Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pollarities

There is a new poll up on the right, because I'd like to know from what basis most writers begin their stories. Do you start with a plot? A character? A sentence that floats into your brain? This highly scientific poll* will reveal the trend once and for all. (For the record, I tried to change the font color of the options, but Blogger lets you personalize everything but that, it seems. Apologies! You can highlight the text for easier reading.)


* Not.

16 comments:

  1. I haven't written too much fiction (a few short stories actually) but they usually begin with a theme. Once or twice a great sentence paves way for everything else but that's just really rare. It's an interesting poll.

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  2. Three novels, and all have started with something different. #1 started with a time period I wanted to write about. #2 with a plot idea. And #3 with a character. Short stories have started with a word, a theme, a character, a time, a sentence, an image, a premise, a plot idea--basically, I guess I never know how something is going to hit me.

    I'm afraid I can't help much with the highly scientific poll.

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  3. great poll! altho i did nave a small inkling of the plot, it was my heroine (and hero) who drew me to writing my first novel.

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  4. I usually start with either a plot element or a character, but the two come very close together. If I start with a plot twist, I almost immediately come up with a character to go with it, and vice versa. Once I have those two elements, I then try to develop a unique voice for the character given the situation presented by the plot.

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  5. Character. I always start with character.

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  6. Landscape is huge for me. If I can taste it, smell it, and squint at it, then a story can unfold.

    My new manuscript, however, started with an object, grew to a dozen objects, and from there the plot was born.

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  7. About the Patty Smyth song...Is this it?

    http://www.imeem.com/dorai/music/N21ElzBm/patty_smyth_look_what_love_has_done/

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  8. Ok, it didn't take the whole link, so I split it up.


    http://www.imeem.com/
    dorai/music/N21ElzBm/
    patty_smyth_look_what_love_has_done/

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  9. My Silverlady story started I heard "Frozen" by Madonna and then I got all these cool images of snow and wind and black trees.

    The Symphonians grew out of a couple of short stories I wrote, to which I added a posse of characters I've been carrying around since high school.

    I'm not sure what on earth possessed me to write about Dante. I think it was the devil.

    The way I work is not very flashy, but it's all I've got.

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  10. I hope it's okay to post this question here. It doesn't have anything to do with the subject, but I'm not sure where else to ask it.
    I was wondering about your response time. I sent in a picture book manuscript that was rejected (quick quickly, I might add) but that had a note saying you'd like to see it again if I revised it. I sent back the revisions and it's taking longer this time, a good sign I hope.
    I was just wondering what your response time was for picture book manuscripts. I found where you listed your response time for full novels, but was wondering if picture books were different.
    (I have had a few problems with the mail before, so I don't quite trust it.)
    Anyway, thanks for your time! I enjoy reading your blog!

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  11. Out of three past novel manuscripts, two were begun based on plot premise and one was NaNoWriMo, what can I say?

    Usually it's a combination of an interesting situation and a voice that won't shut up. My current project was inspired by a very vivid dream (how Twilight-like) but of course, the protagonist was me in that case... and that would have been weird to write about... so then a different character came into play.

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  12. My current WIP came from local headlines and inside info from deputy hubby. It's not 'write what I know', but what I can wrangle from the sheriff's office. *insert evil laugh*

    I had to laugh about the soda vs pop thing, Cheryl. Down here it's all Coke. You just have to specify which kind.

    WandaV in AL

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  13. I voted "plot premise" but I agree wholeheartedly with Sid Fleischman, who says you need not one but two ideas to make a plot. So technically I start with 2 plot ideas smushed together.

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  14. I usually get my ideas by visioning a character. I could be driving home one day and listening to Alternative/Rock and get an idea. My mind tends to take off without notice. I read the blog by Laini Taylor, very inspirational, thanks for that one. I've added the blog to my query.

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  15. The Alphabet Game is addicting.

    I'm at 3.96 seconds, for the moment.

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  16. marsha sisolakJune 21, 2008 4:54 PM

    Most of my fiction begins with an image. I then must find a character to deal with whatever the image is before I can write. Less frequently a character will appear, demanding a story. Or rarely, but strangely enough for my last two shorts, a plot premise arrives.

    So while there's no single item that precipitates a story for me, I have a few defaults.

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