Uhh. ok first you should write down the idea. and then add to it. and add in just RANDOM stuff you want to have happen in it and figure out how to work that in by filling in the blanks.
I’m going to put down stuff about the superhero!DErek fic I’m doing later. I will show you the progression of my notes to fic.
First, I wrote down everything in my head (now remember, this is just getting it out of your head. nothing is final! you could change all of it later, if it fits better!) and added on as the things popped up in my mind.
in which Derek, who is a werewolf, is also a masked vigilante named Howl.
stiles is a rookie cop and his dad’s the one headlining the case that’s trying to capture Howl and bring him in. his dad has straight up said ‘the guy doesn’t kill people, just hurts them, but I can’t let it go even if they deserve it. its the law and its my job to uphold it.’
stiles totally hero worships the guy
Derek’s a fireman. but Stiles knows who he is and his history - his family all died. he moved back after his older sister got married,. Because they lost their whole family in a fire, Derek pretty much got a job as a fireman to stop it from happening to other people. they know each other but they don’t know each other very well. Sometimes when cops are called to fires, Stiles will have a chat with Derek about the situation or whatnot.
from there, I start to write down exactly what I’m seeing in my head for certain scenes. now just a heads up, writing a scene doesn’t mean it will end up in the story. tehre’s some that got cut out of stuff I wrote. some that got rewritten. also these scenes are not tied in to anything yet. they’re literally like writing down what you’re picturing in your head. I usually tell someone in chat about it so it’s become like I’m relaying a movie scene or somesuch.
so stiles is doing his thing on patrol
he gets a call about a car accident
he gets there and there’s someone trapped in the car. there’s another cop there, as well. that’s when howl shows up and pries the door off and pulls the person out. the otehr cop basically tases him as soon as the person is handed off and howl drops like a sack of bricks.
stiles is freaking out
I’m not sure if derek should be wearing a mask, or a modified motorcycle helmet. he wears something to hide that his face isn’t human, but he needs his ears and nose and his eyes not to be obscured.
so the other cop goes to ‘reveal’ who it is and Stiles is like ‘dude wait. you know we can’t do that until my dad gets here, and I will totally fucking tell on you.’
so they carry Howl into Stiles’ police cruiser. the guy is groaning and twitching, he ended up getting tased more than once
and so they’re doing the paperwork and Stiles is still freaking out
so then he’s gotta take the guy to the station.
halfway to the station. stiles pulls over.
and he opens the back door. and howl is staring at him. stiles feels like he’s going to have a heart attack. “You’re.. you’r a good man, or whatever you are. I’d really like to keep my job, though. so if you could hit me a couple of times and make it look like a put up a fight, that’d be great.’
and Howl is just staring at him. Stiles is like ‘uhm. nothing too extreme?’ and Howl steps up close, and
did he just SNIFF him?
Stiles is standing tehre rigidly and Howl makes this low growl in his chest before he brings up a hand and presses a claw to Stiles’ forehead. Stiles winces and he feels the claw cutting his skin open, making a gash. Stiles is like ‘o-oh uhm.’
and then Howl grabs his head and smashes it into the side of the car and knocks him out.
okay so then that’s done. usually there will be a couple. I find it easiest to just come up with ALL of the ones I have in my head and slap them on a document. That might mean the first and last scene, or a scene in the middle and two at the end. but what it does is it gives you a direction. once you get those out. now you have something to work your story towards, or off of.
Then it’s like filling in the blanks. start thinking of what your story NEEDS to move the plot. do we need to see someone suffer a stressful moment? do we need more time between certain characters to see how they interact? do we need little scenes that reveal tiny bits of the plot? you come up with other scenes and sub-scenes for those to kind of weave them in together.
always make sure you have a little padding. a story that moves from IMPORTANT MOMENT to IMPORTANT MOMENT can seem really fast paced and overwhelming. on the other hand, don’t fill it with too much extra stuff. instead of four scenes with your character talking to his friend, cut it down to two and have them be important conversations that can still tie directly into the plot.
