1. Jihn Xenil
    Offline

    Jihn Xenil New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    I have trouble as a new writer, can anyone help?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jihn Xenil, Feb 20, 2012.

    Hi, I'll start out by giving you a little bit of background about myself

    I'm 17 and have wrote for a little more than a year, and I'm self taught. I learned about writing by practicing, experimenting with different techniques, and pushing myself in different areas...

    Well, 3 areas I have trouble in are Word Count, and Plot Development, and Commitment / Rushing.

    I write only fanfiction on Fanfiction.net for right now to practice and because publishing is easy as a few clicks...


    Now then, to talk about my problems

    ~~~Plot Development~~~

    I like to talk in metaphor, so I'll explain my problem straight forward, then for a weird example, I'll explain using metaphor as well.

    Well, I can get a general idea for a book... I probably think of over 1,000 book ideas a day, but I can never write them because I get scared of "What if I don't know what to do with it and where to go with it?

    Ie: A story about a boy being kidnapped, then found and returned to his mother.

    Register to remove this ad


    But the plot, I lack, and it ends up affecting both my quality and word count.
    Ie: What happens to the little boy? Why is he so important? What do the criminals want? What else can happen to add more to the story (That's where I really lack)

    Metaphor style... Lets use toast as an example... The toast is your base (Or general idea of the story, IE: Example 1 above) But you have to put butter and jelly on the toast (Example 2)... My problem is that I can't seem to put enough butter or jelly so it ends up as a simple piece of toast...

    My current plot development technique is that I graph out what happens in every chapter before I start writing and set a word count goal for each of those chapters.
    ~~~Word Count~~~

    I'm a bit ignorant about Word Count, and sometimes I feel like I'm setting too high of a word count goal for a story, yet other times I feel like I'm setting too low of a word count goal.

    For instance, a story about kidnapping (If I write one), I'll expect myself to come up with 40,000 words at least.

    I have one story right now that's about a family of 6 teens, well, one of them has been screwing up a lot lately and is causing his 2 Brothers and 3 girls to hate him, + one of them being the girl of his dreams and one day, she says to his face that she wishes he was dead. So he jumps off a bridge but survives and faces a journey ahead of him. One year later, he returns and the girl is engaged to his brother and the girl who wanted his brother is all alone, so they come together thinking of ways to break them apart. Well, The bridge jumper and the engaged girl of his dreamed end up kidnapped hostages by thugs desperate for money, and they start drowning the bridge jumper as a torture technique to get him to speak up. He passes out from the lack of oxygen and wakes up in a hospital 2 days later after the girl of his dream saved him and carried him across the Great Basin Desert to get back home in California. When he wakes up, he has some disabilities, like memory loss and eye sight trouble. His brother realizes he's trying to take his fiance away from him and attacks the bridge jumper, putting him in another much smaller coma but the dreams of his coma restore his memory, he finds that the engaged girl has a scar going down her side from where the captors tried to kill her, so he goes into a rage and despite his disabilities, he hunts the captors down. When he comes back, he finds that his brother is on the edge of being killed for his attack and so The bridge jumper rescues the attacker brother and helps him restore his place in the family... Once all is said and down, Bridge Jumper gets the girl of his dream and Attacker Brother gets the girl who had always loved him.

    So what do you think of this plot? From looking at this plot, I (Honestly) see a 100,000 word plot... But with my skill in word count... it'll be a 60,000 word plot because of my poor plot developement for the butter of this piece of bread.. (See above under "Plot Development") 100,000 words in the plot's potentional, but 70,000 or less in my potential... but, like I said, I might be setting an over goal with 100,000 words, maybe 50,000 - 70,000 words IS a potential length for this story? What do you guys think?

    My words per chapter is kind of low in my opinion, I average 2,300 - 2,800 words per chapter.... Is this low? Is this a pretty solid setting? What's your guys suggested Words per chapter goal...?

