taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (sunrise in the mountains)
Ok. It has started again.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is beginning its 4th season today. I'll participate again, but this time I'll try to keep going for longer than just a month.

My goals? I don't know yet. Maybe those, for now:

— read a book or two on sciences (and actually understand it)
— try to write for as many challenges by [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild as possible
— write for every Quick Fiction Challenge by [livejournal.com profile] writerverse (<3)
— (figure out how to) continue that novel
— start learning to draw again
aaaaand, let me think,
— record a song every day (or at least do something for it)

Actually, this is the challenge that knows you have a life, meaning, I'm allowed to set very small goals, and, should I fail them, to just get back up and return to the challenge the next day. Originally it is a writing challenge, which it still is for me; I just added a bit outside of writing.

There will be two Check-In's per week where every participant then can report if they managed to reach or surpass their goals or even failed the whole time due to whatever LIFE has brought.

But, still. Doing the little daily challenges shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, recording something can be done in 10 minutes, too, and learning to draw … I can do that once a week or so for half an hour. After all, the goal is just for learning, not for becoming perfect during these 80 days.
Reading a book or two on the other hand, well. These are fat books I'm trying to read. Like ten books inside each of the books. So I'll just read a bit ever other day and I'll see how much I get done.

Yeah.
And since I'm allowed to adjust goals, that'll most likely happen, too. As I understand it, this #Row80 challenge is about getting things done that are important to me, not about becoming Supergirl (though, if someone were to teach that I'd totally sign up for it - I always wanted to learn to fly).


Wish me luck.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. ((b&w&c) auge1:feuer)
.1[livejournal.com profile] writerverse is going well for me by now. I'm writing drabbles. I don't much care for drabbles but they are EASY. And I then have the choice of using the idea of these drabbles to write longer fiction.
A drabble is like a quick drawing, a nice sketch to figure out what story I want to tell with it, and afterwards I redo it but this time properly: as a huge painting. Or a small but nice & coloured painting. Whatever.
So that consideration makes it easier for me to write the drabbles that I usually really don't need to have in my life — and writing drabbles enables me to fill the challenges and earn points for my team (that seems to be loosing with or without me anyway, hmpf).

.2 — I'm learning what [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol is about.
I will try to take part in it next season — which should start soon, probably next month?
I definitely don't expect to last very long at all with me being a non-native english writer, not knowing grammer and punctuation well enough, not having a beta … but still. It will be fun.

.3 — I love summer. Never want it to leave! (Maybe some of the days were very hot over here. But still. Summer!)

.4ROW80: No idea. The goal was to write/do a lot for Defence, my current novel. But now I seem to have to rework the outline again to fit the setting into our world. Or might not. — My process is just plain crazy, I tell you. Hopefully the end result will be worth all that stress.

.5 — I LOVE sushi. Now I only need to find out where to buy the ingredients, learn to make sushi on my own, and then figure out how to make it whole grain rice instead of normal sticky white rice.
Then there will be sushi everyday in the house of Nea!
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (herbst [03])
I'm checking in to tell you guys that I haven't done anything substantial for the novel and probably won't have time or the will to do anything substantial until wednesday when I will start writing like crazy and trying to write as much as possible of the whole novel in 10 days. Yay for holidays.

I was supposed to fill in into my outlines lot's of details but that obligation alone was enough to drive me away from looking at the plans for the novel at all, so that didn't work.

I did do enough other writing thing, and I constantly get these really fun conceptual ideas and thematic ideas and ideas for details that I could and will use for short stories and/or novels, but nada for the current novel, which is ok because that's apparently how my … writing/creative side works.

So I thought just now that maybe I should do the detailed chapter planning simply in the beginning of each writing day. Planning 5 or 10 chapters (in as little detail as nessessary) in the morning, or in the evening before; then writing them the whole day.
That might be better than trying to overwhelm myself now with planning little details that just fed me up when I try to plan them all at once.



Links:

- This Check-In's Linky List.
- Go, learn some languages!
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. ([p01] Strasse)
I do a lot of things in my writing time that don't look like writing and like working on this current book (Defence). They look like playing, and like nonsense, and like I really should grow up and learn to build a house or something.
But then it all comes together - to my own utter surprise, and suddenly a plot builds itself from all the things I had just played with to avoid the actual work that I was supposed to do.
Yet, in playing, I had done the work.

