1. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    I am being tortured by my book

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by drifter265, Mar 8, 2015.

    I don't even know what to call it anymore. People ask me what I'm writing about when I tell them I'm writing a book and I say something like, "Well, it's about some characters, things happen to them, well it's about a jewel, but wait, it's supposed to be really deep and moving and all the characters have backstories and it's interesting and exciting, well, yeah, and there's like all these other things." But I don't have any real story.

    I would really like to compare it to something like Mad Men - the tv show - where it's not really about anything but ideas and feelings and emotions and a certain day but there's definitely no mystery to it or drive or plot like Breaking Bad or Lost. It's just about their lives and their lives and what they have to go through and they're exciting and different. It's a book/story that I'd like to read and it's the only idea I've ever had and it's been two-and-a-half years of this.

    I've had many first drafts and my latest one, that I've been writing for the last month, reached 52,000 words before I got to the "ugh, what is this book about?" part and stopped and now that's where I'm at. I would say, however, that this draft is the closest I've got, compared to my many other first drafts, to reaching what I want my story to actually be.

    I know who the main characters are, I know their personalities like the back of my hand and I know what their backstories are supposed to be prior before the story actually begins but after I begin with a premise I just don't know how to keep going, like I keep doubting myself or something.

    I've thought about whether this story is going to be character-driven or plot-driven or mainstream or literary and I've tried plot-driven and mainstream in the last draft and I don't think it's what I want. I was voiding in my latest draft any internal thoughts the characters could have because I was afraid of any narrative that I could have otherwise just shown like how we watch TV shows or movies there is no narrative, it's just all visual, that's what I wanted the book to be, but now I'm thinking that may be wrong; I didn't want to give away any of the character's backstories early on that would explain their actions that I was planning on using as a plot point later on in the series because I wanted it to be like watching a TV show and didn't want to do any info dumps that you wouldn't see on a TV show. It was mostly all just action and dialogue to write the story and then the rare "she was nervous" narrative.

    I know the situations I want my characters to get into and what will create conflict and, hopefully, emotion. I want it to be like a series on a TV show and that the characters get into these situations and they'll be different each book (each season) and after each episode (part) and for it to be serialized and that the characters change over time and it's not just some static crappy show like the west wing or NCIS or House or some crap but a good show that knows where it's going and what it wants to do. I have created enough of a mythology for my story that I feel I could keep it going and keep everything connected over the entire series (like Breaking Bad) while also breaking each part of the mythology into seasons (books) while also having the series grounded with the main characters.

    What I found early on in writing the first of my first drafts is that the characters need to survive. The characters mostly are going to go all over the place as they discover each other, getting into situations, and discovering more about the mythology, and that really there is no "place" they can come to at the end of the day to survive. That this is actually a real problem because in my setting and premise all the characters are really at the low-end of society and that this will be difficult for them. Kind of like how on The Walking Dead, all the characters need a new society in each season to survive in. I was so fed up with what situations and backstories and emotions I want my characters to have that by the time I started a first draft, this thought didn't even come to, and now I think it should be the basis of plot for each book because of how important it is.

    It's a fantasy/adventure and it's not plot-driven but very character-motivated. I just want it to be about their daily lives and this adventure they go on over, I think, 5-6 different full-length books. I want it to explore their motivations and their pasts and their goals and have them end up somewhere in an existential state-of-mind where they realize what all the point of what they did was and if it was worth it, because at any point in the story they could say to themselves, "Screw this, I'm just going to go home," but they don't because they're so damaged and flawed and lonely and starved for something emotionally.

    This is the book that I want to read. I read a quote that I think we all know and it goes something like, "If there's a book you want to read, but can't find it, then you must write it." Everyone on here or somewhere else is always talking about how they're writing a book but that they keep getting more ideas in their head and that they can't stick to one or about how they want to write many more books and not just one and that they want them all to be great. I'm not like that. I have one idea. And I want it to be perfect. But only if I could get it on paper.

