1. bobjob25
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    bobjob25 Member

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    Ideas NEEDED and wanted

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bobjob25, Apr 26, 2007.

    Hi,

    Here's my deal. I have the beginnings of a few novels but once I get blocked I tend to forget the others for a while and start another.

    What I do is write a few chapters and then when I hit a wall I leabe it untill I can get in the same mood to write that again. The problem is that while I get bored with one I start another. Then when I am finally in the mood for the first one I have 3 or 4 different projects in mind and I have a hard time focussing on just one. I love them all, so it is realy hard for me to focus on one to start paying attention to.

    For example... I have a pre/post-apocalyptic sci-fi story, then started a biographical/fiction piece, and then started another fiction piece but of a more realistic feeling than the sci-fi piece. At times I could pump out a chapter a day on some of them, but other days I will start with them and then all of my focus changed to another.

    I would especially like advice on how to focus on one piece of work. I would like to work on one at a time. But as my mindset changes I am likely to switch what genre I feel most assosicated to.

    This has been difficult for me, because I am at a point of time where everything I experience muses me in some way, and I don't want to lose that musing if I ignore one project and totally focus on another.

    Any advice?
     
  2. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've heard when one creates a synopsis, and perhaps outlines some of the scenes, you would like to create, the likelihood of successfully completing a novel are much better.

    When you hit a wall, don't just surrender your efforts. I believe creation is partly problem-solving. If something is supposed to happen in a novel, ask friends how they would feel if that situation happened and tailor responses to help you with your character -- of course, using something that would be a believable action for them.

    For your other ideas: why not just write them down to come back to them later? Or maybe even try to incorporate them into the story you're currently working on.

    http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/writersblock.html
    http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/synopsis.html
    http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/outlining.html
    http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/synopsis.html

    That website has more useful information, just click the white bar and look for something in the 'MAIN ARTICLE INDEX'.
     
  3. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Don't know if this will help, but -

    What I like to to do when coming back to a writing project is to re-introduce myself to it by going over what I've done so far, reading through and doing whatever minor corrections and revisions strike me. Then by the time I get to where I left off way back whenever, I'm pretty well primed and up-to-speed.

    If it's something I've done research for, I look over my notes & materials, too; and I also haul out any "talismans," like the Rice-A-Roni box for the story about the guy who killed his financial nemesis after eating the box of same that was the last food in the house, or the collection of thrift-store tartan scarves for the medieval Scots story.


    As for all the other ideas that come along while I'm working on something else, I either scribble some brief notes and chuck them into the "Someday" file, or I'm off after them like a puppy chasing a butterfly, putting me in the same mixedly metaphorical boat as yourself :)

    - Evelyn
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bobjob25,

    You're going to have to just sit down and actually finish a project. Novels take a long time to write from start to finish...most average from 6 to 18 months before they're ready to be submitted.

    Jot the ideas down--even outline the ideas of other projects that pop up as you're working so that they will not be lost.

    One thing to be concerned about is, that after hitting a glitch in the writing process, if novel bores you as you're working on it, and your interest wanders to other projects...would the same happen to an editor or agent as they read it...or even the average reader down the road?

    Also, determine why you're blocked. Have you planned out where the novel will start...where it will end...and the important points that will take the story from beginning to the end? Is there a block because you've written yourself into a corner and there is no way to properly go forward?

    Just another few ideas to add to the mix of what others have suggested.

    Good luck!

    Terry
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    writing professionally [to sell what you write] is WORK... if you only like the fun of coming up with ideas and starts and don't want to do the slogging work that must follow, in order to result in something marketable, then you may not have what it takes to be a writer... not a novelist, anyway...

    why don't you try a few short stories first, to see if you're capable of finishing anything?... you can use bits of those novel ideas for inspiration, if necessary... then, once you've determined that you can finish something, you'll be in better mental/emotional/writing shape to get to work on one of those novels...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  6. Kizmet
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    Kizmet New Member

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    If you have some sort of outline of your story, what happens to the characters as the plot develops, different scenes that take place, etc. then you can shift your writing from one part of the story to another. I think that most people write novels sequentially, but this is not the only way that it can be done. You can jump from place to place as different scenes may be more conducive to your present mood. However, as someone else said, sooner or later you just have to keep your butt in the chair and type the damn thing. Did someone mislead you into thinking it was an easy, fun process?
     
  7. bluejt2000
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    bluejt2000 Member

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    I agree with Kizmet and others who suggest some form of planning. There are many ways to plan a novel, but I create scene files for each scene in my novel. I can then reshufle them and reshape everything if necessary. It also makes it easier to add foreshadowing, tie sub plots in with the main plot, etc. I write most of the first draft sequentially but if a different scene suits my mood on a particular day then I'll write that one instead. This helps to prevent the writing quality from tailing off towards the end, just where the pace and excitement needs to build.

