1. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    Absolutely no ideas

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dagolas, Sep 28, 2015.

    I've tried to go down several different paths. I tried my hand at romance (a genre I generally hate), some weird ones (has anyone ever heard of Teslapunk? Couldn't even make that interesting!), a noir detective short story, a short story about a colony on mars, a short story about a traveller who goes to the past to kill himself and some historical fiction (18th century).

    All of those were destined to be quite short, 10,000-20,000 words (30K at a stretch), but nothing came of it. I couldn't piece together a good plot, since I had absolutely no ideas.

    And yes, I've read books in each of those genres (except Teslapunk, but I've read Dieselpunk) to try and get inspiration but found none. I 'm stumped, and have had writer's block for a few years now.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds like you have ideas but you can't execute them. What exactly are you struggling with? Take your one about the traveller who goes into the past to kill himself. What were the stumbling blocks when you sat down to write 20k words on it? Did you have a beginning and end but no middle? Did you have a story in mind but couldn't make it convincing?

    It doesn't sound like writer's block OR a lack of ideas to me. There is hope. :) You just need to pin down exactly what the issue is and then you'll get better advice.
     
  3. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    From what I can tell my problem is that I write something and then can't find anymore ideas. I didn't mention a story set in WW1 which I tried to write, but I'll use it as an example. I have a clear setting at first. (Battle of the Somme), a main character (A French soldier at said battle). I went with the Somme since it was a symbolic turning point (perhaps the biggest turning point ever?) in the history of Mankind. Gone were men on horses with swords and white gloves who pricked each other, or men in lines shooting at each other politely. This was war. I had long descriptions of the horrors, the mustard gas, a man next to him's head getting blown off and spraying him with blood. Dead rats eating one of his toes off, having to use his dead friends as steps to see over the trench.

    Despite all this, I only managed to write 2,000 words and it was over. Nothing to be added, no ideas of what happens to this soldier next.
     
  4. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Take movie you like and write it into a book.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know the feeling. There's nothing more annoying than wanting to write but having no ideas. Take a break for a while and stop stressing about writing. Instead read a lot, watch movies, meet with friends and talk about stuff. Read news papers. Watch people around you but don't actively look for ideas. Think of other things than writing. Eventually ideas will come. By themselves. :)
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Zombie rats?

    A technique I've seen suggested for Nano is...think of 10 things for your MC to do...write 200 words about each one...repeat for 25 days.

    The point I'm making, you don't need long, detailed, horrifying descriptions. (You may, but you may just as easily bore the reader to death!) You need plenty of small incidents, any of which could be written up into 200 words (and this isn't a limit; if the incident will take it, you can spin it out to 2,000, or 20,000). Have conversations - they're usually more interesting word for word than straight narrative, and you can stretch the same narrative out further.

    There's a quote that war is 99% boredom and 1% blind terror. Portray a little of the boredom (not too much), a little of the minutiae of a soldier's life in the trenches, a little of his hopes and dreams about getting back home, his girl back home, his parents, his job back home (did he hate that, and thought that the army was to be his salvation?) Stupid things.

    How about he loses the photo he's got of his girlfriend, and accuses another soldier of having stolen it? Totally irrational, but he's got not much else to think about. That way, you've got conflict between the two. Then, during the battle, they have to rely upon each other...
     
  7. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Like practicing a piano if you want to get better at it you need to practice it for a good amount of time everyday. If you can't do that you might not want to pursue writing seeing how that's the only way you can get it done unless you're one of those people who enjoy taking a whole day just to work on your story.
     
  8. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    Well, my big question to ask you is "why?" What is the reason behind writing these stories. What is the theme that you are trying to portray? How do you "the writer" hope to change your audience "the reader" over the course of this book.

    Based on your WIP description, im going to use as example "All quite on the Western Front". This is a book about the horrors of war, the power of nationalism, and how war changes men. Remarque goes through great pains to highlight the brief moments of terror and excitement, coupled with the endless repetition and boredom that lays between. He focuses on humanizing the soldiers, with the intent of showing that they are scared children, not evil killers. Then he systematically wounds and kills them. It is nearly impossible to read that book and come out thinking of war as glorious.

    For your story, this is a battle that takes place over 5 months with multiple engagements. The history books actually divide it into three phases, which would actually lend well to loose three act style structure. The battle also ends with 1million troops being killed or wounded, and the British and French having taken only 8 miles of land. (the cost of 8 miles was 1 million lives). It only ended because the winter set in and it was to impossible to fight. That leaves you with a MC who sits entrenched, looking off over the winter snow of a bombed out trench landscape as a metaphor for the bleak situation of war.
     
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