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Hatcheter
February 28th, 2005, 09:01 PM
I’d like to ask the opinion of some of the more experienced fic writers here. I’m working on a multi-chapter story right now which is only partially complete. I have one chapter done and ready to go, and a second is written, though it needs a second draft. But whenever I open a blank document to start the third chapter, I end up staring at a blank screen for twenty minutes before shutting it down.

I have a general outline of the story, and I know what the major plot points of the successive chapters will be, but I can’t figure out how to write them.

When you are writing a multi-chapter story, do you post each chapter as it is written, or try to have a rough version of the story written first? And how detailed are your ideas going into the story? Just a general outline, or do you have a scene by scene plan?

I would appreciate anybody and everybody’s input.

samjack4ever
March 1st, 2005, 12:47 AM
I’d like to ask the opinion of some of the more experienced fic writers here. I’m working on a multi-chapter story right now which is only partially complete. I have one chapter done and ready to go, and a second is written, though it needs a second draft. But whenever I open a blank document to start the third chapter, I end up staring at a blank screen for twenty minutes before shutting it down.

I have a general outline of the story, and I know what the major plot points of the successive chapters will be, but I can’t figure out how to write them.

When you are writing a multi-chapter story, do you post each chapter as it is written, or try to have a rough version of the story written first? And how detailed are your ideas going into the story? Just a general outline, or do you have a scene by scene plan?

I would appreciate anybody and everybody’s input.

When I'm writing a fic that has chapters I don't write the story using separate documents but keep it as one single document. I find that this helps me keep the continuity through out the story as I can go back and double check things plus it saves me the hassle of having to reopen other documents. There is also the prospect of having a blank document in front of you every time you move onto a new chapter. If there are words already on the page it makes it easier to write.


Awhile ago I posted a message asking people how to get past writers block and a majority told me just to write what it is I want to say and finish polishing it up later on… That’s what editing is for… :) So it doesn’t matter if you type away for 20 minutes only to discover that the 10 sentences you have written will be edited down to just one or two.

I do try to do a rough outline of the story first just highlighting the key moments that will happen through the story; this also helps me to keep on track.

Also I would recommend that you don't post your story chapter by chapter as odds on you will stubble across a plot hole in the story and the only way to get out of it would be to tweak an earlier chapters... If you have already published chapters then it makes the job a whole lot harder…

IWantToBelieve
March 1st, 2005, 03:40 AM
I enjoy this format, and use it for my fics, but you do have to be careful because a)committ to finishing it, even if you think it's not what you wanted at the end, because if ppl start reading, it's rude to not finish, and b) take notes, have an outline, have the main details fleshed out, so you won't contradict yourself. Refer to the notes.

For me, I start with an outline of the plot, and each chapter I sketch out what I want to accomplish for moving that plot forward.

With all that said, I do think I'm going to start doing complete fics before posting them. I hate making people wait, and it's a lot more satisfying to read a fic in one shot. The only exception is a huge fic. I can't wade through novel length fics and those, as long as the writer updates frequently, it's nice to go chapter by chapter.

I'm writing one of those right now, and it's almost 40,000 words with probably another 10,000 words left.

ibwolf
March 1st, 2005, 04:17 AM
Also I would recommend that you don't post your story chapter by chapter as odds on you will stubble across a plot hole in the story and the only way to get out of it would be to tweak an earlier chapters... If you have already published chapters then it makes the job a whole lot harder…

Ah, but having to work withing the confines of what is already out there is half the fun :) Sortof like doing a TV show really :)

Anyways, for my $.02, it's allright to do chapter by chapter releases as long as each chapter isn't too short. I'd say a minimum of about 4-5000 words per chapter. Also the story should fall neatly into those chapters so that there isn't one chapter that (while doing wonderful character moments) doesn't further the story one bit.

Myself (not that I have a lot of experience) I tend to end the chapters on a cliffhanger of one sort or another. But that is just me.

I would however never start publishing a story until I know how I'm going to end it and (roughly) how I'm going to get there.


As for writers block. Just write anything is good advice. Once you get started, it gets easier. You don't even have to write the story, I like to plot out the chapters by inserting a series of comments (usually withing brackets []) that say basically what is supposed to happen. Main plot points, interesting asides, a joke I wanted to work in, what characters are present etc. This makes it easy to jump into any part of the capter and write a bit (no need to write in a linear format). Once you get started it gets easier.

