Where do you start writing?

Discussion in 'Archives' started by Ars Nova, May 3, 2014.

  1. Ars Nova Just a ghost.

    Nov 28, 2009
    Hell 71
    Writing is such a curious and whimsical thing. Many forms of art are more rigorous or demanding, but all it really takes to write is an idea and a place to jot it down. So where do your ideas come from? What do you draw upon for inspiration? And when you actually begin writing, what do you start with? An outline? Plot details? A description of the setting or characters? Or do you just start putting sentences on the page and see where it takes you?

    A lot of my ideas start with one particularly vivid character, usually inspired by an existing one (or several), and from there I extrapolate details of the plot and the world as I fill in their backstory, biography, and so on. They mold the world around them with their own hands, in a sense. I'm also prone to listening to a song or seeing a particularly gorgeous illustration, forming a scene around it in my head, then forming a narrative around that scene.
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  2. . : tale_wind Ice to see you!

    Nov 19, 2010
    Cisgender Male
    The Realm of Sleep
    Usually I start with some sort of idea or concept—e.g., "What if everyone in the world had theme music?"; "I want to write what could be condensed into a children's book, but goes deeper and has darker and more adult themes and undertones."—and extrapolate from there. Other times, a certain scene might come into my head—"A ragtag group of teenagers on the run, hiding out at an abandoned cabin in the southwestern U.S. and practicing their illegal elemental magic."—and I try to work at what led up to that scene, and what happens later.
  3. Misty gimme kiss

    Sep 25, 2006
    Cisgender Female
    I'm hoping @Ars Nova doesn't mind my hijacking this thread a bit -- I think my question falls under his umbrella but I'll gladly split it off into a new topic if you'd like.

    I want to ask a similar question about where you start writing, more particularly what you start writing. I've always shied away from dialogue and generally been uncomfortable writing it, a fault I've been pushing myself to work on. Instead I have a tendency to describe emotions and events ad infinitum, without conversation playing much of a role -- which, assuming a narrative should at least somewhat reflect real life, is a bit preposterous, depending on the situation or the work in question.

    In part of my effort to correct this shortcoming, in the most recent chapter of my fanfiction I did something I've never really done before (well, sort of -- I began an original piece of fiction on a whim recently that I started in a similar fashion). I wrote the dialogue first. Essentially I just created the character's lines, like you would see in a play; I didn't even bother to add the he said/she said bookends (or any variation thereof). After I had finished that (or, actually, hit a roadblock in the conversation), I began to fill in the conversation, fleshing out the emotion behind the words, how they said the words, why they said them -- in short, details I previously focused a bit too much on. I made some tweaks to the dialogue, specifically the word choice, to reflect the development of the scene, but it remained fundamentally the same.

    I found this to be a surprisingly natural way to write, and it forced me to move the plot along rather than dwell too much in excessive descriptions like I usually do. As a result I was more pleased with the first draft than usual.

    One of my favorite writing practices has been taking a scene in a video game and novelizing it, as I felt it allowed me to practice writing without being concerned about fashioning the dialogue myself; I thought it allowed me to focus more on the character, the mood, and the style -- but I'm beginning to think it may have also established a natural flow to my writing process. As a result, I've also been far more productive, writing-wise, than ever.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar? Do you have a different way of approaching a scene in your head? Very curious to know as I'd love to try out others' techniques as well.
  4. Scarred Nobody Where is the justice?

    May 14, 2007
    For me, it usually comes to the idea of what I want the story to be about. Not necessarily what kind of story it's going to be, but what I want the theme (or message) that I would want the reader to take away from it. At the same time, I also come up with a sort of premise for the story. It kind of goes hand in hand for me. For example, for my zombie novella, the whole theme behind it is that it's okay to depend on others for help while I also really wanted to write a zombie survival story at the time.

    I have a story that I've wanted to work on where this woman uses this machine to enter her dreams. She does this to help her write a trilogy of novels. There's much more to it, but it all started from me wanting to fire back at all the YA novels that have gotten so popular recently, but it's also a statement on what it means to be creative.

    From theme, that's where I get my characters. Most of my major characters go through arcs that are somewhat related to the theme. It may sound limiting, but there's so much that I feel I could explore by experimenting with every avenue that I'm given. It's these attitudes of the characters that shape the story; the choices they make move the plot. That's kind of where I come from when I write a story.