    Do I need to get high or something? Relax my mind? How do I just write this story that I know I can that I feel no one else but me can do? I feel it could change the world. I feel it would change my world knowing it was out there. I want it to be great like I know it will be but I just don't know how to start and keep going with it. I need a motivator, someone to tell me I can do it, someone to tell me that I have what it takes, that yes if this is the story that you want to read but that you're not going to find it anywhere, that I then must write it. How do I find that confidence. How do I just tell myself to shut up and write the damn book already? And not care about how much narrative there is or dialogue or action or if my structure is off or if I'm revealing too much information about a character or scene or that if my writing sucks and that I don't have what it takes because I wasn't a writing prodigy at 13 or didn't take a creative writing class in college or have a degree in it or not have any other prior writing experiences except a score of first drafts on the same damn idea and essays from school? Just please, someone, tell me something. Tell me you feel my pain and that this is torturous.
     
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  2. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    We all feel like this sometimes. We often chase our tails trying everything that we can to catch it. I've been doing it for the last few weeks as I got through a slow patch of my book. Now I'm past it and I am flying through it.
    How long have you been writing for? What process do you use for getting into a writing session? Maybe you plan too much... or not enough. We can't tell you what to do or how to do it. We can only give you our experience and you can only try them and see if they work for you too.

    In regards to your final paragraph. Don't write for other people. Write for you. It takes the pressure off your work to be great, especially in the early stages.
     
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  3. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    I just reread this thing. Was I drunk? Do I not edit? Proofread? Nope. But now I'm drunk. Hating life. Woohoo!
     
  4. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know you don't want a "plot drive" novel, but you still need a general time line and structure, even if it is a journey from town X to City A with stops in between. Once that is firmly established in your mind you will be able to pick points along the journey (real or metaphorical) where certain characters converge and experience whatever lessons or revelations you intend. It's like a complicated dance. The dancers can extemporise and interpret all they want, but there first must be a basic rhythm and pattern upon which they can build.
     
  5. Dab
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    Dab New Member

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    Its like its just TOO BIG, isn't it. I know exactly how that is. And its all so clear and perfect in your mind, but when it comes to writing it, and then re reading it, its different, and much less satisfying. I think this is because we use different mental processes when we think/daydream in images than when we are writing and thinking in words. I believe this is common and something everyone writing a long piece deals with. Part of the problem might be using film, movies tv, as templates. Next time you're watching a programme, watch what the actors are doing, pause the film and then have a go at writing what you've just seen as if it were story. Its good practice at descriptive writing and illustrates how different writing and film is. Also, maybe you just need a break for a bit. If you're not enjoying it (mostly) and its driving you to drink take a couple of weeks off. I'm not an advocate for writing x number of words a day no matter what. I'd rather take the dog for a walk than write 1000 words of garbage (And believe me I write more that). Cheers, Dab.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Don't forget what many TV series try to do. They try to keep going as long as they can without getting cancelled. So they string storylines along until the producers of the show finally say 'cut.' And how many of those kinds of shows end in a satisfactory manner? So many ...Lost, Battlestar Galactica, etc etc, ended up with loyal fans who felt utterly betrayed by the easy-peasy stock ending that the writers came up with, seemingly at the last minute. That's because the makers of the show didn't seem to really know where the story was headed in the first place. They just came up with a nifty idea and went with it.

    Writers of books, however, control the entire process.

    It sounds to me as if you've already got a lot written. Is that so? Okay, maybe it's time to take a wee break. Stop writing on it for a while, maybe for a couple of months, then go back and read what you've written and see what you've actually 'got.' Some aspect of your story may strike you then, as something that can be worked towards a conclusion.

    Or ...if you have discriminating friends whose opinion you trust, see if you can get a couple of them to read what you've got thus far and give you feedback. Not on nitpicky stuff like sentence structure, etc ...but on where they think your story might be going. On the characters they like or don't like AND WHY.

