1. mackoo0524
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    mackoo0524 New Member

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    30,000 words in - should I give up?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mackoo0524, May 21, 2013.

    Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum :) Nice to meet you all.

    I've been working on a novel since January and have written about 30,000 words. However while I was sitting down to write today, I just suddenly had a feeling that the story has no tension or plot and I'm not sure I 'believe' in it anymore... :(((

    Do you think I should try to fix the plot/structure and keep going, or should I give up and start a new story? :( Obviously a lot of time and effort has already gone into it but I'm just not sure if this is going to work. Has anyone had similar experiences?

    Thank you in advance!

    Mackoo
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps just a rest is what you and the story need. A break. Write some poetry or a short story as a literary sorbet. Cleans the palette so to speak and come at it again when you can taste the flavors afresh.
     
  3. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd definitely say a rest is all you need. You've done what most of us do, at some point or another - absolutely blitzed your brain with this book and information about this book to the point where your brain has just gone 'nope' and told your book to shove it. It's the same effect you get when a celebrity is thrust in your face 24/7: you just grow to resent them. Take some time off from this project, and do something else that distracts you from it. When thoughts of it naturally come back to you and you feel the urge to write again, you can look upon it newly-invigorated and with some fresh ideas to boot.
     
  4. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    I totally agree with Wreybies! Take a break, work on something else. Or, if all else fails, let someone else take a gander at it and see what they think. They don't have to like it or love it but if they think it has plot and tension then you're on track.
     
  5. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Yeah I think a rest would be best right now. When you do go back to it, start doing some revisions on the stuff you've already written. You need to mentally establish your faith back into your story and chances are, it's not going to happen by continuing to write on a foundation you no longer believe in. Your imagination might spark again and you'll be inspired to revise your story into a whole new direction. Also, getting some input from fellow readers is a good idea.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Literary sorbet. I like it!
     
  7. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Last August i scrapped my novel 126k words in. Started over because I tried re-reading it to remember something I had written and realized it was all a bunch of "_insert your choice of word_".
    I didn't give it up though, and now I am 150k words in again.
     
  8. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    WOAH! WOAH! WOAH! Don't stop if you had the idea to begin with! I've been writing one book for over three years now and guess where it started from: my doubt that i could just complete the first chapter! I decided to try re-writing the whole thing and put the old file in a safe place. Ended up going right back to it and continuing from there after a week of venting!

    First: take a break, maybe write something new if you have the itch to write anything other than that story. it will keep your mind going.

    Second: Go back and re-read your story thus far and look at the plot sequences. Write down a rough summery of the major events and figure out how the plot bits you have down work into the other plot bits should the story continue.

    Example:
    -(K) hears voices in her head
    -(B) Sent on raid to attack village
    -(K) follows hints voices give her and finds site of a massacre
    -(B) Traveling to village, feeling horrible and guilty about it.

    The above is a very rough surmax of the events from chapters 1-4 in my book between the two main chars. (B) is batos (K) is keit. I don't know if you have two main chars but this is how i organize my stuff. Then, once i get into the actual chapter i write a bit more detailed summary of the events within that chapter.

    Overall: don't vie up! I'm over 144,000 words into it and how did i do it? Perseverance!
     
  9. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    30k words is a chunk. Either it has a plot with tension or it doesn't. Either you believe in it or you don't. Who are we to say, to comment on something we know nothing about. But starting a new story is not giving up, just giving pause.

    I have found so many sources for short stories from a novel I have written and found it comfortable to begin a few short stories but always wind up back at the big one editing.
     
  10. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    First, I will second the popular motion of taking a break. You probably just need some distance, need some time to let yourself separate a little. I've more than once forced myself through writing stuff I just wanted to get over with and that I thought was complete rubbish. However, when I went back to rewrite it, it was fine! Pleasant surprise, there.

    However, if you still find you're dissatisfied with what you've created after taking a break, maybe you do need to go back and rework things. Consider what you have written. Is there anything in it you like? Anything you'd like to salvage? If not, then you might want to consider scrapping it, or else reworking it to the point of making it something entirely new. If there are things you want to save then take a step back and work on the basic elements. Work out the plot and setting and characters to your satisfaction and then either fix what you've got, use it as a template, or start from scratch while using what you've got as a reference.

    So there are a lot of options available to you. But first, take a break. :) Then go from there.
     
  11. mackoo0524
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    mackoo0524 New Member

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    Wow, thank you to everyone who replied!! Really appreciate all of your comments and advice!

    Think I'll take a break from this project and maybe work on a couple of short story ideas I have then come back to this.

    Thank you all!!
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all the dittos!

    set it aside and write something else... when you go back to it, you will probably either see a way to rehabilitate it, or see it can't be brought back and should be allowed a dignified death...
     
