1. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Betraying your Inner Writer; sharing your story while it's still being born.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MustWrite, Jan 4, 2013.

    I made the tragic mistake of giving into those questioners; "So, I heard you've just started a new book, what's it about?"
    And I've lost the fire; the strong need to communicate that story; the characters, the details, the beauty and passion and excitement and glory that could have carried me through those hard dry times when writing seems very much like giving birth- hard work and painful! [Sorry to use a cliche here, but having actually given birth more than once I feel I have the right to use it] And all so I could give some nosy person a rather poor plot summary with a few details to impress them! I feel I have deeply wronged myself, me Inner Writer, who deserved to be protected when still in its deep creative state, [Chrysalis?]
    So, how do I continue this story I love? Can I recapture the excitement I first felt? My husband encouraged me to think on the characters, the details are the story, that the plot I gave away like a cheap party favor was not really the story, and that I need to tell that story still. Yet I labor when before i flew, the ideas do not flow as before, the well feels dry.
    Is any of this familiar? And can any of you give me hope?
     
  2. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    [table="width: 500, class: outer_border, align: center"]
    [tr]
    [td]
    “Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

    - Stephen King​
    [/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]
     
  3. wavodavo
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    wavodavo Member

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    MustWrite, only you can write this story. No one you talked to is going to write it. You just need to sit down and start writing. Here are a few quotes that help me.

    "Inspiration is wonderful when it happens but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time. The wait is just too long." - Leonard Bernstein

    "I don't know what inspiration is. But when it comes I hope it finds me working." - Pablo Picasso

    "You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, be being militantly on your side." - Anne Lamott

    And, just in case this writers block you've hit is really an excuse not to write because really and truly, deep down inside, you're absolutely terrified to put your wonderful story on the page for the whole world to judge, here is a book that helped me immensely: The Courage to Write {How Writers Transcend Fear} by Ralph Keyes
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your husband is wise. This is exactly what I would say. For me the greatest joy was in creating the characters. I loved getting to know them and see how they got what they wanted, or how they got what they didn't realize they wanted.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've experienced what you've experienced - that loss of interest in my story after explaining it to someone else. Don't do that.

    I think a lot of writers can get away with it. They don't feel like they've shot their bolt when they tell someone else their story, and they still have the necessary juice to carry on. I'm not one of them. I absolutely refuse to explain what I'm working on to anyone until it's finished, because I know I'll lose the drive to keep going. "The story is out there," I think. "I don't need to write it anymore."

    Keep it to yourself until it's all on the page. It keeps you from feeling hollow.
     
  6. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    I like this one!
     
  7. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Well, the good news is, once you've lost your fire, or at least, lost the emotional atachment to the piece, it makes for better revisions. You'll be more likely to throw away stuff that doesn't fit the story, no matter how good the words may be.

    There's always a silver lining. Keep truckin' dude, and I'm sure you'll find that everything falls into place eventually.
     
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  8. WriterOfGarnia
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    WriterOfGarnia Member

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    I know that everyone feels very differently about each issue and obstacle that one can end up being confronted with. However I seem to fail to understand what the issue is. Why does you explain someone the plot of your story to someone make you feel bad? I sincerely hope that this question of curiosity is not mistaken for insensitivity. I am simply curious to know how you think of the situation, because for me personally, having someone be interested in my story and willing to ask questions would be like the best thing I could ever experience. Being able to explain and tell my story to someone is ultimately what I want so, just that the only way I can do that is through a book or some kind of medium. Since that book is far from complete, giving me the opportunity to give that story to someone regardless, without the book, is a gift in my opinion.
     
  9. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I get this a lot, but not due to explaining the plot. Writing the beginning, when you're building a new world, is amazing. Writing the end, when you're tying up all the plot threads in a way that makes your reader shiver, is amazing. Writing the middle sucks like a power surge in a Dyson factory.

