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  1. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    It's your fault, not writers block.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by domenic.p, Aug 3, 2014.

    It's your fault...Not Writers Block:
    Many new writers, and yes, sometimes old writers hit that brick wall. Words were coming faster than you could type…then it just stopped. The mind can’t come up with even one simple verb. You take a walk…still nothing. A weekend in the Rockies…two beers, and a stupid tattoo…still nothing?
    The problem? You. You had a great idea for a story, and you just started writing. Before you could say, “Jimmy jumped through the hoop,” you had thirty pages of your great idea, but now you have no clue what to write next? You are the problem. Building a book is a business. Here is what you didn’t do; You did not think out the whole story before you started writing it. Yes, you have to think it all out first. Here is how the process works. You have a great idea for a story. Make a note of this great idea. Just a note, nothing more. Keep thinking about it, keep making notes. Build on this idea. Ask this question, “What if?” Thinking about your great idea, and build a big pile of notes This will not yet give you a story, you’re still just working out the idea for a story. We call this a frame work. It’s really just a straight line with three parts…a beginning, middle, and an end.
    Here is the second thing you must do, and do not go farther until you have done this:

    “write in three sentences, or less…what the story is about.” take your time on this. The longer you think about it the better your idea will get…it may even change, develop into something great.

    Idea for a story:
    “Girl goes to Hollywood to be a Star, but finds love instead.”
    What if?
    “Girl goes to Hollywood to become a Star, She meets an Italian producer who turns out to be in sex trafficker. He flies her to North Africa, and she is sold as a sex slave. Over two years she plans an escape with two other girls…bla,bla,bla.”

    Now you know what your story is about. Divide your framework into three parts.
    Take all of your notes, and divide them by location, beginning, middle, and end.

    This is the guide for your complete story. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. If you are having a slow day, you can start writing (with your notes) in the middle, or even the end.

    I hope this helps
    Domenic
     
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  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your basic premise is flawed. You don't have to think out the whole idea first. Of all the stories I've written, I've only done it once, and that's the one story I have yet to finish. If you haven't a clue what should come next, it won't hurt to try outlining - but it's not a necessity.

    Sometimes, all it really takes is setting the story to one side and working on something else for a few days. Other times, it takes writing a bit of crap until that little light bulb blinds you.
     
  3. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Whatever works for you.
     
  4. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I agree with Shadowwalker this logic is flawed. There is no reason to say that writers block is because you haven't thought out the idea properly, the majority of the time I start a novel I have no idea how it's going to end, if I plan it, I can't write it. I'm sure this system works for you but it is naive to think that it is what all writers must do, nobody's mind will work exactly the same as yours so they aren't going to write a novel in the exact same way.
    I often have periods of time where I can't write a darn thing (I actually just got out of one) but it usually means that I have had a misstep in my storyline, or my mind is so clouded with other things happening in my life that it's blocking my creative flow, I know that my non-writing period this time was the prospect of my father going in for surgery next week. In non-writing periods I read, watch tv shows, because most of the time I just need a break from my characters world and I need to go into some other person's world.

    Don't keep thinking that everyone should follow this exact method of writing. Everybody's different.
    Amanda
     
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  5. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    You may view my system as flawed, but I can still write no matter what is going on in, or around my life. I never get writers block...I used to, until I worked out a system that keeps me on track.
    I wrote two years for a new paper…you can’t afford to have block time. You have to get a story out, and you have to do in in a given time frame.
    You would never start making a movie, and make the story up as you went along…they stopped doing that in the early days of motion pictures.
    But, do whatever works for you.
     
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  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't believe there's such a thing as writer's block, so I agree with your first sentence.
     
  7. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    That just means you have put you mind into a higher level of discipline, I don't require that discipline and neither do a lot of other writers, I write in and around a lot of other things and I set myself goals but I don't force myself to write if I can't write, it just makes it worse.
    I am starting to notice more and more that there is no writer's block too. I often just have things that get in the way of writing and I don't have my thoughts on my storyline enough to write a decent amount, but I average out at about 1,000 words per day during the week and about 5,000 words for weekend days.
     