    Sometimes other people's opinion can give you a flash of insight. After all, without anybody else's input all you've got is what is in your own head at the moment. Your own head seems confused, so maybe a second opinion might be called for. This doesn't mean you need to take anybody else's opinion on board and write the story they want to read, but their opinion might spark a connection that you can use.

    Even if the conclusion you're writing towards is that there IS no conclusion (to the meaning of life, etc) and no answers to the Big Questions, that's a workable conclusion anyway. At some point, your characters will arrive at this point, won't they? And while that's not Life's Mystery Solved, it is a conclusion to your story. Maybe they come full circle in some way, and end up starting down the same pathway again, having taken every turn they could think of to move on instead? Or all end up in the same place, whatever paths they've chosen to take as individuals?

    I don't think too many of us (with the possible exception of those who have a firm belief in religion) have any real clue as to the Mystery Of Life. So our writing will reflect that dilemma in some way. Thinking you can't finish your story until you have All The Answers ...I think that's a recipe for a long and very frustrating existence as a writer! Write about not knowing the answers. That will resonate with a lot of people.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
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  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    We writers are a group of perfectionist's. I believe the style you're referring to is called slice of life. If the slice of your characters lives are that interesting. Then by all means right about them . I think the concept you're having problems with is one of style . While slice of life may not be the most common for what you're doing shouldn't be a reason not to do it. We are not limited by the styles that are most common . Though if you don't have an overarching point or theme i do ask how would you intend for it to end ? Usually slice of life is pretty open-ended how are you intend to have the final moment ?
     
  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I find it interesting you keep referencing TV shows, not other books. Keep drafting. You'll find your story eventually.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @Selbbin. If you did not start out with an idea of something you wanted to say with this story, one (or more) of your characters will eventually give it to you.
     
  10. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    Just want to point out that every TV series starts of with a general idea. Then a pilot is written. Then its made and someone buys it. And then half a season is written. And then the rest of the season. Point being, these endeavors werent built all at once but incrementally. Write your first book and then worry about a series.

    As to your problem, you seem to be missing the theme. Review some of your favorite fiction and identify the theme(s). Chances are your theme is some amalgamation of these and you didnt realize it. And given where you are at, it might behoove you to explicitly think in these terms for a bit.

    FYI for Mad Men - Stereotypical, misogynistic 1950s white male is an ad exec at the dawn of the 1960s and struggles to change with the times.
     
  11. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're trying to write like a TV series, maybe you need to write a series of short stories...not necessarily related directly, but that what happens in the first does carry over and affect the character(s) in the second.

    Writing third person dramatic (where the reader doesn't get inner thoughts of characters, only what can be observed by someone watching) can be very difficult, especially when trying to get readers to connect with the characters, and especially when there's a host of characters.

    I think it might help if, at the end of the series there ends up being a crisis or conflict, possibly one growing in the background over the course of the stories, that is eventually confronted and resolved.

    Think about TV shows like Babylon 5 or Stargate SG1. They had episodes, but there were overall story arcs that were addressed and each episode both developed the characters and the world (universe) but also moved forward with the growing crisis. Babylon 5: The coming of the Shadows and the resulting war. Stargate SG1, the threat of the Goa'uld and when the battle finally comes to Earth.

    Just a few thoughts. Good luck moving forward.
     
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  12. Urban Profanity
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    Urban Profanity Member

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    Your process is similar to mine. I'd say think of all of this characterisation and self doubt and experimentation is the process through which you need to work to find the story that you're obviously meant to tell. Keep working at it, it's in there somewhere!
     
  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Each episode of a TV series is rarely written by the same person/ team.
     
