Not So Run of the Mill Science Fiction
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I recently listened to S. King's On Writing, and (I think) M. Gladwell's What The Dog Saw. They were both interesting, and both presented very different view's on what it is to write fiction. King talks about the process as if it's digging up fossils, or going where a river leads you. Gladwell, in profiling another writer talks about his process, which is very different from King's. This writer did very intense background research and planning before he wrote his book.

I'm pretty sure a member of King's group. When I write, I have no idea whatsoever will happen next. At best, I know what the plot is working to, when I can call the chapter complete. A good example would be my most recent chapter of the story I am currently working on. I started writing, thinking the rest of the chapter would be my main character jumping around what he calls a "demented parkour course", and suddenly it deviated from that plan entirely... It was just so damn unexpected. I literally had no idea.

So, I'm curious, what type of writer are you all?



Something else entirely?

4/17/2010 . Edited 4/17/2010 #1
Twisted Skys

Probably spontaneous. I usually begin a chapter thinking of the general direction I need to take in order to get from point A to point B. Then as I get moving, things come and go as they please. For example, the latest chapter of my project was centered on my main character riding the city transit to work, think the entire way of the utter dread he must go through within the next unforeseeable amount of time, and concentrating on my theme of poisoned beauty. It was going to be his internal monologue meant to catch the reader up on current events. Then I just threw in a random introduction to a character that actually wasn't supposed to come in till later. That's usually how I write. I'm detailed oriented until something pops up, in this case, it was Newl (haha, that's actually his name XD).

5/3/2010 #2

Reviving a long dead thread :D:

Theoretically one should brain storm, outline, and compose rough drafts and edit extensively before publishing a polished story but I never had the patience to do that. I always keep the brainstorming in my brain and write spontaneously and edit as I go. This is one bad habit that I must fix!

7/1/2010 #3

I tried recently a completely spontaneous 'Just start writing' technique. My only planning was a single sentence. All my characters just happened upon the page. It worked to an extent, but now I've started planning so much more in my mind that it's entire point has sort of been defied. But I'm still working on it!

7/6/2010 #4

I tried recently a completely spontaneous 'Just start writing' technique. My only planning was a single sentence. All my characters just happened upon the page. It worked to an extent, but now I've started planning so much more in my mind that it's entire point has sort of been defied. But I'm still working on it!

7/6/2010 #5

Well free writing is perfectly fine when you are just practicing (practicing style, description, dialogue, etc.) but the problem comes up when you try to write something like a novel or novella. The need for organization could really get on a person's nerves when he or she has to keep track of 10 + characters and remember exactly what's been going on for the past four/five chapters. If you are just doing a short story (five pages or less) I think free writing could actually work better than the traditional brainstorming/outlining method since your creativity wouldn't be hampered as much by a rigid "schedule".

7/6/2010 #6
Yuli Ban

I've been working on my story for a.... erm. WHILE. I refuse to reveal how long- you'll laugh at me. I've been refinining it and refinining it through a myriad of drafts. I've used music for brainstorming and I haven't stopped thinking, which is good.

All a good writer needs is a brain and hands.

Unless you're living in the age of cyberkinesis. Then all you need is a brain!

7/21/2010 . Edited 7/21/2010 #7

No I won't laugh at you because I have been working on my current novella (Lady Luck) since 2008, the year I graduated from High School and I am still working on it (updated yesterday). I am just hoping that I will finish it before I graduate from college!

I am thinking about using your musical brainstorming idea... sounds rather fun and mentally stimulating at the same time but mostly because I've never tried it before. Personally I wish I had the patience to sit through multiple drafts but one is usually as far as I go (I am trying to fix that).

Lastly your cyberkinesis idea is freaking me out.

7/21/2010 #8
Yuli Ban

I've been working on KM since 2009. Instead of updating it, I just posted on it twice. I ran into some problems when I realized I couldn't even finish the second "episode"- I was that bored. So since October, I've been developing it like MAD, writing draft after draft after draft. I don't even plan on publishing it until several years from now. It doesn't even stay the same from one month to the next, so I know KM will look a LOT different by then.

And what's so freaky about cyberkinesis?

7/26/2010 #9

Does the existence of superhuman capabilities frighten a baseline human like you or do you plan on going a few steps beyond yourself :D:D:D.