    I find planning an exciting stage of writing a novel as this is where the major ideas are developed. This leaves me free to concentrate on dialogue, description, etc., as I actually write.

    I also do most of my research as the need arises during the planning stage, but if I'm stuck for info for a scene it needn't stop me from working on a draft.

    If, after you've outlined a novel, using whatever method you choose, you're not suficiently motivated to write any part of it then it's probably just not interesting enough in the first place and you need to rework it so that it is.

    Finally, professional writers learn to discipline themselves, even if they tend towards laziness or fickleness. Even if you just want to be a serious amateur then you need to do the same (or perhaps choose some form of writing other than a novel, which requires lots of discipline).

    John
     
  8. Karpi
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    Karpi Member

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    well honestly this has happened to me only once.
    i spent most of the book digging a huge hole for the characters.
    then i came up against this wall. But it was long enough, so that's where i ended the book, and generally received positive comments for this, i tried to continue into a wequel where a resolution would happen, but reviewers could tell my heart wasnt in it
     
  9. Karpi
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    Karpi Member

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    as a technique i use, plan just a couple chapters in advance. It leaves room for redoing and deleting and your story hasnt taken a boring path either.
     
  10. SAGMUN
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    SAGMUN Member

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    Like you, I have many ideas. On the first book I'm writing I wrote the ending first.

    Now I have a challenge: What'll happen on the way to ending? What would happen if they did this or that.? Why did they do it? Face with all these questions, what would or someone else, you know, answers be?

    Characters have places to go. Questions to ask. Problems to solve. Decisions to make.

    I care about my characters and what will happen to them.They are as alive as you and me.
     
  11. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I agree with the above-- writing is WORK! It is fun sometimes, but there are long stretches of slogging through ideas that don't match, or trying to figure out what the heck it was you forgot to do. I personally write in Layers. The final Glamorous finish work starts as much as 9 months after first starting to write. Right now, I am working on a logical inconsistency which has been giving me grief for a full month. I have had to scrap about 35 pages. I see it as part of the Process. Sometimes you put in things and then find they don't fly. The best advise is to use a good outline.

    How to come up with ideas is a constant challenge. It is what makes a writer a writer. Writers spend the majority of time in their own heads creating the stories, and often, they end up scrapping a lot of what they find there, or using only small bits.

    What has helped me in the past is "scrap" book making. I just go through the internet, or magazines and bookmark or cut out any story, picture, or news item that helps me imagine my story.

    Finding ways to exercise your imagination is very pertinent to story writing. I actually think people who grew up without much influences (except "reality") are in some ways better off. Getting rid of some influences (like TV) and really looking at ways to exercise your brain are good ways to set the stage for original thinking and imagination.
     
  12. crashbang
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    crashbang Active Member

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    what i find is that getting immersed in the story really helps, and that expanding the story, thinking about what will happen and crafting the world in your head helps to avoid writers block. make maps, draw them (yeah you might be bad but the pictures may still help.) make character profiles for all your characters to expand the story further and give otherwise minor characters a bigger part in the shape of the story.
    this should keep you interested. also pondering on the story can help, filling in gaps where you would have little to do.

    hope it helps
     
  13. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    What I've always done when starting a long story is I start with a short story. I use the short story to get the most basic concepts and ideas in line and then from there I build an novel long outline.

    Once the outline is done I write very basic skeletal chapters with few details. It only contains dialogue quick descriptions of characters and actions. Once I have that done I go back and rewrite the whole thing adding more detail to it.

    I'll go through the process three times in the course of a story.
    Short--> Outline --> skeleton --> draft 1 --> Draft 2-->... --> Final

    I'm just an ameature but the system has worked for me in actually getting the project done. It takes a long time though so its probably not best for everyone. I jsut have an unimaginable amount of patience.
     
  14. elusive
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    elusive Member

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    This is a pretty strange idea, but it's one that's worked for me. I too had a problem with focusing. One of my english professor's suggestions was to carry a tape recorder around with me. Whenever I had an idea for any of the projects I'd start I would say them into the tape recorder instead of writing it down right away. Then gradually the stories would start to come alive in the tape recorder. After awhile I had enough ideas to actually work through the writers block and finish those stories. It was a good way for me to focus on all my moods at once.
     
  15. SAGMUN
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    SAGMUN Member

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    Here's another idea: Use 4x6 or 5x8 cards, one for each story. No more then 7 stories. These cards are your progress reports. Where you write each chapter completed.

    When you are bored or have a writer's block. Line them up. Without touching them, study them for a few minutes. The card you like the least turn face down. Repeat until you have one card left.

    This card has the novel your subsconcious has they decided that you and it can work on.

    As you complete a novel, add a new card. Works something like a living sourdough lump. Take out some dough. add some flour.
     

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