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  14. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    (I know this isn't funny but, excuse me I only read the title.) These are struggles only the best of Horror writers endure. Bad joke :twisted:
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
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  15. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I read your post the first thing that sticked out was the number of TV shows you mantion, and your idea that somehow a book (a series of books) could mimic, narratively, a long-running TV series. To add to what @jannert already said about that: you may be in a creative hiatus because you lack books you want to mimic :)

    You noticed yourself how internal monologues, backstories, "telling" in TV shows work so differently than in a writen piece, and how it's "all visual" - that's because it's a very different medium. This might sound obvious, but almost every medium of human expression can be narrative (it's one of the defining traits of human beings, that need to make up stories all the time and everywhere) - it is the qualities of a particular medium that are in question here. You take TV shows, but you can also take video games, ballet choreographies or impressionist piano etudes - they can all "tell" stories - but you want to write a book, right? So, while you can still look up to your favorite TV shows for inspiration, even plot ideas, even some structural solution, ultimatively you will still need to look into your chosen medoum and find solutions there.

    An idea: while we all love those 26-episodes*6-seasons series, I always found the experience of watching mini-series (8-10 episodes*1-2 seasons) to be the closest TV experience to reading a novel. Not only are such series almost always writen by the same group of people (and thus the authorial intent is pretty obvious), but it also comes down to 7-8hours of screen-time, which is, more or less, the same time you need for 300-400 pages of leasure reading. Not to mention that quality of some recent mini-series is uncomparable to contemporary series-series. (And yeah, it's also a fairly non-American format that has been historically avoided in the States for purely commercial reasons :p Again, you are writing a book, and nothing of that is really you concern)
     
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  16. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hate them!

    They always seem to get so bloated and desperate to make it to the next series that they throw in rubbish story-lines. And quality control on the dialogue and acting starts to falter. And then you have the Christmas special episode. And then two of the main characters get married. Cliché, cliché.
     
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  17. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Or in the case of Supernatural they die... Continuously... Or thrown into Purgatory...

    ETA: I always loved the episodes when they were case to case. Not when they brought in all the Angels and Leviathans... It kind of went off the rails for a while but it's going back to the old...
     
  18. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    Thanks everyone. I'm usually by myself and don't talk to anyone and so this is like therapy. I'm just with my ideas all the time and never really know if there's help out there and so every problem just feels like a brick wall I have to bust through instead of just jumping over.

    I definitely want the story to be like a TV show where there is an overarching plot throughout the series but with episodes and seasons with different things happening in each one and lessons to be learned. How I'm going to translate that into a book I don't know.

    When I say that I want it to be a series, I mean that I want the stakes to keep getting higher the more books there are, and that they're not staying static at the beginning and ending of each book but changing; "they" being the characters. So if book one starts at level 0 intensity, then I want the book to end at an intensity 2, and then book two I want it to start at an intensity of 2 and then move to an intensity of 4 and then keep going like that all the way to 10 or something. The plot ideas I'll be coming up with for each book will be about confronting that new intensity and it won't just be the same idea in a different form like I felt Dexter or Chuck was but something like Breaking Bad where things just progressively more difficult and the characters have to keep changing their way of thinking or fail and give up on what they're doing and what they want.

    The hard thing, I guess, then, is finding out what the motivations of the characters are going to be and why they're on this long journey when, at any point, they could just leave and give up; so it has to be something that they feel strongly about and are connected to and are affected by so much that they stick through it. And I feel that the characters are so different from each other (because it's an ensemble of main characters) that I feel when any of them are going to be in a room together, or are just talking to each other in a scene, that conflict can be created pretty easily.

