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Writing Books/problems starting the story


All right, I love to write. I mean I absolutely love the freedom it allows me when I can create my own world and mold the characters to my liking. However, I have one story idea I particularly like, but when I start writing it, I grow bored after a while. It has happened every time I've tried to write a story! Does that mean I'm just not..cut out or writing? Or does it just mean that this is not 'the story' for me? I wish to write a fantasy novel revolving around a young woman, age 15, who is attacked, and almost killed by an injured Werefox which is found in the woods. The main character, Kit Jernu, is drawn to the Werefox by its cries of agony. She almost has her throat ripped out when she tried to pick up the Werefox, and when she wakes up, the first thing she sees is her father hovering over her. When her father leaves to get her something to eat, then she gets up, and looks at a mirror which sits above her dresser. She remembers the sheer terror of almost dying and it causes her first Change. As a new Were, she has to go to a boarding school made specifically for Weres. There she meets Karen, a Weretiger, and Cole, another Werefox. The problem for Kit in the story is that a Weredragon escapes from the school, and it causes such mass chaos at the school that she sneaks off, since the teachers and the like are busy trying to calm the students and force them all inside. She has to find the Weredragon, and defeat it, but along the way, it makes two other Weredragons, which is where Cole and Karen come in. While the first Weredragon, named Zachary is found, Kit is left to defeat and take the other Weredragons back to the school seeing as they didn't really -know- they were doing something evil. But only if they survive being attacked by Karen and Cole. But, Kit, she is special, which is what lets her defeat Zachary. She is a PanWere, something which allows her to take multiple Were forms. She was chosen by the Queen of all Weres, when she was attacked, to be this 'PanWere'. Anyways, could you please help me out? I thought that if I gave you a part of the story, it might help you be able to help me. ^^;

Thanks a lot,
Sam G.

Hi, Sam!

I saw your question in the question pool and thought I'd try to take a stab at answering it.  First, welcome to the world of writing! You'll be happy to know that you fall in one of the two main groups of writers. The first is a "plotter." A plotter is a writer who has to write out the full plot of the book before they can sit down to actually type/write it out. I'm a plotter, but my co-author is the second type of writer, which is a "pantser." This is short for "seat-of-the-pants." A pantser is a writer who has absolutely NO IDEA where their writing is going to take them from day to day. I can say with certainty that you're a pantser, because you've described a key element of the mindset. If you start to write down what you've ALREADY thought out, you lose interest. Every pantser I know is exactly the same way (and there are PLENTY of successful published authors with this issue, so never fear that you'll never be able to write.)

But, the trick to being a pantser is sitting down to write, every single day! See, whether you're imagining the book in random moments, or whether you're writing it down in random moments is exactly the same to your brain. It doesn't matter one iota whether it's in your head or on the page. But the trouble is, if it's not on the page, you can't later edit it INTO a cohesive novel.

My best suggestion is to sit down and write out some of the thoughts you've got. Write down the dialogue and try to describe the scene you're seeing in your head. Don't worry if it's not exactly what you see. It takes practice to take the images and turn them into words. Keep in mind that you might well lose those lovely bits you've already thought of. Your mind might very well refuse to write them down because they're already "done." Concentrate on writing down NEW thoughts, and if your mind starts coming back to the stuff you've already thought, that's fine. You can write it down later.

Also don't worry at this point if what you write down will eventually wind up in book 1 or book 15 of Kit's story. EVERY first book of a series is written as a stand-alone. The only guarantee that a published book will have a second book is if an agent sells a two-book deal, or the first book sells well. So plan for the first book to stand alone. The best way to look at any first book is like a major war. Within each "war" there are individual battles. Each book wins/loses a battle---that's the main plot. Think about the first "Star Wars" set of movies. Star Wars told one entire story, even though the viewer KNEW that there was a beginning that happened prior to the opening, and an end that continued past destroying the Death Star. But the movie concentrated on winning that ONE BATTLE. Obviously, viewers wanted to know that the war was won, so poof! A second book/movie was issued. That's how series work. At this point, just write. You won't know whether any particular day's writing will be about this battle, or whether it will be about the next one---until it's on the page. Pantser writing is very free form, so don't be afraid to wander off on "primrose paths" that don't lead anywhere. That can all be sorted out later. :)

Hope that helps a little, and feel free to ask any other questions that come up.


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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