Monday, August 31, 2015

The Go Teen Writers Get It Done Weekend: Last day!


Today's giveaway: Write Your Novel From The Middle ebook.



Get entered below!

by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the Ellie Sweet books (Birch House Press). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website including the free novella, Throwing Stones.

Today is the last day of our "Get it done" weekend here on the blog. If you didn't participate any of the previous days, you're still welcome to join us.


Here's how it works:

1. You pick what you want to accomplish today. I've been working on some early chapters of my new book, others have been outlining, and still others editing. It's whatever you want!

2. If you haven't already, leave a comment sharing what you hope to get done. And then periodically check back in and tell us what kind of progress you're making.

I've been giving away ebooks daily, so if you enter, be sure to check back to see if you won!

Today I'm giving away James Scott Bell's Write Your Novel From The Middle which is a really unique approach to planning or thinking about your novel. I think you'll really enjoy it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


When you have story ideas, what usually comes to you first? The main character? The premise? The setting? Something else?

57 comments:

  1. Firstly thanks so much for this event! I've gotten allI have managed to get down 5k words in the time and some editing too! It's been great to buckle down and get it done!

    As for my story ideas, the themes usually come first. I mostly write short stories and I usually think of a certain emotion beforehand. They usually tend to be quite dark such as jealously or envy, then build an image and situation from there. However in March I started my first draft for my first book and that started out as more of a theme/concept rather than an emotion. I really wanted to focus in on the ideas of necromancy and the manipulation of life. From there I've planned out a plot and now I'm still working on my first draft!

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  2. What usually comes first? Character and plot, actually. (Usually a pretty hazy plot, but still...) The theme never "comes to me". I have to go after it.

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  3. Usually the predicament comes to me. Not the plot (although that would be nice): just a general sense of what's wrong...

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  4. For some reason, the title usually comes to me first, along with one of the last scenes, so I kind of build the plot around that.

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  5. Usually a character comes to me first, then the title (sometimes the title first, though).

    Today my goal is to write 900 words to make it to 5,000.

    Good luck, everyone!

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  6. Today, I want to get to Chapter 2 of my new story and maybe get Ch. 2 written.

    What idea usually comes first for a new story? A combination of premise and main character. Like, what if you have this kind of person do this?

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  7. I've achieved all three of my goals for the weekend- huzzah! So today my goal is just to keep going with my writing and editing.
    As for story ideas . . . it varies, really. With Berstru Tales, the characters came first. Way of the Pen, the setting (which ties in with the premise). With my fairy tale remakes, the premise came first. And then in Between Two Worlds, the premise and main character came in at the same time.
    Also: for all you people who get the title first, I envy you a little, because I struggle with titles a lot.

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    1. You reached all three of your goals? That's awesome, Sarah! ~Savannah P.

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    2. Great job, Sarah!

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    3. Congratulation, Sarah! Also...awesome titles!

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  8. I haven't met my goal from Friday, which was to come up with a new story idea and plot it out. I have been brainstorming a lot though, and what hits first is definitely the character. I like my stories to be very character driven, ya know?

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  9. What comes first? Well, it pretty much differs for each story. Sometimes it will be a plot idea, character, theme ... I really never know what it will be or when it will hit me, it's normally a surprise :).
    I'm almost halfway done with the first draft I was hoping to get finished. Even though it's pretty obvious that I won't be fully finishing it (I guess I should have expected that, I was starting the draft from (almost) chapter one), I'll be very pleased if I can make it to the half-way point :). ~Savannah P.

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  10. The setting. I always come up with the setting, usually also with a scene that goes along with it. But nothing more, so it's always hard work to figure out a plot. Also I'm an absolute pantser. I try to outline but I always end up doing differently... Everything really happens in rewriting.
    As to my goals: I'm on holiday this week so I don't have my laptop with me. But I found out swimming around in the pool having nothing to do is great for brainstorming, so I'm now typing a scene I was stuck with into my phone. This is great. ;) I will be able to start full speed again when I come home :)

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  11. Usually small details and the main plot or moral of the story. And then the characters and setting. The ending is always definite then. The beginning is the hardest part for me.

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  12. What comes first?...hmmm...
    Usually I get a whole jumble of stuff just appear in my mind. If something pings in my head, I sit back, relax, and let the creativity go to work for a few days. By then, I'll have a MC, major plot, character cast, subplots, villain...pretty much everything but the title and motivation. I'm pretty lazy, which I guess is my goal today: to get off my butt, finish my schoolwork, and get typing! And maybe take a nap... :)
    I just wanted to ask--I know ideas usually just pop up in people's heads, but I literally woke up the other day with an entire book in my head! It was kind of freaky--I've never had an idea form like that before. I was half asleep and all I knew was that I needed to write the idea down before I lost it. I was wondering if anyone else wanted to share some wacky ways they got their ideas. Or maybe I'm the only one who's thinking about writing when I'm sleeping, and too busy catching up on math to write when I'm awake...
    Loving the giveaways!