    Anyway, I guess the story is about this rat-pack that, in book one, discover a new idea for a business, that no one else is doing, and come together with all their backstories and personalities and create a team and then have their first antagonist and everything that could be wrong with what they're doing and threat, and then they survive that and realize that what they're doing could work. Then, in book two, it's about getting more of what they're selling, or collecting, and trying to get more it and keeping it from other people that also want it. Then once they've settled that, in book three, it's about selling it and finding a market and the complications to society with what they're selling to them and how it affects the world and there's moral dilemmas and questions they ask themselves if this is what they really want to be doing. Then book four is about competition and what would happen if the competitors didn't want them there anymore, or were better, and tried to take them out. And book five, I haven't really got there yet or thought about it, would be about finding success and then going back in time about how what it is they're selling even got there in the first place and then they kind of unravel and realize they don't want to be doing this anymore and give up their business but then have to pay the consequences by the police/society/city/whatever because if they ever would want to come back there would have to be consequences. This outline can work for a lot of things I guess but I feel mine is pretty unique.

    Something new that I've been thinking of since yesterday is the idea that the beginning of, say, book two is the same as the ending of book one, so if I want to know where I'm going in a story, I just have to look at where I want them to be and not worry so much about the means but more about the end and that if I do that - starting from the end and reverse engineering the story backwards to the beginning - the story should write itself. Then I would write from the beginning even though I started from the end and people would think I'm some sort of genius or something even though it's a pretty easy plotting structure; the only thing that I actually would have to do is just start it, which I'm going to do now as soon as I finish this.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm just going to keep posting here my ideas until I start writing again and getting in the flow. It sucks that that 52,000 draft I took a month on has to be scrapped but it was necessary to realize I have a lot more plotting I have to do.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  19. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Dont necessarily scrap it all keep it on file some of your ideas might still have some life
     
  20. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    You know what I just realized about plotting a book? You know how there's a climax in every book/story/show? Well, usually that involves the protagonist and the antagonist, right? So, all you'd have to do is just figure out the motivations of both of them, how they're going to clash at that end, and then write from the beginning on how they're going to get to that point and voila!
     
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  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Figuring out motivations IS the key, really. Not just 'oh it would be neat if that guy did this,' but figure out why and you're on your way to creating a great story. What made him the way he is now? Who are the people in his life? What are the factors that move him forward. Backward? What does he want from his life? Does he even know?

    You are in total control here. Maybe that's scary, but it's also fun. And powerful. If there is something in your own life, or something in the lives of others that you would like to see corrected, now is your chance to explore it and correct it, via fiction.

    I would worry A LOT LESS about how many 'books' you're going to end up with, etc. If you want to get published, your first 'book' has to be a stand-alone story in most cases. So concentrate on making one complete story. If this story leads to another using the same characters, that's grand. But the story will find its own level. What you need to do is just write it.

    There is nothing wrong with starting in the middle, though. Start with a scene or two that you've envisioned and get them written. It doesn't matter if it's not the start of the book. After you get a couple of strongly-imagined scenes written, you will think of more and get them written as well. Sooner or later, they will start to hook together.

    This is why it's important not to edit each one to within an inch of its life until your whole story is done. You might well decide to eliminate some of the scenes altogether, and it's easier to dump scenes you haven't polished.

    Examine conflict to help work out motivations. By conflict, I don't mean physical combat. I mean two (or more) people who clash in some way. What makes this clashing more difficult to deal with? Well, first of all, conflicts are harder to deal with if they involve people who are close. Either best friends, or family. Or somebody the main character loves. Threat of loss is also a huge obstacle for characters. What do your characters most fear losing? All of these things can be brought into play in fiction.

    You have the whole palette of life under your fingers as you type. Don't be afraid to take yourself into difficult places, and avoid taking the easy route out. Really dig in and examine what you're creating. The greatest thing about writing is you surprise yourself. All the time. Things occur to you that you hadn't thought of before. Connections happen.

    Above all, have fun. And good luck!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  22. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    Writing as in writing a novel? This is my first one and I've been doing it for 2.5 years. However, in school I was told I was a pretty good writer. It's really just this idea I've had from watching Tv shows, movies, and reading books, that made me want to start writing and it was this idea that made me want to learn how to write and it wasn't because I defined myself as a writer or wanted to be a writer that made me want to write this; if all I ever do is write this one book, I'll be happy and won't ever want to write another book or series again. It's just this idea I have that I feel I have to write because it's a book I want to read and it's why it has to be perfect and it's probably why it's taking so long because there's so much to learn about writing a good story because I wasn't professionally trained or have a mentor or anything.

