1. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    300 pages and feeling blue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Blue Night, Aug 14, 2011.

    Day after day, week after week, month after month I have been writing; sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening and sometimes during the day. I re-read and edit, throw things out and add things in. It’s been 3 years and 2 months since I began my story.
    52,000 words later, I’m only half way through. Now I’m feeling a little down.
    This is my first story. I want to put my best effort into it. But now it’s becoming a blur. Anymore, I don’t know what’s good about it or bad about it. Have any of you gone through this?
     
  2. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    I started my story, didn't touch it for two years, then finally finished this spring. It was incredibly depressing in that time when I wasn't making progress on it, so I can relate to your feeling. I agree with you that the longer the time spans and the more time you spend on it, the bigger a blur it all becomes.

    The best advice I can give you is to quit re-reading and editing. rereading what you wrote the day before and making basic obvious changes would be fine, but don't let yourself get bogged down. At this point, you just need to get the draft done. When finished, you can figure out all the plot holes that you totally missed and start fixing for a second draft.

    A lot of people don't do this, but I had someone (an avid reader and writer) read my draft and we talked through the issues together... this was helpful in doing the second draft. Push through to the end... it will feel fabulous.
     
  3. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    All i can think of is Writer's Block? I know this sounds ridiculously crazy, but you can change the gender of your main character. Or change the theme of the story. Or just write whatever comes to mind and mix it up. For example, two words that are coming to my head right now: Rain and School. So if you put those two together, you can write about a school where it rains alot as improv to stir up your writing juices. But this is all a example. It might not work for you as it does to me. But just keep trying! Eventually you will get there! :D
     
  4. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    AJ Smith. Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate your reply and your motto. I needed that. I have a co-worker who is an avid reader. But I guess I have been stuck in my own world. What do I do? Do I just ask her to read it? That's probably the hardest thing for me to do. I have never let my manuscript out of my hands. But your words hit me deep and hard. Maybe it's time for just that. Actually, that's a good idea.
     
  5. Summer
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    Summer Member

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    Have you literally stopped writing new stuff mid-plot? Or have you completed it and need to fill in the blanks?

    If you know where your story is going just write. It doesn't have to be good or complete writing. I think when you've hashed out the entire plot it will be easier to come in and add more, alter the beginning and so on to make it more cohesive and complete.

    If you don't know where the plot is going you probably want to move on from revising what you have as well because spending so much time on it and not even knowing if the revisions will hold once you've completed the story can be frustrating now and in the future.

    Maybe try writing scenes that are NOT intended for the story using the same characters, settings, themes, etc. to help you come up with ideas of what these characters might realistically do; and maybe even some new dialogue and better details to add in to what you already have. This only might be a good idea. You've clearly been working on this story for a long time and it might really be time to back off. Start a new story--maybe those two will end up colliding and becoming one in the future when you come back this one.

    Good luck
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Definitely know what you mean haha.

    I had my story in my head since I was 19, and then hit a 2 or 3-year-long writer's block after 44 pages. First ever novel too, so can't give it up, I just can't do it. Anyway, got rid of the block, got writing again - I'm at around your stage - about 51,000 words so far and yes, I'm about half way through! :D I'm 24 - so the story's been with me for the past 5 years and continuous writing probably for about a year altogether. I've rewritten the whole thing twice already and my first draft isn't even done yet.

    At the moment I've hit a minor block - no matter how new the writing is, even if it's just a day-old and I've only read it once, I can't feel it. I can tell it's not that it's bad - I just can't seem to FEEL the writing and KNOW it's good, rather than intellectually realise that it can stand on its own two feet (or so I hope anyway). It's all a blur, as you say.

    Truth is, I think it's fear. I was writing an email about this and then I just started crying when I got to the part where I wrote "I'm just afraid that the whole story SUCKS." (after 5 years of loving my story, that'd be quite a bombshell I tell ya :rolleyes: )

    Anyway, the editor I hired basically told me to read a few books on how to write good fiction and - here's the key piece of advice I picked up - ENJOY BEING TOLD THAT YOU'RE A GOOD WRITER. Just enjoy it, enjoy being told that you should write, and that you're gonna be successful. Is that a bit too much daydreaming? Yeh, sure, maybe. But will that get you writing if you eventually bring yourself to believe it? Yeh, I think so. So that's the tactic I'm gonna try - besides, no harm done studying the techniques to good writing. I got nothing to lose :D

    I'd say share your story once you actually have a first draft - by the sounds of things, you don't have that yet. Pick who you choose wisely, because someone once almost gave me back my writer's block (and though I shouldn't hate, I do still hate her for it) - she almost convinced me to give it all up, throw in the sack, called me talentless and hopeless and that I should stop wasting my time. She had me convinced. I trusted her judgement. I'm just saying, when you're feeling low about your writing, you gotta be all the more careful about who you share with. Make sure it's someone who will be gentle and sensitive to you and your story - that doesn't mean they shouldn't criticise it, but there're constructive ways of doing that. I just mean find someone who's actually good at HELPING you rather than simply critiquing you. There's a world of difference and I learnt that the hard way!