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  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    While I'm with @thirdwind on this, I'd like to add, I just finished my rough draft (66,000) words without getting blocked once. And the closest I ever came to planing anything out was to decide "the good guy wins".
     
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  9. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    thirdwind,
    ditto
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Making a movie is more analagous to publishing the book; writing the screenplay is like writing the book. And how the screenplay gets written is dependent on the writer.

    This I totally agree with.
     
  11. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Jack,
    You had the good guys win! Heck. The bad guys always lose...but the girls like the bad guys.
     
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  12. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Shadewalker,
    Your comments toward me seem colored...do you have some sort of problem with me?
     
  13. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My own sense is that this is very much a matter of individual preference, but it seems to me that planning and outlining should, in more cases than not, yield a better product (and, yes, I will caveat that in a moment). If one's goal is to be a published writer, I think one must approach the process of writing in an organized manner. In my own case, my first few attempts at novels were "write as you go" efforts. They yielded complete stories and, laid together, show improvement with each project. My current project is a historical novel (1st draft completed, several editing runs, critique from some beta-readers, preparing for 2nd round of beta). I knew I had to plan it out carefully if I was going to have any chance of finishing with a publishable work. And, as of now, I am very hopeful; I can say without hesitation that it is my best work to date.

    Leaving aside the demands of the genre, the reason I think it is logical that careful planning will yield a superior work product is that the planning process allows you to plan out not only your main plot but also your subplots in advance. You can see where the trouble spots, the inconsistencies, the anachronisms are likely to be. You can plan for how and where you will foreshadow events, as well as where in the story those events will take place. And because you've given voice to those ideas in advance, it is much less likely, as @domenic.p points out above, that you will experience a sudden and complete loss of forward momentum. I can honestly say that in all the time I've been working on Rosa's Secret, I've not had a single instance of writer's block (I did have one somewhat thorny POV problem pointed out by a hardy beta-reader that took me slightly aback, but one semi-sleepless night yielded a very satisfactory solution).

    Now, about that caveat. Your planning must be flexible. In my initial plan, I had a specific chapter structure in mind, twelve chapters in all, each one named. I was about half way through when I realized my proposed structure was severely cramping my ability to take advantage of those serendipitous developments of character that occur in the course of the story. I had to smush (that's a technical term) three planned chapters into two, and then create others later in the story. My modern subplot needed three new short chapters, in part to accommodate an unexpected (when I started) twist to the modern day subplot and in part because I needed them to provide the desired pacing to the flow of the historical stories. When I'd finished, my original twelve chapters had blossomed into twenty.

    So, they did.

    A favorite saying of mine is that subplots are what your characters do while you are trying to get them to do what you want them to do. But the truth is that our characters are and always must be our creations, to do as we will rather than as they will. Nevertheless, new ideas occur as we write - stories evolve and characters evolve as we think through the implications of what we have already written or are planning to write. Trying to shoehorn them into a rigid outline can be as damaging as having no direction at all.
     
  14. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    ED from NY,

    You are spot on in your method of writing. One of my GREAT ideas for a story, went from being one character in California, to being a whole town in West Upton MA. The story had the same theme, but still very different than my original idea…this all took place in my notes before I started writing the story. I did a read through when the story was about two thirds done. Something was wrong, and I had been aware of that fact the whole time I was writing…it had to do with the first three pages. I knew each of those three pages were of good quality…but something did not fit?
    I was left with these options; “Taking them out,” “Running the risk that it was only my impression,” “Or put them in a different location.”

    I took page number 3, and put in back in as page number 1. It turned out to be the right move. I often take little sections, and shift them around, the same way movie companies cut, and past their film…I am not one to reinvent the wheel.
    When I read a book, I often take it apart to see how the author built it. I use some of the tricks I have learned from this…of course after I’m done reading a book, no one else can read it…it’s all marked, and cut up.
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    You're right. That's not how you'd shoot a movie. But it's sure as shit how you would often write the script.
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    When I first read this, I assumed you meant figuratively, since I tend to do that as well. But I see you meant it literally - you take it apart. Interesting approach.
     
