1. Arron Albert
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    Arron Albert New Member

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    Having trouble getting started.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Arron Albert, Jul 10, 2012.

    Writer's block is something I've struggled with before. In the past, I would lose interest in fighting to think of what to write, and move on to something else. This time it's different, the plot I'm working on is my baby and near and dear to my heart. But I've come down with the worst case of writer's block yet, I haven't managed to get past page 2. I have the whole plot figured out, and I'm always bubbling with new ideas, but the beginning has me whipped. I don't know what to do. Help?
     
  2. lallylello
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    lallylello Member

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    Don't start at the beginning if it's the beginning that's got you stumped.
    Is there any part of it that you can write? Write that. Then print it (or cut it out of your notebook) and stick it on the wall. Then write another bit - even if it's just a paragraph - cut it out - stick it on your wall. Keep going and you'll have a whole book before you know it. (And a very messy wall) Who says this has to be a linear process anyway?
    Not entirely my idea - see "How to write a Novel in a Year" for more inspiration.
    Hope this helps
    Lally:)
     
  3. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    That's how I write, well with the exception of printing and taping it all over my walls lol. I never, ever have started anything at the beginning, I always start with whatever key scene(s) that have popped into my head. The rest comes in time and often when I'm not trying to think about it. I'll be doing something mundane and BAM! Ideas are born.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I sometimes do the same thing. There's no reason you have to start at the beginning. I started my novel with what turned out to be chapter four, though I didn't know where it would fit as I was writing it. I wrote a few more scenes after that, and those helped clarify where the novel properly starts. Then I was ready to write the beginning.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely write another section if the beginning has you stumped. You'll probably find the solution by doing so - Ah! This is how I need to get here! But keep writing!
     
  6. Arron Albert
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    Arron Albert New Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks for the help! I guess I think too linearly, it'll be fun to mix it up a little.
     
  7. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    A technique I've been utilizing recently, when I come face to face with the blank page, is showing up prepared. I, by no means, believe in outlines, or anything of that nature, but I do believe in 'understood' concepts. For example, my father used to always say, "Take your arguement, and write it down. The first time your write it, it's going to be 10 sentences. The next time, 8, then 5, then 3, then 2, and then 1. When you've finally reached a point where you can simplify your idea to one sentence, you fully understand the concept driving it, and the idea itself."

    With that said, show up knowing what your story is about. When you know what your story is about, you've got your first sentence, you just never realized it.
    For example, I recently wrote a short story about my mother comitting suicide.. (stifle your condolances, she is very much so alive.) The story was about my mother, and what I experienced. The first sentence of the story is, "My mother knew how to leave an impression."

    There is the story, simplified into one sentence.

    Anyway, with that said, if you are finding yourself unable to go on, you may not completely understand your story, OR, you may have never given it a chance to come out on its own, by simply just writing. Sometimes your going to write, and delete, and re-write, and delete, before the idea strikes you, or the answer jumps out. I recently started a story, was way excited about it in the beginning, took a few days off and raged a couple Phish shows. When I came back, I had lost interest in the story, and everything I wrote felt boring, and mundane, as if my characters were just going through the motions, and had lost their spark. I just trudged on, with the idea that I was probably psyching myself out. When I showed it to a friend, he had no problem keeping interest.

    The emotional roller coaster is the journey a writer takes, that includes a beginning, middle, and end, along with periods of disinterest, confusion, anger, sadness, excitement, and doubt. If, at any point, you find yourself overwhelmed, breathe a little, and remind yourself you're human, and those feelings always pass.
     
  8. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Your father sounds like my old creative writing professor. He advocated that same idea. You should know your story and characters so well that you can tell it in a sentence. He also loved the Hemingway quote: "All you have to do is write one true sentence." And go from there.
     
  9. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    lol... Well, he's is not a writer or a professor, though the former would suit him perfectly. He is an attorney, and that is his creative process when he develops a point of view, to strengthen the stance he is defending. He never goes into a trial unless he fully understands the problem at hand. If he cannot simplify the problem, then he doesn't fully understand it, and needs to do more analyzing. This example, he always said, can be applied in all aspects of life. But, the Mund-o-nator (as I often call my Dad) is quite right, and the technique allows for better understanding of anything. In terms of idea, when you understand the concept, you understand the direction. You then have insight, as to when the plot is veering off the path, or staying on course. You will know when your characters are reacting realistically, or in a way you're forcing them to react. It all starts with the one sentence, and Hemingway was absolutely correct.
     
  10. kingzilla
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    kingzilla Senior Member

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    Writing block has rarely affected me, but when it has, usually I save the document and then just write. It might be stupid and completely out of the plot, but you can go back and edit it or delete it later. If you outline, you should know where you are going and if you write on the spot, you just write and let your writing carry you.
     
  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Writer's block varies from person to person, but the best approach I've tried is writing the parts that come easily first. Here's why: 1. when it comes easily, you are letting creativity do the work; 2. when you do it that way, you maintain your vision of the story without accidentilly forcing it somewhere else; 3. you maintain forward progress on your book; and 4. its a great way to figure out how the beginning might go, as it would happen that the most action will be a direct result of the action before it, so all you'd have to do is find a suitable dilemma to lead to the acion you wrote :)

    ooor... you could take the hard route and just try tirelssly with beginning after beginning until you have one that fits-- which you would most likely end up changing anyway.
     

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