  13. DungeonBrain
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    DungeonBrain Banned

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    I'm not sure if resting for a long time is a great idea at this point. You're writing a novel. The story isn't finished. It's never a good idea to grow too distant from the material. If the story doesn't mean enough to reach a conclusion now, it won't mean much more later on. In my experience, the outcome to this will be an abandoned novel. Everybody is different, but universally, I think everybody tends to get burnt out on the process. It easy to walk away. It's even easier to never come back.

    My suggestion would be to not leave this alone. Go back and discover why there isn't enough tension, addess it through revision and rewriting, and then power on through to a conclusion. Then you rest.

    Good luck on this.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You sat down one day to write and found your story had problems? That's nothing new. It happens to many writers. I know it's happened to me many times. But maybe it isn't your story that's the problem; maybe you're just having an off day. Take it easy and don't panic. If you need a break, take one. But there is something about your story that made you believe in it for 30,000 words, and that has to count for something. Don't let it go yet.

    Very few writers, if any, write a really good story in one draft. First drafts are usually garbage - even the first drafts of the works of major, prize-winning writers. The first draft is for finding out what your story is really about. Build your novel in the second draft. Keep working on it; there's gold in there somewhere even if you can't see it right now.

    :)
     
  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For me, it sounds like a number of things could have happened:

    1. You wrote yourself into a dead end
    2. Something happened or your character did something that is just *wrong* (doesn't fit the story somehow)
    3. The particular scene you're writing - or in fact the select section of the plot which you're working on - is simply boring
    4. You're tired and need a break

    What I'd advice is - examine what it is that triggered this feeling. Why do you feel this way? There's no point prescribing a cure before knowing what the illness actually is.

    If it's a dead end - maybe you need to rack your brains and come up with something good, or in fact backtrack and rewrite whatever it was that led up to the dead end and take your character down a different path.

    If it's something that just feels wrong - often you will FEEL it before you can even put a finger on what it is that sapped your interest. You feel something's wrong, but you don't consciously know it, so instead your brain tells you "It's no longer fun/good/interesting." Once you've identified what it is that's "wrong", simply delete it and have your story go the way it should've gone.

    If it's because the scene or plot os boring - re-examine your plot/scene. Is it necessary? If yes, is there a better way of communicating this part of the story? A better setting, better event, better dialogue, better whatever? For example, I could have a student learn magic in the classroom, or I can have him be a rebel and learn it himself in the woods and cause a disaster, or I can get a kid to show it to him, or he can discover a secret somewhere somehow... there're many methods, not all of them are good or interesting. Find the right one.

    If it's because you're tired - then take a break. Come back with a fresh mind and carry on working in a week or two's time :)

    But definitely, don't give up. You will always hit a point where you feel this way - heck, you will hit hundreds and thousands of points where you feel worse than this (I've wanted to give up on my novel and have cried over it dozens of times). If you let this stop you, it's not only this novel that won't be finished, but you will never finish *any* novels. The trick is knowing when to take a break, which isn't the same as giving up.

    And of course, if you do decide to ditch a story, don't ditch it because you're frustrated or tired or disappointed or lacking in interest right now - but ditch a story because it genuinely isn't working or isn't the best story you could tell with these components you have. If you decide to give up on a story, let it be for the right reasons, and not because of the very normal and natural emotional ups and downs that come to every writer.

    PS. for myself, I've deleted some 250,000 words and am about to delete a further 40,000 words of a finished manuscript in order to rewrite it into a "new" story. So yeah, I know what you're going through. Do you know how terribly bored I am with my novel right now, having written the damn thing from scratch for the 3rd time in 2 years? I'm sure there're others out there who've gone through even worse. What I mean is, really, hitting a road block is nothing new. Don't give up, push through it!
     
  16. doghouse
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    doghouse Member

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    Self doubt is the greatest thief of opportunity. And, don't worry, you're not alone.

    But, as you're at a self critical moment, it could be a grand idea (as stated by some already) to take a rest (from your writing), and use that time wisely.

    I wonder if you know what kind of writer you are?

    It's really good to know this. Then you can begin to look into how to build on that. Applying focus, goals, and achieving them will create motivation. If in this 'rest' you can learn something new to your craft, and go back and look at your work with fresh eyes. . .

    It's difficult to answer your questions, to be fair. If we knew more about where you are at in your craft abilities, then that could help.
     
  17. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    like everyone else said, leave it, and come back to it.

    i had a 49 page 20k word story that id printed out, which i read and shredded even though i left it, but still kept a digital copy, so, even if you dont like it, keep it in a folder on your computer buried away somewhere, and come back to it another time, it may be that its the right idea, but at the wrong time
     
  18. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    What I would is have a rest/break from the novel and write something, because I done that before and it works for me. However, it might not work for you. If you come back to it and you still have the same feeling then abandon it. The other advice I can give you rethink the story. I had to do that with one of my stories and it took ages to rethink but at the end of the day, it was worth it. The final product I was very happy with and it was strong enough to be please with. I know the stress with writing a story. Ask yourself this: is the novel and its plot worth writing?
     

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