This time I visited all these themed challenge communities (like [livejournal.com profile] fanfic100 or [livejournal.com profile] 100moods - scroll down the page to to Affiliates to find many similar communities), took three of those 100 prompts tables, mixed them together into another prompt table of 3 words per prompt, and thought they might be really great for short story writing.

Then I finally finished going over my plot arcs and combining them somehow. I intended to next create the big chaptered outline of about 8x8 chapters (or scenes, I'll see), because there are 8 plot points with something important happening per each of the 8 plot arcs of the novel, plus the additional scenes that I might need to help set up some of the later plot points.

I estimated that I'd need maybe about 100 scenes, or chapters, or blocks-of-text-in-which-something-happens. I just wanted to put into these blocks/chapters/scenes the descriptions of the plot points and whatever else that was supposed to happen at that place and time, but suddenly my writing program demanded a title for each scene.

… Titles? But they come last!
Which plot arc each scene will be part of is going to be shown by the scene icons (colored flags), so I didn't need to give them a technical title like "main arc, first plot point", but I still needed a title.

So I looked at what I had played with the whole time - themed challenges - and it clicked: I would use the three totally unrelated words per prompt on my very own prompt list to create weird but probably quite inspiring titles — that of course can later be changed when I don't find a way to incorporate "Amusing Cocktail Mixtures" into my story. But I guess I will find a way. This sounds way too easy.

Some of my titles therefore are now called Invisible rodeo trays and Try the Left Idiot (this one sounds GREAT) or Quick - Market the Scarf! and The Harmless Summer Volcano, or even Pending the Failed Ham. That last one I'll need to change, I fear. Or not. :D

So…
I'm done with the raw outlines. I have inspiring, if weird titles for each scene that will help me to define the setting and some of the starting action, and probably quite a few of the background characters. Which is GREAT, really. This wonderful trick comes into my novel writing blueprint. (For plotting I absolutely need a blueprint, otherwise this process would bore me to death because I wouldn't know where to start and what to do. I've been through this often enough by now and failed by never finishing any of the novels I started no matter how vivid and exciting some of the scene were that I had written. But the outlines never really worked, and then overwhelmed me with all their unclear and boring parts.)

And now that I'm done with the big parts of the set up, I'll go through the outlines again to figure out all the little things that would stop me from writing fast: plot holes, missing characters, missing character motivations, and creating all the many different small villains (oh dear, where to even start?), set up the outer (in this book AFAIK pretty irrelevant) kingdoms, some of their cities and main players, and then throw in all the details that make a world real and exciting and crazy: take the mundane of our world and shake it until we're in Wonderland.

That's my plan for next week.




Some links:

- Dean Wesley Smith: The Writing of “The Smoke That Doesn’t Bark: A Poker Boy Story”
- Plotting shortcuts: [1] and [2]
- ROW80: current sunday's Check-In
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
It feels as if I haven't done anything writing related this last week, but I actually did slowly plot my way forward: I created all 7 plot arcs and then today realised that I might be missing one. I'm going to do that one next.

Then I will finally interlink of all 7 or 8 subplots and create the chapter outline for the story.
I expect that I will have a Sentence for every single chapter, but the details will be filled in during the writing process. Maybe.
The important thing for me is to always know what exactly is going on plotwise and what is going to happen next - but without giving me so much information that there is nothing left to discover because then I get too bored to actually write the story.

It seems that I slowly but steadily find my way through the mess that is plot creation, and by now there is not that much of a mess left; in fact it's quite orderly already. Yay for that.


For now my idea and understanding of designing plots looks like this:


Writing/designing a story

The first obvious steps: Have the initial idea, some things I want to see happening, and some characters.

Decide which subplots are needed and plot the line-up for each subplot:
- An exciting Hook (start with a bang inside characters normal life)
- Plot Turn 1/Call to Adventure
- Pinch 1/Disaster (put pressure on chara to find&apply solution)
- Midpoint/Call to Action (change from reaction to action, bring the fight to the enemy)
- Pinch 2/Second Disaster, much worse than before
- Plot Turn 2/Finding the solution and answers
- Climax/Final Confrontation with the solution taken from earlier lessons (pulling everything together)
- Conclusion/Explanations (solutions for all main charas and plot arcs)

Have enough Try/Fail Cycles to get reader invested into story:
- they show the risks
- they can look like victories while in fact delaying the real victory
- if chara tries and tries and doesn't give up, we cheer him on; we feel his victory is well-earned

Plot arcs: most stories have more than one. Design them with the above formula, then weave them all together.

