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Old 02-04-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
ZainTheInsane
 
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Default What does it take to write a story?

I put this up on the story writer's board because I thought it would be relevant...

But, in any case, here it goes...

I have been trying for several years to become a short story writer, in hopes of eventually expanding my poetry, grammatical, and vocabulary skills to the level necessary for a novel or three...

I was wondering, what it takes to go beyond just the raw ideas, the raw material stuff of a story, to take that little chunk, nugget, spark, or whathaveyou to expand it into a short story, novella, or even a lengthy novel? And I do not just mean for weight gain fiction and fantasy, but for ALL writings and all aspects of a person's artistic talent/skill involving writing...

Are there any hints, advice, or tips anyone can give to one who aspires to write, but is afraid of being a failure? Any thoughts as to how one goes about creating a doorway to their world? How does one take an idea, a premise, and make it into a story, with plot, theme, characters, and detailed beauty which is gobbled up by readers?

I welcome any hints, both for myself, and for anyone who aspires to write, enjoys reading, or simply wants to have some idea of how it all happens, so maybe one day they can try for themselves.


P.S: Here is a link to my deviantart site, so if anyone needs, or wants to look at my writings and give more specific hints, feel free to do so, via PM, reply on this thread, or comment on my deviant art site.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZainTheInsane View Post
I was wondering, what it takes to go beyond just the raw ideas, the raw material stuff of a story, to take that little chunk, nugget, spark, or whathaveyou to expand it into a short story, novella, or even a lengthy novel?
Generally speaking, no one takes "that little chunk" and expands it into a lengthy novel. Authors take several sparks and put them together. The tension between those sparks helps propel the story forward while providing numerous plot threads that result in lengthier works. Consider LOTR, a textbook definition of lengthy: the main idea is that there is a ring that, in the wrong hands, will doom the world. Then we have hobbits, unlikely creatures (country folk, really) who are thrust into the larger world. Right off the bat we have two different sparks. Well, lets add Strider, the lost and unwilling king of a great nation. Lets add Elves and dwarves, each with different outlooks on the world. Lets add supplemental quests; not only does frodo need to destroy the ring, the others need to distract the enemy. Not only does the ring need to be destroyed, the noble peoples need to be saved. Spark after spark went into that single series.

Or, let us take a look at JP's Heavy Debt series. Basic idea: women gets into debt with the mafia, resulting in weight gain. Add the idea that she can be forced to feed herself. Add the idea of a robo nurse who will help her. Add the idea that the nurse is a bit curious, mentally.

True, you can stretch and grow a single idea, but don't think that you can get an entire story from only that one idea.


Quote:
Are there any hints, advice, or tips anyone can give to one who aspires to write, but is afraid of being a failure?
Your answer lies in the funny pages: http://www.snoopy.com/comics/luann/a...-20080202.html

However, something you might want to consider is WHY are you writing? If it is for yourself, then the very act of writing is success. Things are much harder if you want to write to make a living out of it, true.

Two non-writing activities you can do to help improve your skills as a writer are to read and look at how published authors do this or that. A good writer reads. Read genres that you want to write yourself, read genres you hate, read history books, science books, biographies, the articles in men's magazines, etc. A good writer also pays close attention to what he or she reads. How does this author catch your interest, how did that historical figure behave in this situation, etc.

Hope that helps, and good luck.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:10 PM   #3
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I like to try and write the way I think, which means my best stories (at least, the ones on this board I like best and which have gotten a large number of hits) have some degree of blatant wit and sarcasm in them. If you've ever read any books by Neal Stephenson, I'd say he's the author I most look to trying to emulate in my writing, with John Varley coming in a somewhat distant second in that regard. Stephenson is ridiculously irreverant most of the time, details things into oblivion and then some, and essentially makes me feel like discoursing scathing witicisms in a fake British accent and generally making people wish I'd go away = P.

For instance, this line from "The Diamond Age" nearly rent my diaphragm (sp?) to bits: "Once upon a time there was a little girl named Cunt," the book said.

Of course, Observer would slap me around a bit with an oversized herring if I tried to put that in any of my own stories, or anything to that particular effect, but you get the idea.

Aside from that, comittment, perseverance, the willingness to forge through the boring to get to the interesting without making the boring more boring in the process. If that makes any sense. I like to have music playing while I work. Classical is probably best if you're not used to lyrics going when you write, but when I was younger and actually did my homework, I ALWAYS had to have some music on to keep me entertained while I worked. And I sang along too . Which I still do. Often.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:31 AM   #4
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Default Try this book

The Writer as an Artist

http://www.amazon.com/Writer-As-Arti.../dp/1565650735

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