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Starting Out

edited February 2017 in - Writing Problems
Hello everyone,

So I've decided to try my hand at writing my first novel (yay!)

I've always enjoyed writing, and the art of storytelling, although never the most avid reader. My path has always veered to more visual mediums and as a visual artist by trade I guess that makes sense.

But now, having tried my hand in film, I've decided to free myself and run with my imagination. Budget and achievability wont stop me now!

I have an idea and have been working hard to flesh it out. I have found building up the backstory has really helped to drive the main narrative forward in my head.

I'm at the point where I feel like I know my main characters at what drives them. And where they stand in the world when we first meet them.

However, I haven't been able to bring myself to a conclusion.

Is it best to work this out before I begin to write properly so I have a goal to drive towards. Or in this case is it better to let the story develop organically and lead the way as I discover it.

Any advice will be really appreciated.

I should probably add it's a fantasy novel. I have pitched it to friends as a collision of Game of Thrones, Stargate, and the graphic novel Outcast.

I'm excited to become part of this community.



  • Hi M, welcome to TB.

    If you have no idea where the story is going, it may be hard to have your characters react correctly in particular situations.

    Perhaps you have a general idea of the ending, but nothing specific, in which case it will probably come to you along the way - after all, characters do have a habit of telling us where they want to go and what they want to say.

    However, this is first draft land, where you learn who fits where; and it's the chance for your characters to grow into something resembling their final shape. If you are happy to just write, then do so - we're all different and approach these things in our own way. You'll learn a lot - including the uncomfortable lesson that you need to cull large parts of the text to make it into a novel and not just a sprawl of thoughts. Writing is only the first step: editing is the hard part!

    Nothing written is ever wasted, even if you cut it out; learning why it has to be cut means you've developed your craft that little bit further.

    Good luck!
  • Welcome! I write poems - but i think as with most things, different people write in different ways. Sometimes I start with an end and write towards it, sometimes I plunge in and the end comes to me as I go. I don't think any method is 'right'.
  • Now then, how ya doing :D
  • Hello, MGM,
    I think it helps to have a general idea of where you're going, and then see what happens on the way. Sometimes, you end up going completely off piste because the ideas keep coming as you're writing, and are often better than those you started off with. Be sure to make little notes as things come to you in case you want to add them in later. You won't remember so don't try to hold everything in your head!

    Anyway, welcome to TB, and let us know how things are progressing, won't you?
  • Thank you for your lovely comments.

    I have so many ideas spread across my notebook and the notes app on my phone. I have found myself quite taken by the world I'm trying to create. And I must admit there have been a few moments in the early hours where I've had to grab my phone to jot something down before I fall asleep and loose it.

    I will take the advice on board. I currently have a rough idea where I want my narrative to go, but I may continue to develop my ideas until it is a little more settled then let the story find it's way there.

    Once again really happy to join the community. I'm sure I'll have many more questions to ask as I go, and the more I learn. I may even be able to share something I stumble across.

  • Hi, M.
    I, too, endorse the practice of commencing the draft and 'flying blind'. You will find that one day something will just click - an interaction between characters, or even a news event - that turns on the light bulb and illuminates the path to your story's conclusion. All the very best with it!!
  • Hello mgmstudios.

    Even when you think you have the end you thought of, it can end up slightly different, even very different. :)

    Trust your characters. You may find they'll decide the ending for you.

  • And I must admit there have been a few moments in the early hours where I've had to grab my phone to jot something down before I fall asleep and loose it.
    *Berates self for not taking notebook and pen to bed the other night*
  • Hi Mgm and welcome.
    In my opinion it helps to have an idea of where you're going, otherwise you could end up waffling towards an ever-retreating finale.
  • Go for it! I'm sure an ending will come into your head at some point - and probably change a few times along the way. It sounds like you're ready to go, so plunge in and see where the current takes you!
  • Thank you all.

    I'm very much looking forward to a good writing session at the weekend now :)
  • Hello M... I tend to write with my basic idea but then when I get going the story and the characters take over - that can be half of the fun :)

    Hope you enjoy the process
  • Welcome. I've written several things so far, made my fair share of gaffs (on and off the online space, as I'm sure people on this forum will tell you). I tend to work from ideas, and it's good to see where things will head. But because of how I work, there's an elasticity to what may come, so I don't set these ideas in stone; I take notes, and sometimes these notes become alternative versions that I can use for fresh ideas. I've had an ending change multiple times in one work I did, and I've needed to do some editing to make sure everything's consistent. But I find that's one of the joys of writing.

    Many good wishes for you in your chosen path.
  • Hello.

    Agree that at least a rough direction is good to have, but you don't have to know the ending. Even if you do, it can change as you go along. People are different - do what works for you.
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