Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Watcha Say Wednesday: What comes first?

Currently, I am in a weird spot. Just finished up revisions for a project and am letting it rest for a while before I slice into once more. During this month of waiting, I am focusing on my marketing plan. But the not writing is killing me. Knowing how consumed I become in a novel, I have decided to turn my attention to short stories and am falling in love with the concept. In the past two days, I've created the outlines for two new stories. Because of the length, I'm not afraid of starting one or the other- I'll just write them both. This is something I always struggle with when it comes to a novel - being pulled between multiple ideas and not knowing where to turn my focus.

This brings me to my question for today's Watcha Say Wednesday.

 When you begin a new project - what is your jumping point?
For you, what comes first?
Is it the beginning or an outline?
A character or the setting?
A concept or the climax?

Answer what speaks to you, and ignore the rest. But do tell- I am quite curious.


  1. Great question. For me, writing stories is all about exploring an emotion. So the emotion -- love, sadness, whatever -- is the jump off point. Then the characters follow close behind, and then the structure of the story (with conflicts).

  2. I like to begin with the theme, but I've also used a situation at times as well. Characters then embody aspects of the theme. When I think I have something interesting, the whole concept is plotted out in an outline.

  3. There's got to be an emotional clencher somewhere in the story in order for me to stick with it. That's true no matter the story's or poem's length.

  4. I love writing short stories as well! (sometimes even more than my WIP) For me, the concept comes first, an idea, and I go from there.

  5. For the novel I'm working on now, I was lying in bed one day and a one second image popped into my head. I wanted to write a novel about it. The next night I wrote a ten chapter outline. It was horrible. I now have the major events in my head, and some down on pages, and I outline a few chapters ahead. I have been consistently adding more and more depth to the story and world as I go, as more ideas come to me.

  6. I usually start with a concept. Then go to a character and write the beginning. The rest comes as needed.

  7. The concept is born first, then the MC and then I move to outlining after I let the idea stew for a while.

    I have learned that I like to jump from idea to idea so I usually work on two novels at the same time and still do writing prompts and short stories here and there.

    I have writing ADD.

  8. I know what you mean. I always have to write *something* especially while waiting to edit something else.
    As for your question, I usually have a character or an idea/concept first. If it fires my imagination, I start scribbling down bits of scenes I see in my mind. The outline and formulation of a choherent plot always comes last.

  9. Concept is first, definitely. It is usually an ending, followed by characters, and a journey to get to the desired outcome.

    I don't seem to be able to follow an outline; to plan that far in advance. I envy writers who can lay it all out and following a scheme.

    Short stories make me feel better about my lack of planning, but can be nearly as difficult to write because of the strict word count I set for the project. But isn't experimenting fun?!?

    I love your new look Aj. And this was a very good subject.


  10. By the way... I'm passing the "Creative Writing Award" on to you. Cue celebratory dance. Come get it while it's hot!

  11. I usually start with the concept. The perfect character for that concept will be original if the concept is, where a character I just plain love at first might come from something else I read.

  12. For me, the concept come first and then the characters follow soon afterward. After all, the characters are a crucial part of the concept. They help shape it and move it forward.

    The importance of setting depends on the manuscript for me. With my previous manuscripts, setting wasn't that important but it plays a vital role in my WIP...

    Okay, that was confusing. :P