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The Lone Dragon

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LBT Author's Q&A
« on: September 14, 2016, 07:44:40 AM »
I recently had an idea after reading some of the newer fanfictions here. To have a Questions and Answers or an equivalent of an Ask Me thread for LBT authors. Here authors can discuss fanfic ideas and provide each other with inspiration and tips. In addition anyone can ask (author or not) any question to any of the LBT authors here on the forum about the stories (LBT related) that they have written as well ask for tips on fanfic writing for new authors like a good Q&A, a good way to exchange stories and tips as well as feedback.

Advise I would give to new authors would be to perhaps watch an LBT movie and pay attention to how the characters talk, think and interact to help get into the correct character mindset when writing.

And now a fun fact about my LBT fanfic The Swimmer Trials. I got my inspiration to write from Rhombus's The Seven Hunters and I got the idea of The Swimmer Trials from one of Ducky123's RP's The Great Day of The Swimmers.

If there is a question that I would like to ask one of the authors here it's this: Ducky123 what inspired you to first start writing your fanfictions The astonishing journey to The Land of Many Wonders and Shorty's Dark Past?

Anyway I hope you all find this thread interesting, fun and beneficial. I wasn't sure were to place this thread but I figured this will be the best place.
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Ducky123

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 11:18:40 AM »
Now that's what I call a great idea!

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Advise I would give to new authors would be to perhaps watch an LBT movie and pay attention to how the characters talk, think and interact to help get into the correct character mindset when writing.
I highly second that. Another thing that I find to be quite helpful is reading, whether that be fanfiction, Harry Potter books or a thriller. I've learned a lot from reading, especially things concerning the style of your writing...
And of course, it's an additional challenge to write in a language that is not your native tongue. For those of you, whose native tongue is not english, I can only recommend to write in english anyway. Through the critics you will receive (and maybe you'll even find somebody kind enough to look for mistakes before you publish your writing? I've had many people who helped me with this, thus helping me to improve my grammar and also use of words) you will improve your language with every chapter. Just be confident, I started with really mediocre english skills and now I'm writing english as if I've never had any trouble with it  ^^spike

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And now a fun fact about my LBT fanfic The Swimmer Trials. I got my inspiration to write from Rhombus's The Seven Hunters and I got the idea of The Swimmer Trials from one of Ducky123's RP's The Great Day of The Swimmers.
Even bigger fun fact: Without me, there might not have been a Seven Hunters fanfiction in the first place :p it was rhombus who inspired me to start the Sudden Change of Species RP (was something he wrote in some game in the party room...) and that inspired him to write the Seven Hunters and its two sequels :p

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If there is a question that I would like to ask one of the authors here it's this: Ducky123 what inspired you to first start writing your fanfictions The astonishing journey to The Land of Many Wonders and Shorty's Dark Past?
I will have to be honest, I have no idea where the idea for my first fanfiction came from. It was kind of badly planned and thought through which is why I got stuck at some point. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever pick up writing it. If I did, I'd probably rewrite this from scratch :p
Shorty's Dark Past: Well, either while watching LBT 10 or reading threads about him, I noticed how underdeveloped Shorty was as a character and besides, I found that Ali should have been in LBT 10 so that kinda led to the rough story idea. It was also badly planned through at the beginning (I daresay all chapters before chapter 10-15 are pretty bad :p). Oh, and we all know LBT 10 also had quite a few... plotholes. Wanted to fix those.
I'm one of those writers who only have a rough plan in mind and let inspiration and spontaneous ideas write the story. Of course, I have all major plot ideas planned but everything inbetween, including character interaction, development and just... anything that I write inbetween major scenes, is not planned... I usually try to have a rough plan for 2-3 chapters though so I know what to write next. The ideas usually come as I write. Moreover, it's probably interesting to note that most of the OC's that appear in the story weren't planned when I started the story. Cho is the best example there. Originally, she was supposed to be nothing more than somebody Shorty can bully around but then I got more and more ideas for her personality and interactions with other characters. Kind of changed what I want to do with the story later on  :smile
Oh, and I shouldn't forget to mention that the storytelling of Littlefoot kind of turned into a story within the story  :p