    I've seen someone do 2,000 words per chapter, 20 chapter story with 40,000 words and it was the best story on the planet from its reviews, yet I've seen another person do the same exact general idea with (I can't rem the average words per chapter) 18 chapters and 100,000 words, it was highly received as well but not as much as the first one... (What I mean is, both received just about the same score, but more people read the first one)


    ~~~ Commitment / Rushing ~~~

    I have a problem staying focused on one story, generally, with any story, I get to about chapter 3-5 on any story and suddenly, my flames starting to die for it... I mean, when I first started writing it, I thought it was the best story ever and yet I still do, I read it once a week, yet I just can't find the influence to keep writing it despite knowing what I want to do with it...

    Also, chapter rushing... This might also be a problem with my word count, but I'm a fast paced / impatient person sometimes, so I end up getting slightly less detailed and move faster on my stories a lot. I have a way I'm fixing this though, I'm starting to write only 300 - 500 words a day each morning until the chapter is complete so that I can post it.

    so questions I need answered...

    * How do I work on Plot Development?
    * Am I setting my word count goals to high?
    * How many words should my new story be?
    * What should I aim for as an average words per chapter count?
    * How can I stay committed?
    * How can I slow myself down?

    THANK YOU!
  2. UberNoodle
    Offline

    UberNoodle New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi! I'm no expert and in many ways we're in the same boat, but I perhaps I can help. Consider that a plot is quite the mechanical beast. It is merely the steps along the way which lead from beginning to end. The story is the journey itself in regards to the characters. It's organic, meaty and often quite sticky. It's all the things which a plot cannot have. If you send a bolt of lightning through your characters and bring them to life, and then grant them a past, present and desired future, the seeds of the story are sown.

    The plot is WHAT happens, not WHY it happens, and it misses out all the wonderful story telling in between. Analyse some stories you like. You'll often find the plots to be quite simple. It's the characters which may be complex and intricate. That's what the majority of words in a story are about. The revelation of the various plot points may only comprise a single line each. And don't sweat about word counts either. If you try to pad your story for the sake of length, then the story will suffer. Try to note down all the things which happen to you, or which you think about, or which occur to you in a single day. You could write pages upon pages based on that alone. As long as it serves the story, and not your page count, it will be great!

    Finally, don't rush. You're only 17 years old! I'm not trying to be condescending here. I'm simply pointing out that time is a grand vista waiting before you. There's no rush, and as you enrich your life with experience, so too can you enrich your writing with gravitas and reality. Let the seeds of your stories germinate and grow at their own rate. Some trees are thousands of years old. So, in the meantime, write other things. Not everything you write has to be part of your Magnum Opus, so even if they never really amount to anything, the skill and experience you gain will certainly show.

    One day, something will click, and you'll write a scene, and then some more, and then a chain of them, which you'll scrap in favour of another. Then you'll change the characters, and the setting, and a lot of other things. Suddenly you remember a page you wrote years ago which fits into the puzzle. You drag it out, rework it. It occurs to you that you're writing something with purpose, and one day, you sit back and behold a novel, or it may just be a short story, or a haiku. It's not your Magnum Opus, but truly, you have to be dead before anyone can judge what that might be. Needless to say, what you created is meaningful to you and more so than any day in front of television. So good luck. Don't quit!
  3. Rumwriter
    Offline

    Rumwriter Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    10
    The first advice I will give you is that you should say "have written" instead of "have wrote".

    Don't think about word count at all. War and Peace is a huge novel. The Old Man and the Sea is a tiny novella. If word count was important for whether or not a story could be successful, then word counts would have been standardized a long time ago. Just do what your story needs.

    Don't use metaphors about toast with butter and jelly in your writing.

    Critically analyze what makes a story interesting, and see if you've put those elements in your story. Does your story have a conflict from page one? Why not? Does it need one? How does revealing certain plot points at certain times help create suspense? Really sit down and think about these things, don't just try to google the answer, because you probably won't find a good one.

    Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.
  4. Rapscallion
    Offline

    Rapscallion Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    South Africa
    Well put, UberNoodle. I'll second that advice and take some of it for myself too, and I'm 44.
    Notwithstanding that there are no two writers exactly alike.
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,395
    Likes Received:
    910
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    sounds to me like you need to do more reading than writing at this stage, in order to absorb what good fiction looks/reads/feels like and how novels are structured...

    the first thing a would-be writer needs to be is a good and constant reader of all kinds of good writing, but especially of the kind s/he wants to do...
  6. GeorgiaB
    Offline

    GeorgiaB Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think focusing on word count and chapters is truly limiting what you can accomplish. Not that I speak from a huge wealth of experience, as I am only moving towards the end of my very first rough draft (which will be 100,000+ words, many of which need to be cut). My novel has no chapters yet, just asterisks every now and then. I figure it's all about the revision to come later. My big goal is to simply get it down on paper so I have something to revise. Allow yourself to write poorly, just keep moving forward. No one has to see it but you. I've found that if I get stuck, I have to force myself to push through it, and often that means a sudden plot change or change in a character that truly complicates everything. But I've been letting it happen. I have honestly felt that this part of the storytelling is most exciting, like the book is telling itself. On the other hand, I know it is causing a lot of inconsistencies I will have to fix later, and it is straying from my original outline. Still, I think I have the energy to keep at it far past the first draft, and my main theme and general conflict have not changed, so that has helped. My main character has remained pretty consistent, as well. I wonder if you get bored because you are too rigid in your approach?

    What is obvious on this board is that every writer finds his or her own way through this process. There's no right or wrong way, but this is what has worked for me thus far. :)

    By the way, that is one complex plot. Maybe that in itself is overwhelming -- I would think, "I have to get from HERE to THERE?"

    Good luck!

    Georgia
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40,153
    Likes Received:
    1,497
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    First off, you can't expect people to address a wide variety of writing issues in a single thread. You should pick a single problem to address in a bit more depth.

    I will address one of them right off. No one can tell you whether your plot summary represents a good or a bad plot. There is no such thing. Every story depends on how the idea is executed, not any inherent beauty or power of the story idea. Write it, and develop it, even if it consists of, "Jeremy wen't from his house to the streetside mailbox to check the mail and send something."
  8. 1000screams
    Offline

    1000screams New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Undisclosed, USA
    You're probably better off aiming for short fiction at this point. You can still write down story ideas for longer pieces, but work on crafting a story in less than 5000 words. It has to have a beginning, middle, and end just like a longer work, and it can be more manageable of a story to deal with when learning how to edit. I was a teenager once...over a decade ago...and I was frustrated that I couldn't just sit down and write a novel length work. It took me ten years of writing both fiction and non fiction to finally get one novel written. Not publishing it at the moment, but it's done. And I've moved on to a new one, one that I think can be much better.

    You have to develop these skills that you are expressing concern about. Google is your friend. There is more than enough information on the internet to get you started in the right path. Check out this page Advanced Fiction Writing I really like this guys page, I subscribe to his ezine, he's got good ideas and methods.

    Anything worth doing takes a lot of practice to do. The only way to gauge where you are is to throw a sample, a short 500-1000 word story on the boards and see where people think you could use some work. Then it's just a matter of rewriting the same piece, over and over again, until it's satisfactory. You already know the areas you need work, so look them up on google and read about how other people overcome these issues. We've all had these issues, I still have the "rushing" issue. We edit our issues out after we write a first draft, that's just how it goes.
  9. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel doctor-cum-writer Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,095
    Likes Received:
    1,455
    Location:
    IoW
    Personally, I only commit to ideas I am passionate about. I can think of hundreds of plots, but I am not passionate about them, and that's why I won't bother developing them into stand-alone stories (although they can always come in handy when I need to add to a plot I am writing).
    I believe in this identifying which stories are important to me. What is it that I want to say next. So in that sense, the plots come easy to me, but writing them into saleable books is so much more work. You you need to stick with your idea properly, don't write unless your writing is meaningful (my opinion).

    As far as word counts are concerned, they are hard to guess, so if you are aiming for a book, you are aiming for 80 000 - 120 000 words. You don't really need to worry about this though.

    Other than that, your questions will take a long time to get answered, and you are the only person who can answer them.
  10. joanna
    Offline

    joanna Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Boston
    I remember being seventeen. My writing wasn't organized or focused. I just wrote short pieces whenever inspiration hit me. I'd get ideas for novels, but I'd be bored with them in a week or even later the same day.

