Author Topic: Hello, I'm a newbie writer. I'm writing a book, and I need help or advice.  (Read 979 times)  

Offline Wmaggpie

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I don't really know how this works but I'm making a book on Wattpad, and I have some things that I can't get off my mind. >:(

1. I change the plot very often. I always think between whether I should make my plot simple or more detailed, it frustrates me a lot.

2. I don't know if I should plan out my main character (personality) in full detail or just go with the flow without any plan.

3. There are things in my story that I should name, should it be related to its use? or can I name those things randomly, but explain its use without bothering with the name.

4. I always have this new idea popping out of nowhere, and I added it to my book. It made me feel like I'm out of inspiration after.

5. I keep reading my chapter a lot, over and over again. I always felt it lacks imagination. My mind screams I should change, change, and change.

Any advice for a beginner would help! I would appreciate it very much! - Maggy  ;D

Please help me seniors!   :'(

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    Offline Carol (was Dara)

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    Hello Maggie. Everyone's writing process is a bit different. Some writers like to plan out their characters and stories in advance and stick to an outline, while others make it all up as they go along. The best thing you can do is to get in lots of practice, try different ways of doing things, and over time you'll figure out which methods you're most comfortable with and how complex the plots need to be for the stories you're wanting to tell. Naming or not naming things is up to you. There are no rules, except on spelling and grammar. Just follow your instincts on what feels right to you.

    If in doubt, open up some books from your shelf and see how they handle introducing character details and so on. Reading a lot of the type of books that interest you is usually the best way to learn about writing.

    Good luck!

    Offline jdcore

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    First books are a learing tool. If you don't know which techniques work best for you (and there is no reason you should,) how can we be expected to? You won't find many (if any) authors who think their first novels were great.

    Here's what works for me. I think about the story for months. Then I create a bunch of written notes for what the story must contain and who the characters should be and anything else. Then I go to my word processor and create a sketch of the overall story which I next break down into chapter breaks. Then I flesh out the chapters as outline. Then first draft, then edits, then beta readers, then second draft, then more edits. Then a read-thru and tweaks. Then publication.

    Your mileage may vary.
    « Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 08:50:49 pm by jdcore »

    Offline David VanDyke

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    First books always suck.

    Don't worry about it.

    You won't likely write a good book until you've written a few hundred thousand words.

    So get writing and get to "good."


    Offline DmGuay

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    You have first draft paralysis.
    You think the first draft has to be perfect/everything ergo it's taking forever to write it.
    Just write the first draft. Don't worry about making it perfect or even good. Your first draft is for YOU, to help you noodle out the story.
    Now, when you go back and revise it, THAT is the time to make it shine.
    So get out of your own way, stop worrying about making every line/scene perfect AND WRITE THE SLOPPY GLORIOUS FIRST DRAFT!
    « Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 04:59:31 pm by DmGuay »
     
    D.M. Guay | Web site

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Everybody writes in a different way. The only way to find out what your way is, is to do the writing and ... find out. I edit as I go, personally, but that's me.

    First books aren't necessarily terrible. They are definitely a learning experience, though.

    Offline Douglas Milewski

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    Writing a book is like making a recipe. You do it again and again, getting it better each time. That's it. That's the only real secret. The first time is the worst, because you're learning what you're doing, but after that, it's downhill.

    Disclaimer: I sell horribly. Set your filters accordingly.

    Offline Anthony Sunderland

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    Hi Maggy, welcome to the 'First Book Club.'
    If you're still struggling when this crisis is over, join a local writing group or take a course.
    It can be scary to read out your work, but most people will be supportive and constructive.
    In the meantime I'll take your points one-by-one:

    1. I change the plot very often.

    A/ The characters should be complex, and the plots simple - unless it's an Agatha Christie type 'Whodunnit' with lots of twists and turns.

    2. I don't know if I should plan out my main character (personality) in full detail or just go with the flow without any plan.

    A/ See above.
    Creating characters is fiendishly difficult and frustrating, and time consuming.
    I remember having a fiery passion for my first stories; and no doubt you have for this, so you'll want to make it the best it can be.

    I ploughed on regardless with my first works - and am still revising and editing them many years later, so you taking the time for proper planning now will save a lot of frustration later.

    The best advice I've ever found on creating characters is in: The Word Weavers Grimoire (Creative Writing Tips and Tricks) by Daniel Arenson. Skip the first 70% of the book and go straight to the character section - it's great stuff.

    3. There are things in my story that I should name, should it be related to its use? or can I name those things randomly, but explain its use without bothering with the name.
    A/ Personally, I'd keep it simple for the reader without insulting their intelligence, unless you have a specific reason for giving objects esoteric names.
    Stick to: He fired his weapon, swung the blade, stabbed him, cleared the plate.

    Either decide now what the names are going to be, or let the words flow with everyday language then change things in the edit.

    4. I always have this new idea popping out of nowhere, and I added it to my book. It made me feel like I'm out of inspiration after.

    A/ New ideas popping up = inspiration. Most writers would love that 'problem.'

    This also applies to 5, below. The first draft is time to get the words on the page. Let them flow without thinking about it. Don't analyse, revise, or edit until the story's complete.

    5. I keep reading my chapter a lot, over and over again. I always felt it lacks imagination. My mind screams I should change, change, and change.

    We've all been here, and survived to tell the tale (literally, and figuratively) - and you will too.

    There's a reason so few people write books. It's damned difficult, and demands patience and perseverance.

    Most quit at the first obstacle, but you've shown the determination to plough on, and the courage to admit your fears and doubts, and seek advice.

    Stay focused, stay strong, believe in your dream, and I wish you every success.