I currently can't think of any questions to ask but I'd love to discuss story ideas if you guys have some to share  :D
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Sneak

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 11:35:09 AM »
thank you for creating this thread. I'm very interested in reading your stories about stories, lol .:D

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Even bigger fun fact: Without me, there might not have been a Seven Hunters fanfiction in the first place dino_tongue.gif it was rhombus who inspired me to start the Sudden Change of Species RP (was something he wrote in some game in the party room...) and that inspired him to write the Seven Hunters and its two sequels
now that's what I call general "life chain". events chain.
complex and beautiful, isn't it? :D
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ADFan185

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 04:50:45 PM »
Yeah I'm also interested in reading your stuff. Since I have time on my hands.

The Lone Dragon

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2016, 09:04:23 PM »
Well I'm glad to see that the idea has had a good reception yes, yes, yes.

Well in terms of ideas you said it yourself once Ducky123, an idea of a fanfiction that he grows up with his father then meets his mother. That would be interesting. Another little fun fact is that apart from the imaginative stories I wrote on school this is the first I've done of my own accord.

Oh and Ducky in terms of SDP, the first few chapter may have looked like a mess but you had very good quality and now you writing has improved greatly since in the later chapters.

I've also been having an idea to write about the first week of the Gang's hatching in a series, showing each character and their families during their first week. I might write that if time allows.  

In terms of questions.....lets think..... I think I have one. Rhombus did you do any creative writing before you started writing TSH?

Interested what other ideas you all have.

rhombus

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 12:50:52 AM »
This was a great idea for an interactive topic.  :yes Unfortunately I do not have much time at the moment to discuss story ideas (I have to lecture at 8am tomorrow) but I would like to address Lone Dragon's question before I head to bed.

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In terms of questions.....lets think..... I think I have one. Rhombus did you do any creative writing before you started writing TSH?

Before I started on the Seven Hunters my creative writing was limited to a few poems and 2 or 3 Dune short stories (less than 1000 words) that I wrote when I was eighteen.  So I was (and still am) pretty much a beginning when it comes to creative writing.  Nonetheless I am glad that many people enjoyed The Seven Hunters, and I hope that I continue to develop as a writer.

As for the Seven Hunters... there is quite a story behind that story.  As Ducky noted, I had the general idea of the gang changing into sharpteeth for a few years when I mentioned it in a 'what would they do' game in the Party Room.  From there Ducky got the idea to start the Sudden Change of Species RP... which in turned spurred me on to plan and begin writing the Seven Hunters.  The plan for the story (with later revisions) totaled about 30,000 words, though the story diverged from the original plan after about chapter 30.  In fact, I send Ducky the revised plan, but he never got the original plan.  Just to give you some idea of how different the original plan was, originally: the rainbowfaces would not have been explained and would have disappeared after chapter 30, Taunt would have died, the Littlefoot/Ruby romance was not planned, the Taunt/Cera romance was not planned, and Calin was going to be a minor character.  

So... yeah... the story went in a much different (and better, in my opinion) direction once the narrative began to write itself.  It's funny how stories begin to take on a life of their own sometimes.  :yes


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Mender's Tale
Mender's Tale.

Sovereign

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 05:57:29 PM »
This is a question for anyone who has written a long (100k word+) fanfic. How thoroughly did you plan out your stories before you started to write? Did/do you know every sideplot, OC and detail about your stories right away or do you fill in the blank parts as you approach them? I'm planning to do two stories (one LBT and one non-LBT) and while I've got some serious ideas on how I'll do them, there are still many details to be thought out before I can get to writing. When I wrote my first long story, I must say that it wasn't too well planned out and it missed a lot of its potential because of that. So, did you begin writing mostly on instinct or did did you have a many-paged plan done in advance?

Sneak

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 07:30:32 PM »
Quote from: Sovereign,Mar 19 2017 on  12:57 AM
How thoroughly did you plan out your stories before you started to write? Did/do you know every sideplot, OC and detail about your stories right away or do you fill in the blank parts as you approach them?
THIS

Thank you for asking that, since I wanted to ask that on public long time ago.

