1. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    How Frustrating!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alex_Hartman, Aug 20, 2008.

    I'm sure a ton of you get the I'll-die-if-I-can't-write-something-NOW! feeling. I get it too. And most of the time we can satisfy that feeling by writing. I don't have anything to write.

    I write to tell stories and I don't have a story to tell. This is annoying because it was my ultimate plan to write a lot this summer before I have to go back to school (and actually have to sleep at night). But all summer I've been searching for something to write. Something exciting.

    What I have been doing is writing little scenes. Most of them are in between 300 and 2,000 words, not very long. Originally, they were going to be the beginning to some story that hopefully after writing some of, I could come up with a plot and keep going (and actually, they didn't have to be the beginning, they could have fit in other places in a story).

    After looking at some of them, I realized that most of them were exactly the same. The issue was somewhat the same and the characters were the same (for some reason they are the same three main characters in every single piece I write).

    I've noticed that a lot of people on here write fantasy or sci-fi. I'm a realistic fiction person. Maybe my imagination just sucks. And it's hard finding something realistic that isn't the same story as any other.

    Does anyone else feel like this?
     
  2. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Every story that can possibly be told, has been told.

    It's just all in how you tell it.

    Just something to think about.
     
  3. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Yeah Alex, I've been there ... we all have. I think the fact that you are putting so much oressure on yourself to write is creating a mental roadblock. Relax.... yeah, I'll probably get ripped apart by the professional writers for this, but the fact is if you write for the joy of writing, stop forcing it and just let it happen.
     
  4. stoned4assassin20
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    stoned4assassin20 Member

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    Everyone has a story to write. You say you're a realistic fiction writer, so derive your stories from what's real. You can write fiction that heavily draws from your own experiences. In my opinion, that's the best kind of writing. Readers will be immersed in what's real, and if you write something that is your story, it will be much more enjoyable for you. Everything can be interesting, and everything can be creative-- even the most everyday things. Creative writing isn't fabricating an entirely new reality, it's taking what already exists (maybe something that's been done a thousand times), and rendering it in a way that makes it seem new.
    In the end, you don't need to look far for something "exciting." What you're looking for might already be there. Think about your life, think about your conflicts, think about what drives you, and think about the things that you see. It's a strange world, and in the end nothing is stranger than reality itself.
    Don't try to "force" the idea. That doesn't mean don't write-- write every day-- just don't try to force that idea to the surface. If it's there, it will come. Try to be aware of the world around you; observe the subtleties of your daily life. Know what you write, write what you know. That especially applies to "realistic fiction" writers such as you and myself.
    Some days, all I do is write about the frustration of not knowing what to write and the affliction of needing to write in general. Writing can be frustrating and cruel.
    I'm actually in the same boat as you. I just try to write what I know and what I care about. If what you write about is extracted from your life, it will be reflected in your writing.
     
  5. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I'm the same way. My plan was to write and hopefully finish my novel by the end of the summer, but the plot fell apart and I just couldn't get the motivation to write because I was "trying to hard".
     
  6. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    It's definitely not the genre: you can put as many vampires and space ships in the piece as you want, but if the emotions can't apply to this world then I doubt it would necessarily be more interesting.

    I might suggest, to shake things up...
    - Raise the stakes. Pressure the characters until they betray hidden traits or take a course of action you didn't think you could make them do.
    - Subtract one of your three main characters (especially consider your favorite for the chopping block,) just to see how the dynamic changes.
    - Examine the flip side of something in your story. Like if it's a story about someone plotting revenge, try writing about somebody learning to forgive. If the scene is about a couple getting together, write another scene about their breakup. If the biggest concern is about the future, let it inspire you to write about someone researching the skeletons in their family closet.

    On the other hand, maybe it's simply the story you need to be telling / theme your psyche needs to explore, at the moment.
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    You say you want to write something exciting and original. Maybe that itself is limiting you too much. You're placing your expectations too high.