    My writing process, I guess, is just to use whatever free time I have available and plot and work out scenes and figuring out the character's motivations. It's a lot of things that I think about, like why things are in the story, and I never feel there's enough time in the day to get it all down on my computer. It really frustrates me actually.

    I don't write for other people but I am writing for myself and while I think a lot of "other people" would have accepted my book and ideas a long time ago, it wouldn't be what I had envisioned and so it wouldn't be good enough. It has to be good for me because it has to be the story that I wanted to read.

    I kind of had this idea today actually, about a plot that my characters are going towards, because there actually is one. It's why I reference different and later books in the series even though I'm still struggling with the first and the setup of the story because in each book there is a climax and change of events in the story. So each story (book) definitely has a plot "drive" to it it's just figuring out the motivations and the stuff that happens in between between all of these characters that I want to happen that puts roadblocks in my figuring things out of the story. So if there's four parts to any story: initiation, complication, climax, and resolution, it's just the climax that I have to figure out I feel and really I've only just started thinking about this because before I've been so worried about the characters and their backstories and how the mechanics of this fantasy story and weird things that happen get rationalized. It's all so much that I don't know which to start with but I guess a plot would be good.

    I'm definitely enjoying it, just not seeing any reward for my work after two years except a little more understanding of it and all I need to do, is frustrating. When I wrote the 52,000 word draft which I ended a week ago, and that took a month, I thought for so sure that I knew where I was going but then I realized I didn't and that I needed to do a lot more plotting because of the later books that I wanted the first book to fit and lead up to nicely. That's where I'm at now.

    I think this can be answered with my conclusion that I do have a plot I'm building towards but that because right now it's only an idea and a feeling in my head - and some vague ideas about the character's motivations and the events that happen - that writing it down and coming up with a concrete reason for the feeling will always feel inferior and so I don't think anything will feel good enough; the book/story is such a close thing to my heart that nothing but perfect will work.

    I don't think in my OP that I was clear enough about my story (obviously I wasn't) and I can see where you came up with the term "slice of life" for my novel but the truth is there is a climax and point and ambiguous ending that I want to get to. I guess I have the story figured out and could start writing it but, if the novel I'm writing is truly as great as I feel it is, could it really just be that easy and all I'm lacking is the confidence to write it?

    I think because I watch TV shows and movies more than I do books and get caught up more in the suspense of movies than I do books but I definitely want to write my story as a book but how I envision it in my head is like a TV show and so I think that's why?

    I think this is a pretty good explanation of what I'm trying to say. The one concrete thing that has always been static in all my drafts of my story are the characters and their personalities and the events they get into and what they learn and have to overcome, but how to connect all the characters and coming up with the events that ignite all those emotions, and making it connect and work and make sense all together, is just what is frustrating. I guess the theme could just be existentialism in the face of a world that thinks the world does have a purpose when there isn't. All my characters have goals, big vague goals, and then they don't get there, or they do, and they realize that it's pointless and that this "can't be all there is" and that then they have to deal with that and the story goes on. A happy ending - like marriage or robbing the casino they wanted? What about after that? They're just going to get a divorce or spend all their money or go to jail. Life doesn't happily. Life is meaningless. Their story doesn't end because they got married or had a kid or got the job they wanted. It's just another tragedy and that "happy ending" is just a temporary feeling of happiness before it all goes downhill again and that's the feeling I want to explore; characters going after something and realizing that even after they get it, it's not really what they wanted; what they wanted was a purpose and meaning.