I asked Julian that question personally in such context:
"- How much time do you spend on ideas, sketches, editing, and then - on final writing?
- How do you write your story? Do you write only basic events and dialogues at first, then you add content, descriptions, and after that - final editing part? Or you use different way of creating?"

I would like to see writers' stories and advices. :)

The Chronicler

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 09:20:38 PM »
Quote from: Sovereign,Mar 18 2017 on  05:57 PM
This is a question for anyone who has wrought a long (100k word+) fanfic. How thoroughly did you plan out your stories before you started to write? Did/do you know every sideplot, OC and detail about your stories right away or do you fill in the blank parts as you approach them? I'm planning to do two stories (one LBT and one non-LBT) and while I've got some serious ideas on how I'll do them, there are still many details to be thought out before I can get to writing. When I wrote my first long story, I must say that it wasn't too well planned out and it missed a lot of its potential because of that. So, did you begin writing mostly on instinct or did did you have a many-paged plan done in advance?
I wrote fanfiction for LBT from around 2008 to 2013, then my preference shifted to My Little Pony since 2014, but nearly all of the stories I've written over the past decade have each totaled over 100,000 words, so I guess that puts me in a position to answer this question.

When it comes to writing these really long stories, what I typically do first is set an approximate date of when I plan to start writing a few months ahead, to be followed soon after with a specific date on when to start posting it online. I then spend those few months simply thinking over how the story will go. I come up with a basic idea of the sequence of events, from beginning to end. Sometimes, I need to really think about the sequence, trying to figure out things like why the characters would go to a certain location, for example. Spending a few months simply thinking things over gives me plenty of time to consider the potential issues my story idea faces and, one way or another, I'm able to make things work by the time I get around to writing it out.

When it comes to the actual writing, I have the general idea of the sequence of events already planned, but my approach on the specific details tends to be a bit of a mixed bag. There are some details I come up with early on that stick around until it's time for me to write it down, such as an especially funny quote or action that I simply have to include. Other details, such as some less exciting filler material that nevertheless is still important to advancing the story, I find myself unable to come up with anything specific until it's time for me to actually write it, so I find myself making it up as I go in those portions, sometimes with surprisingly great results.

But I think the real key to writing such very long stories is to simply keep going on it and not stop writing until the story's finished. I'm a rather slow writer, so it tends to take me quite a lot of time to write each chapter. Typing it up in a Word Document, my average writing speed is about one page per hour, but that can easily vary depending on the content of the chapter. If it's something I've already got mostly planned out in detail, I tend to get it done rather quickly, while chapters that still have a lot of blank space that I need to fill in can take me more than twice as longer than average as I need to keep coming up with every detail as I go. But regardless of the speed, I'm always able to set enough aside time to get them all done.

And most importantly, I set myself a deadline for completing each chapter, which for me is a certain day of the week, once every two weeks for each chapter. With my self-imposed deadlines, I'm able to keep the story going at a steady pace so that readers will know that I intend to get the whole thing finished, and to ensure that I keep going, no matter how difficult certain parts might be. For me, there's no such thing as writer's block; just certain parts that are more difficult to get through than others.

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DaveTheAnalyzer

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2017, 10:19:35 PM »
I don’t know wordlengths, whatever the story length, whether a one-shot or a multichapter story, I usually have a plot outline. For multi-chapter stories, each chapter is summarized in eighteen lines each. For one-shots, the line length and number of paragraphs are far more varying, to do with scene or theme change. I usually summarize things in a balance between being specific enough to know where I’m going, but vague enough to have wiggle room for creativity. Sometimes I got very specific to make a point clear and go vague because I don’t know what’ll happen. Sometimes vaguing can trip me up (choreographing fight scenes AAAAH!) but other times it does allow me to make some great things up on the spot.