KatG
March 1st, 2005, 05:01 AM
I would write everything in one document. It just makes it easier to see what you're doing.

As for reading WIP, I tend to avoid them until they're finished, unless it's a writer I know very well, and that I know will finish the story. I've been burned too many times by writiers who start a really good story, post it chapter by chapter, and then never finish it. It's very irritating.

And if you do post it, don't blackmail people with feedback requirements. I've seen where people post that if they get enough feedback they'll write more. In that case, I automatically avoid the story. You should write, because you like to write. Feedback should just be the icing on the cake.

Rail'k
March 1st, 2005, 05:20 AM
Go to this Fan fic I write and it may give you an idei on how to set up your fan fic.

http://www.gateworld.net/fanfic/archive/30/refugerevised.html

Skydiver
March 1st, 2005, 07:53 AM
When you are writing a multi-chapter story, do you post each chapter as it is written, or try to have a rough version of the story written first? And how detailed are your ideas going into the story? Just a general outline, or do you have a scene by scene plan?

I would appreciate anybody and everybody’s input.

i tend to wait until it's all or mostly done before i post. and for several reasons

a) sometimes i get stuck and to me, nothing is ruder than starting a WIP you never finish
b) sometimes i think of a plot angle and i like the luxury of going back and fixing things before they're published

Mr Prophet
March 1st, 2005, 08:35 AM
For starters, I don't tend to break the fic down unless it a) naturally falls into two or more 'episodes' or b) it looks or feels like it's going to be a lot more than about 45,000 words long.

I will always start out with a plan of campaign, a rough outline of the fic that has already been through about a dozen rewrites in various notebooks before being committed to Word. As I write the fic, each paragraph of notes is replaced by a section/chapter of prose of varying length. I may well also add more notes as new things occasionally, or remove them if I really can't remember why Daniel was so determined to bring that eggplant with him.

What this means is that, when it comes to writing the real deal, I never start with a blank sheet, which is a huge plus in and of itself. Moreover, although everything is subject to revision, I have a good idea of where I'm heading, so I can drop in some foreshadowing and stuff without too much trouble. Of course, this can still work for a chapter-by-chapter posting, since you're not committed to following through your forshadowing.

But I would say, never post a thing until you know the basics of the path your fic will tread. If you end up taking the scenic route, that's one thing; if you run out of road, at best you'll feel silly, at worst you'll piss a lot of readers off.

Basically, you need to find something that works for you, but if you are worried about writer's block, don't post a thing...Well, unless you think you work better under pressure.

Major Clanger
March 1st, 2005, 09:17 AM
can I just join in the "please don't post a WIP fic" chorus? I will not read them anymore. Like Kat I've been burned by writers who don't finish,and as for the feedback-and-I'll-write-more pleas - even if the fic might be the best thing ever written, I'd never ever send feedback.

As for writer's block - just keep writing. Make sure you write every day, and eventually you'll get there.

Good luck!

Skydiver
March 1st, 2005, 12:39 PM
when i see notes on fic that says 'if i don't get enough feedback, i'm not going to write the next chapter' that's when i stop reading

I'm not going to be blackmailed into sending feedback...and if an author is writing simply to get kudos, then, imho, they're writing for the wrong reason to begin with

IWantToBelieve
March 1st, 2005, 02:44 PM
I wouldn't say never do a multi-chapter. I read a lot on ff.net and have most of my favorite writers do multi-chapter, but if it's someone I don't know, I'll hold off on reading until I see serious progress made. Once it looks like the writer is serious about finishing it, I'll give them a shot, and read.

I agree about the review/feedback requirements. That boils my blood. If you are writing just to hear someone tell you how good you are, then go look somewhere else, because you won't get it from me. Feedback is something that's great to get, but it is never what the main goal should be.

I tend to view the multi-chapter format as episodic, and when I write them, my chapters are almost little fics. Each chapter has a goal, towards the main plot, and almost all end up on a natural stopping point, leading into the next chapter. I've enjoyed that style of writing and posting. I won't post an incomplete on any archive site, however, I always send it complete fics for that.