    However, do share your story. They say if you love someone, you let them go. So apply that to your story :) Let your story fly out of your hands and see how it transforms and returns to you looking even more beautiful than you'd thought possible. There's nothing sadder than a book that's never read, or a story that's never written.
     
  7. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    Wow Summer. You are straight forward. Thank you. I'm just a little overwhelmed at the responses I've had. This is a great site.
    Okay, I've finished my story and yes, I need to fill in the holes. I've had two great suggestions so far.
    And I like the idea of writing a new story. I have been wanting to do that. Maybe you're right. Maybe they will come together.
    What can I say? I'm new here and I'm getting blown away. That's awesome.
    Now, maybe tomorrow, I can actually digest what all of you are saying. Too much info coming right at me. Love it.
     
  8. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    mckk. Ya'll are killing me. Too much good stuff. Why am I responding? I don't know. I made a post and two minutes later I'm getting shredded. This forum has no mercy.
    You wrote a long piece and I read it word for word. Good Info. Thank you.
    I'm just going to say it now. I'm going to have a beer and check this page tomorrow.
    This site is too much.
     
  9. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    If you've gotten this far, you'll finish it. :D
     
  10. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    You could ask your co-worker, but as someone else said, be careful about who you ask to read it. Not only should they be an avid reader and aware of what goes into a good piece of writing, but they should be skilled and open to discussing the good and the bad with you in a constructive way. Not everyone can do that. Some people will just read and say 'it was great' or 'it was terrible'. You need someone who can read it and say 'this is what I liked, but this area needed work'. It is not someone to re-write, but to give you feedback so that you can get a direction on how you want to re-write. I hope that makes sense. :)
     
  11. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    Blue Night, if you weren't feeling blue, would you just be Night? :p

    So much good advice here already. I will just add that I have had the same characters in my head for the better part of a decade now. After several false starts, I am finally writing a fuller plot with a better understanding of my characters.

    I am an eternal optimist. Think of it this way- if you had finished writing your novel earlier, you would not have the experience and skills that you have now to better enhance your characters, and your story.

    Good luck with your writing!
     
  12. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know how you feel... I was working on my book, very much on-and-off, for a number of years. At some point I think every writer questions themselves. It's normal.

    Just keep going, you've come so far already :)

    Good luck
     
  13. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    I agree with much of the advice already given. You need to stop rewriting and editing, and just get your first draft out. Then you can go back and edit / move things arounds and add news twists etc

    Remember that no matter how perfect you try to make it, if you're lucky enough to get published, your editor is going to ask you to change a lot anyway so stop agonizing so much over individual sentences and focus more on the bigger picture.
     
  14. seije
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    seije Member

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    i'm actually in a similar position right now, except i'm finished with the rough draft and am now editing... and i hate my writing. I'm really proud of the first few chapters, but as i move on, i can't help but think, "What happened to my talent?"

    I've tried putting it away for a while, i've tried buckling down and pushing my way through the editing process... Nothing seems to work. i've gone through the entire novel at least 3 times making changes, and i still feel like it's no better (and in some cases worse) than when i began.

    anyone have any advice?

    (and my apologies, not trying to steal your thread. i just figured it would be better to post hear than post a new one on a very similar subject and clutter up the board)
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel the same way sometimes. I have gone through the story so many times and Im happy with the beginning and most of the end, but it's the middle that keep bothering me. I can't turn it into something equal to the best parts, and I wonder, is it normal? I mean that the story is of different quality, that some parts are weaker and others stronger? I know when I read, some parts of the books I read are more boring than others, and it's not only because of what happens, but maybe the writer goes on and on about description of houses, places etc, which can be too much. or something happening at some point that I would like to skip but I don't etc. I think almost every book has those kind of passages that we feel we could skip or just read through quickly.
     
  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say let someone else read it - someone who's a good writer/reader himself, someone you trust and someone whose opinions you respect. Make sure it's someone who will help you by being gentle and sensitive to your book, and then take the blow on the head and work on all the flaws that you may have missed. Take in the fresh perspective.

