How do you plan a story?

#1
Well before I jump into the question, 

I'm very horrible at writing things and having trouble expressing thoughts on paper *coughessayscough* but even so I would like to try writing a story. 

I've read numerous stories on fanfiction.net and RRL but never bothered making an account (or use it very much) and the thought of writing a story does come up time to time but I end up giving up. I do have original ideas time to time but they tend to disappear a short while after. But now that I have nothing to do in this summer (Other then trying to get a part time job) I might as well try writing a story and maybe even earn a little bit of cash on the way (in the near future as a hobby).

tldr;

How do you guys plan a story?

What do you focus on first? The characters? The plot? Lore?


Planning a beginning, mid or ending?

Starting place:  a prologue or jumping right into the story?

I'm not a very ambitious person so there isn't a need to make it really detailed and long (since your time is more precious than mine). Just a few pointers is okay.

Thanks.

RE: How do you plan a story?

#2
I'm not a professional writer but, let me give you some advice.

Go get a piece of paper or any app that can help you in writing.

Start with 'Free-writing'. In free-writing, you can set at least 15 minutes. After that, write as many 'fresh' ideas that comes up to your mind. After doing this, decide whether any of your ideas have the potential as writing topics.

Next is, 'Clustering'. You will just narrow down the broad topics that you got.

After that, you will do 'Brainstorming' you can do it yourself or find others to help you. In this, you will jot down 'every thought' you have relating to particular topic.

And one of the most important for me is, ' Mind-mapping. You will make a mind-map of an idea.(if you want an example of a mind-map, just search on google). Get a certain topic and start thinking, what are the ideas related to your main idea. Ex. Character, you will just put what is he, what are his traits, attitude, likes, dislikes and so on. You can do it on every idea that you have there. 

If you already done this, you can do ' daydreaming' where you will process your thoughts playfully just like visualization. Just imagine your story being played.

If you do all of this, the foundation of your story will be stable and you don't have to worry about ideas 'cause you already have them at the first place.

By the way, this is just the pre-writing or planning stage. There is also the writing and revising stages.

I hope this helps you. If you have questions, just contact me via e-mail, PM or a reply here in this thread.

Note: I'm not a very good writer like others. My novel can prove that if you have time to read it. But what I have, is a stable foundation of story and a vision.

RE: How do you plan a story?

#3
It also sort of depends what you want to write. A short story and a novel and an endless web serial all have very different goals and very different effective methodologies for construction.

But no matter what you write it's ultimately up to you as an individual how you go about writing it. There is no *right* or *best* way. You just do it. Or you don't. Other people can share what works for them, but there is no guarantee that the process that works for one author will work for you. I like to have an over-all plot goal my story works towards - and then a lot of smaller goals I write towards day by day that all build toward that ultimate goal but you might prefer to have all the details of your story hammered out before ever writing a word. Or you might prefer to work completely spontaneously and just write whatever comes to mind with each new day.

There are tips people can give you about what elements typically compose a *popular* story - if that's what you want. But if you don't care about that you should just write what you want to write - let the characters and plot and world fall into place on their own as you write them.

In short, read more, write more, the rest will come on its own.

RE: How do you plan a story?

#4
Reader 1: Oh sh*t, I just thought of the best unique story idea ever!

Reader 2: Oh?

Reader 1: I have to start writing about this Sh*t before I forget about this!

Reader 2: So, what is it about?

Reader 1: Well, It's about a boy transported-to-another-world-and-gets-a-cheat kind of story.

Reader 2: I bet the MC or his cheat is really unique.

Reader 1: Aaah, I haven't gotten that far yet. 

Reader 2: Oh! You thought of a very surprising plot twist!

Reader 1: No.

Reader 2: The villain is unique? The weapon is unique? his allies are unique? his pet animal is unique? 

Reader 1: No, no, no and hell no!

Reader 2: I get it! Your writing style will be unique!

Reader 1: What the EF are you talking about?

Reader 2: What are you talking about?!

Reader 1: (Smiling smugly) I am talking about how the MC dies and goes to the other world.

Reader 2: ...

Reader 1: The MC is walking in the street one day and then, get this, he gets hit out of nowhere by... wait for it... A TRUCK!

[th_0como.gif]


If this scenario is somehow familiar to you... maybe you should think about your story a bit more. :D

RE: How do you plan a story?

#5
If you wrote a really dramatic opening scene where a heroic pilot is forced to crashland his plane on a stretch of deserted road, desperately fighting turbulence and impossible g-forces to bring his passengers to safety - barely managing it after a tense and desperate struggle ...and coincidentally running over the MC with a 747 so he can reincarnate in another world, would the story be better or worse for it?

xD

RE: How do you plan a story?

#6
7/31/2017 5:31:26 AMHeaven Dream Wrote: [ -> ]Start with 'Free-writing'. In free-writing, you can set at least 15 minutes. After that, write as many 'fresh' ideas that comes up to your mind. After doing this, decide whether any of your ideas have the potential as writing topics.

I haven't actually thought about that. Gotta try that out, thanks for the suggestion!
7/31/2017 5:31:26 AMHeaven Dream Wrote: [ -> ]Next is, 'Clustering'. You will just narrow down the broad topics that you got.

After that, you will do 'Brainstorming' you can do it yourself or find others to help you. In this, you will jot down 'every thought' you have relating to particular topic.

If you already done this, you can do ' daydreaming' where you will process your thoughts playfully just like visualization. Just imagine your story being played.

The daydreaming part is what I usually do most of the day after reading a certain chapter or scene and I tend to go off dreaming how another route the character would go. But obviously it won't work for me in writing a story since the foundation of the story is someone else's.

7/31/2017 8:10:55 AMsinkingship Wrote: [ -> ]It also sort of depends what you want to write. A short story and a novel and an endless web serial all have very different goals and very different effective methodologies for construction.

But no matter what you write it's ultimately up to you as an individual how you go about writing it. There is no *right* or *best* way. You just do it. Or you don't. Other people can share what works for them, but there is no guarantee that the process that works for one author will work for you. Or you might prefer to work completely spontaneously and just write whatever comes to mind with each new day.

Glad to hear the part about no right or best way. Was really worried that authors went through some sort of process of writing to have a story. Think I might've gotten to used to english class having a set of rules. And as for the part writing whatever comes to mind is more of my style to be honest. So I might drift away from that for a bit and do a bit of planning, something I don't usually do.

7/31/2017 6:54:48 AMTanaka Tomoyuki Wrote: [ -> ]I think it's most important to first plan out your plot. Make sure you know what's the beginning, the middle and the end. Once you have that down, everything will come naturally to you. The characters will fall in place with the plot, and their motivations are usually tied to the plot. Once you visualize everything as linked, the pieces will be in place for you.

Got gist of that, so pretty much the plot is the center of everything that links things together. I see. Not sure about the stuff falling in place though. Might be a bit difficult for me since I tend to drift off the main topic (eg. main focus is fantasy setting, might accidentally drift off thinking about sci fi thoughts/scenes) . I suppose I can turn those side thoughts and think of a parallel way of those scenes onto the same path.

Thanks for the info guys, really appreciated it. And @batotit lmao seen that intro so many times, though some stories do manage to pull it off.