If you want some good examples of multi-chapter writing, check out the Atlantis ff.net pages. Some very good authors are b7-kerravon, nebbyj, bastet, oh geez, I've got a ton of stories on my favorites list that the author's post in this way, and it's fun having new chapters to look forward to, compared to reading a fic in one sitting and then it's over. Not that it isn't nice to do that also, but I think both have their merits.

But above, all else, if you start posting, finish. Don't expect feedback, but enjoy it when it comes. If you get constructive criticism, listen, keep an open mind. Read and study the fic you like. If you hit a block, yes, you can sit and write, but if you don't like what you've got, keep trying, working sections that bother you, etc. I've had to go back and redo entire chapters.

Good luck!

Skydiver
March 1st, 2005, 04:24 PM
I would also say, there's no way you can ever write a fic that every single reader will like. NEVER.

and just because someone doesn't like it, don't take it personally. It's not that they don't like you, just your work.

Just because you get a bad feedback, don't stop writing. I mean, some of the big writers in this fandom have gotten 'eh, this story bites' e-mails.

don't take it personally and don't lose sleep over it.

some of the crit might have some real merit...some might not. and you don't have to alter what you write to suit others.....write for you. write what you want to write

kris
March 1st, 2005, 05:45 PM
I’d like to ask the opinion of some of the more experienced fic writers here. I’m working on a multi-chapter story right now which is only partially complete. I have one chapter done and ready to go, and a second is written, though it needs a second draft. But whenever I open a blank document to start the third chapter, I end up staring at a blank screen for twenty minutes before shutting it down.

I have a general outline of the story, and I know what the major plot points of the successive chapters will be, but I can’t figure out how to write them.

When you are writing a multi-chapter story, do you post each chapter as it is written, or try to have a rough version of the story written first? And how detailed are your ideas going into the story? Just a general outline, or do you have a scene by scene plan?

I would appreciate anybody and everybody’s input.

Eh! Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Sometimes writer's "block" means we aren't having any fun with the writing anymore. Maybe it has nothing to do with the writing, maybe you are too busy with RL to put much energy into that third chapter.

Some advice: You have an outline so try being mechanical about it: Decide the next scene and its goal --what the scene is to accomplish--and pick a way to start. They teach this to 5th graders and I use it (more or less), works to get your brain warmed up and possibly the chapter started: begin with either dialogue, a description, a thought or feeling, or action. Then ask yourself what the conflict is, and end the scene badly (check your cause and effect in the first 2 chapters, make sure they are strong enough to keep the story moving along into the third chapter). Get your people into more trouble whether it is emotional or physical, etc. Doesn't have to be melodramatic. TV shows do this all the time; works in writing, too.

About multi-chapters: I am in the midst of my first right now and it is a finished piece but I "polish" each chapter before I post it every weekend. So, the story is fairly coherent but you know, plot holes still can sneak in. You can't catch everything, just the glaring things. The more complicated the story, the more things can go wrong.

Going into my stories I now like to have a general outline but sometimes I don't. If I get stuck, I do a terribly wonky stick figure story board that brings the play back into it bec I can't draw characters very well. Last word: you'll figure out what's best for you so don't sweat it. Play with words and see where they take you.

By the way: IWantToBelieve: I love your Sheppard pics. Gorgeous.
And this thread is pretty scary with all you System Lords around. Jaffa Fodder doesn't have a prayer!

SilverRider
March 1st, 2005, 06:35 PM
When I do mine, I uasully have the whole plot in my head, but some end up with blanks. That's normal due to not knowing how to play the words out. Writing a Mulit chapter fics aren't easy, since you might get a new idea for a certain chapter that was already posted or the one that's coming up.

I post mine as WIP, so I have a bit of an idea as to where I stand with my audiences. That's the only advantage of WIP. Along with the fact that it gives the author some sense that (drama/Humor etc) kind of fic your audience are looking for.

It's best to post at least one chapter and see if it will take off. Before posting the remaining of the story.

I have about five WIP fics that are not yet complete and I haven't touched them for a while. I usually wait out and see if i get any ideas in my head. Never write with a blank head as to it's not worth while.

