1. cieeciee
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    cieeciee Member

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    Dissappointed reaction to my ideas once put on paper. Anyone else?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cieeciee, Oct 17, 2009.

    Disappointed reaction to my ideas once put on paper. Anyone else?

    I have this continuing reaction to pretty much all of my writing and I was wondering if this happens to anyone else? I have interesting ideas in my head but after I start to flesh them out on paper, it's almost as if there is a catharsis (not in a good way) or it feels very anticlimatic, so I have sort of a depressed feeling about the work when it is on paper. I become depressed about it either immediately, or later that day and think the idea is stupid and it no longer fascinates me the way it did originally.

    I do go back to the writing of that idea and continue to work on it, but it deflates my interest in my idea, so I have to work a bit harder to "reinterest" myself each time. Is this a usual experience that I need to just ignore? Do others experience this as the feeling that what is on paper will never be as good as what is in their head?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
    cieeciee
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The idea is what initially inspires you to write, but it really isn't that big a part of what makes a piece of writing succeed or fail.

    Think of it. You can express your idea in a paragraph or two. Maybe, if you have given it a lot of thought, you may need a few pages. So what is the rest of what makes up a novel?

    You may think of it as "fleshing it out", or "developing it", but these are just euphemisms for filler.

    The real story isn't in the idea. The real story is in the characters, and their growth and interactions. The story idea is only a framework that gives the characters purpose and challenges.

    The characters are what give life to the story, and what will keep you inspired, not the idea. The idea will grow old to you, and if there isn't more to the story to keep you interested, and to keep your readers interested, then how can you expect to stick with it?
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, yes. As Dave has already mentioned, you must give time and nurture to your piece.
    Do not be in such a rush to find brilliance gleaming from the paper in just minutes.

    A mighty oak starts from the most unassuming little seed, and takes time to grow.
     
  4. Rawne
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    Rawne Member

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    I found this post very useful as I have the same problem. Thanks for bringing it up, and thanks to Cogito and Wreybies for your comments.

    So, separating the writing and the idea that spawned it may seem like an obvious idea, but they're two different arts and need to be treated as such.
     
  5. Never Master
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    Never Master Member

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    Margaret Weis (Death Gate Cycle, Dragonlance) describes writing as "99% reading".

    What I've learned from her example is to be cautious of burning out my creative drive. That seems to be a possible explanation for what is happening to you. Allow me to briefly elaborate.

    When writing, there is so much that we as writers want to get across and get written that we sometimes forget to stop and think about it! We want to "follow our muse" as far as it'll take us, but more often than not, this causes a creativity 'burn out' and our writing slowly loses quality. When we stop to read what we wrote, we are entirely unhappy with the end result and will explain some of what you are feeling at this present moment.

    In order to combat this, set yourself a goal. For example, before I began working on my first novel, I set myself the small goal of not writing a complete novel, but getting a grabbing entrance to my world finished followed by a character introduction. Those goals were met and I moved on. It really does feel like an impossible task if you say to yourself, "Today, I'm working on my novel." Instead say, "Okay, today I'm working on that scene where the reader learns who built the Tower and why."

    To return to Margaret Weis: once you've written what you had intended to stop, read it, and then read it again. Fix what tastes bad and then read it again. Repeat.

    There are proponents of the idea that you should slam out your Novel as fast as possible and then do systematic full revisions. For some people this might work, but it sounds to me as if you are similar to me in that I need small successes to encourage me throughout the long process of writing a book. Give this system a try and see if you are a bit more uplifted and confident about your abilities.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I think it relates to the emotional energy generated during the process of transferring the internalized scene to paper. The 'chewing the cud' period, when the dots of the planned piece are connected by our subconscious and conscious selves, can see a seriously intimate relationship grow between aspects of who we are, and what we're about, and the developing journey of the character or characters involved. The process of releasing this emotional connection in the writing of the scene generates a trauma on several levels, often leading to a heightened sense of struggle as the actual words bring the scene to life. How many writers can testify to the tension that builds during this process, often ending in a sense of emotional fatigue and depression? I think it's down to the fact that, as writers, we're forced to express emotions and repeat experiences that we may otherwise prefer to keep buried. What do you think?
     
  7. micahlarrity
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    micahlarrity Member

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    I went through the same thing for a while. Things sound great up top, but in black-and-white type they look like junk. My problem was that I had these huge, great ideas, but simply didn't (and still don't (yet!) ) have the skill to make them as grand to others as they were to me.