    And then I think, at some point, just push it out. If you've read it a million times and feel that you can't do anything to make it better - even if you don't feel it's perfect - just push it out. Sometimes maybe it'll never be perfect because in the end, words and rhythm don't really capture our imaginations 100% - it only captures a fraction of the emotion we have towards it, and the love we have for it. You're probably just afraid that it's not everything you want it to be. Trust that the reader will understand what you mean and your words will resonate with them somehow, and take the leap.

    Truth is, if Stephanie Meyer and Dan Brown could become international phenomenons - then I think we all stand a good chance, even if our writing isn't perfect :p (not read anything as flat as Meyer's writing, ever, and Brown's plain annoying and patronising - but they're an international success!)

    I think they are pretty good examples of when the quality of your writing matters far less than if your story intrigues people. They had a story people resonated with (not ones that I liked, but that's besides the point) - and that's all readers care about. It's only us writers who actually care about the quality of writing. I think I only know 2 or 3 friends in my whole life who actually care about the writing - the rest couldn't care less and only want the story. So as long as your images are clear and it follows an interesting plot, really, you're fine. And you might as well take the leap and instead of second-guessing yourself, maybe say, "Maybe they'll love it," instead of "Maybe they'll hate it."
     
  17. seije
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    seije Member

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    thanks, that's actually quite reassuring. I think my biggest problem is i don't have many people i can trust to read it. most of the people who i want to read it don't have the time, and the people that do, i know i'll only get "i liked this" or "i didn't like that" out of 'em.

    i've thought about posting some here, but i need to do critiques before i can post any work of my own, and that in itself makes me nervous because i'm just a regular dude that likes to write; i don't know if my opinion will be all that helpful. (hence my signature)
    :p

    i've been working a bit on it today, and i've already nailed down one of the things that i wasn't happy with, (a character's personality didn't seem right) and now that i'm working on it, i'm feeling much more confident.
     
  18. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    Proserpine. Yes, if I wasn't feeling blue, I would just be night. LOL.
    But I wanted to say I liked your part about finishing the story earlier. It's true. If I had finished, let's say a year ago, then I would have left out some of the best stuff. Sometimes I wonder if a story is like fine wine; the longer you hold out, the better it gets.
    I appreciate you saying what you said. Those few words make me feel better.
    But now another thought popped into my head. Alot of people brag about kicking out a novel in months. I wonder what they left out. Hmmm.
     
  19. DBock
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    DBock Member

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    Put it into a drawer for one month to three months and come back to it. Don't touch it or think about it until then. It will help a lot. :) Promise. :)
     
  20. nchahine
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    Man, I can just imagine how that feels. Halfway through the story and the drive just dies.

    Well, do you have your complete plot-line down and have you written down a few lines for scene in your story? You may not work like this, but I used to just write out my story as an idea came along, waiting to see how it all developed, but I noticed I'd rarely ever get anything finished that way.

    Then I found the Snowflake Method and started writing down a line for each scene in my story, so I have a map of what happens. I noticed it's helped a lot and prevented my story from becoming a 'blur', as you said.

    I'm not sure if this is your issue, though. Maybe you've just spent so long on the story that you need to take a break and gain a fresh perspective on it. Maybe having another story that you can turn to, in a completely different genre, may help
     
  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    First up relax. Take a little time out and forget about it. There's nothing worse then simply knocking your head against a brick wall again and again and again. You need to have some fresh eyes to return to your book at this stage.

    Next I would suggest doing something related to your writing, but not actually writing your book for a time. You mentioned reviewing, and yes, I'd heartily recommend it. So do get involved, and in going through other people's work here, and finding what you think works and what doesn't, you should advance your own thought processes about your own work.

    Next, though I know you've invested a lot in your book, don't be afraid to start anew on another writing project. When you've reached a dead end where you're basically rewriting everything you've just written over and over again, you need to become fresh. And a new piece, even if its just a short story may help you with that, and allow you to return to your book in time.

    Also, though I know no one here will want to hear this, sit back and understand that writing is a long term project. Three years in? You're just getting started. I'm about sixteen in, and I only published my first book last year. You would also not believe the number of novel stubbs, many of them hundreds of pages long, that I have sitting on my computer. Probably the first thirty or so novels I wrote are still sitting here, never to be published or even completed. The next thirty are all at stages where I could consider returning to them and finishing them off now, many years later. And as I recall I was passionate about them all when I began writing them.

    So don't be in a rush. Think of writing as a marathon, maybe an ultra-marathon and not a sprint.

    Hope that helps and please don't think I'm trying to discourage you from completing your book. I'm not. But from my perspective writing has to be about passion. You have to love the story, you have to burn with excitement at what you write, what you want to write, and it sounds to me as though you've reached a point where you're no longer feeling that. My thought is that you need to find that feeling again.

    Best of luck.
     

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