    When the right story idea came to me years later, I knew and I stuck with it and finished. Maybe it'll happen that way for you. I think it's a good idea to do a lot of reading and write short stories for practice.

    Do not worry about word count. Don't even think about it. Honestly, quality has little to do with quantity. Don't focus on trying to write lots of words. Focus on writing some words that mean something.
  11. Line
    Offline

    Line New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    First off, you should get yourself a notebook. Whenever you have an idea write it down. Could be scenery, dialogue, plots or whatever. Don't ever think that your idea is weird or strange. If you can fit it into the reality of your story readers will accept it. Don't get scared. Just write :)

    What I do is I think. Sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks. I might come up with something rough that I don't really know how to use. But as I think and daydream, I shape it into what finally ends up on the paper. Don't think you need to have everything ready at once :) Sometimes ideas gets better as you think them over.

    To not loose motivation, have you thought about writing out of order? Could it be that if you get stuck at chapter 3, you still have a wonderful idea about chapter 5? Think about it. I would die if I had to write in order, so almost all my stories are written out of order and then put together in the end.
    Listen to music that might inspire you. Look up photos that might inspire you.

    And yes, don't think about word count. I never do anyway :p
  12. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    6,948
    Likes Received:
    2,615
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    This is good advice. I sometimes do this as well. When I drafted my novel, I started with chapter four, because I had some great ideas and material for those scenes. The act of writing chapter four gave me the inspiration, as well as the requisite knowledge of my characters, to write the first three chapters and then carry on.

    Don't get hung up on your first scene if it turns out that you're not really interested in it. Write the material you are interested in. You might find, when you're done, that you didn't need that first scene anyway.

    And I echo what others have said: don't worry about word count. Just write your story as well as you can. Don't try to pad it out with irrelevant material just to achieve some arbitrary target word count. On the other hand, don't leave your story too bareboned and sketchy. Remember that you're writing a story, not an outline, so make sure your scenes are fully realized and not just Cliffs Notes versions of what you really want to write.

    And, as everyone always says, READ. Read good fiction. See how the good writers do it. There are plenty of them.
  13. spelsh
    Offline

    spelsh New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree with some of the comments above and would strongly recommend that you read, read, and read some more. It'll help you get an idea of what makes stories interesting and ultimately, enjoyable. Think about the stories and genres that you are drawn to and think about why you find them interesting and entertaining. I'm no pro by any means and I totally relate to your worries but whatever comes of my own writing I know the best advice I have been given is to keep reading. Then after a while go back to some of your stories that you struggle with now and I bet you'll have new ideas to help build on them. Good luck!
  14. Earlychop
    Offline

    Earlychop New Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    The Garden of England
    LOL wow. No chapters and 100k thats going to be so much fun... \:)
  15. GeorgiaB
    Offline

    GeorgiaB Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    Earlychop -- I'm in denial. :)

    Actually, I'm not sure it is going to be so hard. It seems already divided into about ten or so big scenes.... I could easily make a quick outline off the top of my head for what I've already written. Strangely, it seems very accessible at 90,000 words thus far -- is that weird? It's very clear in my mind. Who knows -- this is my first time writing a novel and maybe I'll be pulling my hair out soon.

    But this isn't my thread, is it? Woops.

    :) Georgia
  16. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,395
    Likes Received:
    910
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    how can it have no chapter breaks?... are there no major divisions at all?... is it just a continuous series of verrrry long scenes with only line breaks [do you even have those?] and no places for the reader to 'rest'?
  17. GeorgiaB
    Offline

    GeorgiaB Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's divided in scenes by astericks at this point, many breaks in scenes. I'm the only reader right now. :)
Similar Threads: trouble writer
Forum Title Date
General Writing I'm having a bit of trouble defining the genre/age group of my story... Jul 21, 2014
General Writing Always have trouble starting Dec 3, 2013
General Writing Troubles ending a scene. Oct 9, 2013
General Writing Fantasy world troubles Sep 15, 2013
General Writing Title trouble Sep 3, 2013

Share This Page