Ravenholdt RP Sanctum Azeroth Press The Twisting Nether Gazette Wowpedia
Forum rules
This forum is used to post threads about anything not already covered by another forum.
LEGION
LEGION
Posts: 277
Joined: March 24th, 2014, 8:25 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
LEGION

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby LEGION » November 29th, 2014, 4:09 am

Tirien wrote: A vignette either starting traditionally or en medium res seems to be the most used. I'd like to get a better idea about how to pace a story on here with the latter.


The biggest thing to be aware of in vignette style writing is how much (or how little) an audience knows about a character or his/her situation. Never assume that a reader has read ANYthing else of yours. If the plot revolves around bits of key knowledge, then be sure to include either a few significant pieces of narrative to bring an audience up to speed, or pepper the story with clues about what readers need to know to make sense out of a character's motivations/feelings/actions. An ideal novel chapter is about 2500 words, according to Mike Stackpole. He also suggests ending every chapter with a cliff-hanger of some kind. (not necessarily a BIG one, but some kind of hook that would make a reader want to find out what happens next) So figure for this setting, you're not going to want to write anything BIGGER than that. But I wouldn't think you'll want to write anything less than half that, either, otherwise it becomes so choppy and/or shallow that it doesn't hold anyone's attention for long.

I usually write in single scenes, with one primary plot goal per story, big or small. The rest is characterization. Now, I may have several plot points which form an arc, and so they lead from one to another with little lapse in the timeline. The fundamental structure is the same though.

Dinpik
Dinpik
Posts: 78
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 10:40 am
Dinpik

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Dinpik » November 29th, 2014, 6:56 am

Never set the cat on fire -- you only will annoy it.

Oh, writing tips. Okay.

One of the fan clubs I was in (Fort Weyr, for Dragonriders of Pern) had a writers' guide in its handbook. I'm going to quote from it, as much as I can remember.

They had a very basic plot outline the editors called GOR:

Goal
Obstacle
Resolution.

"J'oe wants to join the Healers' Hall, but feels intimidated by the Master Healer. His friend S'am, noticing something wrong, talks to him and finds out his problem. S'am gives him a pep talk, and encouraged, J'oe goes and talks to the Master Healer.

This story has a goal, obstacle, and a resolution, but nothing happens.. To tell an interesting story, something has to happen, something has to move. Characters need to act.

What if J'oe instead, after running into delay after delay with meeting the Master Healer, kidnaps him instead? Wouldn't that be more interesting to read? Wouldn't that be more fun?"

The other bit of advice I remember was, "Write write write. No one can be best friends with J'oe, or his worst enemy, or fall in love with him if they don't know anything about him."

LEGION
LEGION
Posts: 277
Joined: March 24th, 2014, 8:25 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
LEGION

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby LEGION » November 29th, 2014, 11:57 am

Dinpik wrote:They had a very basic plot outline the editors called GOR:

Goal
Obstacle
Resolution


And to Dinpik's point about this, remember that 'Resolution' for writing is defined as "the point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out". It doesn't mean that ALL the character's problems are necessarily solved at this point. There is nothing to say that just because you resolve the main dramatic complication in a story that it means you can't introduce others along the way, to be resolved in later stories.

Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Tirien » November 29th, 2014, 1:49 pm

LEGION wrote:And to Dinpik's point about this, remember that 'Resolution' for writing is defined as "the point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out". It doesn't mean that ALL the character's problems are necessarily solved at this point. There is nothing to say that just because you resolve the main dramatic complication in a story that it means you can't introduce others along the way, to be resolved in later stories.


Oh yeah. It's not too much different from comic book scriptwriting, so as far as resolution goes I have a good grip on it ( hoo-boy did I have an issue with that starting out though). Either way thanks for clarifying! I admit structure (or worrying about structurr) is what holds me back the most with writing.

@ Dinpik. That GOR thing sounds super helpful to keep things simple. Its so very easy to have too much going on, especially in sequential art. A professor of mine taught her scriptwriting class with that principle in mind. Her name is Mia Paluzzi and I think she has something on the web about writing...somewhere...
polartech.deviantart.com

Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Tirien » November 29th, 2014, 1:51 pm

polartech.deviantart.com

Dinpik
Dinpik
Posts: 78
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 10:40 am
Dinpik

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Dinpik » November 29th, 2014, 2:54 pm

Tirien wrote:@ Dinpik. That GOR thing sounds super helpful to keep things simple.