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    1. You're definitely not the only one, Lil! One of my minor characters was created thanks to a dream I had about her. And several times I've had to stumble in the dark to my desk to write down ideas that came to me just as I was about to fall asleep.

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    2. Oh my, yes, you're definitely not the only one! I get my ideas at the weirdest times ... when I'm half-asleep ... when I'm doing school ... in dreams ... while I'm loading the dishes :). One of the weirdest times was when I was sitting in my bed, my notebook open in my lap. But I wasn't writing. I was thinking about the movie I had just watched (The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug.) and pondering over one certain scene when, all of a sudden, I had a random spark of inspiration and jotted it down. Now it has turned into a full fledged story :). ~Savannah P.

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    3. inspiration for me usually comes from a book or movie scene that i twist to my liking. however, an idea from one of my main stories came from a bunch of pokemon action figures i played with in the shower when i was younger. i had no idea who they were or what pokemon was, so i gave them their own personalities and superpowers. a few years later, i have fully fleshed out characters and a fresh world and no plot. pretty wacky.

      ~K.A.C.

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    4. Good to know I'm not the only weird one . . . my current WIP's characters and concept appeared on a car ride, but it's far more normal for me to be randomly struck by inspiration while I'm watching a movie, or doing schoolwork (luckily, I'm home schooled . . .), or staring off into space.

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  13. I normally think of what I want my character's situation to be, and then I start thinking the setting, and all the really fun stuff

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    1. I thought of this some more, and I discovered that I don't really think it out like that. I spend a lot of time stewing over a concept and circumstances before I actually start writing. I find that music helps me to work and shape my ideas into something awesome! Of course, my idea needs to be refined and made better, but music is my main source of inspiration, then start to think of why the journey is so important,and all that. for anyone who needs inspiration, listen to Epic Music II on YouTube. Thanks!

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  14. What comes first...I don't really know. ;P A lot of times it seems to be the character and the setting, or a specific scene. My WIP came from this 600-or-so word scene I wrote that I had no story for, and that I only knew a little about. I had been working on something else and I had written a line of dialogue that didn't really fit, but I loved the line, so I started playing around with it in another document. :P

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  15. Often times I find myself inspired from random dialogue that just pops into my head. Sometimes that dialog is accompanied by a character. So usually before I have the plot, I have a piece of it, or someone in it.

    I finished my weekend goal yesterday! I'm not sure if I have any specific goals for today since I want to take a short break before I start editing.

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  16. Usually I think of the general story idea, then I think of the main character(s) and all the details.

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  17. Well my story ideas usually come from anyone of those categories. I will usually get a concept like: What if there was an island full of elemental people? Or: What if Sleeping Beauty had a sister she needed to save from the sleep instead of herself? But when it's not in a concept, I usually get the ideas of characters. I find a lot of picture on Pinterest which helps with that inspiration.

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  18. That's a tricky question. I'd say that when I have an idea, it's not the characters or the premise or the setting, but rather the genre and the feel I'd like the book to have. For example, I recently got an idea for an MG book and the first thing that came to my mind was that I wanted it to be a whimsical sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan. I have no characters, plot or setting for this book, but I really like the mood I've come up with in my mind.

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  19. Usually it's a scene, and usually my series characters are already in the roles of the MCs, but there have been a few times that the idea evolved and became a separate entity with new characters taking over the lead roles.

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  20. What usually comes first for me is the main characters. Sometimes, I'll just make random interesting characters up in my head and then I'll try and make a story for them. That's usually how I end up with so many characters in my stories!

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  21. Usually I'll get the premise or the character first, but sometimes it's something else. For Living Rain, I started with the setting and premise combined: A country where it rains all the time. Interesting how ideas work, huh? :)

    Still plugging away at school, but once I finish, I'll go back to writing/working on plans!

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  22. I'm trying to accomplish some editing and writing today. :)

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  23. I generally start with half a premise, or a setting.