  17. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    We New Englander's always take things apart. It's our nature.
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. I have a problem with claims that one method is the "right way" to write. Your method won't work for me - no way. My method won't work at all for some other writers. I offer my method as another one to try if someone is having trouble. That's all.

    ETA: Ed - as often as you and I agree, and even with your caveat, I do disagree that planning will "logically" create a "superior product". Organized, possibly, but even so, organized and planned are two different concepts. I can do the same things while writing the story that others do while planning it, and it won't take any longer to do so.
     
  19. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    I think I understand what you are saying. You feel what I suggested is in conflict with what you offered writers, and you don’t like that. Is that correct? Well maybe what you offer is not that good. I don’t know, I haven’t seen what you have to offer.
    Myself, I did not post this thread as a competition thing. If you are secure with your method, why would my method upset you so much? Is it a need to control on your part?
     
  20. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    @domenic.p I think it is more than likely that you may be causing misconceptions for the new and young writers on this forum by telling them that your way is the only way to write well, where a lot of people on this forum are supporting the new and young writers to find a way of writing that suits them rather than modelling themselves after another author/writer
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  21. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let me try!

    Idea for a story.
    "Some guy decides he wants to be a writer."

    What if?

    "Guy decides he knows exactly how the writing process works. States his ideas as law in front of other would be writers. The other would be writers eat him alive, tearing at his flesh and pulling his limbs. AGHHHHHHH."
     
  22. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Love it... That gave me a good laugh.
     
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  23. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I define 'writers' block' for myself like this: days when everything I write is shit.

    And the next day I go back, delete what I wrote the previous day, and write more shit. Just sitting down and churning out words, nose to the grindstone every day and/or 'planning' doesn't help. I just write more shit, which becomes more shit, which becomes pretty depressing.

    Once I reach that stage, I back off. I know what I need is some distance from the project. Some time away from it—from writing my story altogether—to let ideas rearrange themselves. I need a new perspective. I find that forcing this perspective isn't usually helpful. I let my subconscious work on it instead. I go for walks, allow myself to daydream about the story. Eventually—bingo—the problem solves itself, and I can go back to writing 'good' stuff again.

    This is not to say that 'good' stuff I write doesn't need editing. It certainly does. But when I know what I'm trying to achieve, the editing is not only fun, but it's relatively easy to do. It's when I'm not sure what I'm trying to do that the writing becomes 'shit.' There isn't any way to improve shit; no point in wallowing in it. I need to get out of it, wash off, and move to another spot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  24. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Like I said, it's your time, your book...do it any way you want.
     
  25. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Sometimes writer's block happens for a number of reasons, some being...

    (a) You're writing faster than you can think. One of your characters says, does, or reveals something that you hadn't even thought up of and you're stuck. You can't get forward because you need to plot out that huge fog of unknown that you've just discovered. Say your historical period character says, "Ah, I know old Bill. Lost his leg in Verdun few years back. He could tell you all about it if you asked him." Suddenly you find yourself having to go research Verdun to fully understand the experience Bill would have had there. If you don't listen to that part of your brain that says "research!" then you get stuck.

    (b) There's something within your story structure that just doesn't make sense and subconsciously, you know you can't go forward until you deal with it. I remember during my brainstorming session for my sci-fi, I had my captain adopt an alien child and let him work with her on the ship as another crewmember. Now, you can already tell the plot didn't exactly take off because what military in the world would allow this? The block happened because the story I wanted to tell conflicted with the illogical. I was trying to make my captain do something she would know went against protocols. Something even I would know would never happen in an actual military...anywhere in the world...at any given time period.

    (c) The story just wasn't interesting in the first place. I've come up with a lot of story ideas, one of which is set during World War II where a German spy finds himself living in a farm in the English countryside and bonds with the family. It could make for a decent story that asks difficult questions about loyalty and family, but here's the thing: World War II isn't exactly high on my 'list of favorite historical periods'. I would sooner write a story set in Feudal Japan than this one. Sometimes the story just doesn't appeal to you, and that's fine.

    These are just three of the many, many reasons writers block can happen.
     
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