1. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Finishing Your First Novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TheWritingWriter, Jan 11, 2012.

    I am extremely passionate about writing. I've been writing and reading since I was four, and I've been telling stories since around 5 or 6. Writing very important to me. However, I have a million and five ideas. I'll jump to one story without finishing the first one. I won't touch one story for months, and then add like eight chapters to it, and then ignore it again. Sometimes, I spend months without writing, because I get so easily distracted. Even when I don't write, I still build plots in my head, but I have to get hit with a major wave of inspiration in order to start writing again.

    I was hit with that big wave of inspiration the other day, and then I decided right then and there that I was going to learn how to stay focused and dedicated and finish a book. I was going to learn how to be self-disciplined and finish what I start.

    I am extremely against forcing my creative works. I normally let the story just come when it's ready. My method right now is to find ways to keep the creative juices flowing, and to just try to stay in the writing groove as much as possible. I've had good results so far. Five chapters in five days. I wrote two of those chapters in one day. Then I decided to slow down bit, because I was stressing myself at the computer for so long. (I have carpal tunnel.)

    Anyway, I was wondering if anybody had any pointers, advice, or experience they would like to share. I would appreciate it tremendously. Thank you for your time. :)
     
  2. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd advice that to keep creative juices flowing, read books or watch movies/tv shows that you enjoy which are similar to what you are writing. At least for me, that is a big help to my writing. I also think "writing" when you are away from the computer is a good tool. Letting the story come to you before you write it could be a big drive to write it. Because if you got a story that refuses to leave your head until you type it out, there's little better motivator. Just my take, off the top of my head. Different things will work for different people.
     
  3. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    To finish novels and screenplays, I write a little or a lot pretty much every day. I might take a day or two off. Even if I don't feel like writing, I write. On those days, I might only write a page, but I write. Often times, even if I don't feel like writing, after I sit down and write for a bit, I suddenly get into it. Also, reading my last chapter or scene will modivate me to want to write.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the biggest thing is not to rely on the mood, the excitement, the inspiration, the muse - it all boils down to "I write when I feel like it." - and it sounds like you've realized that doesn't work very well.

    Might I suggest something like Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the carpal tunnel? I've heard positive things about it and just got it myself for Christmas (haven't installed it yet but excited to try it).
     
  5. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    you sound a bit like me haha. (although i dont have carpal tunnel) anyway i found that id be able to write if i set myself down for a bit listened to some music and thought about the story, then once i got into the mood, i would start writing since ive already been thinking a bit about it while i was chilling.
     
  6. Steve89
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    Steve89 Member

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    My advice is to finish one novel, even if you have hundreds of other ideas running through your head. You should write down any other ideas you have in a journal so you can come back to it when you have finished your current piece. This way, you have hundreds of ideas for new novels without stopping work on any of them.

    You also have something to look forward to when you have finished, so it will kind of push you to complete your current project.
     
  7. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    You seem to have the exact problem I had and to an extent still do. They key is discipline. Firstly, when you're coming up with all these ideas, analyse them and decide which have real potential. I used to be starting a new novel every week or so, only to discover that in fact my idea didn't stretch beyond a scene or two, or was intrinsically flawed in some way. So that's the first thing, make a judgement about an idea before you start. When you've got an idea you really think is worth writing, you have to be determined to finish that before you start on another piece of work, I find, otherwise you end up jumping about as you described. This does not mean that when you are writing one novel, your creativity is focussed on that alone. I still look for stories, and when I see something good I note it down to be used in the future. I may even write a few paragraphs of a setting or character, but I very rarely nowadays start work on a complete novel before I have finished my current one. You have to force yourself to leave new ideas for later, otherwise you'll find it difficult to finish anything.
     
  8. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I'm kinda new to this in a way, but i find it easier not to lose interest, if on a creative day I write the story as it flows and on the days where im not so creative i go through the text amending mistakes, adding to what i have, elaborating on small scenes and reading as almost an outsider being more critical than creative, but it all allows to keep you involved and not letting the work go stagnant. But im no expert its just how i get through it :) hope this helps. I try not to continue with another story, but keep a note book handy so when i finish the one (hopefully) i will be able to pick up the note book and have a head start on number 2 :)
     
  9. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Thank you for all of your magnificent replies, guys. :)

    I agree with you. I have been trying to do that, yes. :) I heard once, in order to learn discipline, pick one thing whatever it is, and do it every day. Don't skip a day and say, "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow," because you know you won't do it the next day. Every time I get tired, I think of that. If I have to write at 11 o'clock, when the entire house is down, I will. I've been really good at it so far. :)
    Thank you for your words, and good! Don't get carpal tunnel! It stinks! I have to place my hand on a small pillow whenever I type or write. When I write my novels, I have to do it on a laptop, so my hand won't rest on the desk and cut off blood flow. I need to get it checked out, because it's really bad. :/
    Thank you. This is very good advice. I have a this spiral-bound notebook where I keep all my ideas, character bios, setting information, rough drafts, and any other information that I find valuable to the story. I call it my plot-binder. I think every writer has one in some way. Since I start stories and know that I'll just forget about them, I've made a habit of writing down any valuable information. So I know that I'm able to write all this information down. Now, I just have to finish the novel I'm working on, and use this habit as a tool to take advantage of any inspiration I might get for a new novel.
    I never thought of this. After I've written an 8 to 14 page chapter, I don't know about you -- but I really don't feel like editing after that. Editing on not-so-creative days is a good way to get progress done, but not stressing myself over not producing a chapter.
    Yes! Yes! Yes! Agreed! This multiplied by a-freaking-bagillion! Like I wrote earlier, a good way to learn discipline is to do something everyday, and not skip a day. I try to write everyday, even if it's just a paragraph (although I aim for much more than a paragraph), I try to get something out. I agree with this tremendously.
     
  10. seratone
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    seratone New Member

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  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely finish your book! It feels great.

    I think you need to find a balance between disciplining yourself and 'writing when you feel like it'. Can be done, but you need to sometimes push through those times you feel 'bored', and get to a point in the story that again gets your creative juices flowing. Often more ideas come to you as you carry on, and good ones too.

    Good luck.
     
  12. ahmet29101
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    ahmet29101 New Member

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    Yes, discipline is the foremost condition for a novel writer.
    Writing a novel requires much more patience as compared to the short story writers.
     
  13. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    The key for me is finding characters whose stories must be told.

    I've written short stories for practice that were inspired by random events but that were mostly for practice -- they didn't require completion.

    The story I'm working on now is about a character who insists I tell her story. If I leave the story alone for a few days she gets mad because she's getting antsy sitting on the train or wherever, waiting for me to write.

    I'm aware this sounds insane, but that's how it is.
     
  14. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Hey, if it works it works.
     
  15. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I think you're making a wise decision to finish your novel. Because most of the time when you reach a roadblock, I bet you move onto another project. Overcoming roadblocks and filling plotholes are two crucial skills that you can only really get better at by finishing a novel. You get pushed really hard when you have to finish a novel, and it makes you grow as a writer.

    My advice is to write your first novel FAST. Word count quantity verses prose quality. Description is lame? Dialogue is stilted? That entire paragraph is literally the worst thing you've written in the last two years? Keep going, and don't look back. Maybe look back a little bit, change a plothole or two, but keep your mind focusing on moving forward. It is so much easier to fix everything when you print out your completed first draft.

    I remember the first time I finished a book I had been working on forever. It was 6am (I had been writing all night), and my dad got up and was working in his home office. I felt so accomplished, and it was really fun to share that moment with my dad. It was one of the coolest experiences in my life.
     

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