*nod* Fort Weyr intended it to keep the members focused on having something happen in the story, rather than just the character(s) wandering around. But I can definitely see where it would help keep track of multiple plots.

Echoing what Legion said, "Tell J'oe 'No!" And then write him finding a way to turn the No! into a Yes" was another point. I wish I still had that handbook at times.

A book I've found very useful (and need to get again) is Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham:

http://www.amazon.com/Scene-Structure-E ... 0898799066

Sieln
Sieln
Posts: 8
Joined: August 23rd, 2014, 4:09 pm
Sieln

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Sieln » November 30th, 2014, 11:18 am

I approve of this thread. As someone who enjoys writing but tends to have difficulty completing stories that give my characters justice this has been useful. Great idea for a thread, Tirien, and thank you to all that have contributed.

Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Tirien » November 30th, 2014, 1:48 pm

Sieln wrote:I approve of this thread. As someone who enjoys writing but tends to have difficulty completing stories that give my characters justice this has been useful. Great idea for a thread, Tirien, and thank you to all that have contributed.



*blush* I'm looking to get better and I'm glad you're getting something out of this as well!

If anyone has any questions please feel free to just ask away.

As far as identifying the major goal of a plot or story (which ideally won't be solved in one thread), do y'all make...uh...checkpoints or something similar? I know it sounds like something anyone would assume, but my sense of scale for obstacles to put in my character's way is haphazard at best. I mean just look at Rhork and Verin . They get tossed around like ragdolls.
polartech.deviantart.com

LEGION
LEGION
Posts: 277
Joined: March 24th, 2014, 8:25 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
LEGION

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby LEGION » November 30th, 2014, 4:20 pm

Tirien wrote:As far as identifying the major goal of a plot or story (which ideally won't be solved in one thread), do y'all make...uh...checkpoints or something similar? I know it sounds like something anyone would assume, but my sense of scale for obstacles to put in my character's way is haphazard at best. I mean just look at Rhork and Verin . They get tossed around like ragdolls.


Well, for me, I've often established some Big Goals for my characters (Xelas accidentally-but-believably helping to ignite the server's 4th War, Landreth going to Draenor, Diggsby just wanting a 'normal' life, Oolaki wanting find a way to open the Dark Portal to let her homeworld's version of the Burning Legion through, etc.) Some I realize up front will never happen for the character, simply due to Reasons. Some are significant TO the character, but entirely achievable. From there, it's a matter of thinking about what are the obstacles in the way, or forces driving the character. Basically, I ask myself a LOT of questions. For Xelas, I had to come up with reasons for him to turn on the Alliance, which at the time comprised a HUGE part of his identity. From there, I was solving each of those smaller development points/questions until they were reduced to where I could reasonably tackle the answer to that question in a chapter or a few chapters' format (which to me means one or maybe two points tackled per chapter). Sometimes you may realize that what you thought was a Little Goal is really a BIG Goal because of how complex it is to solve, and what you hoped might only take a chapter to resolve, ends up taking 3 or 4.

Example: Landreth wants to bake Grathier a birthday cake. Sounds simple on the surface. It's a cake -- how hard can it be? But then I start asking the Questions. "Why would Landreth want to bake a cake for Grathier?" It's been well-established that they don't like each other. So now I have to start thinking about what has taken place between them from 'What We Already Know' that would make this desire/action even to make sense. From there, it becomes a series of questions like "Does Landreth even know how to bake?" My immediate response is 'no' -- I've never suggested that he has the first interest or experience with baked goods other than to eat them. So, now we have to get down to him learning how.

When you find yourself in this situation, accept that it's going to take time to bring all this into fruition. If you try to cut corners and Just Make It Happen, the readers are going to have a hard time not asking the same questions you should have asked and answered along the way.

Dinpik
Dinpik
Posts: 78
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 10:40 am
Dinpik

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Dinpik » November 30th, 2014, 5:20 pm

LEGION wrote: "Does Landreth even know how to bake?" My immediate response is 'no' -- I've never suggested that he has the first interest or experience with baked goods other than to eat them. So, now we have to get down to him learning how.



And why he wants to learn just to bake a cake for Grathier.

"Why does this character want to do this?" can wind up going pretty deep.

cron

Login  •  Register