How does one find out how to branch their story or to find out where a story should go

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Aquaninja101
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How does one find out how to branch their story or to find out where a story should go

#1 Post by Aquaninja101 »

I've posted this here because 1) I don't know where else to put it 2) It's not directly related to Twokinds or its own story and 3) I'm just looking for those who like to create stories general ideas and opinions. I personally am a person that likes to imagine different things and different scenarios, from fantasy and reality, but recently with a story that I've been thinking about, I've run into a road block. Every time I think of a way to add to my story it becomes something that I hate and despise, something that hurts my creative confidence due to it always being something that I hate. I'm not asking people to give me ideas on what I should do for my story, I'm just looking for ideas on how to boost myself creatively and to find what works for me in my own setting.

This can be from ideas to get my creativity flowing to ways to keep my creativity confidence elevated, to even ideas on how to brainstorm how to branch my story. Any help is appreciated. If this is located within the wrong subforum/forum can someone tell me so I can remove it and move it towards the right one, Thanks; Aqua.
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Myperson54
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Re: How does one find out how to branch their story or to find out where a story should go

#2 Post by Myperson54 »

I took a creative writing course last year and there were some good exercises I did which forced me to think in a different way about how a story or narrative progressed.

As far as plot goes:
  • What are your characters' motives? What will they try to do to achieve those motives? This might not always be a driving force of course, which leads me to the next one:
  • What could frustrate those goals? Another character getting in the way? Perhaps there's some chance event which occurs that makes things tougher for the characters.
  • What else is going on outside of your characters? Are there future or background events which you want to work towards or highlight? Don't worry about working in a non-linear fashion, so long as you're organized.
  • What can you do with the current scene to highlight something about a character's personality or temperament? How do others see them and how do they see themselves? This can lead to interactions or character development further along in the story.
Those are just some tools I use to try to come up with new plot ideas. I especially think that organizing the beginning, end, and middle in some manner, no matter how vague, is very important. It gives you guideposts to work towards as you write. Even if you don't use them all or you rework them entirely, it's still a way to keep your story focused, and I find that helps when coming up with ways to progress.

As for creative exercises:
Well, they seem to be on my desktop which I don't have access to right now. But I find that organizing my thoughts in a mental map is helpful sometimes. One I particularly like to do is to give myself high or low restrictions. For example, "Name 50 ways to use a brick" is a way to get yourself thinking in a divergent manner. For example, you could try writing out different plot strands, no matter how much you like or dislike those, and connect them in a web where one could lead to another and another after that and see where they go. You could also try thinking convergently - focusing on one problem. For example, try reducing a complex idea to a simpler one, or a page or chapter of text to no more than five words. What's the most important information and how can that focus help guide you?

So I hope that helps guide you a little bit - I'm sure there are writers more experienced than I on here who can offer their sage wisdom as well. By all means, shoot me a PM if you'd like me to expand on anything.
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RashallVetkay
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Re: How does one find out how to branch their story or to find out where a story should go

#3 Post by RashallVetkay »

I thought I had the same problem about finding out where to take my story/stories and how to branch them out, though now after reading what Myperson54 posted I've come to realize that my main issues is simply in organizing everything so that it is in order and makes sense.
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Re: How does one find out how to branch their story or to find out where a story should go

#4 Post by Warrl »

I'm going to start this reply a bit oddly. With software.

You need software designed specifically for story-writing. The two I know of offhand are oStorybook (note, that's a Google translate link, the page is originally in French) and Scrivener.

Scrivener is commercial software ($40, free trial) and only available for Windows and OSX. oStorybook is free and also available for Linux, and I like its design better.

Both allow a single document file to have multiple "threads". I usually work in oStorybook's "chronological view" which puts selected information about scenes on the screen in a vertical track for each thread. I use a minimum of three threads, but one of them doesn't usually need to be on the screen. These three threads are:
1) the current body of the story I'm writing;
2) timeline notes - any reference to anything that did or will occur at a specific point in time but isn't directly part of my story, gets a note in there; and
3) a storage space for scenes that I cut from the story and the old versions of scenes I did major rewrites on.

(Additional threads can be for concurrent events in separate locations in one story, or for multiple stories with the same setting and/or characters, or...)

In addition, both manage the text in "scenes" which can be moved around from thread to thread, or up and down in the timeline, assigned to chapters or left unassigned...

Now why did I want to start with software?

Because that third thread is IMPORTANT.

Never delete what you've written. Shove it into the third thread. You may find, later, that part of a discarded scene needs to make its way back into the story, or that a trashed scene is both important and fixable, or is the spark that ignites another story, or...

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