1. Beth
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    Beth Member

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    Final sprint block

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Beth, Nov 19, 2008.

    I have come to 4/5 of my book (started January 2007) and I've been stuck for 2 weeks wondering if it's good, if it's well written, if the characters are believable enough, if the whole project is worthwhile... In almost 2 years I went through many problems and crises but this one seems to be worse than everything I've experienced so far... What do you think it's happening?? Any suggestions on how to proceed? :(
     
  2. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    If you want to proceed, then do so. Stow these questioning thoughts until you've finished the first draft, then you can unleash your inner critic. I know from experience that critiquing while writing the draft makes for slow progress; I've even been stuck for several months because of that, and I just recently got over that block. Besides, you'll never know if it's worth the effort unless you actually get it written, will you? :)

    I was in much the same boat as you just a few weeks ago. I had this story I had been writing since... 2006, 2005, can't be sure of the date...I had gotten quite a lot done and was nearly finished when I realized that I had been going about it completely the wrong way. Almost all of my chapters were gigantic pieces of text with few breaks, and none of the chapters flowed with the others. I realized that I needed to do a complete rewrite. Disappointing, but I was fine for a while until that inner critic got to me again. "What's the point? You'll just have to rewrite it again." "You know what happens in the story, so why bother?" Things like that. It was enough to stop me dead for several months. I eventually got over it. How? I finally had enough and told Mr. Critic to just shut up until I needed him. It worked. He hasn't quieted completely, which is good for preventing me from making another mistake like before, but it isn't slowing down my progress all that much either. Basically, I ignored his criticism and continued on working.

    Get it under control now, or as quickly as you can. The longer you go without writing, the worse your writing will be once you get back into the practice, and the more easily you will be discouraged again.
     
  3. K~la
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    K~la Senior Member

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    I don't think there is a writer out there who hasn't experienced what you are talking about. I think the best thing to do though, is right down all your ideas down as they come. If you see anything wrong with it later you can fix it then, but if not you'll most likely just forget what you wanted to write, and then you will never know if it was what you wanted or not. It's worth continuing to find out.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    You might just be scared of getting the climax/ending wrong, after all the building up to this point. What if the ultimate result of all that hard work is a big failure? I notice that, now that I'm nearing the climax of my own (very long) serial, I keep stalling as well. I worry that the main point of the entire story, after all the work I've put into the rest of it, might fall flat or not be "impressive" enough.

    The only advice I have is to just keep working on it and see how it goes. Maybe you can fix it if it doesn't turn out right. *shrug*
     
  5. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    In teaching there is the concept of the medial summery. This step is a reflection of that which was covered, with the intention of creating an effective ending to the lesson.

    I think this technique might also be helpful for you. In other words, take a break, but have a plan for reviewing you draft. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of where you came from and your ultimate goal.
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The nice thing about writing is that the author has total control over the finished product. The operant word here is "finished". When you are 4/5 of the way through the story, it's not finished. After it is complete, the next step is editing. At this time, you have the opportunity to polish those characters, tweak the plot, expand or contract parts...what I'm saying is, passing judgment on an unfinished project may not be constructive. Sure, you develop characters and plot as you go but don't be too hard on yourself. The time for tough self-critique is during this editing phase when "killing your darlings" requires brutal honesty.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The first story I ever posted here for review was a short story I worked at off and on for years. I received a very frank critique, that told me that most of what I had addes after the first version to try to improve the story actually muddied it, distracting the reader from the point of the story. As a result, I ended up unceremoniously slashing away over half the story, then went into a major revision of what was left.

    I have never regretted the extreme surgery. But it most assuredly was best handled AFTER I had "finished" the story and had the chance to go at it with a different perspective. I'd have found it much harder toi put it under the knife when I was still trying to build it up.
     
  8. Beth
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    Beth Member

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    I think you all say the right thing, after all. I must go till the end and only then I'll be able to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of my work.
    I think that what happens at a certain point is that after spending months (2 years in my case) with your story and characters, you somehow lose part of the passion. My biggest fear is that I may transfer that feeling to my writing, if you know what I mean... I feel I'm doing it just because I've come to a point where it would be a real shame not to finish it. I do believe in my story though, so that's my main motivation.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    so, to put it bluntly, just shut up and write!...

    and when it's done, if you find it's not marketable, but you still have a passion to write, then when you've mopped up your tears and are calm enough to type, just start another one!!

    fyi, 99.9% of all first books are never published... and to make you feel better, the average first sale of a newbie screenwriter's work is the NINTH one s/he's written!

    love and hugs, maia
     
  10. Beth
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    Beth Member

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    Oh god, no.. I quit my job to write this book.. luckily it's not my first one so I hope I have more than that 0.01% possibility to see it published! :eek:

    Anyway, yes, the only thing I can do is shut up and write. :D
     
  11. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I was stuck in the same situation. I've been working on my book for nearly two years as well and am also just about to finish it. My "inner critic" had been critisizing and tearing it apart for the past few months. Part of it is just me being over-critical and striving for perfection and the other part of it is that I know that I'm going to have some editing to do once I'm done the first draft. Like you said, the only thing to do is to "shut up and write". :)
     

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