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The End?

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Postby Spiderkeg » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:28 am

Writers from all classes and creed develop stories differently. Rowling knew her ending even before she started writing the first book, and she has developed the series to accommodate that. Eddings started with drawing a map of his world while at breakfast one morning, and he went from there. Tolkien started with a simple idea of how technology can corrupt, and put this into fantasy terms.

I started my story from the middle, and worked backwards. I love to reverse engineer a story based on motivations, causes, and effects. Once I have the full history developed, and part of the beginning, then I work in the other direction.
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Postby Grand Evander » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:57 am

I definitely agree that it depends upon the writer how he/she constructs his/her story and from what point. I personally like to allow for flexibility by knowing a general direction without the specifics planned. I feel it better prevents me from having contrived scenes that are obviously aimed at taking the story somewhere because it absolutely has to go in that direction. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method and whatever works for the writer is obviously the best choice.

I believe when writers first start out, they tend to write stories chronologically, because that is a framework that makes logical sense based upon our experiences.

A professional writer, who's written books in many genres, told me a good method of writing is to first write the book's treatment and then the book. If you know the book's premise and a basic idea of the plot, you have a pretty good idea of where the story should go as your writing it.

These are just a few more of my thoughts.
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Postby Spiderkeg » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:36 am

Writing a synopsis for a book isn't so hard. Writing a synopsis for an epic is tough. I wish I could have sat in with Tolkien or Rowling as he/she was pitching their book to the publisher.
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Postby thegreentick » Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:37 pm

For my epic in planning, I have always had the end in mind. The starting and ending are, afterall, quite important. After I decided on those, I went on to do a very detailed synopsis. Since then, I have changed the ending almost a half dozen times and removed/introduced countless plot elements because the story and characters take a life of their own.

My advice, get some sort of ending in your mind, even if you have to change it.
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Postby Grand Evander » Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:47 pm

I do agree that a writer should have some idea as to what the story should ultimately converge to, though I believe flexibility should always be allowed. I worry that stories too meticulously planned run the risk of appearing too formulated and linear. Also, if you improvise scenes and plot directions, it's more likely that it will be unexpected to the reader.

Thanks for your input, thegreentick.
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Postby aldan » Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:56 pm

...especially Tolkein. Rowling, at least, could leave it at one book (because of the way that the first one ended) if necessary, but when J.R.R. took his novel (and yes, it was A novel, until the publisher decided to break it into a trilogy) to the publisher, it was HUGE, especially for the time period. I've read some other fantasies from the same period, and they are tiny, compared to even ONE of the books from the trilogy. I can't remember if The Hobbit was published first, but I know it was developed first, and told to Christopher Tolkein as a bedtime story. I think that it was actually published after the LotR was, but the publisher already knew about it when they took on the trilogy.
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Postby t_tibke » Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:25 pm

Nope. The Hobbit was published first. Houghton Mifflin asked Tolkien to write a sequel, and then he brought them this fat-ass piece of magnificense, and they were like "Whaaaaaa? What the heck is this?! We just said a sequel, not a set of encyclopedias on the topic?!"
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Postby Magus » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:24 pm

I remember I had once been planning to write this one story that would essentially be the end to a number of others. As most things tend to work out, the ending was much larger than anything that had come before it (in the sense that the challenges were more detremental and, well, challenging). I found at one point that I had "plotted" myself into a corner, as I could find no conceivable way to overcome the obstacles that I had placed in the work (and this wasn't just, "hey, let's get an even bigger villain for this one". It was actually something that legitimately developed from the previous works). Eventually I found an ending that wasn't a deus ex machina and actually worked as a natural and believable, in the context of the story at any rate.

But this all leads up to the point I'm trying to make. Plotting, I feel, is essential. Every writer at some point experiences writer's block. This is the result of poor plotting. More extensive plotting minimizes this because you don't get stuck (or at least as often or as much), being that you know what's going to happen, what blocks might arise, and how to get around them before you ever get to writing that portion in question.
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Postby aldan » Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:01 pm

I am in the midst of the aforementioned writer's block, but it's tied right to my struggles to find something natural and interesting to do to approach the ending of the first novel, as well as to find something that's a bit more grasping of people's interest at the end, since I've never really been pleased with it. I'm speaking of the ending for the story for the first book of the duology I'm working on (though it may end up as just one novel, too... we'll see), so part of the problem is to find something that grabs the reader and makes them anticipate the closing book of the pair, but also isn't a true 'story finisher' since I'm not killing off the main bad guy in this one. *sigh* ...and this is just the plotting stage, too...
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Postby Talon Sinnah » Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:06 pm

I believe a ending should be planned, to an extent. You need to know where you are going with the story idea overall before you start. If not then it is like driving to California from China and not knowing a ocean is in your way. One thing I do is sit down and let the idea brew for long periods of time working out character details, plot ideas, conflicts, antagonists, and my personal favorite whether or not I want a sequal to it or not. Most of my stories will end up being trilogies or a series. Once again you tun into the problem of endings, I myself prefer a slightly dramatic and conflictional ending and shun away from cliff hangers. ( I find them very frustraiting) I would recommend an ending that sets up for a sequal especially if the story is going to be really big. But above all you want to keep in mind the ending because they can either make or break a story.
I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the Soul. The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me. The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

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Postby aldan » Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:30 pm

...and that's what I've been doing. The main difficulty is that while I know where to go up until the last third of the novel, I then get stuck. I need to come up with something that will draw the characters to the area that the final part of the first novel will end, and just haven't come up with anything that's not too over-the-top. I'm just needing to keep going at it, and sooner or (most likely) later, it'll come.
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Postby Magus » Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:05 pm

and my personal favorite whether or not I want a sequal to it or not. Most of my stories will end up being trilogies or a series.


I don't like this (for a number of reasons). First of all, I believe that a story should be planned out as if it were a stand-alone affair. Write expressly for the one, plan expressly for the one, and plan on having only the one. Then, after all is planned out and concluded to your satisfaction, don't look for a sequel. If one happens to come to you, fits everything preceding it, and doesn't muck anything up that you've already established, then by all means go for it. But planning on and planning for a sequel, in my mind, doesn't strike me as the best form of writing.

I also personally have a thing against trilogies. They've been so incredibly over-used since The Lord of the Rings was published (and Tolkien fought vehemently against his single novel being broken into three, anyway), and have in my mind lost any flavor or merit they once had. They can be done, and done well, but only if that's EXACTLY what the story calls for, and only if they would not be better served being condensed into a smaller number. This is more of a personal vendetta of my own, but has a grain of general merit to it, I think.

It's extremely rare for a work of mine to extend beyond a single volume. I have a one instance of a sequel (This is of the story following Cheesor the Mad. The first is devoted entirely to her descent into madness, while the second is a comedic romp during her madness, following until her death at the end). And then there is the small matter of the eleven volume series (divided into three story-arcs of 5, 4 and 2 respectively) I have... that has about three individual offshoots to it. However, taken as a whole, I really don't stray from stand-alones all that often.
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