1. CharlieUK
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    CharlieUK New Member

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    Doubt

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CharlieUK, Jan 9, 2012.

    So.. I've been writing for about 6 months, I've managed to get about halfway through a story and clocking up about 40 000 words. The thing is, I've starting to doubt whether its any good... Not so much the quality of the writing as the plot. A few people have read through it and I recieved some great feedback, but I can't seem to shake the feeling that it's just missing the mark. I go hot and cold, somedays I love it and others I hate it so much I want to set it on fire. I'm at the stage where I either commit to finishing the novel or start a fresh.... Previously I have aways written short stories, which have only taken a few days, I never felt like this writing them, I never doubted myself! Is this common when trying to write a novel? Are Should I risk wasting another year on it? Any Advice?
     
  2. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    You should never doubt yourself, anything you write is worth finishing.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Finish your work, try your luck with it, if it doesn't get accepted put it in a box and keep it in the bottom of your cupboard. When you look at it about a year later, you'll probably understand why it didn't get published. Hopefully, you'll also realise how much finishing it taught you--because you must finish it, if it's the last thing you ever do. It is not a waste, it's a step nearer success.
    Or so I've always told myself. I've stopped asking people I know for feedback because they just say it's great. Like you, I think now it's my plots that are the problem--still too complicated but not enough central idea to them. Short stories don't really do it for me. Unfortunately, I have very little free time, so finishing anything takes ages, but I really love it, so, hey--it's just as 'pointless' as sitting watching TV or something, isn't it?
     
  4. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    two pieces of advice:

    1----finish it!

    2----never doubt yourself, it just gives you a reason to discontinue your story and that would go against advice no.1

    good luck charlie :)
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i feel exactly the same way - about ALL my stories! i always have the feeling the plots are really poor and that no one will ever pay to read them. or if they do, they won't enjoy them as much as I do writing them.

    I think many writers feel that way. besides I read something an author said about writing yesterday, re: the thread on poor writing advices: "only the bad writers think they're actually good" or something like that.(the link I posted leads you to the article) I think one can only trust his own instinct on the stories, if it meant enough to you to start writing it and get this far it must be worth something. As long as you write a story you yourself would like to read I'm sure there will always be an audience for it.

    Just keep writing anyway. Don't let you inner editor take over, let the publishers/agents decide if it's publishable or not. Or if you have a writer friend or someone that knows what sells. Just believe in your writing and your story, that is all you can do.

    PS I decided about my current project that even if it won't be publishable I will at least have learned something (even a lot) from writing it that i can bring to the next project, so I'm doing my best at finishing it as good as it can be.
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    We should sticky a couple of your threads so people can go there for self-help advice on how to not be so down on themselves. haha. :p
     
  7. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    It's been said before, but I will say it again. Finish the story. Then, put it aside and let it stew. A few months should be sufficient for this. Then, read through the whole thing again. I've done the above not only with finished stories, but also with those stories I've abandoned as being utterly "shite" and have surprised myself with how good they actually were. Needless to say, the doubt I had in my ability to write soon evaporated.
     
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  8. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    Doubt happens a lot when an idea gets stagnant, especially when you've been reading the same paragraph or part of your story over and over for a while trying to finish it! That's why Batgoat's advice is so good, you really do need to let it "stew" for a while and come back to it another time.
     
  9. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Writing short stories vs. writing a novel is like sprinting vs. a marathon. I've written a few short stories, but I enjoy writing novels more. You enjoy writing short stories, but the novel is getting you down. You're worried about the time investment - unless you're a fast writer, even with an advance of say, 15,000$ [which gets paid out in three years], you won't earn that much on your novel to qualify the time investment... So why do writers still write novels? Because, while short stories are great, they tend not to last like a novel does. Unless you have enough short stories to collect them [Orson Scott Card's Maps in a Mirror comes to mind] or if people greatly revere your short stories [Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected], you won't make much money on short stories either, but on the other hand the time invested in much less.

    A quandary.

    Don't sell yourself short if you turn out to be a great short story writer, but no good at novels. The long form is not for everyone, just as a lot of novel writers cannot write a short story. They're different beasts, altogether.

    As to the quality of your novel, I cannot judge that, but most 'first drafts' suck. First drafts are meant to get the whole novel on the page. It's mainly in the editing process that the novel is shaped, and, yes, that can take a few months to a year also.

    Writing for money is a fool's game anyway - it's nice if you strike it rich, but it's like sifting a river full of mud in the hopes of finding gold. Some find gold, most don't. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but don't do it because you hope to strike it rich. Do it because you love it.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow, hahaha! :D
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    You know, so they can read all the advice we give to you is all I meant. :p
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know, I know. I'm the most self-confidence-crisis-prone writer on here I guess :rolleyes:
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    finish it... if it turns out to be no good, start another one... first books are usually not marketable... very few successful writers got their first or first few books sold until they became famous with later ones and then revised the first messes...
     
  14. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Finish it, first.
    Then go back and revise. Fix what you don't like, re-word, re-plot, re-write. It's your story. Write it the way you want it to be.
     

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