    If you want to finish it, just keep pushing. Maybe find a bit of the plot you're looking forward to and write that to get some momentum, then go back to wherever you were before. Going a bit ahead in the story might give you a few new ideas for the bit you're stuck on now, and get you excited again.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this is close to what my first reaction was to your post... i can't see the connection, unless the reaction of those you told about it wasn't as positive as you'd hoped it would be, thus making you doubt the worth of your story... is that what happened?...

    if so, ignore it/them and if you really have faith in your story, go ahead with it knowing it'll never please everyone... no one's book or movie does... that's just a fact of writing life...

    love and healing hugs, maia
     
  11. WriterOfGarnia
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    Yes most definitely agree with this. I myself is very pleased with the story I have to tell, though I am pretty sure that most of my friends and every one in my family would dislike it or deem it as uninteresting or strange, but I do not mind that because those are not my target audience. The probability of that one single person asking about your story being part of your target audience is quite low but so it is for everything. Most people I meet who would ask about the plot to Star Wars or Lord of The Rings who haven't seen it would also think it is weird or boring or just not for them, yet they are great successes and have made everyone involved with them stinking rich!

    An idea spreads like a virus, it is not an object that can only be at one place at a time. You telling someone of your plot doesn't make the story inside of you go away. You still have what it takes to write it and finish it just like you did before you spread your idea. The whole point of writing a book in the first place should be to use it as a way to spread that idea faster than what you are able to by mouth.

    Keep pushing and have faith in your creativity and force of will! :)
     
  12. Talmay
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    My sister is most often the victim of this. It doesn't "betray" anything, only makes me more eager to finally share the final vision. For the most part I talk about the world I'm building which, really, no one but me finds that interesting. I consider it an exercise now to get a reaction from her. Not by tailoring the story to suit her (she's definitely not my target audience) but to bounce plot bunnies off her. How interesting is this to you? What's wrong with it, in your opinion? Just generalizations.

    I thrive on sharing my ideas.
     
  13. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    I don't let my friends or family read my stuff, it is just wrong
     
  14. BallerGamer
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    That's what I was thinking. At first I thought this was going to be about having beta readers in the middle of your writing process, like say you're writing chapter 13 of a planned 30 chapter book and you're letting people critique your work as you go along. I also agree that it gives me self fulfillment when I explain the plot to my story. Fortunately I've gotten nothing but great reaction so far, and they've always wanted me to update them on my progress, so it's pushed me forward.
     
  15. WriterOfGarnia
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    Exactly what I am thinking! Sharing ideas is wonderful! Being in your own universe, your mind all day, just you and your story, it can get tiring. Then sharing the many ideas you have inside of you with someone can be really refreshing. Not only does it break the mental solitude, but it also makes the writing easier because the ideas gets a second opinion or at least you get to see what reaction people get from the ideas that your creative mind produces and it is often fascinating to witness.
     
  16. jenna_benna
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    jenna_benna Member

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    I have a real problem with this and have had to just learn to keep my big trap shut. I'll come up with a really cool idea for a story, and I tell my wife, fleshing it out, making it all work, getting excited about it, and then, and then... erk. I don't feel like writing it. It totally deflates my desire to tell the story because I feel like I've already told it at that point. I just have to force myself now to not share before I even get anything down on paper. That works. :)
     
  17. Terry Turton
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    I made that mistake once i showed my Wife something i had been working on for a few months.I let her read the first chapter which i had worked hard on and thought it was one of the best things i had written and she said it was rubbish.I became very sad about it and thought that it was rubbish and stopped writing it.I look back at it now and then and think it's good don't let other people read your work unless there fellow writers because in my experiance they will not like it.
     
  18. Terry Turton
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    Terry Turton Member

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    I made that mistake once i showed my Wife something i had been working on for a few months.I let her read the first chapter which i had worked hard on and thought it was one of the best things i had written and she said it was rubbish.I became very sad about it and thought that it was rubbish and stopped writing it.I look back at it now and then and think it's good don't let other people read your work unless there fellow writers because in my experiance they will not like it.
     