    Since you're having trouble just coming up with an idea, any idea, and getting started, maybe just try writing "boring" stuff first. Nothing monumental. Kid gets up and goes to school. What happens at the bus stop? On the bus? At school? At lunch? What about his homework or afterschool activities? His interactions with teachers, other students, etc.? Sounds really boring, but there are all sorts of mundane (realistic) story ideas there. Just pick something and start writing. And don't worry that it's probably already been done by somebody because chances are, it has. Again, you limit yourself too much. If you tell yourself you HAVE to write something exciting and original, then you'll probably not get anywhere.

    Then, once you get into the habit of writing lots of mundane, "boring" stuff, maybe more creative ideas will come to you. You have to take small steps, not a giant leap.
     
  8. CobaltLion
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    CobaltLion Member

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    I know that feeling completely. I'm having the same problem myself right now. The worst part is that I get stuck on the stupidest things! (I haven't written in a week because I can't decide on a title for a chapter I'm starting.)

    It's an irritating feeling because, like others said it's tough to "force" yourself, but at the same time you don't want to let your ideas sit and rot, and then lose the drive to write something. There's a thin line between forced writing and working to cultivate an idea.

    Advice from a hypocrite: Take your time, and write down whatever comes to you, even if it means just throwing unrelated ideas onto paper. Sometimes that's enough to get you going.
     
  9. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    When I force myself to write, the results are typically disasterous. But when I write when I get a "writing urge" the results are generally quiet good. The way I look at it, I'd rather take longer to write a GOOD novel that write a bad one in a month or two.
     
  10. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Plenty of good suggestions above. I'll add one which I've found helpful when things are going bad, as they sometimes do. For once, instead of writing everyday, take a week out of your life and write absolutely nothing. Nothing. Read as much as you can, but let not a pen hit paper or finger keyboard. It's a bit like keeping a greyhound back during training so it'll have a better incentive to chase the 'hare'. Sometimes, results can be achieved by giving your mind time to digest and filter ideas and themes. Resting the process of expression (writing) and giving the subconscious the chance to kick in can go a long way to producing the required effect.
     
  11. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I don't know what to tell you, Alex. I usually have the opposite problem. Too many stories to tell and not enough time to write them all.
     
  12. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I was pretty surprised to see myself unwilling to try this. This is something where I might say, "Are you freaking out of your mind?!" I tried imagining it. Maybe I should try it. =D

    And you guys have a lot of good ideas, I'll try them.

    Thanks =D
     
  13. Angel OD
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    Angel OD New Member

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    I have that sometimes, I usually take a break from writing and come back to my story like a day later and see if I kan think of something to write
     
  14. AmberDextrose
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    AmberDextrose Member

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    When I last felt in this situation myself what I did was buy a whole load of books on writing. You don't have to buy - you can borrow from the library if funds are tight.

    I just felt like I was writing without knowing about the Art of writing, and by that I simply mean that if you were going to paint a picture or build a house or fix an engine, you wouldn't tackle it (certainly not with great success) unless you knew what you were doing.

    I get the idea that a lot of 'writers' don't want to do this. They have various excuses from "I don't want to take away the mystery", "It would rape my muse", "I haven't got time" to "Those books are a waste of money". The good ones are not. Basically it boils down to a fear of smashing the dream by having it pointed out that you don't actually know it all already.

    Few of us would think we could make a good film just by having watched some good movies: you'd get nowhere without knowing something about the art of film making. And yet many writers think it's enough just to Read Good Books. It aint. You need to read bad ones too, but you actually need to know enough of the art to pinpoint what makes it good or bad.

    When it comes to writing, a lot of people think it's enough as well to just "write and it will all come together". Maybe once upon a time those kind of writers would be published, but it's a harsh world now and publication is what most of us crave.

    I find if I hit a block in writing it's because I have a hole in my knowledge about my character(s). So I take the time to write a chunk of back story about the character.

