1. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    Inspiration problem

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by S Raven, Aug 3, 2015.

    I've been working on my first novel now for way over a year.
    I thought I was making good progress until recently....

    I bought a number of "How To..." style books on a range of topics including grammar, punctuation, word usage and editing.

    Since starting to work my way through them, I've come to the realisation that I know next to nothing on what I should be taking on-board when working on my book.

    I find all this quite depressing, and it's making me doubt my ability to actually finish my novel.

    Has anyone else had similar experiences? How did you overcome it and get your mojo back?

    Sam
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Raven,

    Reading your post above, there's nothing wrong with your SPaG, so why would you want to seek help?

    As far as writing style, as has been said on many a different thread, it's your style that makes you the writer that YOU are. And there are planners and pantsers.

    How-to books are all well and good, as long as you take them with a pinch of salt.
     
  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Can you provide an example? I can't follow the "taking on-board" bit of your post?

    As @Shadowfax rightly points out, your SpaG looks perfectly fine.
     
  4. stormjinx
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    stormjinx New Member

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    To answer your questions, yes, once or twice I have doubted my caliber as an author. I got over it eventually. I simply edited what I thought was sucky. Easy enough.
    Just keep writing.
     
  5. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    I've learnt more from getting to the end of writing a short story/novel/poem than I ever have from 'how to' books. They were useful at the start to point me in the right direction, but after a while they became repetitive and obstructive to actually writing my stories.

    Remember, they are not the answer, they are one of many tools available to help you write. Trust your own judgement and use them when you think they will assist you. I go back to mine sometimes when I'm stuck or bored or having trouble with a particular form, for example.
     
  6. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    @Aaron DC Can you provide an example? I can't follow the "taking on-board" bit of your post?

    Just the basic stuff that I hadn't given much thought of prior to picking up these books:

    • The whole show and tell thing
    • Character development
    • Voice / points of view
    • Beats

    Thanks for acknowledging my SPaG, this is one of my stronger skills.

    Sam
     
  7. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Yeah it's nuts right? I am hitting the same thing over here. Beats is something I read about in Story by McKee, but need to go back and wrap my head around it. I have a bunch of new books to read for all the other bits and pieces.

    You'll see in another thread the opening line for my WIP is blank. I haven't even started.

    Coz I have ideas but am discovering as you have that I know nothing (John Snow) about the mechanics of writing; consciously. That may be the difference between our levels of depression, as I have not started and have nothing to rework or redo. So my hope is still up, and I love learning, and doing things "properly", so that's the order I am doing it.

    Despite all that, and no matter how badly you may feel you have put something together, if the story is good, it's good. Regardless of all that other stuff.

    How far into the novel are you?
     
  8. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    I'm making reasonable progress. I have an outline of the whole book, including a few sub-plots drafted out, the main characters and their traits, a few scenes that I really want to include, the cover is done (rear cover could do with some more work), a synopsis of the book, several pages of scrawled notes of other ideas I may include, a reasonable draft of the first few chapters.

    I've set myself a deadline for the end of October to have it all done and edited (by me). Probably being over optimistic on the time frame, but still aiming for that date.

    I think the biggest hurdle at the moment is the perspective/voice that I want. I keep changing my outlook on a daily basis. I just need to sort this and just go for it.
     
  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Sounds like you have a solid foundation there.

    I am lucky (?) in that I have a full-time job and can afford to take my time with the learning and plotting and writing which will come later.

    Any reason for the deadline?

    POV is a tough one for me also.
     
  10. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    @Aaron DC Any reason for the deadline?

    A few reasons:
    • If I set a goal for myself (not just in writing, but also other aspects of life), I tend to stick to it.
    • I have a small media campaign set up for just after this date, not meeting it would be hassle.
    • I've already written and published several other books (all educational), which I set a deadline for and managed to meet.
    • I'm already starting to get ideas for a follow up book, the sooner I get the first one done, the sooner I can make a start on that.
     
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  11. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Sounds perfectly reasonable. Except the timeline :p Does that include beta reading or just draft and first edit?
     
  12. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    I've managed to line up a few people to give it a final read. Should there be any minor issues, I can just update my manuscript behind the scenes. As I'm self-publishing, any minor issues take just a few clicks to correct.
     
  13. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Sounds great! Would be interested in seeing the final product if you are comfortable.
     
  14. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    The more the merrier! I've dropped you a PM regarding this.

    Thanks for all on this thread for your feedback, feeling a bit more comfortable with my own abilities.
     
  15. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    A good how-to book should help you find your style and voice, not be a recipe for writing a book. I'm working through a book that is more fixated on getting me to understand the impact that different styles and word combinations can have. The idea being that I can find my own voice. In my opinion, if the book is only teaching you the framework of a book(ie it should be around 110k words etc) then I am not suprised you aren't feeling inspired.

    My advice would be to read a good book, watch a good movie or play a good game for inspiration. Nothing inspires me to write more than when I see someone elses work, or a genius sentence I wish I had written.
     

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