As an example of how I plot and summarize my stories, here’s my outline for Familial Tour:

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Summary: When Bron and Shorty make their first visit to the Great Valley, Littlefoot is delighted to introduce them to his friends and the amazing sights. With two new companions and old and new tensions, shall this tour go as smoothly as Littlefoot hopes?
Story Goals: Have Bron and Shorty get to know and better appreciate Littlefoot’s accomplishments and his friends. Get along with friends. Shorty better fits into the family. Story
Summary: Littlefoot’s on his way to play with his friends when he notices a commotion. He’s delighted to see Bron and Shorty leading the herd in. He nuzzles Bron and then Shorty, which embarrasses the latter. The grandparents greet them and help marshal the herd in what would be done in their stay. Some mutter about Bron just favoring his son but Bron said there are genuine positives to stopping in the Great Valley. Shorty was pleased to be welcomed by the grandparents. Littlefoot had a quiet conversation about how to introduce Ruby and especially Chomper. Littlefoot puts it off until later, worrying about how Bron will take to other dinosaurs. Cera and the others arrive, offering to leave Littlefoot with his family but Littlefoot insists they come along.

They meet Topsy, Tria, and Tricia. Bron and Topsy have a brief verbal scuffle over the validity of the longneck migration but Bron smooths it over by cooing over Tricia. Cera brings up Tria being her stepmother to Shorty. The gang’s adventures and tangling with Redclaw get brought up. Mama Flyer comes along and she and Bron briefly commiserate on the difficulty of being a single parent. Petrie returns informing the gang he couldn’t track Ruby and Chomper. Littlefoot decides to play it by ear as an apology to Petrie. Shorty finds the gang’s behavior suspicious but says nothing. Littlefoot got reassured he didn’t need to press himself so much in the tour. Bron and Mama Swimmer talk about adoption, Spike’s delight over their parents making Shorty feel better. They decide to get a view of the valley when Ruby and Chomper arrive.

Littlefoot allows the pair to decide to meet Bron and Shorty while Littlefoot prepares his family for the reveal. They are still shocked by Chomper and Ruby. Some innocent comments from Chomper about “pest control” cause tension but the others move to their defense. Chomper and Ruby offer to lead the route to the valley view. Littlefoot had a quiet conversation with Bron and Shorty about why he’s friends with the pair, Bron and Shorty thinking the pair were deceptive and their needs presented a danger, Littlefoot assuring the pair were good, how his mother’s death influenced his friendship with Chomper, and filling in some of their past. Guilty when Littlefoot breaks down, Bron and Shorty decide to give Ruby and Chomper a chance.

They get some great views, mentioning the many dangers the valley had. Shorty wryly says the Valley wasn’t as safe as said. The gang point out the valley, though sometimes at each other’s throats, worked together to survive these disasters. The gang expresses exasperation in the adventures they get into but stick by Littlefoot. The valley and the gang’s example make Bron consider integrating his herd one day. Shorty wondered when he could made such a contribution.

After a few more stops, they decide to pause the tour and play hide and seek. While they hide, Littlefoot asked Ducky for advice on how to act around adoptive brothers. Just as Bron found them, Littlefoot slides down to a steam shooter are and Chomper tackled him out of the way of a steam shooter. Bron rescued Chomper and Littlefoot. Bron warms up to Chomper. He does the same for Ruby after finding her and Petrie, where they talk about her learning interests. Shorty talks with Cera and Spike, learning it was okay to find to both like Littlefoot and find him annoying. They plot how to get back at Littlefoot.

With Ruby suggesting they use Bron’s tail as a slid, Cera and Shorty step in to suggest the risk of falling into a nearby mud put. The others slide down Bron’s tail and enjoy themselves. With Spike pretending to be stuck in the mud, Shorty and Cera offer to help Littlefoot pull Spike out. Teasing Littlefoot, they shove him into the mud. Happy Shorty was happy, Littlefoot laughed, and a mud fight ensued, briefly paused when Shorty struck Chomper. He was relieved to find Chomper laugh and join in the fun. Shorty throws mud at Bron to invite him into the game and Bron send a wave of mud at the gang. They are stunned but fall over laughing.

Bidding a warm farewell to Cera and the others, Littlefoot, Bron, and Shorty return to the grandparents. Bron briefly goes to have a meeting with his herd about whether to go through the valley or not in the future. Shorty reassured Littlefoot he understood why the latter chose to stay in the valley, even joking he could have Bron to himself. Though nervous, Littlefoot is delighted when Bron return with news the herd was more receptive to stopping here as part of their migratory route. Though Bron and Shorty could only stay for a few days, Littlefoot assures they could make the most of that time. With the grandparents were invited, the family trade humorous stories and enjoy each other’s company.