    If I'm not in the mood to create it's usually because I'm stuck in Left-brained thinking (logical), so this is a good time for plotting and creating timelines.

    A lot of writers hate plotting for the same reason they presumably hate text books on writing: it takes them out of that delicious state of head fug that Creating brings on. But without a tight plot, your writing is uncontrolled and random. Plotting allows you to exploit your own story to the max.

    I wish I could say that I'm lecturing on like this because I'm a seasoned and published author. Sadly not. But I do believe in doing the job well and I'll not stop until I'm finished!
     
  15. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    Now here's someone with motivation! I wish I could be that determined...I'm still working on that part =D
     
  16. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I'm also a realistic fiction person, I can't stand sci-fic or fantasy. And yes, sometimes it's hard to find something to write. So many realistic fiction books that are written are similar to others or the same.

    This is how I do it, I think about something fun that happened recently that doesn't happen very often (rare). And I write the story down (in third person). Then I add twists and "play" around with different things I can do with the story. From there- I get creative and start writing more and more.

    And no- it's not the same thing as writing a diary/journal.

    What I write doesn't have to become a book or something, it's just plain fun. On second thought, it could become a short story or something. It doesn't work the same way for everyone. But this is how I started writing and its worked.

    You have a story inside of you. Everyone does! You just have to find it :).
     
  17. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I was actually thinking about that. My friend had a birthday party last year and we were outside close to midnight. When most of them started freaking out because they saw the same car pass the house a million times, I thought it would be fun to write that, but make it actually something we should have been worried about. =D
     
  18. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    not all sci-fi has to be written in totally unrealistic ways. Yes, I'm writing a sci fi piece but with most of the main events being historical retelling of the vents leading up to the fall of the Weimar Republic in Germany and th rise of the Nazi's.



     
  19. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    If I were to write sci-fi or even fantasy, it just wouldn't be an all out sci-fi or fantasy, there would only be a little bit. And I think that would be cool.
     
  20. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    I know how you feel. I feel this way quite often, when I'm just itching to write something, but don't know what. Or, even worse, I have what feels like 20 different ideas, and I'm not sure what to work on first. It's really frustrating and I can completely relate.
     
  21. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I almost feel like I have 20 different ideas. But they aren't complete plots or even complete ideas. They're scenes, sometimes. And I can't put any of them together. Or they might be parts of characters, which I sort of have a hard time with. I need to play around with characters and personalities more.
     
  22. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I feel like that sometimes too. I have a bunch of scenes that are "just scenes" and don't know where to go from there. But lately, I've been typing those "random" scenes on the computer. When I need some "filler" pages in the main stories I'm writing, I grab a few random scenes and see which one fits in the best. And from there, momentum starts up again and I'll know what to write next.
    My recommendation is to take one of those ideas and start writing. Normally, as I write, personalities will just come (what I don't mean by that is don't brainstorm on what personalities you want your charactars to have ahead of time. Brainstorming is very helpful, but if you don't get anywhere by brainstorming- don't feel discouraged. Just start writing and see what happens.)
    Also, be consistant on what personalities you want your characters to have. After writing a bit, you'll get the feel of how you "get" things.
     
  23. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    I have a drop-dead laziness syndrome ><

    I can have a story all cropped up in my head but can't just sit down and type, i'm a couch potato haha
     
  24. AnonymousWriter
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    AnonymousWriter Contributing Member

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    Type it on the couch then...:p
     
  25. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I've also been doing that with my random scenes. I had them all on my desk top so I could look back at them, but the entire screen was filled with them! There's about eight of them, but half of them are all of the same.

    I should look back at them, see how many of them could possibly fit in a story together, and try to figure out the rest.

    Actually, when I was first writing these little random scenes, I was trying to find a beginning to a story that I had (and still have, it won't go away!) But none of them really worked and some looked like they would fit better at the end of a story rather than the beginning.
     

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