Be aware of
- protagonist,
- their goal,
- the antagonist and
- why they activly try to stop the protagonist from reaching their goal,
- the story theme as stated by the 'relationship' character, and
- the specific twist of the story in the solution that makes the theme visible as theme of the whole story.

Create a chaptered outline for the whole story that contains the interlinked subplots.

And, finally, write.


The alternative, of course, is to ignore plotting and just start writing with that nice idea in mind and the two or three characters that are there in the beginning, but I can only do this with short stories, not with novels. My goal here is to design and write a novel.



- Wednesday Check-In (#3)
- Linky - Participants Check-Ins
- Other entries on plotting

- Oh, and also: I kind of liked this article: The 11 “Secrets” of Prolific Content Creators - #11 was a new idea for me that I immediately started to use. Works well!


taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (malen [01])
Recently I decided that I needed more practice in plotting before trying it with my current novel, so I took a movie of which I had disliked several main plot points and developed a new story that would correct everthing I had hated about the original one.

I went scene by scene to have a good length for it, and changed each one of them into scenes that I would enjoy, that went how the story should IMTHO have gone:

I built about 8 plot archs (one of them the main plot) with the Hollywood Formula and the 7 Point System, and put all the key plot points of the entire story into these formula points, and interlinked them to make them emotionally stronger.

Then I applied all of these ~8x7 important plot points to the 60+ scenes the original movie has, overlaid my new plot points with the original scenes and merged them nicely.
(If you could look closely you'd still recognise which movie I chose to rewrite replot, so if I were to write and publish my version I'd probably still have to change a few things like, you know, instead of it taking place in a desert I could instead let it play out underwater, instead of having computer obsessed geek friends my hero'd have horse obsessed, secretly dragon riding friends — unimportant stuff like that might make all the difference in copying other people's stuff.)

Once that was done and I had learned plotting I completely lost interest in that movie, or my newly created up-graded story. I wasn't a fan of that movie and so I'm not impressed with my own story outlines for it either.
Why would I? I cared about learning to plot and about finding out where the movie had failed for me: how it actually should have gone. - Mission accomplished, and now I have a completed novel outline laying around, doing absolutely nothing. (Maybe one day…)

Anyway. That was quite a while ago. By now I've forgotten how it worked, how I plotted that story, how I interlinked all the different story arcs, how I implemented the different plot points into the story — so of course now I'm doing it again with the story that I had actually wanted to write. Waste of time, much? … No. It did teach me stuff, and relearning is faster than learning something for the first time. Also, it had been fun.

So, I've been plotting.
2 plot arcs down, and - so far - 5 more to go. But I do know the whole story already; this is for zooming in, finding details, and for creating a stable, working structure for the story.

Next up: Plotting the scenes in such a way that I don't fall asleep when I think of them.

I get bored too easily because writing is so slooooow-motiony.
That's why my stories often read like roller-coster rides, because when I wrote them in slow motion I needed them to be as exciting as talealy possible to not get bored myself. Boredom makes me furios with the souce of it and then I refuse to touch that boring stuff ever again.

Except, of course, when the Muse kisses me, hmmmm, then I can write as boring as I want to and love the process & the resulting stories anyway.

Weird, I know. But, you know — kisses!




PS: Others' Check-Ins: Linky Links
PPS: On plotting: [1] [2]
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Try to stop me.)
Apparently there is something called ROW. Has some meaning, but nobody actually cares. I think it's about elephants. So this is a challenge that you participate in and report back on some blog, and you get to cut out & paint yourself an elephant shaped medal afterwards.

90 days of ... I think writing, but probably just any goal that you want to accomplish. Afterwards the elephants is eaten, that's why there aren't any photos of it.

Therefore I --

Whoops. Just looked it up and they want to reach their goals in 80 days, à la Verne.
I don't like Verne, so 3 months it is.

So. Therefore for the next 3 months I'm going to work extremely hard on my current novel! Cool, eh?
So today I'll be plotting and cutting down a tree to have enough paper to write on. ... No wait. I like trees. Plant a tree was what someone had been saying. Plant a tree, write a book, have some kids, enjoy the world. 'kay.

I have about 30 minutes until I'll fall asleep so I promise to work reeeeally hard until then. Watch me run.

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Talea Nea

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