    I have a general idea, I just don't want to say it on here for the sake of privacy. Ah, whatever. These characters find something and it sometimes has magical properties and these characters try to use it to make their lives better and they discover that that life doesn't exist for them and that there's these other people that want to get in their way and make a conflict. The theme, I guess, could be about existentialism but that one still has to do something with their lives even in the face of discovering that life is meaningless and that what do you then? I don't want to not think about the book as a series because I'm writing it for me and even if no one else publishes it, at least I'll have the story to read and enjoy by myself.

    Not all quotes are being quoted, and answered to, but that's just because I feel they're already being answered or because I'd only say thank you, and thanks everyone for your advice and help!

    I understand what you're saying, like reading more books and finding examples of more that I can look up to instead of a TV show so that I can have something more related to my medium that I can refer to and give an example of to people to show what I'm going towards, but I think something more simply that can be explained for all this is just the standard plot structure for all stories: which is exposition, initiation, rising action, climax, and resolution. Also, books can be written in so many different ways and in so many styles and voices that I'm not worried mine won't be good enough because I don't have another book to look up to or copy. I think I refer shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad because I want to copy that tension and I haven't really found any like those in books recently that I can copy or refer to here that I can remember and so that's why I mention more TV shows instead of books, because I want to copy that dramatic buildup, tension, and climax, and premises.

    I'm definitely not throwing it out. I have definitely, however, thrown out the drafts and ideas I've had a year ago because I don't find them relevant anymore and they're disgusting to look at and there were too many.

    Thanks! I think if I know where I'm going in the story, it will be a lot more easy to write. And you're right, I do need to figure out the motivations of the characters and that it's the key. It's figuring out the motivations and the reasons for it and the backstories for all of them that is difficult and seeming like a mountain I can't climb over. I think what I'm going to do now is just figure out the climaxes for the main characters and how they get there and then go back to the beginning and then fill in the middle. I'm lost on how to do that, and it's just some feelings in my head, but I'll come back here after I'm done and hopefully I'll have something.
     
  23. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Best way for me to reply. My work(which from a technical side is still crap) just had its first Beta Reader return feedback. They said "They loved it and it made them cry." I haven written the core concept out(30k) and have gotten a review like that. I still doubt myself. Personally I would be worried if you didn't have some self doubt.
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, don't be afraid to start with motivation and work towards an ending. Take a basic character, start with a few 'givens' such as location, etc, and then play the 'what if' game with this character for a while. You'll get into the swing of it.

    Your character is a 25 year-old male, lives in Los Angeles in 1992. Okay, now what? Well, what if he's from a large family, say 4 brothers and three sisters? What if one of the brothers is his twin? What if that twin has been in a serious accident and has lost his sight? What if the accident was caused by the carelessness of one of the other brothers, or the sister? Would there be forgiveness, or resentment, or anger or hatred of this careless person within the family? Oh, wait, what if the accident wasn't an accident at all, and was a deliberate attack. Why was this attack made? Jealousy? Jealousy of what? Okay, what if this jealous attacker has been arrested and is on trial? Or ...what if this attacker has gone unnoticed and unpunished, because the victim didn't see him commit the crime? What if the main character suspects this has happened, but doesn't have proof? How does the main character feel about his family? His twin? The family member (or members) who attacked his twin. And what roles do the parents play in all this....

    You see what I mean? Given what I've just developed above, you could get the story to go in all sorts of different directions. Of course as you take these decisions, certain avenues close down, and the story becomes more and more focused. This is another way to plot a story.

    Starting with an ending and working backward is also a way to work, but for me it seems more static, more like a puzzle or straightjacket. You have the frame, now you just fit the pieces together. You engineer the characters so they fit the plot you've conceived.

    However, the other method lets you explore character and take the story wherever the character seems to go. It's initially more daunting, I suppose, because you won't know the ending when you start. But lots of writers work like this, and I think the journey the writer takes while writing it can be incredibly worthwhile. Full of surprises and the potential for huge insight into 'life.'
     
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  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why are you obsessed with twins? Do you have any idea what's it like to be a twin?! -_-
     
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