1. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    How Often do You Finish What You Start?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by That Secret Ninja, Aug 26, 2010.

    How often do you guys and gals, actually finish whatever you start to write?

    For me, it's mostly fifty/fifty.

    I start a good number of stories, but half the time I abandon my work and write something else. And by abandon, I mean, I put aside in hopes of finishing later, either because the inspiration runs out. Or I feel like I am incapable of finishing it at the time, hoping that I can tackle the story when I become a better writer.

    So how about you?
     
  2. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Till now, I finish every story I have started, even though I haven't written a great number of stories. I do sometimes feel the story is turning out to be crap, but I still finish it hoping and promising to myself that I'll get to it someday and make it better. But finish I always. Then again I have written only short stories so far... a novel I think will be a totally different ball game.
     
  3. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I've recently finished a 90-page screenplay and also finished countless short stories.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually finish whatever it is I am writing. Sometimes, however, there are stories for which I have no ending in mind, and so I end up abandoning them.
     
  5. Cecil
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    Cecil Member

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    I have a near 100% completion rate for short stories, and so far a 0% completion rate for novels, but I've only really attempted two, and I'm working on one of them right now.
     
  6. Elvis
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    Elvis Member

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    Rarely.

    I'm getting better, but still not great. I find that I get really amped up with a great idea and a great start on my days off, but then I let it sit unattended during the work week, and then when I try to resume on my next days off, I've either run out of insipiration or I've forgotten where I was going with it.
     
  7. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    When I was younger, I rarely finished anything. Then at 26 I finished a novel that sat on a shelf because I did not think it was marketable. (I just pulled it out and am thinking about seeing if I can make it marketable--at least I need to get it on the computer; I finished 13 years ago and was still using a typewriter.) Then I wrote very little for a few years. In my mid-thirties I started writing again on a semi-regular basis. In the last two years, I have managed to finish everything I started and in the last year have been pretty good about writing daily, if only a few pages. I was a little late in getting the discipline--but better late than never.
     
  8. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Never. Everything can be a bit better. Always.

    I dislike the concept of finishing what I started. It's giving up on the possibility of making it better.
     
  9. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    But if you are going to publish it, at some point one has to say, 'it's finished.'
     
  10. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Pretty much always. I have one novel I've abandoned, though I might send out query packages on it once I've sold other novels and can start querying proposals instead of finished novels.

    Otherwise, I always finish. I can't sell something that isn't done, not at this stage in my career (and really, I'll have to finish everything once it has sold anyway, so why not get in the habit?).
    Also, if I didn't finish things, how would I practice endings? :)
     
  11. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    I can settle with publishing a version but that doesn't mean I'll stop considering it unfinished or trying to polish it further.
     
  12. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Yes, there is always the possibility of other great ideas striking for a particular story, but unless you actually implement those ideas in the story, you'll never know if it's working or not. So, I finish a story with whatever idea I have at the time and if better ideas strike later, I can always use it and rewrite the story. In fact, completing a story gives me a better understanding of the chars and hence, more often than not, I get better ideas to improve the story.

    And also as a writing discipline, it's very important for a writer to be able to complete a story, even as he leaves open the option to improve it further.
     
  13. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Well, fortunately I don't have to live off creative writing and what I write professionally has a version number attached that I can increase indefinitely. :)
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am about 5,000 words off completing my first novel for the fourth and final time lol it is done now. Just requires spit and polish editing, the synopsis changing and query letter tweaking then I can start sending it off.

    My second one is 2/3s way through its first draft.

    Only thing I don't do is completely edit short stories may go back to them once my 3rd book is done. I have one short story I haven't finished yet but its deadline is 30th September it may not get done as we are moving house.
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If by "finish", you mean write the story to the completion of the plot, then I finish most of what I start. I've written a few stories that were useful in developing characters I may want to use later on, but weren't really serious attempts to complete a novel. And I've yet to get anything puiblished (had a couple of nibbles, though).
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have a roughly 5:1 ratio of beginnings to endings. I finish one story for every five I start. And when I say "finish", I mean I get it to the point where I'm willing to show it to other people.
     
  17. Diablo Robotico
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    Diablo Robotico Member

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    It depends on the size of the project. I've completed short stories and poems, but I have yet to complete anything the length of a novel. I really want to, because I have enough ideas, but I think I begin doubting my skills after a few pages, or get distracted by another idea. I hope I can somehow focus and finish some eventually, because I really like the concepts I have. I just need to pick one and stick with it.

    There are some short stories that I haven't finished, but only because they were assignments in a fiction class I took. Some of the writing exercises didn't need to be done, and I didn't care enough about them to continue.
     
  18. stubeard
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    stubeard Active Member

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    I just made the mistake of reading the beginnings of something that started as a short story a while ago. I am currently 13,000 words into another novel that I really want to write, although I'm fighting through a section that's getting tough to write.

    The trouble is I really liked this short story - or more specifically, the characters I created - and now I want to go back to writing it instead of concentrating on the project I'm 13,000 words into. Why did I have to look at it???
     
  19. litchickuk
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    litchickuk Member

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    Not as much as I should. But sometimes Im only writing a scene or a starting point or an outline, so thats easily finished. Ive yet to complete a novel, though I have started a couple. Short stories either all fall out onto the page or end up as WIP's. Finishing something is not always the best course of action - sometimes you need to piece something together slowly and somethings may never be finished!
     
  20. Wicked
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    Wicked Member

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    Unfortunately, I have started a LOT of stories/projects, but I have never finished even a single one. I don't know if I ever will. I have tried different approaches to storywriting, nothing works to keep me from grinding to a halt after I lose further interest.
     
  21. Canmohr
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    Canmohr New Member

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    Till now i've written alot off short stories,alot unfinished.
    but i'm recently started with a great concept which will take me through a whole serie.
     
  22. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    How Often do You Finish What You Start?

    Well, if we're talking about pizza and beer, I'm a definite one-hundred percent finisher! :D

    Now if we're talking about writing, I'm not quite near that. Out of two attempts at NaNoWriMo, I did complete one and stalled on the other. The one I completed, however, stalled between cleaning obvious errors up and the first major rewrite.

    I do better with short stories and flash fiction. Though, I find myself coming up with a lot of ideas that I pursue briefly. Those snippets are tucked away in a folder on the computer, because they may come in handy sometime in the future.
     
  23. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Almost never. When I do, I dub it as a low-quality work (which it usually is) and either try to redo it (and not finishing that), or scrap it. I don't really care though, because my unfinished works still teach me a lot about my writing and how I can improve it. This is probably 'cause I don't write many short-stories that can be easily finished... meh. Maybe I should try those sometime. That's how Orson Scott Card got started. But I digress.
     
  24. Manofkent
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    Manofkent Member

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    I have completed writing many stories.
    I have fully edited none of them.
     
  25. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    I find a lot of the stuff that I did before 2009 was rubbish so I abandoned quite a bit of work.

    After 2009 I've finished a few short stories, I haven't quite finished my novel and I'm just about to finish a series of scripts that I have been working.

    2008/2009 were the years that I decided I wanted to take my writing seriously and not write a load of rubbish all the time. So I learned a lot and it's helped me write better.
     

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