  19. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Really? I would have expected the opposite. Usually, friends and family will say your writing is good, no matter how bad it may be.
     
  20. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    Having someone reading your work can be demoralizing, but it also has a lot of benefits. Your wife sounds like a blunt person who isn't afraid to criticize which, in the long run, will be more helpful. Having someone constantly praising your work makes them seem a tad insincere -- as if they're afraid to offend you. When someone does that I always feel the need to ask, "really?" Next time ask what she doesn't like.
     
  21. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    ...I first saw 'anyone', which would make the novel pointless [to write] /of writing in the first place, but, yes, it's a very strong statement. One
    can spare oneself from many harmful feelings of inferiority with such mindset.
     
  22. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Include me with those who don't understand why telling someone the plot of your story is either "giving it away like a cheap party favor" or a fatal error that kills one's enthusiasm for writing. As others have pointed out, if the problem is that you received negative comments or pointless suggestions, you need to shake that off and just focus on your basic task - writing the story.

    Writing - especially writing a novel - is a very long, arduous task that requires a great deal of staying power. I compare it to training for a marathon. It takes rational planning, compensating for weaknesses, factoring in other obligations (especially for those with families), and then determination to see the thing to the end. Like the runner who faces a 20-mile training run on a hotter-than-expected day, you simply have to dig deep for the resolve and get out there and do the mileage. Or, in writing terms, you need to clear your mind of whatever comments have been made, decide on what your story will be, and then sit down and write.

    Just do it.
     
  23. jenna_benna
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    For me, telling someone my story idea after I've fleshed it out is one thing and I'll do that. The point where I've worked out the kinks and written down the loose (very loose!) draft version of the story I'm going to tell. I've got the bones down and next comes the work. I got used to that with game design and development (my day job for 15 years) . The story part and game idea in general is what it is, but the actual development can take a year or more. It's the ability to sit down and flesh out and finalize the bones. That takes work and determination and I have no problem doing that work.

    With that said, if I get a story idea and blurt it out before I've even got some of it in my head, and it becomes a story session where I'm basically verbalizing everything that I should be writing down instead (the rough rough loose loose bones) then what happens is I sort of let all the excitement come out in spoken words instead of written ones. Then when I think oh I'll write all that down, the excitement is gone. The thrill of telling that story, because I've already told it. At that point it is a chore to write all that down, even loosely, and most times I move on to other ideas. I am a story teller. Whether I tell a story vocally or otherwise, if I've already told that story I've already told it.

    Now when I get excited about an idea I don't tell anyone. I write down the bones. I get it all down on paper and try to work out the kinks that present themselves right out of the gate. Once that's done, I have no problem sharing my idea with someone else.

    Anyway that's my reasoning, and I'm sure there are a hundred reasons why it makes sense or won't make sense to various people, but it works for me and gets me writing, and ultimately that's what I'm here to do. :)
     
  24. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    ...yes, that's what I wanted to add; Paolo Coelho says that when we talk about our dreams (too much), we
    deprive them of their power to come true. I think there's something to this statement...

    I personally have told many of my stories to many of my friends (the synopsis, of course, the main idea) and
    they usually found it catchy and interesting and some of those who didn't hear at the beginning that it
    was my idea for a book asked me after I had finished my storytelling, whether that was a movie I had seen or
    some book I had read...
     
  25. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that talking about one's idea before actually writing it is generally not a good idea. My point was that doing so shouldn't be fatal to the idea itself.

    In "My Lost Mexico", Michener wrote about how a disagreement with an editor over one section of his novel "Mexico" killed his enthusiasm for the project, and he packed all his research notes and materials away in a large box, considering the project dead. Thirty years later, he took it up again, finished it and published it (and it happens to be one of my favorites among his works). He also reflects that his initial decision to abandon the project was an overreaction based on his relative inexperience (keep in mind he had already published several successful novels by that time, including "Tales of the South Pacific" and "Hawaii").
     

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