    I am writing a novel and need help.
    Here's the premise/back cover blurb:
    Young noblewoman Kaelyn Ramshara has previously led a privileged life. But now, a charge has been made against her ailing father. There are only two ways of clearing his name. Evidence against the charge, or he or his heir win a duel against the accuser. Unfortunately, the case lacks evidence to clear his name. Unable to fight himself, and no sons or close male relatives, it seems inevitable that he will die a criminal for a crime he didn't commit. Can Kaelyn learn to use a sword, and fight to clear his name?

    Her mom believes that trial by combat is pure and just. If she loses she will believe he was guilty despite anything he says. Unfortunately, girls aren't allowed to fight. After she wins, her mom finds out she fought and thinks him guilty.

    I'm stuck on what Kaelyn can do about it. Any ideas?

    Thanks

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    1. it might help if you know where this moment is in your book so you know how much story you have left and the intensity and stakes to go with it. personally, i think it would be a great third plot point since there would be a false victory before hand as well.

      there are multiple things you could do. Kaelyn could find evidence that has been foreshadowed throughout the book to not only prove her father innocent, but show that the fight was pure and just. Kaelyn could take her fathers place, as his name has been cleared by her, but she broke the law by fighting. if you really wanted, the book could end in a tragedy with the dad being killed (but i don't think that's what you were looking for).

      if you have a climatic moment in mind or know where the characters will end up in the end, you can try working backwards or brainstorming what they need to do to get from point a to point b. i hope this helps. good luck!

      ~K.A.C.

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    2. Ok. So...first, Kaelyn has to find out about the crime, right? What it was, who really committed it, all that stuff. (Who actually did it can be one of the big reveals later.) Kaelyn will need to decide to step in and take her father's place, but I'd add some extra risk in there--you said women aren't allowed to fight, and if she's caught, everyone--her mom included--will think her dad is guilty. Maybe Kaelyn will be banished, jailed, or even killed for fighting. That's some pretty heavy incentive not to do it, so she'll need a really good reason to fight for her dad; she could love him a lot and be willing to risk anything for him, or maybe she thinks he's a pretty rotten guy (which could be why everyone thinks he committed the crime) but Kaelyn won't risk damaging her family's name.
      Second thing is: Kaelyn needs to learn how to use a sword. Who's going to teach her? If you want romance, maybe her teacher could be something like that. Either way, he's going to need to be very loyal, since he's probably going to know she's a girl. He could get in a ton of trouble for teaching a girl (noblewoman!) how to fight illegally.
      I think Kaelyn (or maybe her mom? friends?) should also spend a great deal of time looking into the crime itself. What was the crime? What evidence is there? Who could have committed it? Why would they have? Was someone trying to frame her dad?
      Next is her mom. I think the mother should, views about justice aside, love Kaelyn very much, possibly more so than she loves her husband (Kaelyn's dad). This way you'll have a nice conflict appear when Mom finds out about the duel. She'll have to choose to follow the law and tell someone, therefore having both her husband and daughter punished...I personally think the sentenced-to-death part has the most excitement. If she doesn't turn them in, she'll still think the dad is guilty, and she might not trust Kaelyn ever again. Maybe she'll turn them in anyway, but warn Kaelyn so she can escape--which could lead to another plot point of Kaelyn frantically trying to piece together the evidence to find the real perpetrator, and save her dad and herself.
      I think Kaelyn should have a brother who's expected to fight in her dad's place--but he can't, because he's lame or sick. People would want to know who's fighting for her dad, so if her brother suddenly gets better, they could claim a miracle, but it would really just be Kaelyn and her brother swapping places. Now you have another character who has to go along with Kaelyn's desperate/crazy plan. Why would her brother dress like a girl and act like his sister? He doesn't know how to sew! Maybe he doesn't like their dad much, because he's considered a disappointment (maybe because of his lameness? Maybe he doesn't want to be a nobleman and eventually take over his father's place?). He'd definitely need a good reason to help their dad, but maybe he'd just be doing it to help Kaelyn (if you go with the disappointment idea).

      OMG! I can't believe I just came up with all that! Now I'm all excited, and I want to write this thing! Good luck!

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    3. Thank you all so much! That's a lot to think about. I never thought about her having a brother that wouldn't fight... this is going to be great. Yeah I know what it's like to help brainstorm and then want to write it myself. Thanks so much both of you!

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  24. I usually get either the premise, the main characters, or both. For the earliest version of my WIP, Transform (it's changed a lot, but a few characters and story elements stuck around as it evolved), the original three main characters (that version ended up with five) kind of came with a premise; I knew right from the start that Holly, Jack, and April were shape-shifters, and I built my story off of that. The story I wrote before that one came from a few ideas that I'd been bouncing around—characters and bits and pieces of the premise—and the one that I did for NaNo last year started from a premise, with a main character that I'd been planning to use with a different story idea up until I changed my mind.

