23

Why to abandon an idea In considering the question of whether or not you should write an idea you don’t like, my instinct would be no. If you don’t like it, it will show in the writing. If you are bored writing it, you can guarantee that your reader will be bored reading it. How excited you are by a project always comes across on the page. Why to press on ...


20

There are two concepts in git that can help: branches and tags. Tags. Think of a tag as a name for a specific revision. Any time you want to remember a version, create a tag for it. For example, when you finish a draft, you can tag it like this: git tag first_draft When to use tags. Tags are good for marking any version that you might want to remember ...


18

I have a full time job and small children, so I feel your pain. There are a combination of things that keep me writing: Break the seal: Commit to some very minimal amount of daily writing (for example 15 minutes or half a page). It's easier to force yourself to do something that small. Once you are doing that consistently, it will be easier to work your ...


12

There are two general approaches, depending on the amount of detail you need from the "other" concept. If you don't need a lot, write about subject A, and when the first interaction with B hits add a parenthetical sentence, call-out note, or footnote (depending on your style guide) describing the other concept and pointing to its main documentation. For ...


12

For established writers, consistency is important. For new writers, just writing is. The biggest problem, as you say is prioritising the time in order to actually write rather than do other things. I, myself often say that I'll write in my lunch hours but by the time I've had my food, checked Twitter and done a bit of browsing, I only leave myself 20 ...


11

This is about personal organisation - actually nothing to do with writing per se, but it does, I understand, affect writing significantly. I would suggest that you identify the urgency of your various projects, or - if you have no deadlines - the closeness to completion. Then work on the most urgent or nearest complete. Work on it until you have completed ...


11

There are plotters, and discovery writers. You sound like a plotter. There's nothing wrong with that. Take the time you need to outline your story so you feel comfortable with it, and additionally accept that things will change as you go. There are many different methods to creating a plot, and none of them are wrong; you just have to figure out what works ...


11

As everybody else says, all options are viable. You can start from a scene that's bright in your mind and write to it and from it, you can throw scenes on paper and then connect them, you can start from the end and then write towards it. For every writer, a different approach works. So, listen to advice, but above all be guided by your own instinct, by what ...


11

It's often a good idea to note your ideas down the moment you have them and then look at them at a later point. This makes sure that you have an interest in it that lasts long enough to actually get something done and you can change some of the biggest things. Most stories are re-written / edited quite a few times before they are released. If you just can'...


10

I mix both techniques of habit, I can write in my lunch hour and get a good forty minutes in but then if I have ten minutes before work in the morning it's incredible how those sprints stack up. It's the same theory as those bank accounts that round up spends by diverting the difference into a savings account. The advantage of it is that you get a good ...


8

The priority of a writer is to get stuff written and in a shape where it can be read by others. (Assumedly, submitted, sold, to agents/editors, etc.) Your goal is to get stuff written. (Whether quality or timeliness is your primary goal is something you'll have to work out for yourself.) The advice below is fairly production-driven and deadline-oriented. ...


8

The method I'm familiar with is a writing bible - a document where you're constantly recording any new information you add to the world; any new detail you want to be committed to throughout the book. At its simplest, this is literally jotting down any new concrete detail you add. If your write `"Jurgen's eldest brother Bob was the snootiest accountant he'd ...


8

I start on Page 1, Line 1, Word 1: The main character's name. If you know this much about the characters, the first scene introduces the main character and her status-quo world. You have 5% to 10% of the story to let your readers get to know her, how she lives her life, deals with problems, deals with other people, and what she wants out of life. The first ...


8

There is a natural tendency in writing to get into flow and allow words to just start falling. It's actually quite good. But, as you said, when you are attempting to write in a focused manner it can create a problem. I believe there are two helpful things to do in this case. Create a list of scenes with expected goals Write like a news reporter Create ...


7

This is a close duplicate of Does DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) Apply to Documentation? My short answer is do what's right for the user, not yourself. That's probably repeating the code, especially if there's extra or modified steps included. You'll lose the user along the way. My long answer is that this is a also a good case of writers needing to push back ...


7

That's a really interesting question. What springs into my mind is wondering why you think it would be interesting to you as a writer, if not as a reader? I'd like to hear more on this, maybe with some examples. If not you, then who? Based on the information available, I'd agree with some of the other answers, that if it doesn't appeal to you as a reader,...


6

This is very common in certain types of projects. You can try beginning with presenting a tree structure (not necessarily a diagram) for a quick overall picture of the elements and their interdependence at a glance -- an aerial view, kind of. Just remember to follow the same relationship logic in setting out the individual elements in the main discussion. ...


6

Some software for making a story bible: Tiddlywiki - a free, personal wiki - mentioned above. It's a single html file, so it's very lightweight. I used this for a while and it worked well. It's very easy to tag things and link items together. Evernote - also good for tagging, not so good for linking. Scrivener - mentioned above, included here because it's ...


6

My own habit is to use either Dropbox or Google docs to store what I refer to as "lore files." Each file contains all current details for a particular category: cities, characters, items, species. When making a minor change, the files are changed directly. If it is a major change or addition, it is added to a discussion file, to be added later. Before ...


6

It all depends on what you want on those cards. Since I tend to worry about the details of a scenario when I'm writing it specifically, I tend to be pretty rough when I plan like this, but I recommend four basic elements be on all of your notecards: What characters are there. Why they're there. What happens to them. How this affects the characters and the ...


6

I don't think there is an official set of names, and worse, there are pieces that have conflicting meanings. A "Book" is used as the whole story, as a volume or as a part. A "Part" is either A book in the series or A subsection within book. Let me try to put it in order but take into account this is by no means ultimate or a law. Series/Franchise/World/...


6

Just to play devil's advocate a little bit, I think a case can definitely be made for not using a software version control tool in writing. As a writer who also works in the software development industry, I have some pet theories about this, though I am still experimenting myself. In 1967, a computer programmer called Melvin Conway coined what has become ...


6

EDIT (16 Oct 2017): A lot has changed in the last 3 years. Plotist now offers worldbuilding and writing tools, including a timeline and an outliner to help organize the writing, and it supports real-time collaboration so you can work with others creating your world and stories. We now offer Plotist as a subscription service, but we still have a free ...


6

The greatest challenge for new writers is not poor word choice or clumsy sentence construction. First drafts don't die in obscurity from wordiness or inconsistent voice. The great killer of fledgling writing is... failure to finish. With all due respect for your inner muses and inner critics and for the important roles which they play during the editing ...


6

WinMerge can help you manually merge documents. It can compare two text documents, highlight similar lines and lines that are slightly different and it allows you to quickly choose which version to keep on a line by line basis. If you want to automate this process and also keep history and be able to switch between different versions and choose what to ...


6

Let me second what @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere says, and elaborate. Fiddling with a setting is an endless task: you can delve into sociology, millennia of history, technology, geography, geology - all the endless scientific endeavour thousands of RL scientists are trying to figure out with our real, existing world. You can easily keep building your world for ...


6

One thing to keep in mind is that your setting bible is an internal document. Your players (or readers or viewers or audience) will never see it. As a result, the moment you spend a single second working on improving your bible that doesn't result in saving at least a second's worth of work later on, you've started wasting your time. Your players will notice ...


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