Tell Me: How do you write/process YOUR stories?

Hoping to gain some inspiration, if not advice.

Plotters and pantsers are both welcome. I would like to hear of how you go through the process of writing out your stories–from plotting to uploading (putting the story on the web). Do you use outlines? Chapter summaries? How do you hold yourself accountable and get things done? Etc, etc.

Messy google docs that are incoherent to anyone but me.

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YESSSSS - You are not alone. This is exactly what I have done with my current book, and it. works…

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Preach this methodology to me?

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I was just explaining to someone how messy my docs are and how I don’t know where the chapter they were asking me about is. :joy:

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My process is looking like this:

Step One: “Wait, I think I have an idea-”
Step Two: [loading…waiting for idea to make sense]
Step Three: - mashes together a chapter one as blood and ink stream down my face-
Step Four: “Where’s my profit?”

Clearly, this process is not sensible, and needs some adjusting or improvement. :joy:

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I use vague, flexible outlines and notes that are mostly ineligible but make perfect sense to me. I post as I write (after writing a few chapters and doing basic editing on them) because it helps keep me accountable if someone’s reading it.

The rest, I make up as I go and cross my fingers that it all works out in the end.

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Hi!

So I turned into a plotter for my recent story and what i did was write out the general scenes and plots from beginning to end for the whole story on a notebook (like an actual notebook and pen) and for the empty gaps I didn’t know what to add I just put things like add dialogue/add extra scene it’s nothing too specific but it’s a decent enough outline of my story that really helps me stay on track on what I should be writing and be more organized.

I also had pages of my characters as well from physical appearance to what their personality is like so I don’t mix up too much.

When it comes to writing my chapters out I actually write out of order. When I use to write in order from the beginning of the chapter to the end I really didn’t like it and I got unmotivated to write faster. So every time I would start writing a new chapter I would usually start from the middle of whatever scene I’m writing or the end and then when I’m finished with that I write out the rest until the whole chapter is completed. Then I would go back and skim around, deleting and adding a few words/ paragraphs here and there to make the scenes go by smoother.

I know this is a really long reply but I hope this somewhat helps you a little… but if it doesn’t I guess an advice I’d give is to just experiment. See what you enjoy more, plotting or non plotting, see if you write your chapters better by starting to write from beginning to end or from end to beginning. Maybe you do better with summarizing every chapter before you write who knows

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Ok so basically, to keep things simple, I have one Google Doc for all the ‘facts’ related to my book. This helps me keep my plot and characters consistent. And then, I have a whole bunch different docs

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I have the overall plot of the books and details that I need to add in my head, but I can’t outline the chapters. I don’t write any notes down. I just let the characters tell me how the scene should go when I write. I tried outlining Chainbreaker and my characters were very unhappy about it, so I stopped. It’s really, really hard for me to know beforehand how long a conversation will take or what Hala will start thinking about, so I just sit down and write and let them carry me from scene to scene in their natural way.

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I have a notebook binder filled with Story Ideas from Dreams. So I put them in order and write each scene to make the long chapters feel real.

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So are you the type to plan out an ending or know what your ending is like, in advance?

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For full-length stories, I go in with an idea of how I want it to end but not the exact ending because the events leading up to it normally change from what I originally had planned.

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I start with a timeline of events that need to happen in the order that they need to happen, then use that to make an outline. _〆(..)

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This sounds interesting. I can see the whole summarizing process becoming a potential procrastination/idling trap for perfectionists like me. It does sound practical though.

You know what? This makes a lot of sense. Usually, when I have an idea for a story–very specific scenes stick to my mind about the story, but I can never seem to figure out how to direct the plot to get there. I’m considering trying this out. :thinking:

Nonsense. :joy: We’re on a forum for writers, filled with writers–a wall of text like this won’t make us flinch. Plus, I can better understand where you’re coming from since you put thought into your reply–so thanks so much for that.

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I make it up as I go :thinking:

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I start with the 6 major plot points. Then I play fill in the blanks with the rest of the plot.

Write to the end of the first act to interpret how long I think the story will be, I take that word count and multiple it by 4. That’s my goal.

After I write the whole thing I edit it down for pacing/find where acts are too long. Then I do my first edit for content I missed/restructuring. 2nd Edit for tightening. 3rd edit for spelling and grammar. Beta readers. Edit some more. Upload.

Then I edit as I get feedback too :slight_smile:

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So you connect random scene ideas together to form a story? Am I understanding correctly?

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I have tried to do a story board but have never actually finished it before writing well past what I outlined. Most times, when a story comes to me I try to write down a summary because I’m usually in the middle of some other story and don’t want to forget those little nuggets. Some stories come to me as complete end to end concepts others are just general ideas. I have about 14 stories I’ve either started or written up a summary for but so far I’ve only got one done to the point of editing that final chapter. That one took more than 3 years to get to this point and I’m probably going to rework that chapter a dozen times before I’m happy.

Advice, find something that works for you. Try anything and everything and settle on what works for you. Keep several copies or drafts of your story so you can rework it and back track if needed. I use OneNote and Word for plotting and writing, if you don’t have anything like that, use notepad or whatever is available that will let you maintain a copy of your work. I’ve read a few posts of people that seem to write on Wattpad only and have lost their work. :frowning:

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Wait … that’s brilliant?

How do you go about developing a “complete” story idea, or premise? “Complete” in the sense that, you know (or have a more than vague idea) of the beginning and/or end.

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