No, I don’t know the end of the stories, I create. I’m able to plan out character arcs for the heroes and villains as well as possible conflicts for a possible sequel of my stories but, when I get to actually writing the story, I sometimes scrap the idea that was previously gestating in my mind because I realize it doesn’t fit in the story, or maybe it will fit but not in this story but perhaps another. As much as I want to have an ending planned from the get go, I have come to realize that I’m not that kind of writer, I need to actually start putting the story on paper and see where it takes me and wait until I get the feeling that I’m either approaching the end or that I’m now writing the end.
I go in with a basic concept but I don’t usually end up where I thought I would.
Since the only serious writing I’ve done is interactive fiction I tend to have three or four broad but distinct endings in mind when I begin. As things proceed sometimes one or more of those wither on the vine while new ones open up as the story evolves.
Totally a seat-of-my-pantser when it comes to writing though. Minor throwaway characters constantly evolve into major characters as I go, which in turn steers the narrative into very different directions to accommodate them.
I feel like generally I come up with an idea for a central conflict first before much of anything else. Characters (and their personal arcs), world dynamics, subplots, etc. all usually end up developing after I know the ins and outs of the general plot.
I pretty much always know the end; it’s kinda how I get my ideas, actually. Now, knowing how I’m going to get to the end is a completely different story.
As for planner vs pantser, I do a mix of both, a “plantser,” I guess. I often plan out my characters and lay out who they are in a blank chart that I copy and paste for a new character, but I don’t typically plan out plot points except for when mulling it over in my head. Occasionally, I’ll jot down a few bullet points of an order of events, just so I can get a visual of how much has to happen before X or Y does, but that only happens very rarely. A lot of times, though, I’ll write down a bunch of ideas and details for future scenes just because I got the idea, but that’s less of a planning and more of a writing-the-scene-out-of-order kind of thing.
Of course, when I actually get to writing the planned scenes down and connecting them, they evolve, sometimes into something else entirely, along with the characters.
I tend to create an outline of the chapters so I have some idea of where I want to go and then I write in that order and I try to make everything fit that.
I usually know where the end is when I’m writing a story. With a CYOA, it’s not so clear cut since different branches can take me off on tangents. That’s one of my biggest problems actually, keep adding new branches till the tree falls over…
Heya! I must say that I never have an ending in mind. I don’t even outline anything. I at least know the general direction I want the story to go and the tone for everything but I usually just come up with stuff as I go. A bad way to write? Probably. Am I going to fix it? Probably not. It seems to work out well enough for me though.
I’ve seen a lot of writers use character charts. Would you mind sharing a little about what sort of character details you find critical?
That’s been happening to me a lot lately, with scenes I’ve been waiting to connect for a long time. Perils of nonlinear writing.
I have had a story in my mind since I was 17 years old and almost 3 years later I keep adding more and more. so I really don’t know where it will end. If you compare, it is all in my mind , just that I try always to organize my thoughts and give them more flexibility. I feel is is like writing but more accuarate if you imagine it inside your mind as a movie, rewritting it many many times.
In my opinion, having a concrete plan imposes limits on the author. I mean, you’re really not supposed to get out of the circle, so you’ll probably miss things. So I prefer to go with the flow and see where it leads me. In this case, you are more likely to drift than to succeed in your project but there will be no limit to your imagination.
Every writer should use the method that fits them. What works for me won’t work for everyone else. Any writer who can’t acknowledge this is short sighted, to say the least.
My method for determining an ending is to lay out how many chapters I want and to write out the most important scene for each character in the order I want it to happen. This lets me figure out where scenes come in relation to each other and how much I need to fill in-between the scenes. Here’s how I filled out my chapters for Voltaic by placing the death scenes (also, free spoilers for Voltaic):
Ch. 1: introduce all characters and conflicts
Ch. 2: background info, setting, and character motivations
Ch. 3: in-depth character analysis, significant romance exploration leading into climax
Ch. 4: discussion of major event, kickstart of behavior changes, Sabrina’s potential death
Ch. 5: Jordan and Olivia’s potential deaths, locating Adrian
Ch. 6: Adrian and Carlton’s potential deaths, determining approach to escaping
Ch. 7: Madison’s potential death, executing escape leading into the ending
So, this isn’t completely up-to-date (I would update it right now but one, I’m at work, and two, I’m on my phone; I’ll try to update it later when I get home to my computer), but this is kinda what I start out with. I’ve also added a “What If…?” section, a “What’s Expected?” section, and a “What’s Unexpected?” section, which I will add in when I get home, as I said before. I’ve found that it’s useful in helping you to be aware of possible stereotypical moments and possible twists that could happen.
Anyway, here’s the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fJMeWrhJJJTznEx8cO0w7v9TwiLOcT18B0ehjtbPUJ8/edit?usp=drivesdk
I’ve made it so anyone with the link can view and comment.
EDIT: If you find it helpful, feel free to share the link. If it helps even one person, it’s worth it.
Okay, so I forgot to edit it when I got home. I’m at work again and will do my best to edit it tonight when I get home, but more than likely I’ll forget again. I set an alarm, though, so we’ll see…
Thank you very much for posting it, I’ve just found it and I’m going to check it out later when I get chance and run the outline that I have in my head through it