1. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    Dirtrackfan3DH Member

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    First story Struggle

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dirtrackfan3DH, Feb 13, 2016.

    I've been having a struggle I get ideas rolling in my head of what I want to write but then when I go to write I get something written down and then am blank after that I've only gotten about a paragraph. I feel like I know what I want to say in my head but it's a struggle to get it on paper..any advice TIA!
     
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  2. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keep brainstorming. Write down multiple ideas, with different characters, in all sorts of settings. Try all sorts of ideas until one sticks. Flesh it out a little, imagining what you can make it.
     
  3. CanadianVince
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    CanadianVince Member

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    What helps me is making an outline! I have tons of ideas, I get a pen and do a very loose outline as quick as the thoughts are running through my head! I rarely follow my outline but helps me to see if my idea has legs! Hope this might help.
     
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  4. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    Dirtrackfan3DH Member

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    Thanks guys..just started writing again about hour ago..thoughts started flowing and I'm on page 4 almost
     
  5. CanadianVince
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    CanadianVince Member

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    oh great!! Keep it up!
     
  6. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    Dirtrackfan3DH Member

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    What do you do as far as an outline just jotting down ideas or an actual rough draft of sorts
     
  7. CanadianVince
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    CanadianVince Member

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    Well it is different for every idea. An example is my book that I've always wanted to write, I have a good idea on how I wanted it to go, so I numbered it, like a loose chapter layout, 1-the first memory of my character, 2-first introduction of such and such character, etc ...., my thoughts seem to almost take over at that point? I hope that makes sense? Sometimes if some idea hit me I will quickly grab a pen and paper and just go with it. Like the other day I was watching a video and had a idea hit me, I grabbed a pen and just started writing an outline and honestly my thoughts just took me away, and at the end I had three different stories all from one idea! And how that happened was I let the thoughts come without me judging them, or even thinking twice. After I was able to back and create one story with a little from all, and sometimes throwing a whole path out?

    If there was any real advise I can give is (for me) not to force an idea that is going nowhere! If I'm in a block, I move on, with no regrets, because it will be there when I get back!

    Hope that helps you? Happy writing!!
     
  8. CanadianVince
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    CanadianVince Member

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    Oh most of all I've found that there are no rules and no set way of writing, do what feels natural!
     
  9. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    Dirtrackfan3DH Member

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    Thank you for the tips!
     
  10. Lewis shepherd
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    Lewis shepherd Member

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    For me the experience of writing is quite a fludic process, start with one paragraph and see where that goes, I also like to start my chapters with a quote or a line of diologe something which sums up the ark of that chapter but the most important advice I was ever given was, write what you know.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You didn't say what you are trying to write. An essay? A story? A novel?

    If it's an essay, you probably start with the idea of what you want to 'prove' and then you start thinking up ways you can prove it. That's what you were probably taught to do at school. I suspect that's not the kind of writing you're trying to do now.

    If it's a story or a novel, you probably need to spend time visualising what's happening in your story. I'm not sure if that's what you mean by ideas 'rolling in my head,' but if it's not, you might want to spend more time daydreaming your story. This is not a waste of time. The more your ideas become 'fixed' with pictures, sounds, dialogue, etc, the easier it will be to sit down with your computer and begin to describe what you see happening. See if you can make yourself feel what your characters are feeling. It's the emotional involvement your characters have with what's going on that makes a story easier to write, in my opinion.

    I'd also say not to worry about how all your ideas will fit together, at least not at the very start. Don't worry about writing them in chronological order, either. One scene might well spark ideas about what came before to cause that scene to happen. Write what came before as your next scene, then. Or you might want to write the conclusion of the issues raised in your scene while they are fresh in your mind. This conclusion might not happen till way later on in the story, but write it as soon as you know what it will be. Write the scenes that feel most vivid to you first. If you get these scenes down on 'paper,' you'll soon devise ways to hook them together into a story that works. Not only that, but you'll watch your characters come to life, and that will spark more ideas. Pretty soon, your story will be writing itself.

    My own personal warning is do NOT stop to polish any scene into verbal perfection before you write another one. It's one of the biggest temptations that new writers face. They want everything to be perfect before moving on. However, unless you are incredibly gifted and/or focused, this just wastes time. What if you end up wanting to discard that scene altogether? You need to allow your story to develop into what it will become before putting on the finishing touches.

    Are there any landscape or portrait painters out there? If there are, how many of you divide your blank canvas into squares (chapters) and then perfect each square before starting on the next one? I don't think too many painters work that way. They sketch a general view of what the scene should look like, and then they start adding bits here and there until the painting gets more complicated, and then keep adding bits and layering on colours until the painting is finally complete.

    I think writing often works the same way.
     
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  12. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I want to in some ways disagree with the above. Oh I understand and agree with the sentiment, because if you spend too much time polishing you will never get the story done. But, especially for a new writer, polishing until you are satisfied is what makes your skills sharper in the next scene. And you won't need to polish as much. And the circle starts anew :D

    This was what I did at the start and I think it served me well. After well, 90k words I only have to adjust the flow or need to fix minor issues now and then. It is a tightrope to dance, and some days within the first two months it felt like tapdance. You know, one step forwards and a half back. Yet it worked for me.
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I can't argue with success, and many writers work this way. It's just that I've read so many sad stories on this forum where writers 'start but can't finish,' and re-work and re-work the first couple of chapters without ever moving on.

