1. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    How Do You Feel About Unused Ideas?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lewdog, Oct 30, 2013.

    I've come to the conclusion that I may just never be able to give the effort needed to turn some of my great plot ideas into the successful novels they could be. I'm going to attempt one of them during the NaNoWriMo, but that's just it, an attempt. To be honest I'd put my writing ability squarely in the corner of someone who can not write anything more than short stories. 2,000 to 1,500 words are about the maximum I can go and keep something coherent and wrapped tight. My question is, does anyone else get really attached to their ideas and feel badly when they can't create the novel out of them that should be? If so what have you done, or do you suggest doing in order to fix the problem? I don't have the money to pay a ghost writer right now, so that is out of the question. I only bring this up now, because I have shared several of my ideas with someone and they agree with me that many are very good and unique ideas.
     
  2. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    I do know the feeling you are going through. I also have a few great ideas, and one that I want to turn into a novel. Because of these ideas is why I joined up in here. Although I had some big issues when trying to write it all out. And now focus more on writing short stories. Each time gets me a little closer to that big hurdle of trying to figure out how to write a novel and make it all come together. Maybe all you need is time and more practice to get past that 2000 word mark. I recently just wrote one just over 7000 words, the longest yet. Almost near a novelette. So I say just keep plugging away at them. You could try writing up one of your ideas as several short stories, and try to find a way to tie them together, then just minimize some of the plots and put more emphasis on the main plot.
     
  3. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    I too feel unable to write anything longer. I'm not trying to write a novel, definitely not now or in a few years' time.

    But my ideas are just ideas, not necessarily novel ideas - I'm hoping to turn each of them into a story one day and it might be a short one, if I just think of a way to make it compact, pick the right moment or situation that will represent the whole thing. I know this is possible and I just need to work towards it. :)
     
  4. SarahD
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    SarahD Member

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    I think everyone can learn to write novels if they want to, it takes practice. I had to go through the same process as stormr and write short stories so I could learn to finish something I'd started and then build up to something bigger. Saying that though, there are some people who work well in the short story genre and if that's you, you should go for it!
     
  5. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    The two aren't that different. Looking back on the novel I finished, as well as the many I attempted, it really is like a collection of short stories. Most novels move in story arcs. Each chapter (or small group of chapters) is like an episode in an ongoing saga. If you can write a 5-10,000 word short story, you're probably equipped to write a novel. I'm not saying a novel can be picked apart and read as if it is a group of short stories, but I do believe the same mindset you use to write short stories can be translated to novels, with some slight tweaks.

    Also, I doubt your "problem" is going to go away when/if you start writing novels. I still have many cherished ideas sitting on the backburner, waiting to see the light of day. The trouble with novels is they take so darn long to write, you'll begin to feel like you're neglecting your other children. Some people can work on two or three projects at once. I envy them.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Not me personally. Short stories and long stories and novellettes and novelas and novels and giant door stoppers and trilogies and quadrilogies etc. all exist because the scaffolding originally chosen for a story determines it's probable length. I'm a planner. A pantser is going to come along and quote my post and call bullshit, but my answer is from the POV of a planner, not a pantser. So, no, it doesn't upset me. When I start writing something I have a very good idea what it's end size is likely to be.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    unfortunately, no matter how good and unique your ideas are, it will never make fiscal sense to hire a ghostwriter to develop and write the stories/novels for you, because not even the best editor in the world can guarantee that the work will ever be accepted by an agent/paying press, or ever come close to recouping the writer's fee from sales if it does, or if you self-publish...

    despite the fact that it's one of the services i offer clients, i won't take on a ghostwriting job unless the client accepts that fact and can afford to never see a cent of what it cost be generated from sales of the work... the reason being that the 'author' will still be an unknown 'first-timer' to agents and publishers, so will still have little to no chance of the work being sold... and even if it is, the odds against it making back any significant part of the thousands of dollars it will cost to have it ghostwritten are even greater...

    the only exceptions are people who are so famous their name alone will sell the story/book...

    and anyone who'll offer to write it for payment out of 'profits' won't be a professional, will obviously not know the chances of there being any are nil to none, and most likely couldn't even do a good enough job for it to be marketable at all...

    so, if you're not a household name, don't even consider hiring a ghostwriter...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  8. Wild Knight
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    Wild Knight Active Member

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    I get ultra depressed when I can't make an idea of mine come to fruition, and I try to "keep them alive" by updating them in any new journal that I purchase, so that I don't forget them. It was amazing what ideas that I had come up with and subsequently forgotten in the journals from 2011-12.
    With 2014 coming up... I can't wait to look back on the journals that I had written from just this year alone.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Like most writers, I have far more ideas than I have time to turn into finished stories. At some point you just have to be willing to let most of them go. How many sperm cells wind up becoming babies? One in billions. What happens to the rest? They didn't win the Life Lottery and they're forgotten, and that's what happens to all the ideas that don't get written.
     
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  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ten points to Gryffendor for awesome spermatozoa analogy. :D
     
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  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I set them aside, I never know how I'll use them or if I'll use them but I keep them. The idea I picked for nano has been stewing in my brain
    since 2004 - I attempted it as a screenplay in 2006, didn't like and have switched around the plot and ditched three of the characters - actually the
    only thing that is left is the main characters and the idea - lol.
    Sometimes if an idea doesn't seem enough to make a novel I jam two of my ideas together. I've done that for a few novels and it worked out quite nicely - one was developed into the main plot and a lesser idea, or less thought out idea, became the subplot.
     