    For Amazon.co.uk click on these links: '59   '59 Part 2 - Valiant   Destiny's Daughter    Destiny's Daughter Vol II

    Offline Douglas Milewski

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    A story can be anything, but it can't be everything.

    An idea that works with your story is gold, because it both enhances the story and your characters, and it feels like, yeah, that should have been there all the time.

    An idea that interferes with the story, pushes it sideways, or backwards, or fights with your progression is that idea that doesn't work. It feels divergent because it is divergent. That doesn't make it a bad idea, but here and now is not the time or place.

    Generally, I write a first draft, then I go through and clip out all the subplots and ideas that don't engage me very much. As for the ideas that do get traction, I focus more on them. This way, I can toss stuff in as I write, but at the end, I'm not stuck with ideas that go nowhere and distract the reader.

    Disclaimer: I sell horribly. Set your filters accordingly.

    Offline Jon Writing

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    Hello there Maggie, I'm not an expert but I can give you my take on some of your questions. I've never written a novel (only non-fiction and children's fiction), so I can't speak from that perspective. But I do enjoy reading fiction, so I can at least talk about it from this reader's viewpoint. Sorry if this is overkill, I got on a roll.

    On changing the plot and planning character personality:
    Significant inconsistency in plot and characters would bother me as I read a novel. It's okay to let inspiration take you where it leads, but it's a good thing to have an overarching narrative that makes sense. If you need to change it over and over, or not pre-plan a character's personality, that might just be part of your writing process though. And it's okay if characters grow and change, and might even be important to your story. But I find it enjoyable if, as a reader, I can understand why their personality evolved.

    Again, I'm thinking like a reader. But writing a novel is surely an entirely different animal! You probably do need to allow yourself some space to create...and if you need a very free-flowing environment to do it, maybe it's best to just do what comes naturally and bring things together during the editing process. Writing can be hard, so my advice would be to just go with what your most comfortable or lets the ideas flow easiest. Just with the understanding that the more chaotic things are on the front end, the more changes and editing you'll probably need to go through to tie everything together.

    Overall, I think you should go with the flow. And try not to get frustrated - it's okay if it takes a long time, or if there are speedbumps.

    Reading chapters over and over:
    If I were trying to write fiction, I think I would try to avoid doing this. I might backtrack if I can't remember how I handled something, or to clarify something. But not to self-critique or beat myself up. You can tear the book up through the editing process later if you want to; I would focus on moving in a forward direction until you complete a first draft.

    Naming things:
    Are we talking about things that you have made up? Or real things that exist in the world? It's possible it doesn't matter much either way. You don't have to name things if you don't want to, and if it doesn't serve the narrative. Even some famous fiction authors have the bad habit of over-describing unimportant objects or scenery.

    Good luck to you!
    « Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 03:39:03 pm by Jon Writing »




    Jon Amdall | Website | Amazon Page

    Online alhawke

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    Another tip to the OP: I never know how good my manuscript is until I finish it. Your mind can trick you into getting nothing done.

    Approach your writing with confidence and a willingness to rewrite and edit it. Even be willing to toss it. And write a lot.

    Good luck and welcome to Kboards!


    A.L. Hawke | Author website | Goodreads | BookBub

    Offline lea_owens

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    Writing books is like learning any other skill - the more you do it, the better you get.

    Great artists learned their craft by watching great artists paint... and their first paintings were not great. They improved as they learned more, practiced more, and watched the Masters paint. As a writer, we learn by reading books by the writers we admire, and our first book is rarely a masterpiece. We improve by learning more, writing more, and continuing to read good books.

    My greatest advice is, 'Aim for completion, not perfection'. Write that out and put it above your desk. Plan your novel - either with a basic outline or an in depth plan - make sure you know your characters, and just get writing. You may be someone who needs the structure of everything planned out beforehand. You may be someone who is a pantser and you just make things up as you go. Complete your first book, discover your writing style, then start your second book. About half way through your second book, start editing the first - in editing, you aim for perfection (none of us ever reach it, but we aim for it). Edit it five times or ten times before giving it to a beta reader, and after that, to an editor.

    Or, ignore all advice, and do whatever works. But completion is more important than perfection in the first draft stage.

    Leanne Owens

    Offline notjohn

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    If you're newly out of work and think you can pick up a few hundred dollars by writing a book, I'd try something else instead. This used to be a great way to make a modest amount of money, but that's been over for a good many years. When I started, there were 364,000 Kindle books for sale on Amazon. Now there are eight million, with probably a million added every year.
    Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting: http://viewbook.at/notjohn

    The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com

    Offline unkownwriter

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    There are a huge number of books that will teach you how to write. You should check your local library for some, see if they can't get you others (most libraries can do inter-library loans). Read them, practice the exercises, read a lot with an eye to noting how other authors handle things, practice some more.

    Offline chrisstevenson

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    You've just got to cut loose and let it happen until you hit the end. Writing is no a god-send, in the DNA or a gift. It is a craft that is constantly learned and you never, ever get it right. You're always learning. I wrote a million words before I was ever published. Today I let the most unique premise I can muster simmer in my brain until I KNOW I have something differentj and worthwhile. I'm a pantser, the story writes me--I just take dictation. Some authors outline and make maps and draw characters, ie: JK Rowling. You'll find your niche and style. Forge ahead and finish the project, then start another and another. You can always come back and modify, revise your structure, plot, pacing and so on. READ a lot of books in your preferred genre. Don't be afraid to mimic--you will arrive at your own voice without even knowing it.
    Guerrilla Warfare For Writers (special weapons and tactics)
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