    I've actually recently started NOT writing when inspiration hits and I have an idea. The reality is that the idea is never as good as it seems in the instant that it hits you. Let it float around, let it evolve, let it flesh itself out in your head for a while until it is no longer the world's greatest idea. That's an important thing - then you actually have to write it in the fascinating way that you first imagined it.

    Keep at it. I think you'll break out of it in a while. In the meantime, perhaps start writing some fun, quick stuff that you don't have any expectations for. You might surprise yourself. :)

    ~ Micah
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I don't get that for short stories at all. I do get it sometimes during the writing of a novel. I almost couldn't finish the first draft of my forth novel. It took five whole months, when I usually finish a first draft in a month or two.

    I would read the previous chapter, then make myself get excited about what happens next.

    How long does it take your working on a project before you feel like this?
     
  9. cieeciee
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    cieeciee Member

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    I suppose this makes the most sense to me. My gut is I just have to keep at it and over time, the interest will ebb and flow. That's my gut anyway. So far, I have been very good at doing a lot of prep work and some writing, but I do have this sort of deflation with what was a great idea when I was working it out yesterday. I was just wondering if anyone else had experienced the same thing, but just kept plowing through.

    I definitely was noticing I was burning out. I get going and I can't stop until I have "all" the answers. For me, the deflation comes either right away, or within a day when I start to review my idea in my head and I, of course, start to come up with all kinds of reasons it is mundane, or been done (which I know from reading many posts here that ALL ideas have been done, so this is no excuse for stopping a project). It is weird, it is kind of an automatic emotional reaction... not rational I think, ultimately.

    Within minutes or the next day!

    I definitely think this is a good idea that gets the juices glowing again. I will try this and just keep plugging!

    Thanks!
     
  10. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    It sounds to me like you are letting the self esteem monster get a hold of your work and tear it to shreds.
    First drafts can be garbage sometimes - that is okay. It is a part of the writing process. Your only aim with a first draft is to get some semblance of your ideas down onto the paper. YOU know what you mean when you write it out the first time. Then all you need to do is edit it. Either edit or re-write it, to improve your writing, and ensure that others can see your ideas as well in the same light you did.
    If you delete your first draft and drop the ideas along with it, you simply fall on your face, back to square one. Best-selling authors don't write their first books by deleting their first drafts - they edit it and craft it until they feel it is presentable.
    A book is a work of art. As a sculptor, you wouldn't spend hours creating something out of stone, and then decide you don't like it, and trash the whole thing - you work out how you can improve it.
    There are always ideas out there, and yes, most of them may have been done before - but no-one has done it exactly the way you would do it. There are always twists that you can throw in to make your work different from anyone elses. If all writers today let the idea that it has all been done before anyway stump them, there would be no new books, no new movies or tv shows. Yet there are plenty of those, showing the same stories in different lights and keeping LOTS of people interested.

    Let your first draft be your first draft. Then make it better.
     
  11. Laters
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    Laters New Member

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    and remember this, good work comes from hard work.
     
  12. gitamo
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    gitamo Member

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    I agree with this for me as well. I write, re-read and fix, then put it aside for a few days (and work on another part of my novel or a short story) then re-read again and fix. I fix anything which makes me squirm or that seems awkward. Sometimes (very rarely) I am happy with a second or third draft but often its the eighth, ninth or tenth draft that manages to convey what I was aiming for. Sometimes when I compare the first and the last draft there is virtually not a single sentence that is the same! It's intense and fascinating.

    Maybe as I get more competent with writing that process will get a bit less time consuming. *fingers crossed*
     
  13. Bongo Mongo
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    Bongo Mongo Member

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    What happens for me is that the story changes significantly to what my initial ideas were. I sometimes create new characters/side plots on the fly.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Put on a DVD of one of your most favourite, emotionally moving films, but skip directly to one of the most emotional scenes without watching any other part of the film first. You'll probably see that the scene doesn't have as much effect on you as you anticipated.

    Why?

    Because you skipped the entrancing build-up for that scene.

    My point with this is, that the impact of the scene you wanted to write depends on so much more than what's in the scene itself. No matter how fine your prose is, the scene will not have the same emotional impact if torn from its context. So when you review your own writing, allow yourself to get into the story first, as a reader. This could mean that you'll have to start from page 1. Pretend you're someone else, sitting down with a good book. Make notes of how the story affects you and where it falls a bit short. Then you can start thinking about how to fix it. If scene 108 doesn't work, it might be something in scene 5 that needs fixing.
     

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