Just joking.

7/26/2010 #10
Yuli Ban


7/30/2010 #11

This is the type of response that I am expecting. I get that a lot these days, believe me :D.

7/30/2010 #12
Jeremy R Walker

spontaneously to start off then detailed thought goes into the rest because it is assembled out of various Spontaneous moments and sections

10/27/2010 #13

Spontaneous when introducing all the characters, then detailed for the actual plot.

1/14/2011 #14
rikki tikki

I usually come up with an idea out of the blue, write a chapter or two, then I hit a wall and start actually planning. i have a story that i have been working on for several years and haven't progressed in writing beyond those first two original chapters, but i have forty or fifty pages of notes. From those I feel like I have a more well rounded idea of the world in which I am writing, and answering questions posed to me by my writer buddies helps me stay consistent.

10/6/2011 #15
Persnickety Fox
Before I write, I first need a "what if" concept to explore. Once I have that, I'll sketch out at least two characters in detail; personalities, background, motivations, etc. But that's where the meticulous planning stops.

I've learned that if I make an outline for the plot, I'll be less likely to write the story. I already have spoilers, you see. =( It's much more exciting and fun to let the characters create and manage their own conflicts. It's also cooler to watch the chosen idea expand and develop as the story progresses. =)

12/5/2011 #16

I end up spontaneously coming up with a general idea and the basis for the main character, and then writing a bit about each. After that, I end up planning out the general outline of the plot and start writing to fill it in.

While this all goes on, I try to create as much information as I can about the setting in order to get a good background on the story as I write.

5/15/2012 #17
Drpends on whati'm writing. Some stories I get the idea and just start writing. Others I have the entire thing planned out. I write however I can. Cool topic
1/1/2013 #18

I would have to say I write something in between the two. At times I have an idea and goal with my stories, though I allow them to flow and change and surprise me. Sometimes this works and other times it does not. I have works I regret trying to force, since they had become their own plot separate entirely from my intention when beginning the story. I would not fight a flow any longer, it was a learning experience, but I do try to set up a goal and general beginning, middle and end.

6/9/2013 #19

I generally let characters and plots stew in my head for a few months before actually beginning to write the story from Chapter 1. I may start writing the story from Chapter 30 (I have no stories that have 30 chapters, actually XD) but a story can change in the meantime to where I've got something I really want to write. Sometimes the refined plot is something completely different from the original concept.

When I began my Inventor series, it had no real plot or intention--- I just wanted to write a steampunk story. That story changed to what it is now before I had a real chance to develop the original plot, but now that I understand my later story (and have plotted it out chapter by chapter), I've actually come up with a good plot for the original Inventor book and I plan on publishing it as its own story, "The Inventor: Alternate Universe". It's a very different animal from the character-development piece I have now!

Also, when I say "Plot it chapter by chapter", I mean it in a VERY general sense. I love seeing my characters become people and make their own choices, and I've used spontaneous writing on more than one occasion--- it has its advantages for sure, with no restrictions on the creative mind. The only disadvantage is if I lose interest in the story, I lose the story altogether. Which is why I need a chapter plot to help keep things and events straight in my head. XD

7/21/2015 #20

I generally start of with drawings, and then a few ideas scrambled on any writable surface nearby. Eventually it turns into one of those cork boards with strings everywhere linking to different bits of writing and art. It's pretty crazy, until I can draw a story map. Then the fun begins...

The writing process starts whenever the beginning pops into my head. For Suspended Animation, it was after withnessing the second graders at my school playing a game of Simon Says. For Accountant of a Murdered Man, it was after I watched the Olympics. I really have no clue how it works, but I never write beginnings before they come.

Then I need to loop together the story map, bits of dialogue, and short parts that I used in my cork board into a cohesive story. And oh snap is it hard. Because I know what will happen, and I just can't type fast enough to get the story together. But eventually, I get something done, chapter by chapter. In Suspended Animation, I had to write two things at a time, due to the two parts. And let me tell you, it was fun! Because variety. But it can get moving pretty fast, and then the hype of it jumps in and gives me ways to hook things together.

And revising. My favorite part! By which I mean, there is no way that I can catch everything, so I have my awesome friends look over it, and catch my mistakes.

2/6/2017 #21
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