To Edit: When Littlefoot decides not to tell Bron and Shorty about Ruby and Chomper with his grandparents, hint at more selfish intentions. When they meet with the family of Littlefoot’s friends, have the parents mention even in passing the good Littlefoot’s done. Thus, not only would Bron and Shorty become closer to Cera and the others but the same would happen for Littlefoot, whose pride would rise. So when Ruby and Chomper come around, there would be a blowup that centers a bit more on Littlefoot’s judgement which had been so praised. Plot and Character Threads
- Littlefoot’s nervous about Bron interacting with other dinosaurs, fearing he would have some subtle prejudices, but that fear goes away as he interacts with the others’ parents. He wants Bron to approve of his life and doesn’t want to disappoint him, so when Ruby and Chomper go around, it’s a bit of a shock.

- Bron genuinely enjoys seeing Littlefoot’s home and friends, and does his best to ingratiate himself with others. Though he worried about the adventures Littlefoot gets in, he sees they make Littlefoot happy and doesn’t want to rock the bout. That gets challenged when Ruby and Chomper show up. He must struggle with his distrust and trusting Littlefoot and wanting them to be happy.

- Shorty struggles with being fond of Littlefoot, wanting to express his gratitude, and being jealous of him. He doesn’t want to rock the boat but learns through Cera and Spike it’s okay to be somewhat himself by teasing Littlefoot (Even if he can’t be fully honest about his feelings). He does appreciate the others trying to ingratiate them into the family but the sight of what Littlefoot and his friends have still inspires some envy.

- Littlefoot does his best to ingratiate himself so Shorty would be comfortable, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. Ducky gives him advice and he decides to follow it when Shorty and Cera prank him, believing that’s one aspect of siblinghood – playing mischief on each other. Shorty would find this both touching and annoying.


Note that after I write the story, I sometimes go back and adjust the outline to put it more in alignment of the story I wrote. Those Editing Notes were to myself as I reviewed and rewrite things, though I wasn’t always faithful to them. The Story Goals were basically what the character’s going to learn and/or accomplish in the story, which’s usually written before I start plotting and writing

As for how much I plan…I usually complete the plot outline like above before I start writing. I often check back on the outline to refresh my memory as I write but I as often write the story from memory and things can deviate. I do have some idea for many of the plots and the goals for each lead character, but sometimes I have to elaborate on things and come up with goals for the other characters. For example, as I’ve been writing a future chaptered LBT story, Mr. Threehorn’s character path became clearer and more elaborated as I went along.

Sometimes, a scene or chapter grabs me so much I’d jump ahead and write it. Though it’d be redone later, it does clarify things like location, where and when characters should be, and make me discover part of characters I didn’t think before. Might as well get the energy and mood of a scene done now without worrying about forgetting it later.

And speaking of that, when I do my one or two pages per day, I often write what’s going to happen next in brackets so I wouldn’t forget and keep up some of the momentum. I came up with that after being on a roll, knowing where I’m going, and coming back the next day not knowing what was going to happen next. This is how I’ve done it for Familial Tour:

Quote
[Cera told him not to be ashamed. Her friends and family annoy her all the time yet she still loved them. The issue was to find a way to deal with it. Spike nodded with agreement. Shorty was surprised at such honesty. He wasn’t sure if he could be that honest yet he saw he could both love and be annoyed by his loved ones. He wondered what he was supposed to do about those feelings. Cera whispered up a plan that Shorty liked and Spike giggled along. A few minutes later, Bron would discover them.

While Shorty took advantage of Littlefoot apologizing to Petrie, he accidentally struck, Chomper. He froze, wary. But Chomper laughed and Ruby slung mud at Shorty in “revenge.” As Shorty engaged Littlefoot in a brotherly brawl, Littlefoot thought he fit right in, bringing energy and passion into a family of even-keeled temperaments.]

