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Teaching Yourself.

I’ve been working on writing a few stories and researching publishing them for a couple months now. I’ve learned some things about the publishing business and I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and what works for me in regards to writing.

If its not already obvious I’ve been working on a SciFi novel named Child of the Seraphim, this book has pulled a wide range of emotions out of me, invoking nearly everything from disappointment to pride. Through the veil of these emotions I’ve even managed to pick up a thing or two. I thought it might be nice if I took a moment to share them with you.

1) Sometimes stepping away is a good thing.

I’ve had some real frustrations with Child of the Seraphim. I initially planned for the story to be about a twenty thousand word novella.When heading into this story I had planned to publish it in a series of shorter novellas then publishing an omnibus version a month or so after I completed and published the last novella in the story. When I got to the point that I initially theorized as the end, the story felt incomplete, even with an extra ten thousand words on it. I’ve since decided I don’t want to take the serialized novella route, so I found myself with an incomplete story on my hands that I had not completely planned out and had not structured to be a longer novel. Trying to plan the story further was a headache, my brain always seized up, refusing to come up new plot for the rest of the book. I tried banging my head against the wall for a while, but in the end it didn’t work out very well. The  whole time this was happening I had been wanting to start writing a short story that had been gathering momentum in my head.Finally giving in I set Child of the Seraphim down and started writing the Mercury, Sulfur, and Salt. I finished the short story and went back to brainstorming for the SciFi story, and now ideas flow  freely again.

I really feel like stepping away from the story for a little while helped me a great deal.

2) How I organize my story planning.

Another thing that I was having a good deal of trouble with was  how to organize my story. I know what the end of the story is, and I have a general idea of how I want to get there, but making a flow chart outline of the major events in the story always seemed to trip me up.    I’ve come to the conclusion that I was having a large amount of trouble keeping up with the story progression because I switch viewpoints in the story. Since making this observation I’ve started mapping out a character’s entire storyline from where I have to the end of the book all at once. This allows me to stay fluid in my thoughts and easily track where I am in the story. After I finish one character’s storyline I go back and start on another characters. Once all the characters are done I’ll have a nice and pretty flowchart mapping each character’s progression through the book and then I can easily take the individual chapters for each character and insert them where they need to be in the main story line. It’s made a pretty significant difference for me.

Do you have any tips, tricks, or specific methods you use when you write or organize a story? Why not share them below.

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2 thoughts on “Teaching Yourself.

  1. When I first set out to write my novel I tried to outline the story. That effort went nowhere. I wrote background material for the characters. That helped. I need words on a page to get my creative juices going. After many fits and starts I decided to just sit down and write the story. No outline. No flowcharts. I knew the protagonist. I knew the world. I knew the overarching conflict. So, I put him in the world to see what would happen. What happened was a story I had not planned.

    • That’s pretty similar to the method I’ve attempted to use and my results are similar to what you described as well, except probably a great deal more scatter brained. I really enjoy just sitting down and writing with out a plan to see where the story goes, but I run into the issue of my brain going into 20 different directions and glossing over things that I wanted to be major plot points. So this time I’m going to take a mixture of a non structured and a structured approach.

      I plan to write short paragraphs summarizing each chapter / character and not allowing myself to start writing until I have that bit of the stories skeleton constructed. I think it will make brainstorming and editing things in the story as it progresses a great deal easier.

      Thanks for the comment!

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