a good example would be having your character at home doing the dishes and chatting with a friend about that ‘cute guy at the store who always mixes his apples in the same bag’, which devolves into the friend asking your character how they’re faring. the character can shed some light on their feelings and maybe they chat and suddenly the character realizes the cute guy does it on purpose so that they spend more time at your character’s register.
now you have friend interaction and your plot moves forward. two birds one stone.
a huge pet peeve of mine is treating someone like an idiot in your story. you MUST think of all your characters as people you care deeply about, as extensions of yourself. if there’s one thing I hate more than anything else, it’s when a character doesn’t understand something and their ‘friends’ call them ‘dummy’ or treat them like they’re an oblivious idiot. yes, friends, I get it. playful banter.
a knife in the self esteem of the character and a really shitty display of friendship, you mean. sure, you’re trying to convey Larry Lonely is too scared to act on his feelings and he’s being childish and scared. but his friends are assholes if they’re gonna call him any of that. as much as it sounds good in a scene, in real life, that kind of stuff can be emotionally damaging.
Be protective of your characters and their emotional wellbeing—even if you’re in the process of destroying it completely.
Also be sure that your dialogue is true to character. There is a difference between dialogue and narrative.
"He’s injured!" Stiles cried. <— short and simple…but who is going to scream that when someone is injured? You have to think about that person and what they’re going to really be saying.
"He’s hurt, like, really bad, dude. I think—oh god he’s bleeding so much!" Stiles cried. <— now you’ve captured the panic and the situation itself, as well as staying true to the character. Same stuff but you’re getting more into the situation.
A good thing to remember is that you don’t always have to add on ‘he said, muttered, cried, exclaimed’ at the end of everything a person says. sometimes just the dialogue and the character’s actions convey enough. You might not realize it when you read, but a lot of times when reading, a person will associate the first name to follow the dialogue as the one who said it.
“I don’t know,” Stiles pursed his lips together
People will just know Stiles is the one who said it. (If he didn’t say it, you’re doing it wrong and need to go back and either put the dialogue on the end of the last sentence where the speaker was mentioned, or put in the speaker doing something directly after the dialogue)
ALWAYS make a new paragraph with a different person talking. It cleans up confusion that can lead to a reader going back and re-reading what was written to make sure they understand.
When writing, if you notice more than two paragraphs in a row start with a character and an action. change it up. A lot of times you will notice during a dialogue-heavy scene that it’s basically.
Derek action speak.
Stiles speak action.
When you notice that five paragraphs in a row start with only the character name, you need to add more variety into the scene. It’s a form of repetition that can get really grating if done too much. So instead of:
Derek crossed his arms and grinned, “blah blah text,” he snorted.
Crossing his arms, Derek grinned, “blah blah text,” he snorted.
This is going to sound weird but, if it’s a scene you are really in to or one that you can personally imagine yourself in… you need to add in stupid shit. Okay, well nothing in writing is stupid, but stupid as in stuff that is random to the plot but essential to the moment.
Think of a scene where you come outside and the love of your life is back from a trip, standing there with a smile on their face. It’s warm out, you’re barefoot and the sidewalk is warm on your toes. The breeze kicks up and you can smell the gardenia blooming from the bush that’s in the front yard.
All of these little things can set a scene— and they are the type of sensory memories that can hit you in the gut with nostalgia even years later. Warm sidewalk and blooming gardenia are two things that could make you remember the day the love of your life came home.
Don’t ever go into great detail to where it can take away from the scene. Just a few lines here and there to remind the readers of where they are and you’ve got your scene set perfectly. Don’t forget, your readers can always fill in the blanks, they can imagine the color of the duvet that Stiles is nervously rubbing his fingers against, or the texture of the curtain when it swishes as he pulls it back to peer outside. A little boost and let their imagination do the rest.
When doing narrative, well..