Maybe i should take some of the System Lords tips and use one document for the whole fic. :D

SR

Skydiver
March 1st, 2005, 06:36 PM
an outline is good.

sometimes i have a specific one in mind....especially if the fic is really long.
other times, my outline is simple

jacob's pov - what i want to accomplish/what the scene is
sam's pov - what i want to accomplish/what the scene is
jack's pov - what i want to accomplish/what the scene is

etc, etc.

i can just lay it out. i also tend to plot a lot in my mind. I'll talk out dialogue as i walk down the hall or drive to work. i'll picture how i want a scene to work before i write it....which is sometimes why a fic will sit for days in between writing sessions

and sometimes to take the pressure off, i'll go low tech. grab a pen and paper and write it out longhand. i think i concentrate too much when i type, so i have to think less when i hand write and can concentrate on the wordsmore

Athenaktt
March 13th, 2005, 04:58 PM
I definately agree with those and the not finishing WIP fics. I remember the first fic I ever read was a WIP wonderfully written and never finished.

I guess after that I've always made a promise to myself to always finish my fics, even if it kills me. Like others say, its the only thing I can do as a gesture of thanks for those who have been following my fics.

Even now I have a multi-fic that I'm working on for another fandom, and I feel awful, because I'm not feeling dedication I had before for the story, but because people are reading and following it, I'm still working on finishing.

But as to writing multi-chapter fics. I usuallly have a general outline in my head. I know how I want it to start and I know how it will end. The hard part is how will i get from point A to point B in a remotely interest way.

To be honest I usually don't plan in writing in chapters, I just keep writing until I have a good amount, and when I'm happy with what I have so far, and know where my story is headed.

When I'm ready to post parts of my fic up, I usually find a spot that I think would make a good chapter break and post them up as chapters that way.

And Like many others I like to write the fic in one document. It feels good to look down and it sayd you have written 30 pages or something, but that's just me. :D

SilverRider
March 13th, 2005, 05:30 PM
I definately agree with those and the not finishing WIP fics. I remember the first fic I ever read was a WIP wonderfully written and never finished.

I guess after that I've always made a promise to myself to always finish my fics, even if it kills me. Like others say, its the only thing I can do as a gesture of thanks for those who have been following my fics.

Even now I have a multi-fic that I'm working on for another fandom, and I feel awful, because I'm not feeling dedication I had before for the story, but because people are reading and following it, I'm still working on finishing.

But as to writing multi-chapter fics. I usuallly have a general outline in my head. I know how I want it to start and I know how it will end. The hard part is how will i get from point A to point B in a remotely interest way.

To be honest I usually don't plan in writing in chapters, I just keep writing until I have a good amount, and when I'm happy with what I have so far, and know where my story is headed.

When I'm ready to post parts of my fic up, I usually find a spot that I think would make a good chapter break and post them up as chapters that way.

And Like many others I like to write the fic in one document. It feels good to look down and it sayd you have written 30 pages or something, but that's just me. :D


Well said. :D :D

I have a hard time going from A to B.

Athenaktt
March 13th, 2005, 06:26 PM
Well said. :D :D

I have a hard time going from A to B.
Thank you! :D

Yes, getting from point A to B is the main challenge. :S

SilverRider
March 13th, 2005, 06:43 PM
Thank you! :D

Yes, getting from point A to B is the main challenge. :S

Your welcome :)

Now that i'm writing SG fics, i'm stuck on my ch 6. :p

I originally started to write it as WIP, but now that i got a myself a good beta reader, I'm going to finish of the fic b4 posting the new verison.

Athenaktt
March 13th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Your welcome :)

Now that i'm writing SG fics, i'm stuck on my ch 6. :p

I originally started to write it as WIP, but now that i got a myself a good beta reader, I'm going to finish of the fic b4 posting the new verison.
That's good to hear.

I didn't have a Beta reader until I started writing SG fics. But a Beta reader really helps in giving you that extra push you need sometimes. I always try to skimp on a scene i'm too lazy to write, but should write, and my Beta would always point me saying I shouldn't skimp and write the scene. Sometimes she also harasses me to write, when I get lazy. But I love my Beta reader. She always feeding me plots bunnies and straying me for my big fics.

SilverRider
March 13th, 2005, 07:00 PM
That's good to hear.