    There is so much more to writing than polishing your prose. That's a process that's actually relatively easy (and never stops!) But what can get lost in the method of Polish-First is a) momentum, and b) an overall sense of where the story is heading.

    With all due respect to your method—and do keep using it, if it works for you— you won't know what actually works and what doesn't until you get your whole story finished and give it to other people to read.

    I do think you probably get better at producing polished prose more quickly as you gain experience, but many published writers, when interviewed about their writing process, admit that their first drafts were not all that close to their finished versions. I think if you get 'stuck' that's a good thing to remember.

    I was concerned that the OP seemed stuck right at the beginning, and while ideas rolled around, was having difficulty getting them down. It's getting them down that's really important. If you don't ever get them written, it doesn't matter how good a prose polisher you are, does it? :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
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  14. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    :D of course, you do need momentum and drive! And keep the finish line in sight at every step! To ever get forward past your first chapters you need to have a firm conviction to GET IT FINISHED.

    I have had the good fortune to get the opinions of two Alpha's (and Thank you two!! You know who you are!) during this whole process. Judging from their responses and diminishing admonishments, it worked for me. But I do not claim that it works for everyone ;)
     
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  15. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    Dirtrackfan3DH Member

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    Yes I'm planning on a story I've got different ideas for what I want my story to be though I'm about page four on my story about racing but I feel like my heart may be more in wanting to write a modern war story
     
  16. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Read Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, especially the section on writing a logline. Understanding loglines works for novels as well as screenplays because it boils the story down to its essence: protagonist, antagonist, conflict. If you have those three things, the rest is a bit easier... well, maybe a lot easier.

    They also tell you whether or not you have a story and not just an idea.
     
  17. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I think you should spend more time expanding on your idea before you start writing. I don't use outlines. I only keep one to keep track of important info that I already wrote so that I don't forget it later on. Not every "great idea" that i have will become a book. When i used to outline, nothing i ever wrote down went past a few pages. My notebooks became a graveyard of ideas. I think if you are having a hard time getting to the next point it could be a few reason, 1. you may be rushing too quickly into writing the story. 2. the idea may not be the best idea for a book. Its probably #1. From the time i get and idea in my head to the time i start writing could be anywhere from a week to months. But never shorter than at least a week. If its months its because i am currently working on something else and I don't write more than one book or story at a time.

    You can try outlining though and see how it works for you. It seems to work really well for a lot of people. Perhaps though keep one outline at a time. I think for me i was writing down any and every idea that i never focused on one thing.
     
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  18. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I sort of do a combination of two things:

    1) Outline. This is what the story is about, what needs to happen, who is in it, where it takes place, etc. I think some people spend too much time on this but without some idea of purpose it may not be clear to even yourself what your book is ABOUT.

    2) Timeline. I think this is actually more important. This is how I sequence what needs to happen and keep it in order. It is fluid and I add/subtract to it as I write the actual story as things can and will unintentionally change. Example:

    Judy and Christopher find a glowing orb in a cave.

    Judy reports it to the NSA.

    The NSA invades the town and tries to remove the orb from the cave.

    Christopher thinks the orb has magical powers and hires Billy-Bob to help him steal it.

    ...and so on.

    Depending on the kind of story you are writing keeping things in order is more important (mysteries, thrillers).
     
  19. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    @Dirtrackfan3DH Three important words for you:

    Keep a notebook.

    And make it informal, all messy with scribbles and torn pages and coffee stains, so as to eliminate the need for perfectionism. Just use it as an idea gathering/sorting platform and not for finished paragraphs etc.

    I circle anything that's a complete thought to keep from cross-pollenating ideas on the same page. When I have a lot to jot down I will use one page for a single idea. New idea, flip to a new page.

    Anyway it sounds like you could use some basic sorting system to organize your thinking about the story.

    I also echo what the other poster said about outlining.
     
  20. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    Dirtrackfan3DH Member

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    Ya after reading your post my thought for a racing story seemed good but maybe my heart just isn't in it..I'm leaning towards a modern war story from the privates journey from basic training to the desert..that's my start for it now I'm just gonna take my time and go from there
     
  21. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I have this great story that I have literally been mulling over for a good 7 years. I have tried so many times to write it but I can't. I just can't. I think its too big for me right now. I've tried outlining it, i've tried pantsing it. I've tried everything. I wish there was a company that let you sell your book ideas and make a small profit off the sales lol. Maybe someone else could write it.
     
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  22. Dirtrackfan3DH
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    I haven't written since high school where we did papers from 7th grade through senior year so I figured I enjoyed it why not start again..i tend to come up with ideas just gotta work on getting them transformed to writing..I've gotten lots of good help from everyone here though so it's a step in the right direction instead of doing s racing story I'm gonna do a war one with the story from basic training all the way to the desert
     

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