New answers tagged

0

I know a lot of history, and so I know a lot about what was happening at different parts of the world at different times. And I still find myself surprised from time to time to realize that two different events in different countries happened at the same time. So you probably need charts with time lines to show how events in the experiences of one character ...


1

I use Excel or Word tables. There are key things I find work: Order events in chronological order and line up characters' story lines so they run in synch. Number the events and make a brief description of what happens at that point. No need to drill down to the minor details - keep it top level. Map the quality of each event in a character's story line ...


0

Calendar. Get a blank electronic calendar with appropriate days -- there are Word templates and the like-- and fill in the appropriate data.


0

Just So: I'm sorry, what's wrong with a simple timeline? One where each character is on a long chart, and events they participate are highlighted? A pencil line is for any time they aren't doing anything, and a fat line for when they are. The highlighting can be in different colors, with the same colors for characters both together AND simultaneous. If you ...


0

I like to track timelines with the help of diagrams, such as a simple flow diagram. I found it to be very helpful if I'm tracking three character's separate timelines (at the same time) and also to match events happening to two or more of them simultaneously. This method is preventing me to leave loose ends on the story.


1

If you're writing a novel, you even need to use multiple storylines. Most often, there is a love line in novels, and you can also tell more about the minor characters. Usually such novels combine detective story, mysticism, history and high prose. There is something similar in the book "Panserhjerte" by U Nesbø and "The Passenger" by Jean-...


1

Any decent novel is going to have multiple plot lines, each containing most of the elements of plot that you listed. Not all characters or figures in a story are working towards the same goals - and often enough, even when they do have the same goals they have different routes to reaching them. Take a (relatively) new novel - The Far Side of the Stars by ...


3

You may want to look at some fix-up novels. These are works built up of smaller pieces of fiction that were often published separately first. Two such works are A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. and Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson. These give you an idea how such smaller stories can fit into a larger one.


1

A boring book is one where the characters don't have needs and desires that they are pursuing.


2

The lack of two things in the book: surprises and humor (in reasonable quantities). Sometimes books are carried away from the very beginning, if not, then I read until about the middle, if nothing happens or the language of the narrative remains sluggish and gray, then in order to make sure finally that there is no need to read further, I scroll diagonally ...


1

There can be a multitude of reasons why a novel might be reviewed as "boring" or "bland." In particular, this happens a lot with older books and literary classics, which sometimes are written in a way that modern audiences would consider boring - lots of exposition dumps, for example, and overly complex paragraph structures and florid ...


4

"What makes a novel boring" is definitely the wrong question. The spackle on the ceiling above me is not very interesting. Why? There isn't a reason. There's an infinity of subtly different possible arrangements of spackle specks or streaks or textures. But none of them mean anything, and no obviously random, empty arrangement could be very ...


2

Just do it! Ken Follet wrote The Pillars of the Earth with over 800 pages and it sold well and was perfect. You never know what your book might bring. Go for it!


1

I'm in a similar place, but I think outlining is worthwhile. In the end, I think discovering what sort of writing suits you best and can lead to the easiest flow of output is the best way to move forward. Are you a discovery writer? Then you might be able to continue expanding on your initial ideas. Do you thrive with a structure? Then building an outline ...


4

Story Telling is hard and some people are naturally better at it than others, but like writing it can learned. Just as we, as writers, learn the craft of writing good narrative sentences, engaging dialog, and making our scenes come alive with a sense of setting and motion, there is a whole lot to learn about telling a story is satisfying and enriching. Your ...


2

Here's what I do or have done to have the energy, courage, and drive to keep writing, in semi-order of importance: Have an opinion Find an important reason to write, an important message. If you have none, go to your core values (if you don't know them, there are tests online). Read magazines (e.g., Amnesty Press, the WWF magazine) and watch TV shows and ...


0

There has been a lot said already that I agree with, but I do have something to add. One method is to try to get to your characters in a scene and empathize with them. It is like I become an observer in a grander tale rather than a worker in front of your computer.


0

This well-known parable from Art and Fear dramatizes why it is better to write for quantity than for quality, as counterintuitive as that may seem: The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all ...


1

You might be experiencing one of two things. Either you are being too critical of yourself or you are exercising good instincts on what makes a good story. I struggle with the latter myself and this is what I've figured out from writing short stories. The skills involved in writing (short stories or novels) can be conceptualized into two categories: the ...


1

You are writing with a premonition of failure. Remember Murphy's Law? Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Now, is that a sufficient excuse to give up? Well, let's find out. Remember, a writer is a reader first, then a writer next. If your work is "good enough" in your eyes and you put your heart into writing it, it's worth putting out ...


8

Your Novel Will Suck! But that is the first one... Unfortunately, WHATEVER is your first novel will suck, barring massive rewriting. One of my favorite books, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, was the first book she wrote. It was a great work of passion. She couldn't get it published. She went on to write other books, which DID get published, and when ...


0

It is a psychological problem and therefore needs a psychological cure. Some people tell themselves they aren't writing a novel just practicing for one. I have had luck switching between two works --which is slower but gets there.


Top 50 recent answers are included