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Writing may seem easy but if you intend to write entertainment in any form there are ancient rules to follow, the Greeks knew it thousands of years ago, about time you learn them too.

A linear story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Pretty obvious, heh? Not really, smart ass... you see, in reality most people start writing without having an end, not even an idea where to take the story, no prior planning. You can't build a house without a blueprint, same goes for story telling.

Writers tend to get so carried away having so much fun, they lose themselves in the story in a way that what began as a twenty four page One-Shot becomes a Lord of the Rings masterpiece with a thousand pages. Writing twenty four pages is hard enough, writing a mythology is a herculean task. Most likely you will grow tired of your masterpiece and it will eventually be dropped ne'er to be seen again, or worse, you'll be writing it forever and ever, and heaven becomes your personal hell.

If you, the writer, loses yourself in your own story, what's to say about your audience? Story telling is meant to entertain and without an audience there's no entertainment, there's only self-indulgence.

GET YOURSELF A MAP

Venturing the infinite choices of writing a story is like getting lost in a vast blue sea, if you don't know where you're going, you will get lost.

Plan your beginning, your middle and your end ahead of time and stick it over your screen.

That will be your map. You will eventually beef it up with more and more details and it will grow to be an outline, but whenever you feel you're steering too much away from your planned ending, stop, retrace your steps and get back on track.

Beginning: The Goonies find a treasure map which can help them save their homes.

Middle: The treasure is buried beneath the Fratellis' hideout.

End: The Goonies get the Fratellis arrested and save their homes.

You can change the details in between and have a lot of fun going from point "A" to point "B", but it's important to know where you're going. Every first step in writing a comic book, a novel, film, etc is figuring out where to start and where to go, everything else just falls into place.

This is how I planned issue #1 of the Lost Kids Mini-Series:

Beginning: JJ loses her adoptive parents in a car crash and moves in with Tommy, who constantly draws grand adventures in his Notebook.

Middle: A mysterious package arrives to JJ and the Lost Kids gather around to see what is it.

End: A strange looking marble inside the package shoots rays of light everywhere engulfing the Lost Kids. When the light recedes, they are gone...

Tomorrow I'll get into the "Three Act Structure" and drafting an outline, how to fill in the missing pieces of your rough map.

IMPORTANT: Remember we're discussing only the main plot as of now, and there should never be more than one main plot, or the audience gets lost. Leave every thing else, such as character development, set pieces, relationships, etc to your sub-plots, unless you're writing a romance, then guy meets girl is the main plot ;)

Recommended reading: Be sure to check out Terry Rossio's column on creating a killer concept for your story, he's the writer behind the Pirates of the Caribbean films and definitely worth the read. He focus on writing screenplays but as comics and films blend more and more into one genre, most, if not everything, he says in his columns can be used for your own story.

I hope this was useful, comments, critiques, questions are most welcome!
Something I thought people might find useful, I know I did when I started writing.

Thanks for having the patience of reading it :)

***LOST KIDS ART BOOK ON SALE NOW***



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:iconkizyoi:
Kizyoi Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really helpful!  Thank you!  :heart:
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:iconp3stil3nc34:
P3stil3nc34 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
You have my thanks for posting these!! Even though I may or may not write a story, I like to know it is because I had a choice, instead of by limitations. Thankyou very much FelipeCagno!! Thankyou!!:iconthank-youplz: 
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Professional
That's very nice of you to say and thanks so much for enjoying these, I appreciate the feedback :D
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:iconp3stil3nc34:
P3stil3nc34 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2014
Well it was very nice of you post these. It was only polite to return the nice manner. May you continue on as you wish FelipeCagno!!
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:iconjiggajiggabambam:
jiggajiggabambam Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for writing this! You have no idea how many times when I was younger and Naive I said 'I'M GOING TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THIS GUY' but the plot eventually went out the window and/or I gave up.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional
Sure thing, I'm happy you found it useful :)
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:iconsapphire4723:
Sapphire4723 Featured By Owner May 4, 2012
Great read! This will definitely help me out :D
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional
I'm happy to know that! :D
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:iconjoewillsart:
JoeWillsArt Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011  Professional Artist
I agree with this. :)
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011  Professional
Thanks! :)
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:iconkatukomal:
katukomal Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
VERY USEFUL, INDEED! :D
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional
Thanks so much, I'm glad you think so :D
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:icongrevor:
Grevor Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010
For my short stories, I never plan my end. But then, my short stories are generally so short that the story works as an outline.

For my larger stories, I know the ending on the whole story, per chapter, and on each beat (Scene, for scripts).