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  25. Back in the day, all my (two) ideas started with characters. while i love developing the characters first, as eventually they become like family to you, its super hard to get a plot going. two years later, i have two fantastic worlds and amazing characters, and basically no plot.

    now a day's all my ideas come plot first. heck, normally i don't even pick names until i have an outline fleshed out beginning to end. i like this way, but these stories definitely don't feel as real or as cherishing as my older ones.

    i finished my goal yesterday and will just be chilling today until i start edits for two months tomarrow. good luck to everyone else!

    ~K.A.C.

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  26. My ideas come with a "what if?" question first. Then I expand the question into a plot, throw in some twists, add some characters and a setting and bingo!

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  27. I usually come up with a premise first, and then I come up with the characters and their relationships/conflicts with each other. The plot almost always comes last. I'm pretty plot-challenged. :P

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  28. The climax or ending usually comes to me first, believe it or not. ;)

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  29. Usually, it's the problem and then the solution.

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  30. I'm trying to rewrite chapter 3 in my story at the moment. I have college until 6:20. So we'll see how that goes...

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  31. My ideas usually stem from one major scene which randomly pops into my head. It's usually the climax or the most pivotal scene, and it's always rich with dialogue. I work the plot, characters and setting around that one scene, which gets either reworked or cut by the time I've fully fleshed out and revised the novel. I'm at the beginning of a new YA WIP, and I hope to have two full chapters/ 6k words by Friday.

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  32. Some weird idea bout the world is what generally comes first and then a character to live in it.

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  33. I tend to get the conflict, but not always. Sometimes I get the main character.

    Update: I got part of my edits done. Unfortunately I was gone half the day so I haven't gotten as much as I wanted done. I'm still plugging away at it.

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  34. It all depends on the story. Most often, I get the premise/plot first, but the main character may come simultaneously (or very soon after). It's a different process for retellings, though--then I have a plot and characters right off the bat, and I have to pick them apart and reimagine them.

    Oh, and one idea I have that's still in the percolating stage came to me first as a title, then as a certain *feel*...and that's all I've got on it so far. XD

    By the way, as a 19-year-old, am I too old to be commenting here? Should I hover instead? Because if there's sort of an unspoken age rule, I'm totally good with being a silent reader. :)

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    1. Yes, that's what I love about retellings. The limits they impose on you spur on a whole new kind of creativity that's perfect for coming up with new story ideas.

      Ideas that come as feels are the best kind of ideas in my opinion. For some reason they make me so excited to sit down and start writing!

      No! Of course I can't speak for Stephanie, Jill and Shannon, but I think they would say the same. I'm guessing that most of the commenters are teen writers, but some aren't. As for me, I love reading comments from writers of any age. It's really interesting and encouraging to hear from other writers.

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    2. Exactly! It's so much fun to twist things!

      I knoooow... This one, "Welcome to Absurdity," is so completely different from anything I've written, I can't wait to start it. Simply put, it's going to be a crazy story on a number of levels. Alice in Wonderland kind of nonsense, but creepier and set in the real world. o.O

      Awesome. Thanks for letting me know! (Because this site is fabulous and it'd be hard to NOT to comment sometimes. XD)

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  35. I guess I come up with the characters first usually. Like, now, for my next book, I am planning out the characters and relating and shaping their character, but I don't have a plot for the story yet!

    ~Zoe :)

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  36. I'd say quite often it is the setting :) Usualky rainy days give me inspiration! I've almost completed my schoolwork goal!

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  37. Finishing a chapter for Last Goddess will be my goal I guess. I have got a lot of schoolwork I have to finish. It is sad to have to start school several weeks earlier then everyone else.

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  38. Typically I come up with an idea for a world when it is fantasy and a situation when it is historical. Then I leave those ideas sitting there until I have characters to fit them.

    I managed to get all but the half chapter of WIP2 written, though there are still a couple hours left!

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  39. My premise pretty much always comes first and the characters come in a way with it since the premise would change depending on what kind of characters you had in the situation.

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  40. I managed 300+ words today on the WIP that I've been struggling with—not bad, given how little I've written lately.

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  41. Usually my premise comes first, then the characters. Although, sometimes I get a good character idea I have to use, and come up with my premise based around that.

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  42. I finished my chapter! Even managed to do some edits on it. :D

    And I usually get a premise first, although, every once in a while, the title or main character pops into my mind before anything else. Most often though, it's a sentence or two of how the plot begins.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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