I'm still not good with deadlines. Still trying to have a steadier schedule so I can actually post stuff on a more regular basis. But as I write but often while writing later chapters, there's something that ends up not working or can be improved in the earlier chapters I want to fix.

As for where I get my ideas from…often times, I forget. For those times I do, I sometimes take a concept from other shows and twist them to serve my purpose. Often times, it’s Doctor Who and it’s spinoffs, which weirdly have a few things in common with LBT than first thought. I also get ideas from trailers, which are different from the show. For example, an audio drama trailer about a conspiracy speaker can be twisted to Littlefoot and a huffy Mr. Thicknose meet a conspiracy speaker or Littlefoot and his grandparents listening to a story speaker whose tales weirdly twist minds and/or the environment. Don’t know if I’ll ever write that, but those ideas occur to me as I consume other media.

To write dialogue, I often watch those other shows to imitate their mood and speaking beats because that’s the mood and beats I want in my stories. For LBT, I most often go to Doctor Who and the Tales Of video game series, the former because I like how characters speak and interact and the latter because I can be a bit grim a times and I think the cute, silly banter in Tales skits gives the gang some welcome in-character lighter moments.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful and coherent. It’s what I do to write.

Fyn16

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LBT Author's Q&A
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 10:35:20 PM »
Quote from: Sovereign,Mar 18 2017 on  04:57 PM
This is a question for anyone who has wrought a long (100k word+) fanfic. How thoroughly did you plan out your stories before you started to write? Did/do you know every sideplot, OC and detail about your stories right away or do you fill in the blank parts as you approach them? I'm planning to do two stories (one LBT and one non-LBT) and while I've got some serious ideas on how I'll do them, there are still many details to be thought out before I can get to writing. When I wrote my first long story, I must say that it wasn't too well planned out and it missed a lot of its potential because of that. So, did you begin writing mostly on instinct or did did you have a many-paged plan done in advance?
Well, my particular large fic isn't exactly finished yet, but I'll go ahead and answer regardless.

My writing process changed a lot from the start, but I think both of my approaches were effective for different reasons. When I started writing, I had an end goal, two protagonists, and two settings. I knew what had to happen by the end, how I wanted the characters to change during their journey, and who I wanted to introduce down the road (to a degree). Everything else was developed a few weeks before writing the subsequent chapter(s). So as an example, the Forest of Sand was an idea I had about two chapters into my story, but not an idea I'd been working with from the start. My setting was a basic roadmap, which got fleshed out the farther I went. This worked pretty well, as it gave me time to focus on the most important aspect at the time: establishing my characters. If there was one thing I went in with VERY solidly planned out, it was my characters, and their early development tended to drive the plot's younger stages more than the setting.

Then I got about 100k words in and things changed. I realized that while my loose approach kept planning to a minimum and was relatively stress-free, I was still treading water, figuratively. I had to go somewhere. At that point I started mapping out my story in chunks. I knew it was going to be divided into either four or five "books" within the story, so I started from there, summing up each book in a sentence or two, and then focusing on one book at a time, writing down events that were going to happen, planning out descriptions and backstories of all of my characters, and then subdividing the story's chapters (or where I felt the chapters should be) into scenes, making sure I didn't stray too far from where I wanted to go. Writing without direction can get you places you never wanted to be.

This is the technique I currently employ, but that is not to say I know everything yet. While I think I've planned out every character I intend to introduce now, as well as where all of them should be by the end of the story, there are at least 200k words to go before I'm done. Sometimes an idea will come to me, I'll work it over a little bit, and then decide that it's a really good point of character development, or a vibrant new setting, or even a piece of lore that could serve to be expanded upon. To sum it up, these days I have an idea of where I'm going, I even have an outline to follow, but sometimes diversions are still necessary, and every once in a while, I surprise myself with something I hadn't planned on.

Sovereign

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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 01:49:06 PM »
Thank you all for the thorough and thought-provoking answers! It seems I have still a long way to go before I'll actually start the writing process, just to avoid the complications of my first story... In any case, I'll put your advice into careful consideration.