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  12. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Actually... I'm a pantser and I agree with you. Usually when I sit down to write I have a goal of length, then I let the story flow from there. I always know what it's going to be before I start, even if I have no idea how I'm going to get it there. ;)
     
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  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Then maybe you're really a plantser. :p Best of both worlds. ;)
     
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  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    lol, maybe! :D
     
  15. ReaperKnight
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    ReaperKnight Member

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    I normally cast it down on a notes page and then, if there's some kind of writing event, I'll see which one I want to write about if I don't have an original idea. This also goes for other peoples ideas, but I normally use my ideas. x]
     
  16. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    I've got a page-to-view diary and every day I try to write down a new idea for a short story or otherwise. There's a few blank days. My aim was to write a short story every day. So far I've got one complete one and one not so complete one but keeping all the ideas together with a future goal of writing them all does seem to placate me that all those ideas are not disintegrating in an unused part of my brain.
     
  17. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I came to the conclusion that I'm a comic book and series fan at heart and always have been. Full blown novels are just not my area, I like to write in short bursts and keep it going with an overarching plot and maybe separate themes for each piece. I like to go bit by bit, it's easier for me. To each his own.

    Unused ideas may hurt at first but eventually you'll find a place in which they'll fit. Maybe swapping a character and/or setting here and there and you can still do it.
     
  18. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    I've never had this problem; the thing that made me wait almost eight months, doing nothing but theory crafting and preparing a world filled realistically, was grammar and not knowing how to write properly.
    I think if you really burn for something, no matter what it is, you should be able to make it out to be what you wanted it to. No matter your skills of writing or what it is that troubles you, I did and am doing.
     
  19. AJC
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    AJC Active Member

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    Lol! That's a great analogy. It's good to know that I'm not alone in this. I feel like I have several good ideas, but when I sit down to write, I can't actually turn any of them into a book. It's still good practice I reckon.
     
  20. Peter J Story
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    Peter J Story New Member

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    I used to run into that constantly. Like peachalulu, I would set them aside. This resulted in some nice short stories, and ultimately a lot of them morphed into larger concepts. One of the best pieces of advice on writing that I've found is, "Don't be so attached to your idea that you can't drop it." This makes for useful morphing when a story heads down a more natural path than you had envisioned, and it also gives you patience to set it aside and see what it might grow into at another place in your life.
     
  21. Orihalcon
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    Orihalcon Active Member

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    I just stow them away and return to them every once in a while and think about whether there is a story there. Most of my ideas sound great in my head but when I think about the story itself I realize that there isn't a story to tell and that what I'm really after is a certain emotion or thought that I want to deliver. So I work with that instead and see if I can come up with a better way to deliver these emotions and thoughts through a solid story. I think it's more fun and personal that way, but this works for me because this is how I work as a writer. I build my stories up from my own feelings: everything is a manifestation of my emotions and thoughts. See that? Emotions and thoughts are recurring themes, haha. Seriously though, if you're struggling terribly to tell a story, then it is probably not meant to be, and there is another story that works better for you. Keep trying new ideas until you mature as a writer and find the right story to tell.
     
  22. HarleyQ.
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    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

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    If I have an idea for a novel (I find writing short stories kind of hard, and have only written one) I 'start writing' it, and after around 10k I'll stop. If I want to improve upon it, I have to finish the current draft of my WIP, my WIP poems, and stop working on a different idea. Writing 10k is enough for the idea to be very alive in my memory, but be a small enough word count for me to feel fine deleting if necessary.
     
  23. conscribo
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    conscribo New Member

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    I have the opposite problem: I can't shut-up. (But nobody herein wants to listen to that!) So, all I can suggest is before NOVEL try 1) an explanation of one or more of your ideas; often in the act of writing, more ideas, more ways of telling your tale present themselves ---almost on top of themselves, and 2) a short story which can always be expanded. Take small bites.
    Ray Bradbury once said, "Write a short story a week. It's impossible to write 52 bad stories." Let us defer to his good judgment and start small.
     
  24. angeleaf
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    angeleaf New Member

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    I never get rid of anything. I suppose you could call me a 'Hoarder' but can't shake the feeling that I will eventually come back to the ones I don't finish.
    I have a problem, not so much in writing only 7-10k words, but more like 30-40k before I hit a brick wall and can't go any further. whether it's due to poor plot or character development, and just an overall lack of depth that causes me to flat-line, I'm not sure, but I share your frustrations definitely. There's nothing more infuriating than having to walk away from something that's unfinished.
     
  25. conscribo
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    conscribo New Member

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    I agree with angeleaf about being a 'hoarder.' I started a short story in 2000, then put it away (after 8 pgs) with a note to myself that said I knew where I wanted it to go, just not how to get it there. This year I went back and, whether it was the time that had elapsed or that it was gurgling beneath the surface---I had no difficulty completing it.
    What we want to say in our writing may not always be ready to emerge. Sometimes like a good stew, it has to simmer while we make more (or better) assumptions about what we have learned. By all means, throw nothing away. You just might be able to reorganize it or use in another context.
     

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