I like it when someone else writes up that same guidance that I pretty much write by. Thx.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional
You got it, thanks for taking the time to read :)
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:iconarcharad:
ArchArad Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010
A great resource.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010  Professional
Thanks, I'm glad you think so :)
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2010
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) in a news article that can be found here [link]
Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010  Professional
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it and I definitely faved it already, thank you! This is definitely an incentive to keep writing these :D
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010
It was our pleasure :) Glad to hear you'll keep it up!
Reply
:iconstevensanchez:
StevenSanchez Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional General Artist
This should help many in structure & format, good job ;) Here's another tip: I like to draw a "TIMELINE" on 11"x17" paper, draw your line and Beginning, Middle & End marks, structure your thoughts on that line after what fcagno had suggested above, helps to keep thoughts clear and to the point plus Index Cards helps tons! ;) Good works again Fcagno!
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional
Thanks for checking it out, San and supporting this initiative, and I must say I agree with everything you said, in fact I even covered "TIMELINE" in my next post and using Index Cards is just the best idea in the world :D

Cheers!
Felipe
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:iconpaultt:
PaulTT Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
very interesting, thanx for the synopsis of a lot of hystorical concepts :)
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Sure thing, you got it, I'm actually working on the second post, should be up soon :D
Reply
:iconmoosewithaneyepatch:
MoosewithAneyePatch Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
well fuck his column because it wont load on fire fox and i don't intend on downloading any other program for surfing the net to see one column. that being said, i like your work and would like to see more, cheers
Reply
:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2010  Professional
Hey, so apparently his column will load if you either copy-paste the link in your address bar or hit the refresh button, I hope that helps!
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Lol, fair enough! :D

Thanks for bringing that up to my attention though, I never use Firefox so I had no idea it wasn't loading, I apologize for it and shame it doesn't load, Terry has some great insights. I'll try to post the second entry today!
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:iconpharold:
PHarold Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
As I was reading tis I mentally started comparing this to my story that I have in my gallery.So far I'm on track....so thanks for these wonderful tips! Look forward to more.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Thanks for reading it, I appreciate it and I'm glad I didn't babble useless stuff, lol :hug:
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:iconpharold:
PHarold Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Nahhhh!
I like the part of how it can turn into an LOTR trilogy. Mine COULD do that if I am not careful. Thankfully though, I don't have that many characters!
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Less is more ;)
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:iconronron84:
Ronron84 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks for this and the link to wordplayer. I'm working on a script from a story I've already written, so these tips will be very helpful as I try to pull a comic book from a short story. I look forward to more of these articles. Thanks! :D
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Will try posting every day, that's the plan and if you need anything, let me know!

Cheers!
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:iconronron84:
Ronron84 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconsnegoalthorp:
Snegoalthorp Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Student General Artist
Nice tips! I'm working on a concept for a graphic novel right now, and am having a bit of trouble knowing where to start...I have a general idea for the plot, but I'm wondering if I should get the story set in stone, do character design, storyboard/panel planning, etc. It's fun. :)
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Awesome, I hope you find something useful in these articles, the idea is to cover all these steps so please do stay tuned and let me know if you have any questions or comments :)

Thanks for checking it out!
Reply
:iconfffan1995:
fffan1995 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010
Hmm. Some very good points, but do you have any advice for writers like me who write outlines, follow outlines, then find the plot becomes forced, shoved along and stiff? And the characters fall out-of-character when they're trying to do what's convenient to the plot. I'm such a terrible writer. :iconotzplz::iconotlplz:
Reply
:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
My advice is to not settle, that's where the challenge in writing lies, taking your characters from point "A" to point "B" without they looking like puppets in the hands of the writer. It's very tempting to stick to the outline to the point where you suck the creativity out of the process, you need Wolverine to fight Deadpool and the first plot device that comes to mind is having them in a bar together, soon they are fighting. But what if something different happens and the end result is still the same (the fight)? Do not settle, struggle until you find a acceptable solution, watch other movies, read other screenplays and comics, anything that can inspire you.

I'll get into outlining later today and you've raised a really good point, and something else I'd say is the outline should be more like guidelines than something actually set in stone.

Finding the most interesting and creative way of moving through your outline should be a fun exercise, don't be afraid to experiment and try different things! :)
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:iconfffan1995:
fffan1995 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2010
*Copying into Top Writing Tips* Don't... settle...
Thanks so much for the advice. I really appreciate it.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2010  Professional
You got it :)
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:iconrafael-domination:
Rafael-Domination Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooh, definitely faving this! :D
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
Thank you, I appreciate the support :highfive:
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:icondarth-silas:
Darth-Silas Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010   Artist
This will be very useful to writers. Thanks for posting it.
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:iconfelipecagno:
FelipeCagno Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010  Professional
I surely hope so, thanks for checking it out :D
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