1. 0---TY---0
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    0---TY---0 Member

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    I'm hitting a massive rut... and I haven't even begun!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by 0---TY---0, Jul 15, 2010.

    So basically I am indeed in a rut, and my book hasn't even kicked off.

    I have the perfect plot in mind, and I'm absolutely in love with it and I overall know where I want to go with the book.

    So that is good right?

    Well I sit down with a blank piece of lined paper in front of me and a pen, thinking to myself: "Okay, so I'm going to write!"

    Well the issue comes when I begin to do so and the words don't seem to... well flow! Every word is like a struggle to get out and then I have to look forward to another with the next word I have to come up with.

    I don't understand what it is, but it seems I am stuck on the runway with this and I just can't seem to take off.

    I don't know if this is writers block or what, but it is really quite frustrating.

    I'll appreciate any help that I can get!
     
  2. King Hawk
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    King Hawk Member

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    One thing you might want to try is to flesh out your outline more. The more detail you have in the outline, the easier it is to convert it to novel form.

    At least, I hope that that is true, since I'm currently working on my outline. :)
     
  3. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Hi.

    I think with some people writing has to be spontaneous. Sitting down pen poised to write is perhaps putting pressure on yourself. For me the trick is to relax and start to daydream, I suprised myself the other day that I was able to scribble frantically on the bus. I just had an surge of creativity. Why not try it, a bus ride or sitting in a cafe where you can also analyse people for characters etc. Allow yourself to day dream instead of demanding to yourself that you MUST start it NOW.

    If you take a note pad everywhere with you things probably will come to you in a flash and then you will have the notes to sit down with and work with instead of starting with nothing but a blank piece of paper and an idea. An opening line or a scene may crop up in your imagination a LONG time before you knuckle down to the practical written work so jotting down images that come to you will help.

    Of course definately keep your main idea in your head but relax and go with the flow of images surrounding it.
    xx
     
  4. maureencooke
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    maureencooke New Member

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    I have a different suggestion than King Hawk.
    What I do when I hit that type of wall you're describing is I write before my internal censor kicks in.
    For me - and it may not be the same for you - it's not so much 'writer's block' as it is 'editor's interference,' if that makes sense.
    What I do - and again this may not work for you - is I start writing early in the morning (the trick, I think, is to write when you feel the strongest emotionally, when you have that 'I can do it' mentality. For me, it's morning.) And I just write without stopping.
    I work directly on the computer, but it's the same thing. Just write. Write without thinking to get over the hump.
    Hope this helps. If not...
    :) Every writer's different.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As maureencooke said, every writer's different. Here's a suggestion or two:

    If you really have the plot figured out, who says you have to start at the beginning? If writing your beginning is blocking you, try writing a scene that takes place half way through the book. You can always do earlier scenes later on. And the scene you work on that's half way through? You might not even keep it in, once you have enough on paper to see your story whole. So don't feel like you have to start with page one. Feel free to plunge in anywhere.

    The novelist Joyce Cary used to work by writing his big important scenes first, then filling in the blanks afterwards. That's what worked for him; maybe something similar will work for you.

    I also heard of a writer who couldn't seem to get started, so he just started writing his story in the style of one of those old Dick and Jane readers. Remember those? "See Spot run. Run, Spot! Run!" That kind of thing. Of course, it was silly, but it got him going, and gave him something to revise.

    What I have often done myself is write some scenes involving my main characters that I know are NOT going to be in the final story. These are just "test scenes" that I use to get to know my characters and their world better, and to help establish a tone for the story - to establish a style. Doing this always breaks me out of my blocks.

    So try anything. Try drawing your story in comic-strip form, if that gets you going. Try writing it in French, if you know French. Try dictating it into a tape recorder.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Recent experience: several news stories over the course of a short time, including the yapping of the twits on the 24 hour cable news stations, got me into a really down mood, and I started envisioning life if/when everything collapses. As a way of working myself out of it, I started toying around with a novel with a post-apocalyptic flavor. Then I half-seriously wrote part of an opening chapter. By then my mood had lifted, and I promptly forgot about it.

    A few months ago, I bought a new computer and transferred all my writing directories over from the old one. That got me curious as to just what kind of junk I had lying around my hard drive, and my subsequent search turned up my half chapter. I read it and thought, "Hey, this isn't bad!" and I decided to devote some time to the project. I spun out a couple more chapters, just kind of a stream-of-conciousness thing, and then I suddenly hit a wall.

    I made several false starts, and didn't like any of them. So, I pulled back and decided to write a complete outline (I usually only do bare-bones outlines), and that's what I'm doing now, and my head has really started to clear. I have some really good ideas.

    YMMV.
     
  7. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    You cannot force yourself to write, because whatever comes out will invariably end up in the trash. It can be frustrating having it in your head and then have it refuse to come out, but it happens, and so you have to walk away from it, and not think about it.

    I have often found that the best ideas arrive when my mind is on something else (although your book is always there in the back of the head), and when it does, you'll find yourself running to the computer to get it down immediately.
     
  8. 0---TY---0
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    0---TY---0 Member

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    Wow thanks everyone!

    Some of these, well most actually, are really good ideas that I'm going to try out and see if they work.

