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Diremast

Writing a book

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Hello everybody.

For a couple of years now I have been wanting to write a book, don't have any real ambition for it but just to have said that I have done it and have something to show when I tell people I like to write. I have tried several times, problem is that after about 30-40 pages in I kinda lose track of the story it all just feel like I'm just trampling water, not getting anywhere. So eventually I give up and then months later I start over over from scratch only to end up in the same place. 

So I was thinking with all you people are into writing, perhaps someone have had the same problem? Or just have some other advice or just share some of your own experience regarding writing books. Anything really. 

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3 hours ago, Diremast said:

Hello everybody.

For a couple of years now I have been wanting to write a book, don't have any real ambition for it but just to have said that I have done it and have something to show when I tell people I like to write. I have tried several times, problem is that after about 30-40 pages in I kinda lose track of the story it all just feel like I'm just trampling water, not getting anywhere. So eventually I give up and then months later I start over over from scratch only to end up in the same place. 

So I was thinking with all you people are into writing, perhaps someone have had the same problem? Or just have some other advice or just share some of your own experience regarding writing books. Anything really. 

I've been writing and role playing since I was a pre-teen, so I could settle you by a campfire and mesmerize you with all the little things I picked up for myself along the way. What you're describing is what I think people would call "second act problems", and it's a common enough saying that you can find books and lectures on just that issue. Hopefully that gives you enough to find info on how professionals address their own issues in their field

A little while ago I read a book on storytelling, which to me is an art apart from writing (as you can find it in things like movies, video games, oral stories, etc and not just short stories and novels), and I found it to be extremely useful and informative. I've read a few books on writing and different aspects of writing but I would recommend this book above any of them for a useful structure on how to tell complete, compelling stories. 

Its called Anatomy of Story by John Truby 

Edited by supernal

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3 hours ago, The Hummingbird said:

How do you start writing, Diremast? Do you start with an outline, or without? Do you hammer every little detail out, patch it up as you go, or a little of both?

Well usually I think over an idea that I like then I start writing a few pages with that idea in mind, then I usually stop for a bit to think about what the story should be about and how the book should "feel" to read. But I do not hammer every detail out by any means rather I like to come up with things as I go but I find it easier to write if I know where I'm heading. 

So to answer your question, I guess I do a little of both. 

22 minutes ago, supernal said:

I've been writing and role playing since I was a pre-teen, so I could settle you by a campfire and mesmerize you with all the little things I picked up for myself along the way. What you're describing is what I think people would call "second act problems", and it's a common enough saying that you can find books and lectures on just that issue. Hopefully that gives you enough to find info on how professionals address their own issues in their field

A little while ago I read a book on storytelling, which to me is an art apart from writing (as you can find it in things like movies, video games, oral stories, etc and not just short stories and novels), and I found it to be extremely useful and informative. I've read a few books on writing and different aspects of writing but I would recommend this book above any of them for a useful structure on how to tell complete, compelling stories. 

Its called Anatomy of Story by John Truby 

Thanks for the insight, I will look into that. Here's the thing about me, I love writing but I have to admit I can have quite a hard time to get through reading books. But I will check that book out!  

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I will say that I used to just "start writing". It took me a good while to discover that having an outline helps a lot. It gives you a sense of direction, points to work towards to, scenes to focus on, goals to achieve. If you don't usually use an outline, try that first. Even if it's sparse. I only wrote my first short story with the help of an outline, and I'm pretty much ready to start another... with the help of an outline. You said its easier writing knowing where you're headed, but you also said you just lose track of the story. An outline can help with that. You also may want to try hammering out the finer details just a little more, to keep it consistent.

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I don't really write stories. But when forced to *see multipage papers for school, an outline helped me fill each section of space properly.

Not the most elite of advice, but it helped me to pass.

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I am writing a novel and one thing I can advise you all is to make a document on computer, one in which to store the lore of your story, everything that seems relevant to you houses, kingdoms, characters, personality, whatever you might forget, I did not do this when I begun and it was a pain to just look through my notebooks to find what I wrote before. I always managed to remember around what page it was though, so all's good :smirk:

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As has been brought out, there generally needs to be some kind of an outline as some kind of a basis. How you achieve that, though, can vary.

That's the thing about writing: what works for some may not work for others, and not every approach is either the right approach or the wrong approach.

To quote George RR Martin:

"There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener."

Similarly, I've always felt there needs to be a kind of balance when it comes to writing. I'm not an architect or a gardener but more of a hybrid. I tend to start with a brief outline--such as story, characters, goals--and then I just start writing. I let the words tell me a story even as I'm typing them, rather than reciting what I already have.

This usually works for me. Unless I get an idea that sells me, I usually don't even have an ending planned beforehand, which keeps me excited. So instead of writing toward an established climax, I first see where the journey is taking me, what kind of a plot is actually taking shape, and start spinning balls of yarn that usually result in multiple endings on offer.

But supernal caught me out yesterday in my first official posting so many months later and, alas, I lament in fear of digressing, that any further writing on my part within this box will result in much rambling to the point that, after reading over it three times, even I won't have any idea what exactly I have just written.

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I write.  When I stumble and don't know where to go I either let it sit for a while then read it again to see it with fresh eyes, take a walk outside to have a different environment (sometimes it's inspiring), or explain my story to someone else and hash out story ideas with them.  Someone else could just ask the right question that could be the key to your next chapter.  And even if it's crap, keep writing.  You can always go back and edit, but not if you give up before you start.  

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