In the words of drunk!me:
zim: fuck the names for detail of fabric.
who the fuck knows what cashmere feels like
idk what the hell it looks like?? Sheepskin?
so instead of saying ’stiles grasped at the soft cashmere fabric of erica’s sweater’
it would be more understandable to say ’ stiles grabbed erica’s arm, fingers shifting over the soft, wool-like texture and making him wonder if it was cashmere or some cheap knockoff.’
you are not telling the reader what it is. you are telling the reader what is going through the character’s head. You’re telling them what they should feel.
don’t waste your words explaining what YOU know
waste them on your character’s thought process of what is going on
who the fuck grabs a bitch’s arm and is like
oh i am touching her cashmere sweater
you are gonna be like
did this bitch really buy cashmere or is it some cheap knockoff
either way it’s soft
ok uhhh. idk I think that’s most of it?
OH. yes. that earlier scene that I noted out? when I was writing it, I kept the notes right underneath so I could read them over as I wrote the scene. it’s a good way to beat off a block if you’ve got a summary right there to look at.
So here was the written version of those notes at the beginning. idk as a goodbye or something. THANKS FOR STOPPING BY.
Gravel crunched underfoot as Stiles reached the back door to his cruiser. He stared inside, peering at the man cuffed within and sighed before opening the door. Howl’s head snapped up, mask making the glowing red of his eyes stand out with intensity when they locked on Stiles. Stiles drew in a nervous, shaking breath, reaching for the keys on his belt and gesturing for the man to turn around to be uncuffed.
Howl didn’t move for a long moment, upper lip pulled back into a wary snarl and exposing sharp canines. Stiles rolled his eyes, shaking the keys for emphasis.
"Look, I know you’re not exactly batman and I’m just a rookie—I mean, my dad is totally Commissioner Gordon, except for the fact that he wants to arrest you for real and all—but you’re… you do good stuff. so. yeah…." Stiles trailed off when Howl snuffed and rolled his demonic eyes, hands falling from behind his back to reveal that he’d broken the cuffs and completely bent the metal out of shape.
Stiles’ eyes went wide for a split second, but the shock on his face was instantly replaced with dismay.
"Come on dude, really? Those were my favorite pair!”
Howl’s eyes shifted down, looking guilty for a second as he handed the mangled handcuffs over. Stiles took them, sighing heavily while Howl clambered out of the back seat of his cruiser, dwarfing Stiles in broadness and seeming much taller than he really was. Stiles rocked in closer, wanting to catch a glimpse of the face that was obscured halfway by the mask he wore, and finding a hand pressing to his chest and gently pushing him back.
"Sorry—" Stiles blurted, stepping back until Howl felt comfortable with the distance and dropped his hand. They stood there for a few seconds, the vigilante looking like he wanted to speak, and instead shifting in preparation to walk away. Stiles jerked, reaching out and grabbing a handful of the man’s soft leather jacket.
"Wait," Stiles recoiled when Howl whipped his head around, arms coming up defensively, "I really would like to keep my job and all, uh, so could you hit me a couple of times to make it look like I at least put up a fight? That’d be great."
Howl made another snuffing noise, something Stiles was starting to realize was probably him stifling a laugh through his nose, and crowded up close to Stiles. They engaged in an impromptu staring contest until Stiles swallowed heavily and gave the man a hesitant grin. “Nothing too extreme, please?”
Another stifled huff of air escaped Howl as he leaned in close and sniffed at the corner of Stiles’ jaw, the shell of a pointed ear brushing his temple. Stiles cleared his throat, exhaling through his mouth and trying not to be weirded out by the fact that he was being sniffed by a real life anti-hero.
Growling deep in his chest, Howl stood back and reached a hand out, pressing his thumb against the skin of Stiles’ forehead and gently digging in with the tip of his claw. Stiles winced, feeling his skin tear as Howl dragged his finger across to his temple and trying not to say something that could get himself killed. His entire body was on edge, senses heightened to a point where he couldn’t not notice the proximity—or well defined collarbone—of the man in front of him.
Howl’s hand dropped down to cradle the back of Stiles’ skull, thumb brushing his jaw. Stiles’ eyes flickered up, locking with bright red and tilting his head up, heart thundering wildly in his ribcage. Howl dragged in another heavy breath through his nose, fingers flexing against Stiles’ skin.
Stiles opened his mouth, to say something, anything.
Howl slammed his head into the door frame of his cruiser, and everything went black.
hope this was helpful!