1. innocentghost
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    innocentghost New Member

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    Focusing on one project

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by innocentghost, Jul 27, 2015.

    I've written parts of stories over the years, but typically when I get somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words, I'll find myself getting stuck, or losing interest in a project. Around this time, I'll start to think of ideas for a different project, write a few notes about the story I'm planning to write, and dive into it. However, the thought of going back to the previous stories I've been working on bores me, and I lose interest or attachment in the project, or I'll say I will work on it later, but never do. I haven't finished a story in years, but I really want to see one through to the end, around a short novel's length (75,000 or so words).

    If anyone else has been through this, how were you able to overcome this problem? If you haven't, but gone through similar situations, any advice would be great.
     
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  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Do a search on pantser vs plotter, and you will find countless articles discussing how pantsers can work more effectively towards the goal of completing a manuscript.

    My advice -- FWIW -- is to plan something small, and complete it. And then work upwards from there in terms of complexity and word count.
     
  3. Clover
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    Clover Member

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    Sadly I still have this problem... but one idea is to plan the novel and break it up into parts or chapters (with each new event, twist, place etc marking a new part), and treating each one as a mini-project in itself.
     
  4. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Oh boy, yep, this is totally me. I get excited about a different project before I'm even finished with my first and as a result, my computer and several notebooks are stuffed with pieces of stories, fragments of ideas, and half-finished novels. It's a chronic problem.

    But this ^ exact thing has helped so much. In my heart, I'm a plotter, but that gets me into so much trouble. With NaNoWriMo last year, I realized that if I was going to meet the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month, I couldn't go back, I could only go forward. I became a pantser, at least for the duration of this novel. It's SO HARD still! But I'm almost done with my first draft, which is huge for me, and even though I am itching to work on other things (I have two ideas pulling at me currently) as well as dying to go back and do some major edits, I've told myself that I can only go forward until this draft is done. It's working.

    I second Aaron DC's suggestion. Be a panster, at least temporarily.
     
  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Pantser is what OP is - likes to start and wing it.
    Plotter is planning things out first.

    I am suggesting they try some plotter strategies :D
     
  6. PrincessSofia
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    PrincessSofia Active Member

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    I used to be the same but this time I've outlined all of my novel, from scene 1 to the final scene, writing what it going to happen briefly in each scene, and I have also written down my locations etc, everything really, so that I don't have to look for ideas when I'm writing a scene, I just have to write. Of course some scenes are harder to write than others but I find this system much easier than just writing with no preparation. The research, the brainstorming, the character development, as well as outlining every scene took me one month, but it was worth it because now I know where I'm going.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
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  7. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Oh geeze, haha I totally misunderstood that! My bad. :p

    Well, my suggestion for just vomiting a manuscript out there still stands. It has worked for me so far. Granted, I had this novel outlined before beginning NaNoWriMo so I knew which direction I was heading in, at least. Maybe I've misunderstood this whole time. I'm only sort of pansting it, because I thoroughly plotted it before beginning.

    My world has changed.
     
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  8. innocentghost
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    innocentghost New Member

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    I've known about the idea but never knew the terminology for it. Personally, I do try to do loose outlines, make sure to get major events in there, but leave room for whatever spur of the moment ideas come to my head. Admittedly though, I think being a pantser might be more to my advantage

    This is actually something I've considered, but it's nice hearing someone else say this, so it might be a good way to look at it. :)

    I think it is harder for me, because of the kinds of stories that I'm aspiring to write, fantasy worlds with lots of characters, connections between them, and extensive worldbuilding. So part of me says I should just try to write, but another part says, well why do it if it won't end up being on that level, without outlining it? So that might be a problem I have too, thinking it has to be a certain way in order to make it decent.

    Nope, actually I'm more of a plotter I think, haha. I did mention in the beginning that I would write some notes about the next projects I'd start, so that's what I meant. But I think there might be things from both sides I can learn from.

    I don't think this could work entirely for me, plotting out every last detail, but I could see how outlining even further ahead than I had been could be beneficial, so that I don't get stuck and suddenly lose interest.

    Oh I don't think you misunderstood, haha. One other thing about being a pantser is that I'll often decide that something I wrote was pretty crappy, so instead of rewriting it, I'll just leave myself a note that when I go back to edit the story later, that I will want an event to turn out -this- way instead of -that-, and then writing the story as if something different happened from that point on. Is this sort of practice kind of common? I have a feeling it might work, especially if I want to avoid outlining, but hearing all your thoughts on it would be nice.
     
  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    "Writing some notes" is that the same as having the entire story line mapped out from start to finish?

    Coz pantsers often write down a few notes, but pretty much just start writing ("dive into it").

    Plotters tend to do more what @PrincessSofia has outlined above.
     
  10. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I like to try writing all kinds of things, but my home base is fantasy. I love playing in fantasy worlds. Worldbuilding is fun, but I don't get sucked into it as much as some people do. It doesn't consume me.

    As for that bit about leaving a note for yourself to go back and rewrite - that is kind of what I'm going right now, with my current project. I don't think the outcome of the scene will change enough in that I have to rewrite the rest of the novel from that point on, but I will go back and enhance the scene.

    Maybe you should try doing the opposite of whatever you've previously done in the past. Perhaps, you should write your first draft without a lot of world-building to get a basic understanding of your characters and story. And then go back and between the first and second drafts, build the heck out of your world so your story comes into sharper focus?

    Or, maybe more likely to help, do the opposite of that. Don't let yourself write at all until you know exactly what each scene should consist of, as Sofia has said. My plotting before this novel was thorough enough that even though I get bogged down a bit between plot points, I know what needs to happen next so it helps drive me towards that point - keeps me going when I start to get stuck.

    I dunno. *shrug* I'm still reevaluating my life and wondering if I've always been a panster after all.
     
  11. innocentghost
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    innocentghost New Member

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    Generally not. One of my most recent stories I've tried to write, I outlined the events through about a quarter of the way through, with other major events further ahead planned out, set up character personalities, and the directions their character development will take, and other minor details. I was writing notes, scrapping and inserting new ideas for a few weeks before I dove into the actual writing.

    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one doing it. Sometimes it does have a profound effect though, for instance I changed my entire character's personality and the scene where she was introduced had to be altered; luckily I didn't get that far in the story before I did so, though.

    And that's actually a pretty good idea about going back to drafts later on. Maybe since I'm so used to going in the middle, I should try doing one extreme, like filling in the details later, or doing much more extensive plotting, to where there's no holes. Even if I do more of a pantsing style, I always tend to have a general direction of where I want to go, but I wonder what would happen if I could try to ignore those and try winging it every time I start writing.
     
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  12. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Have you ever tried writing the last chapter first, and working your way backwards to the beginning?

    I also bought a book recently called, "Write your novel from the middle".

    Perhaps trying a different starting point will help trick you into finishing the entire thing?
     
  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I plot to wear pants.
     

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