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Thread: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?


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kyleesnyder

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Registered: 07/20/11
How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 9, 2017 4:58 PM
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I know it's probably different for every author. For me, I initially imagine a movie trailer in my head of a story I want to work on and write down some of the key scenes in said trailer to put into the story. I'm the kind of person that imagines that I'm watching a movie when reading a book, so naturally, imagining trailers in my head is the way I get most of my ideas.

So what about the rest of you? How do you formulate your ideas for stories?
Ned Kelly

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Registered: 09/05/15
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 9, 2017 8:28 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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Try thinking about a basic outline, then sleeping on it.

Cheers

Ned
campcomms

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Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 9, 2017 9:17 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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Truly no offense to the original person who asked this question, but you people ask the silliest questions.

Here's how I write novels and stories. A plot comes into my head any time it feels like it, I sit down at my computer, and start typing.
uncle1282

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Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 10, 2017 10:13 AM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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I usually begin with one idea or thought or mood, and pantser the entire novel a chapter at a time. If I get stuck I take a day off. I try for 1,000 words a day 5 days a week. The weekends help to solidify what's next and yeah, I do often see a trailer of the next scene playing over and over ad nauseum in my head. The EL Doctorow method.
Patrick A. Smith

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Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 10, 2017 1:01 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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kyleesnyder wrote:
I know it's probably different for every author. For me, I initially imagine a movie trailer in my head of a story I want to work on and write down some of the key scenes in said trailer to put into the story. I'm the kind of person that imagines that I'm watching a movie when reading a book, so naturally, imagining trailers in my head is the way I get most of my ideas.

So what about the rest of you? How do you formulate your ideas for stories?


A really interesting question and thread. I get an idea, place a picture on the desktop that sort of inspires me, then type a potential working, evolving title, then put up my disclaimer etc, then start an auto TOC with my chapter heading style, then type chapter one with a descriptive sentence for the chapter then write it, or keep adding chapter titles first which makes a great outline. The chapter titles may stay, be changed or whatever when I edit. But while I'm working the titles remain so I know what that chapter contains in case I want to add or change something in it.
The titles on chapters are events, so I can see if they are in order with the plot.
Donna St Felix

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Registered: 09/18/13
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 10, 2017 7:49 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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kyleesnyder wrote:
I know it's probably different for every author. For me, I initially imagine a movie trailer in my head of a story I want to work on and write down some of the key scenes in said trailer to put into the story. I'm the kind of person that imagines that I'm watching a movie when reading a book, so naturally, imagining trailers in my head is the way I get most of my ideas.

So what about the rest of you? How do you formulate your ideas for stories?


I think it takes the right mix of vitamins and minerals.
<She grins as she creeps away.>
Emily Veinglory

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Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 11, 2017 1:59 PM   in response to: campcomms in response to: campcomms
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I act them out by dressing cockroaches in suitable period costumes. Finding ones big enough to play the horses is time-consuming.
C. Gold

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Registered: 02/17/15
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 11, 2017 2:37 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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Normally? I don't think I have a normal mode. I get ideas in various ways. An idea for a beginning or ending pops into my head. Sometimes, a trope pops into my head. Something like 'what would happen if I aimed the reader towards this trope and then reversed their expectations?' Then with wicked grin I'd set out to flesh that out. Or, I want a certain ending because books rarely cover that angle, it's always what happens after. So let's write about before...

Here's a stream of consciousness brainstorm for a short I wrote in August:

For the eclipse that happened this summer, I thought about how magic rituals could be done when the sun is eclipsed that would strengthen a warlock's dark power to summon demons. Then I shifted the time to the equinox to keep it fall but moved it to a traditionally more powerful day of the year for my army summoning warlock. Then, who would oppose him? A husband and wife team. But I had also just read a story about a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's who accepted hand feeding by her care givers, so was unable to be left to die as per her wish she wrote out when she still had her mental faculties because she left that method out of the fine print. And so that got merged into my story. The husband had faced the evil warlock once before and was seriously injured - physically and mentally. So now we have a guy who is the only hope of saving the world, with memory troubles, up against a foe he lost to once before. Fun David vs Goliath battle, right? Wrong. It wound up being more about the relationship between husband and wife, their struggle with his illness, and little about the actual confrontation, though that still happens. It's about love and sacrifice and hope.
Mrs Julia Evans

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Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 11, 2017 2:45 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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I'm on very much the same lines as you.

I start by writing out a brief synopsis of a plot, and recording the details for any new characters, but once I start writing, I see each chapter playing out in my head like I'm watching a movie or tv show. It's like I'm inside the set looking around, describing what I see, and then the conversations that the characters have I can actually hear, exactly as they would be spoken.

I guess I just admitted to hearing voices in my head!

Oh well. It works for me.

J :)
C. Gold

Posts: 512
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 11, 2017 3:16 PM   in response to: Mrs Julia Evans in response to: Mrs Julia Evans
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At least your voices weren't arguing with you and refusing to do what you wanted them to do. ;) I had that happen in my book, haha.
Charles O'Donnell

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Registered: 12/22/12
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 12, 2017 11:04 AM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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Lately I've been writing a lot of short stories from prompts. Here are a list of recent prompts:

Tell me a scary story.
Write a story in present tense describing someone in the act of committing a crime.
Boxes turning red.
Write a story from the point of view of an unreliable person.
Write a story in which your main character ends up in a hospital.

I get the prompts from writing workshops, Meetup groups, and from my prompt jar.

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
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William R. Barton

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Registered: 10/22/12
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 13, 2017 10:48 AM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
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Emily Veinglory wrote:
I act them out by dressing cockroaches in suitable period costumes. Finding ones big enough to play the horses is time-consuming.

I find palmetto bugs make excellent horses, while maintaining the cockroach theme. Since I mainly write sf/f, some of my more interesting characters are played by mantises and argiope spiders.
Dee Tezelli

Posts: 434
Registered: 10/29/13
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 13, 2017 6:04 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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I am a rabid news junkie.. While half of my most eccentric plots are virtually ripped from (new or old) headlines, then kneaded with my brain's organic drama, the rest are purely based on personal mountain conquests and adventures. Dee Tezelli, Seattle
acornwriter

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Registered: 07/21/10
Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 26, 2017 12:14 PM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
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At first I thought this was hilarious. But then I got to thinking about an old apartment...

Cockroaches have quite a presence. Tiny insects with HUGE auras. My boyfriend at the time teased me about getting a schoolbus, painting it black and calling himself, "King Cock."

I return now to thinking that your creative mind is hilarious. "Suitable period costumes."

Too funny.
acornwriter

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Re: How do you normally formulate ideas for stories?
Posted: Oct 26, 2017 12:29 PM   in response to: kyleesnyder in response to: kyleesnyder
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Lately, I've been just typing away with the faith that it will come to me. It always does. When the story in my head runs out, I go for a walk or bounce around on the back of my husband's motorcycle. Both of these endeavors bring forth the story.

As I grow old, I'm learning how important it is to have CONFIDENCE in myself. Fear stands in the way of confidence. Most of that "fear" is just plain silly. So, write with confidence and faith. Use fear to make the story interesting and thought provoking.
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