).

Tips?

6 months ago
You've said you've researched how to plot novels so I won't bother just repeating the standard advice. But my outlines all start with the simple first step of opening up a new document and summarizing a plot in 1-3 sentences. It forces you to take a bunch of scattered ideas and compose them into something more focused these you can then expand on in a systematic way.

Maybe I'll post one of mine when I get home.

Tips?

6 months ago

What kind of writing software do you have available to you?

I used to hand write everything before I got my own computer, and I'd make notes in all the margins and the blank spot at the top, or sometimes even on the duo-tang/binder itself (if the color was light enough to do so).

Learning how to put notes on your computer documents might be a good place to start.  Depending on what software you have, different people might be able to tell you how to actually manipulate said programs.

Tips?

6 months ago

I have Google Docs at my disposal, but thats it.

Tips?

6 months ago
Scrivener is vastly superior.

Also I forgot about this thread, I guess I should go inside and dig up an outline.