Quote
And most importantly, I set myself a deadline for completing each chapter, which for me is a certain day of the week, once every two weeks for each chapter. With my self-imposed deadlines, I'm able to keep the story going at a steady pace so that readers will know that I intend to get the whole thing finished, and to ensure that I keep going, no matter how difficult certain parts might be. For me, there's no such thing as writer's block; just certain parts that are more difficult to get through than others.

Actually, that's kinda what I've done in the past. During the last few months, I've written 1500 words per day, just to avoid the writer's block and to fight my inner laziness. :p I don't know about deadlines but they could indeed come in handy later on.

Dave, that's quite a nice roadmap you did for your story. It really makes things easier when you have the story's plot laid out before you and that way it's rather easy to see the main weaknesses the story might have. As with anything else, planning is almost as important as actually doing the thing .

And Fyn, that's pretty much what I did last time but I'm happy to see it worked better with you. I don't hate or really even dislike "Treachery Among the Shifting Sands", my first story, but it did lose a lot of potential because of my carefree approach. Especially my characters suffered which was a major problem. However, this time I'll do my planning better. Thank you for your suggestions!  :yes

Sneak

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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 01:52:01 PM »
thank you for respond!

rhombus

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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 01:47:52 AM »
This is a very good question.  Thus far I have written three stories that have exceeded the 100,000 word mark, and each of them had a different level of planning and organization.

In The Seven Hunters I planned the story to an almost absurd degree.  Over a period of about a month and a half in late 2013 I prepared a list of chapter titles as I began to figure out the basic flow for a story, and then I added a paragraph to each chapter summary as I began to resolve loopholes and fill in details, and then I began to flesh out more and more.  Eventually, by the time the prologue of the story was finished, I had a master planning document of 40,000 words, which mainly focused on the major plot points of each planned chapter and the introduction or deaths of any OOCs.  Though, interestingly enough, once the plot and the characters began to write themselves I diverged more and more from that basic plan.  Taunt ended up living (he was originally going to be killed early on), Ruby and Littlefoot got together (that came out of nowhere), Calin became a major character (he was originally going to be a minor lackey), and many other differences popped up in the story.  Overall, however, I did not regret the planning process.  It made sure that I had a good idea of the story and its flow before I even began to write the story itself.

This led to me, in Songs of the Hunters, going to a much more unplanned format.  Originally it was meant to just be a collection of stories that the parents were singing to their children.  But eventually an idea appeared to present a 'present-time' story to interlock the past stories, and then the present story became the main focus of the overall project.  The overall effect was messy due to the lack of prior planning, though I still like the end result.  It was a reminder to me, however, that I do my best work in longer stories when prior planning takes place first.

Finally, In Mender's Tale, it all began with a roleplay between Historian1912 and I that eventually became quite the story in itself.  By the time we got to what became chapter 15 of the story, I told Historian that I thought it was good enough to actually be made into a story eventually, especially considering the depth and struggles of the characters.  The results have, thus far, been better than Songs of the Hunters in my opinion, though not without its own unique sets of challenges.  The main one is that roleplays often have far different pacing than stories, so some things have to be truncated or revised in order to flow in a coherent and well-paced narrative.  Historian and I have been able to navigate that struggle pretty well, but there are parts of the story that are paced slower than a from-scratch story would have been.  Overall though, I have found it to be quite the learning experience for him and I both, and I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

DaveTheAnalyzer

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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2017, 05:48:27 PM »
Yeah, keep to a steady writing schedule. I’ve come to learn this mightn’t work for everyone, but when you lose inspiration, you might have to keep writing in order to get your inspiration back. Besides, even if what you write in your slump is garbage, at least you have garbage to modify and rewrite off of instead of a blank page.

I’m not sure if it’ll work for me but one thing I’m doing after I complete the first drafts of a plot or story is to write a sort of stream of consciousness set of paragraphs where I go over what needs to be changed, debate to myself whether certain elements should stay or go, and what elements I can or should add.

I kind of got inspired by this while rereading The Writer’s Tale by Russel T. Davies and Benjamin Cook. The book’s an email exchange between a TV Showrunner and reporter where the former mused about what story options to take and how to implement them. When I’ve read the book before, it puts me in the mood to mutter to myself about how to tackle my own story and writing challenges, which can be fun and has helped me a few times (Though of course I don’t remember those moments it helped me). Hey, maybe give it a try if it interests you.

