1. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    Advice for the Indecisive

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Pink-Angel-1992, Oct 11, 2014.

    I was just wondering if anyone has any advice and tips for indecisive writers?

    I have several ideas for different stories, but I can't ever decide which I want to concentrate on first. When I try to do some planning for one, I find myself changing my mind on certain aspects or thinking "should they be this or that?". I can't decide which would be better or which I prefer, so find myself getting nowhere. So I thought I'd ask to see if anyone has any advice.

    Thanks for any help anyone can give.
     
  2. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some people are against this, but I say just plan it all out. For my current WIP, I ran up and down a document that described every scene and a lot of foreshadowing. Having the entire story in shorthand before you, it might be easier to realise that certain things fit better than others.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I do this to. It's worse for novels than short stories because I know for a novel I'll be spending months on a project rather than weeks. I usually let it come down to an issue in research; if one story needs more research that I'm not in the mood to do I'll shelf that story. Also your best bet could be a coin toss two days before Nanowrite - then sign up and plunge into the writing. No turning back after that. :)
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Press on through the self-doubt. I just recently came across a quote from author David Wood that might be of value: "Write fast so you can outrun your doubts and insecurities."

    In the end, what you're writing is a first draft, and it's going to be changed (edited and revised) in multiple passes. You'll have plenty of opportunity to switch back or alter what you initially wrote.

    If you vacillate and never finish that first draft, that means you'll never finish a project.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that you should just pick something arbitrarily and make yourself keep writing.

    The indecision can be a sort of crutch, a distraction that lets you feel like you're writing even though you never do the hard work of actually writing. Pushing on makes it clear to yourself that you don't get to use that excuse.
     
  6. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    You could write a Choose Your Own Adventure book...:rolleyes:. (Just kidding...). Seriously, however, run multiple projects if that is your style, rotate between them as need be and always follow your instincts. Follow the rabbit your mind chases first and don't second guess yourself.

    Personally, I keep between three and four projects in flux at any given time, one usually feeding of the others. It is a method that works well for my project, seeing as all are part of a greater whole, but having the multiple projects allows me to keep a fresh perspective without going sour on any one project.
     
  7. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    When in doubt, do both. By the time you are through writing everything, you will know for sure which path you want to take. You can toss out the one you did not like, or save it for reference. Maybe even use it as an alternate story.
     
  8. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Outlines help. Not the formal ones, but informal outlines can REALLY help to figure things out.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd echo this. Vacillation becomes a habit. You can always find reasons to say 'what if this what if that' and change direction like a weathervane. And like a weathervane, you won't go anywhere.

    Instead, pick an idea that looks good, start AND FINISH. If you think of something 'better' get it worked into your story. Keep going. It's not like the perfect story idea is going to spring full-grown into your head one bright morning. It's taking your imperfect ideas and licking them into shape that will make you a writer. Don't rely on picking the perfect one before you start.

    If you come up with some idea that simply won't fit into your current story but you think is worthwhile ...scribble it down and PUT IT AWAY until you finish the one you're working on.

    If all you want to do is dabble in writing, of course this advice doesn't apply. But if you want to be recognised as a writer, for your writing itself, then you have got to finish your work. There isn't any other way around it. You have to start. And you have to finish.
     
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  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    No one can help you with this except you, I'm afraid. It won't matter if you plan it out or pants it - until you form the self-discipline to sit down, choose a course, and move forward, you won't finish anything. We're faced with multiple options in everything we do, writing or otherwise. Make a choice and STICK TO IT. Then do the same with the next one, and the next, and the next. Ideas you still like but don't choose go into your idea file to use (or not) with the next story. But it's on you to do it. All the advice in the world won't make a difference until you make yourself stop wobbling.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Don't let it rule you. If you stagnate and do nothing, it becomes easy to get lost in the sea of 'not doing anything' because you're waiting for that spark. Not going to happen. All you can do is push on knowing two things: what you're writing is just a rough draft, and others have done much worst than you and they got published. Here are some of the things you can do:

    Make a time table for yourself. Maybe you write three times a week, so no matter what, make sure you write three times a week. Or maybe you reach a certain number of words a day. Stick to it.

    Alternate between stories. If one story gets bogged down or confusing, work on another story. Have more than one project going so you're never at a loss.

    Alternatively, you can take that bogged down story and skip to the scenes you feel most comfortable with. Or do something different with the story. Kill off one of your characters and observe the reactions, take one of your characters and make him/her older or younger and watch what happens. Or completely change the setting. Maybe you're tired of your historical piece? Suddenly zap all your characters into modern times and proceed as before. Don't worry, you've got time in the future to edit the previous historical bits so it fits with the latter.

    But keep writing. If you don't you'll fall into the habit of making up 'yeah, but...' excuses. I've done it in the past and I can tell you from experience that it does nothing and your stories will sit there, unwritten for a long, long time. When that happens, guilt and regret will bog down the indecisiveness, thus making everything worse. The only way to make sure it doesn't happen is to write.
     
  12. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    ' Just keep swimming...swimming...swimming. Just keep swimming.' - Dory, Finding Nemo
     
  13. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice people have given. It's given me something to think about and I believe it should be helpful, at least at present. I'm currently finding that my indecisiveness comes when deciding on certain aspects for my characters. For the story I'm trying to concentrate on right now, I couldn't decided on my characters ages and for other ideas I've tried working on, it's been a main characters gender. From your advice, I've realised these things could easilly be altered if I find I don't like the option I've chosen, or feel the other would be better.

    That's a good idea. With what I'm currently finding myself indecisive with, I could do this. You're advice, Nilfiry, has made me think that I could take the options I'm indecisive with and write a scene or a senario or them and see which I prefer. Even if I find I made the wrong choice, I could easilly change it.

    What do you mean by formal and informal outlines?
     
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  14. thewritingguy
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    thewritingguy Member

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    To be or not to be is the question. YOLO is the answer.
     
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  15. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Formal ones follow the pattern...

    I
    A
    1.

    And so forth.

    There are versions of this, but they basically diagram the whole thing.

    More informal ones, like a quick synopsis, or bits and pieces that matter, can also work. Those would be more informal.
     
  16. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    Thanks
     
  17. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    if any of the potential stories somehow involve things you are feeling in life or things in life causing you concern i would start writing that story. the things you are obsessed with are good to put into story form.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, this is it exactly. You will enjoy making these changes, because you'll know your story is better for them.

    However, sooner or later, you must decide on these age/gender/location factors, or you'll just wander all over the place. Don't spend too much time swithering between possibilities. Take an early decision about things like age, etc ...then make that decision work.
     
  19. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    No reason why you cannot be working on more than 1 story at once but you have to make a start on something. Sit down and start on whatever one you feel most motivated to do at that time. Once you begin, then just write and let the momentum carry you forward. If the next time you feel more inspired to start one of the other stories then write that, so that you get to the point of working on whatever story fires your imagination the most but you have to actually start something first.
     
  20. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    Yes, there is no reason why one can't work on multiple ideas at once... though I can see a potential problem if one isn't careful and that is getting ideas mixed up. I believe that it could be easy to get "confused" when writing; if you've been working on one idea for a while, then feel like doing another, you could automatically write the names from the idea you were working on before. I could actually imagine myself doing that.
     

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