1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Is it common to restart your story multiple times?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Uberwatch, Sep 25, 2013.

    I have been writing my main project over 8 times, attempting to start off the story better than before but I think I keep doing it too much. Today, I had to make a big decision. I had to remove my main character as the central focus of the plot and turn him into a secondary character (because writing him in as the MC just didn't work out after several revisions. He is replaced by a secondary character which I switched roles to MC). This greatly affected my entire outline and gameplan of my project.

    If I ever do this again, Will I ever get it done eventually or will I be stuck, rewinding my story because I feel I'm not doing it right.

    Has anyone experienced this before?
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes it takes a while to get a feel for your story, so it isn't surprising. While I don't outline myself, others do find it helps and you may want to try that method. It won't mean things never change as you actually write, but it might help you cut back on the number of 'false starts'.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm going through this right now. I've wrote my story approx 3 - 4 I'm either on re-write number 4 or 5 I'm not sure. I think a draft got lost in the shuffle of moving things over to a new computer. I wrote the first draft third person pov twice and 1st person either once or twice. I'm going back to third person. From experience it's exasperating. But for my own personal project I'm finding my main flaw to be I'm not sure who I want to
    tell the story and what his goal is and that's my big hang up. Once I settle down to figuring this out it should be smooth sailing. I've been toying with scenes writing small ones from different viewpoints.

    My only concern is that you've switched you mc - I've done this before on another project where I've changed the story so many times and swapped up the mc that yes the story doesn't seem to have an end point ( it's been decades and I've yet to put an end to that project ) because each draft is like the first draft of a whole nother book - with different goals and themes.
     
  4. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    If only I could share this with you, my project began as a simple story with a simple plot. Over time, I gained new ideas and the complexity just grew. Because of that, I have to make several revisions to perfect it. It's a tough battle for perfection but eventually it will get done. Luckily, I completed a 46 page short a while ago which is considered a big achievement for my writing.

    Now I got to get my damn big book finished.
     
  5. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    Oh I know this all too well. To me it is paralysing, I have about half a dozen unfinished stories just sitting there...it's maddening, but at least My mind manages to conjure up new ideas, which is a great perk. I think I could force myself to finish something, but part of me doesn't want to force it because that won't make it better imho.
     
  6. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm better off selling ideas than writing, but I don't want it to be that way.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Don't try and perfect things too much just write. My first drafts never makes much sense. I'm not sure if anyone's first drafts make that
    much sense - from what I've seen on other sites they're full of errors, flubs in logic ect - but as long as the bones are there you've got something to work with. 46 pages is an excellent start - I usually have for myself a four page hurdle ( for short stories ) 30 pages for novels - if I can get past that I can finish the story.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wouldn't it automatically be better than an unfinished piece of a story? Writing isn't all inspiration and ideas - it's also work.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My concern is that you _start_ it over and over. Do you ever finish it - that is, do you ever get to the end? It seems normal to rewrite a book more than once, but if you're only getting a few pages in then it seems to me that you'd be better off forcing yourself to keep going, and going back to reconsider the beginning later.
     
  10. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Usually when I'm on the 5th chapter, I'm at the point where I feel I need to re-write it. Luckily, when I re-write it, I'm putting in new ways of storytelling instead of going back and fourth using the same themes and tropes.
     
  11. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    These are my thoughts exactly. Are you simply re-writing small and large parts? That's normal, and necessary. Or are you scrapping everything and starting over? That sounds more concerning... if that's really the case, why? Is the story not working at all?
     
  12. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Well, I'm re-writing the story from scratch in some aspect. (It's a scifi story so I already have a whole universe built around it). Sometimes it gets too inconsistent. So let's see one paragraph in a chapter has an event that's a bit too cliche. I change that, but the changes contradict the events previously written, so I have to change that as well and it just falls apart eventually.

    Then, I have to start over from Chapter 1. This is why I have been working on a detailed outline to make sure the plot is good enough to be written without needing to start over.
     
  13. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Eventually, there's got the be the point where you say, "I can fix this later. I need to get it done." One of the projects that I had worked and re-worked time and time again was starting to feel boring to me. I was on the eighth or ninth re-write (having completely scrapped the first few chapters over and over again) and I was thinking to myself, "How many times am I going to have to write this scene?" I got bored with it and stopped working on it for the longest time. When I tried to pick it back up again, though, the problem hadn't gone away.

    What I ended up doing (though, I have an outline for my stories, so it was incredibly simple for me) was to skip past the scenes I'd already written eight times a piece, and worked on later scenes.

    You can correct what you've already written. You can't correct what you haven't already written. Grit your teeth, write a big pile of dung (if that's how you view it), and then polish and edit and change. Otherwise, you're going to be stuck in the same loop when you eventually do settle on the first five/six chapters and move on to the next few. You're going to be tempted to do the same things with those that you're doing now with the first few. Trust me.
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had a change of heart on my MCs a couple of times, but never changed the story radically 8 times. I hope you settle on a direction and write your story soon :)
     
  15. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Uberwatch, I know what you mean with "editing hell". I believe this happens to all writers. I often get stuck, too. The advice I can give you here is: if one scene is bugging you, then change that, don't go off and change everything else. If it's difficult to fix, leave a blank for a moment and think about it deeply. There will always be a solution and you may just need more time to come up with one. From what you've written, you seem to want to have an instant fix, which breaks something else. I've had that happen too, but most times, I re-work the fix, instead of trying to re-work the whole story. ;)
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    When you're on the steep leading edge of the learning curve, you're pretty likely to want to start over several times. That's because you're improving so quickly that much of what you wrote "way, way back when" (i.e. a few weeks ago) looks like utter crap compared to what you are currently writing.

    I don't see much harm in this. Yes, you face the danger of getting frustrated, but you'll have to deal with that anyway. Persevere regardless of whether you yield to the temptation to restart. You'll get plenty of practice, and your learning curve will level off somewhat by the time you finish revising your drafts.
     
  17. Love P. Maya
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    Love P. Maya New Member

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