I didn't have a Beta reader until I started writing SG fics. But a Beta reader really helps in giving you that extra push you need sometimes. I always try to skimp on a scene i'm too lazy to write, but should write, and my Beta would always point me saying I shouldn't skimp and write the scene. Sometimes she also harasses me to write, when I get lazy. But I love my Beta reader. She always feeding me plots bunnies and straying me for my big fics.

Yea i got tw obeta readers, so my original one does the same :D

I get her to nag at me. And do i love it. :rolleyes:

Verthandi
March 13th, 2005, 08:11 PM
I like the idea of writing the entire thing in one document. Silly me never even thought of that.

I used to post each chapter as I finished it, which worked well for the short fics that are only a few chapters long. For the longer ones, I've found that I can't do that, even with an outline. I personally don't like outlines or notes because when something better comes along, it usually changes points further down the road, which makes the entire outline or the notes obsolete. In fact, I have to take one down because there are a few minor details that didn't occur to me until later in the plot.

I recommend writing the entire thing and finding a good beta reader, one that doesn't feel bad about strict critiques--an English major/teacher, for example. Even if you only post a chapter at a time, you'll know that the continuity is correct.

KissHerJack
March 20th, 2005, 08:12 AM
Chiming in here...

I am what is commonly and affectionaly termed as a 'pantser'... which means I write by the seat of my pants. :-)

I never outline. I never rough draft. I never make notes ahead of time. The closest I get to preplanning is telling my beta and a few other friends about my story ideas and see what they think of it.

Then, I just sit down and start writing. I know how things get started... I know the general ending... but how we get there? Your guess is usually as good as mine. I let it unfold . . . and I havent' gotten many complaints . . .yet. LOL

I write my fanfic this way and I write my novels this way... whatever comes out.

I am, however, a perfectionist when it comes to how it comes out. I can't just write and worry about edits later. When I close my document at the end of a writing session, I like it to be as good as I feel it could be for that day. I know there will always be edits later... but I don't write with the intention of fixing later.

On the topic of posting WIPS... I don't and I don't like reading them. I wait until I am done before I post based on the fact that I AM a pantser... and things could and do change. For instance, I am working on a lengthy piece now. And today I decided I need to change something I did in a scene I wrote last night. If I had gone ahead and posted... I'd be stuck.

So, those are my series of .02 cents worth.

knocknashee
March 20th, 2005, 10:01 AM
I tend to type a brief rundown of the main events of a story first, mainly because I get a rush of ideas as to where to take a fic, and find I forget them if I don't note them down. I find this helps as my biggest problem with writing fics is to write in continuity order - I prefer to write down sections as they come to me then tidy up the continuity later. I also tend to avoid putting chapters in as I write, so having a basic template helps me put these in later for everyone else's benefit.

I don't think actually preconceiving your fic is bad - you may not end up going where you expected and sometimes I think it's interesting to go back and see exactly what you had intended to write in comparison to what you ended up doing.

Because of the way I write, I tend to do so in one word document, unless I have a section/s I feel I may not use, and I put these in a second file, so that I can copy and paste them if I do wish to use them. Also, whilst I always write in narrative, as I'm developing a fic I tend to put small script bits in places where I have parts that are yet to be written, as I usually tend to realise what should happen before a scene as I'm writing it, and putting a little note in like that helps me when I come back to it.

If you read one of my WIP, you'd have a hard time figuring how it became the end fic...I shock myself at times... :D

knocknashee
March 20th, 2005, 10:15 AM
can I just join in the "please don't post a WIP fic" chorus? I will not read them anymore. Like Kat I've been burned by writers who don't finish,and as for the feedback-and-I'll-write-more pleas - even if the fic might be the best thing ever written, I'd never ever send feedback.

As for writer's block - just keep writing. Make sure you write every day, and eventually you'll get there.

Good luck!

I stopped expecting praise for fics a long time ago, when I used to write in another fandom and noted FB is often thin on the ground. At the end of the day people should write for their own enjoyment, rather than other people's praise. And I cannot abide people who blackmail their readers for more chapters...I'd rather bookmark the fic and see if it is ever finished, then read it if it is than conceede...I never read WIP if I can help it anyway, and I never post mine until I'm at least 3/4 way through, in case I lose interest in something I'm writing.

One thing that I've noticed never happens in Sci-fi fic writing circles is people who have lost interest in their WIP never throw it open for someone else to finish who may have ideas...