WEEK 4: BUILDING YOUR STORY

  1. Developing the detail of your character will help you arrive at your story. And discovering causality – what causes your character to do things or to be the way they are – will give you plot. But how do you develop that plot?

    Keeping a writer’s notebook

    What have you written in your writer’s notebook so far? Find out how other writers use theirs and how you can develop a ‘notebook habit’.

    1. 4.1
      HOW YOU MIGHT USE YOUR NOTEBOOK

      VIDEO (01:00)

    2. 4.2
      WHY TAKE NOTES AND WHAT TO NOTE

      ARTICLE

    3. 4.3
      RESEARCH

      ARTICLE

    4. 4.4
      DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO RESEARCH

      DISCUSSION

    5. 4.5
      THE NOTEBOOK HABIT

      ARTICLE

  2. A page with the word 'Plot' written down.

    Character and plot

    A plot is not simply a story. It’s a succession of events with causality highlighted. Making use of the handy question ‘What if?’, you will now be developing your own plots.

    1. 4.6
      WHAT IS PLOT?

      ARTICLE

    2. 4.7
      DEVELOPING YOUR PLOT LINE

      ARTICLE

    3. 4.8
      WHAT IF?

      ARTICLE

    4. 4.9
      WRITING CHARACTER

      ARTICLE

  3. A page with the word 'Ideas' written down.

    Ideas for stories

    Ideas for the starting points for stories can come from many different directions. Even ordinary situations can seem extraordinary by a new or surprising insight.

    1. 4.10
      HOOKED BY LINES AND IMAGES

      VIDEO (01:25)

    2. 4.11
      HUNCHES THAT MATTER

      ARTICLE

    3. 4.12
      WRITING ABOUT PERSONAL CONCERNS

      ARTICLE

    4. 4.13
      DRAMATISING CONCERNS

      QUIZ

    5. 4.14
      REFLECTING ON CONCERNS AND IDEAS

      DISCUSSION

    6. 4.15
      EXTRAORDINARY VERSUS ORDINARY

      ARTICLE

    7. 4.16
      SUMMARY OF WEEK 4

      ARTICLE

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Whatever you do — finish it

Learn through writing

If you don’t start to write you won’t write. It sounds like advice which is too obvious to repeat but many people talk a good story or book. Comparatively few begin.

Become your own best judge: the aim is to discover your kind of writing.

Generate something new

Beginning a new project should be made easier if you have been using your writer’s notebook frequently and wisely.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55991

 

Editing summary

Editing summary

Ernest Hemingway said he could tell he’d had a really great day’s writing when even the work he threw away was good. The South African writer Nadine Gordimer describes how she ‘used to write three times as much as the work one finally reads.’

Have the courage to edit your own work, even when you might have spent time and energy in producing it. It’s better to have written ten drafts of a story and end up with something you are proud of, than to have had a great idea for a story, but let it go to waste by being nervous about setting it down in case it wasn’t perfect first time, or by thinking you need certain skills before you attempt it, or by ‘talking it away’.

Remember you don’t need to wait to be inspired. You can find all sorts of ways to begin writing, and you can then reflect on what you have written later and start to do the work of selecting what to keep and what to edit out.

After you have written a first draft, interrogate your writing using this editing checklist. Remember that the aim in editing is in many ways the aim in writing: clarity of expression.

  • Is it what you meant to say, really?
  • Have you found the best way to convey it?
  • Would a particular event really have happened that way?
  • Would a particular character definitely use that expression or turn of phrase?
  • Does an idea or scene really belong where you’ve put it, or would the piece be better if that element was cut? Could it be used elsewhere, or on another occasion?
  • What’s missing from your story? Details or background information?
  • Is there enough to engage your reader?
  • Do events occur in the best order and are significant events given enough weight, or are they lost beneath less important things? If so, is that what you intended?
  • Does it read too slow, or too fast?
  • Overall, does the writing convey the right tone – does it create the mood you hoped for?

Writing Fiction

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction

I love this course.

WEEK 1: STARTING TO WRITE FICTION

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55953

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55958

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55960

WEEK 2: THE HABIT OF WRITING

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55966

https://ugc.futurelearn.com/uploads/files/78/2c/782ca4b1-1364-4941-9c59-609cb426b8d4/2.2_TRANSCRIPT.pdf

There’s no right way to write; only the one that’s best for you. This will be a matter of trial and error.

  • Do you work best late at night, or early in the morning? Do you prefer silence or does music help?
  • Do you need coffee?
  • Would you want to write in bed (some writers do)?
  • Would a café or library be better for you?

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55965

https://ugc.futurelearn.com/uploads/files/55/b3/55b3b3ca-0d21-44d5-88a7-2aa94198ba47/2.6_TRANSCRIPT.pdf

Heightening your observations

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55968

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55975

Sometimes, the best inspiration comes after the first line, or more likely still, after writing a few pages

Remember: once you’ve reached the end, you can always go back and ‘add on’ or improve your beginning.

WEEK 3: WRITING IS EDITING

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/steps/55982

Rereading, reviewing and rewriting your work are crucial and often ongoing activities.

  • Do the characters come across vividly?
  • Is any of your word usage surprising? Does it help the reader to ‘see’ the characters?
  • Now that you look at it again do you think any of the descriptions are predictable and dull?
  • Are any of the words and phrases you have used too familiar?

Script to novel. Pt.2

http://www.shesnovel.com/blog/11-tips-for-creating-writing-routine/

http://genrehacks.blogspot.ru/2012/01/converting-your-script-to-novel.html

https://www.amazon.com/Script-Novel-Turn-Your-Screenplay-ebook/dp/B00CWOUAPC#navbar

https://www.writersstore.com/the-novel-vs-the-screenplay-a-tough-love-guide-for-talented-writers/

http://www.scriptmag.com/wp-content/uploads/Script-to-Novel-Freemium.pdf

Balls of Steel: Script to Novel – 5 Steps to Adapting Backwards

Script to novel. Pt.1

Novel in a Month Notebook

http://johnaugust.com/2007/novel-or-script

Turning a Novel into a Screenplay

https://adaptingsideways.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/script-to-novel-taking-back-control-of-your-writing-career/

 

http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/may98/book-or-script-or-both-5985

I got as much for the option as I did for writing one of the books, and I discovered that being a book author caused people to respect me much more than if I was a mere screenwriter.

Since my Hollywood book came out, I’ve discovered that top-level people in Hollywood will read my material, with or without agent representation. And, since I have a proven track record in selling both books and scripts, I don’t lose my career if the Writers Guild chooses to strike. I’ll just write another book.

If I teach a class, do a lecture, or give a seminar, I tell writers to write whatever they are passionate about. To sell it, they only need to know the rules of the particular game they’ve chosen to play. When you know the rules, any game is easier to win.