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Author Topic: Developing story...too soon?
Member # 3065

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I've been thinking of this screenplay/novel idea, and at this point I have all of these great ideas but I'm not sure if I should be choosing between them just yet. At what point do I stop percolating and choose the chars/events/plotting?

Right now I have a good idea of the setting, because it's interesting to me, and it could be a good backdrop to the events, and even act as an antagonistic force if the story called for that. There's a basic premise involving the main character's father, who dies, and the MC blames himself for it. Now, that seems too simple and I'm getting ideas for how to make that death even more of a catalyst for major changes that happen later.

I'm leaning towards a sort of "redemption/forgiveness" storyline but also a "personal growth/adventure" storyline. Now, I'm trying to combine both!

To do that I think about what was so special about the boy's father, and what does the boy have to do with any of this later on? Who's story is this?

This is my attempt at an adventure/coming of age story, but with hopefully a lot more character depth than your typical young person's film. I'm fine with the polar good vs bad, so long as it's interesting, but I haven't gotten a bead on the antagonism of the story yet so I'm still keeping my options open.

Basically, I'm getting all these great ideas and I'm starting to pick and choose, and really hold on to a few of them. Should I be taking longer than 5 days to brainstorm? What questions should I be asking to develop the antagonistic forces?

"Scene-inspired-from-music-that-made-you-think-of-this-story?= Check

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New Member
Member # 9240

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We all work differently. What works for me, I know for a fact doesn't work for others. You have to choose your own path, and the only way to do it is trial and error. Just start writing the thing and see what happens.
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Member # 3065

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Say no more! *kapwinng*
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Member # 2442

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If your brainstorming doesn't continue throughout the writing of the story, you've got problems. Stories tend to come to life during the writing process in ways you cannot predict whilst standing on the starting line. Once you get going, don't be surprised to have some characters develop their own agendas and refuse to go along with your plans.

I know of no writer who can write, perfectly, in the first draft. My suggestion is to start writing your story in whichever format is most comfortable to you, and should you decide to switch, make the needed technical changes during your rewrite.

Release the idea that you're writing in stone. Fear of starting is a form of writer's block. By convincing yourself that you have to plan everything out ahead of time, your fears gain legitimacy in your mind. It's just a little trick your mind plays on you to keep you from trying... because if you don't start, you won't finish, and you won't fail, and that's really the core of most writer's block -- fear of failing.

Remember, a story is only words, and words are easily rewritten. You can ALWAYS choose again. Give yourself permission to start, even if you don't know quite where you're going or what form your final draft will be done in. You can always make changes. That's what the editing phase is for.

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited January 02, 2007).]

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Member # 3504

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One thing I usually take time to do before I begin is to write character profiles for each of the main characters.
Other than that I agree with what has been said, especially that it is most important to begin writing and give the story permission to change and grow as you move forward.

I'll go so far as to say that if the first roadblock is beginning to write, then the second one is getting past the urge to rewrite the first three chapters endlessly.

[This message has been edited by PatEsden (edited January 01, 2007).]

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Member # 2197

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I have to start writing pretty much on the same day I have the idea. If I don't get a couple of thousand words down right away, the idea will whither and die. If I try to think about too long--develop it in my head instead of on paper--I'll never put it on paper (I have at least two good stories suffering that ignomious fate right now). But if I just START WRITING, then I can brainstorm in a productive way both off-paper and while writing. That's me, and I found it out by trying different things. Find out what works for you by trying different things.

Pat is right about the first two roadblocks. No matter how much you cringe at the first three chapters (I'm thinking of some hackneyed dialogue between my MC and his girl written last night), you'll get hung up if you don't power through them.

[This message has been edited by J (edited January 02, 2007).]

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Member # 3065

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Thank you all for your replies! I've decided I'm going to "keep" what I like (imagine that!), just WRITE. Then I'll go back in my adult brained editor mode and look at the mess I made.
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Robert Nowall
Member # 2764

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On the germination time of story ideas...sometimes I'll brood over something for years before setting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. But it's not absolute...my latest novel attempt was an idea I had while writing a short story the day before I started writing it, and it was fifty thousand words long before I came up for air. But my previous novel attempt, about ten thousand words before it died, was another stab at something I've been working on for at least ten years without ever getting much farther than where it died this time.
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