    King Hawk, the problem with your theory is, I don't really have an outline, I probably should get something of one down to see how that might affect where I'm going with this.

    Victorian girl, I agree with you somewhat, although there have been times when I have been able to force myself to write, although it isn't as natural as it should be. I guess it's just very frustrating kinda waiting around to write, because the key is to not think about it, but when I'm so eager about the plotline I am always going to think about it.

    minstrel, you are very correct about not starting at the beginning, but considering I don't have an outline, I hit a problem. I will actually get on the outline so I can indeed follow your advice because it seemed pretty logical, I always hate writing the beginning of books because they are boring as possible, for me at least. As for your other theories, I'll work on that, thanks!

    maureencooke, hm, interesting theory. I'll try that.

    EdFromNY, you know, that actually sounds a lot like myself. I probably do have many plots floating around the confines of my personal space that I did a little bit of writing on, but nothing major. I'm sure years from now I will look back at them and bolt out a few paragraphs, or chapters even, on that plot.

    BlueWolf, as I said above, that is so frustrating, when I want to write but I can't when I force myself. Because as I said before, the key to it is not thinking about writing so that it will come to me, however I find myself constantly thinking about it!

    Thanks all for your help, I'll try to clear my mind, maybe I'll take up some sort of meditation or something so that I can get my mind off of the book so I can start writing the darn thing.

    Boy that's confusing...

    Anyhow! Thanks a bunch!
     
  9. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    Try writing a day to day scene for the MC. You won't include it in the actual story but it'll help get the feel of what their environment is like, and begin to flesh out the character's personality, dialogue, etc. You might include other characters from the story. You might want to go further and write a day-in-the-life of scene for one of the other chars. Maybe write out scenes that are key in the development of the character, but won't actually belong in the story. This will help you get in the mindset of your characters, set the mood of the book, and get the words flowing. I actually find these can be quite fun to write. I have back story written for a handful of characters, and several key scenes for my MC. None of which are actually used in the final product. The trick though, is to write it LIKE the book, showing not telling. Don't just say "He grew up in. . ." but actually write it out as if it were to be a book itself.

    If you're having the "editor interference" problem, which I think we all do at some point--at some point we can become self conscious of our writing and have a hard time remembering the draft IS flawed, but no one is going to see it. So, occasionally I find if that darn editor won't hush and it's keeping me from writing, I turn on the tv or music and then write. The background noise makes it nearly impossible to edit as I go.

    Just don't turn on your favorite show (infomercials work great for this) or a song you HAVE to sing along with ;)

    Best luck,

    //R
     
  10. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Sometimes the writing just goes slowly. There are people who write quickly, and people who don't; you may simply be in the latter category. The thing is to keep writing, keep plugging at it, until the work gets finished.

    I've had bad days and good days. I've finished long short stories in a few frantic hours, and written 65,000 words of a novel very slowly over a whole summer. But if you are producing, even slowly, you may not really be "blocked."

    Besides, if you are new to writing stories or books (whatever you're working on), the writing will tend to be slower than if you've been doing this for five years already.
     
  11. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    One reason may be that you are trying to write it perfect.... whatever you come up with just seem short of that perfection you want your writing to be. It's okay to want to write it perfect, but remember it is just your first draft and you'll have plenty of time to perfect it later. For the moment just concentrate on writing the story down on paper. How do you go about it... I think people before me have given you enough suggestions.
     
  12. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I have a similar issue to Maureen myself. I have an internal censor that starts saying.. "should you really write that?" "Are you sure anyone would like it?" For me it's more self doubt and over analyzing than anything. Try to identify if you have an inner dialogue like that going on when you try to write. It sounds like you may be over-analyzing it and convincing yourself that it won't be good before you even start. You have to shut that out and push on through it. Best of luck. :)
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I can definitely relate to that, I was dealing with the exact same problem before my novel really kicked off (I'm on Ch 2 right now, it took me forever to get Ch 1 where I want it but now writing my novel is a major addiction of mine).

    I call your current situation the Great Blank Word Doc Dilemma. It stems from the feeling of staring at a word doc (or in your case, piece of paper) thinking "Okay, this is where I start to write" and not being able to pen it the way you want it.

    The solution I found it, get your plot ideas typed out before you start to write, even though you may have it all mapped out in your head. You don't have to make it a summary or anything--I personally do "scene checklists," basically a bulleted list of events that will happen in that chapter, preferably listed in order, before I write the chapter.

    Having something typed out before you have to write is a helpful tactic, at least for me--it's a bit empowering to know that you have a word doc with some substantial stuff in it.

    Getting out a paper and drawing a plot diagram helps too. This way you can be more creative with arrows pointing from one thing to another and what not, which you can't do as free-flowingly as in a word doc.

    My problem was always picking a key scene to kick off the story with. You can always go back and add that scene later. I do advocate that it's best to start off with action or dialogue, not someone waking up and starting their day.

    Best of luck!

    If you need plot help or beginning help, then please PLEASE feel free to PM me!! :)
     
  14. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    You may be putting yourself under to much internal pressure.

    What I would suggest doing is putting it to one side for a few hours/days/weeks and focus on something else. Either write a short story or do something which you really enjoy.

    When you do come back to it you should be more relaxed and the plot should hopefully flow onto the paper.
     

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