Sovereign

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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2017, 04:22:12 AM »
The funny part is that most of the times, my quality of writing doesn't even suffer if I "force" myself to write. It just comes rather easily when I "know" I'm gonna write, say, 500 words right now. And even then, you can modify the text later on if you're unhappy with it.

At least for now, I see these "elements" as one of the key things in preparing for a long story. Right now, I've adopted a rather comprehensive approach to the planning process. I've taken elements from your responses and most often, it seems like a detailed plan is a necessity early on. But the most important thing seems to be that you know exactly what the writer wants to cover. For this, the few key things probably have to be thought out.

I don't know the book you're referring to but thanks for the suggestion!  :) It sounds like a nice approach to writing, I'll see if I'll get time to look at it sometime.

DaveTheAnalyzer

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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2017, 09:14:27 PM »
Yeah, some of the writing I did while uninspired and/or not liking doesn’t read that bad when I returned to it days or weeks later. That’s why some writing advice says to wait a bit before reviewing your work.

The Writer’s Tale covers the showrunner of the revived Doctor Who who was in charge from revival in 2005 until the last episode broadcast on New Years Day 2010. It the development and writing of series 4, along with various other topics. If you don’t have much familiarity with the show, might be hard to follow but there’s an index I always skip that I think covers who’s who and what’s what. It mightn’t be for everyone but as I said, reading the book puts me to contemplate stories in a similar way, and I like it and it has been helpful.

As for questions for authors: are there any reviews you got or you’d like to get that make your day because they address certain things you tried to accomplish?

For me, it was the feedback indicated that my characterization was apparently on point. I’m very concerned about being faithful to the canon characters and those reviews made me pretty happy. I also liked a comment on ff.net that Familial Tour captured the essence of what made it a great series. Even though I go places the series can’t or won’t, I’m glad to hear I still hold onto the series’ core.

I’d hope to write a story good enough to make people comment “You know, I’m indifferent to/dislike Character X but here I enjoy them.” I’ve seen other writers receive those comments while remaining completely faithful to those characters, just making them more 3D and/or giving them another perspective. To shift someone’s perspective on a character for at least one story would be something that sounds fun to do.

(Hopefully, this question doesn’t sound too self-indulging. And no, I'm not asking for those kinds of comments, I'd hope to earn them.)

Sovereign

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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2017, 05:27:27 PM »
Considering that I've written a 170k- word story with one review, I'm just happy to get any constructive feedback anyone might have.  :lol Yet, I was definitely thrilled with the feedback I received from my first prompt due to the amount of thought the posters put into the reviews. After the long, dry period of writing without feedback, I was really happy to see I did most of the things right.

As for the stories I'm planning, my focus is mostly on highlighting the things that make different franchises special for me and to try to raise similar sentiments in the reader while deepening and clarifying the story's lore. Of course, we'll see what I'll come up with but as I said, I'm just happy to know that people have read and enjoyed the story I've done.

DaveTheAnalyzer

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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2018, 09:25:28 PM »
I thought this writing exercise might be of interest to the writers here: http://www.jenmanuel.com/process-tips/write-best-story-ever-one-epic-exercise/

You can read it more in full there but to summarize:

Quote
1. I picked a book I would have LOVED to have written. I started with the magnificent novel by Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum. My hardcover copy is 521 pages long.
2. I started each morning by copying Gunter’s novel for 20-30 minutes in handwriting. I used several thick hardcover notebooks.
3. When time was up, I didn’t reflect on what I’d written, I simply moved onto my own writing for another 2 hours.

Straight handwritten imitation might seem strange but she goes over the benefits in more detail over the weeks, months, and year it gives her. She also gives alternative writing exercises but I haven't looked at them in detail. This has intrigued me enough that I'm trying it out myself, picking a fanfic author whose writing style appeals to me (And even linked this exercise on her Tumblr). Two days into it, so too soon to judge if this will work for me, but I'm making some descent progress through my fic. Check it out and see if this might be relevant to you.