1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Killing or handicapping your stories?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Garball, Sep 13, 2014.

    I have posted multiple times about not having the time to write. I believe this is a problem many of us aspiring authors have to deal with, living in the real world and all. My question is this:

    You have a great idea, maybe one that warrants 10,000 words if not more. You don't have the time to truly flesh out the idea, but you want to write. Instead of giving your idea the breath of life it deserves, you go ahead and jot down a shorter story. Does this kill your idea? Are you able to go back and flesh it out, or once it is written, can you resuscitate it and give it the life it deserves? Me, personally, once it is written it is done, an idea that could be a novel dies as a short.
     
  2. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I've never tried to write anything other than how it came out. Most all of my stuff is a lot longer than I expect it to be.

    I started my book 5 years ago. While its true that a lot of that time since has been lost to work, study and looking after my family; just as much has gone on procrastinating and just doing other things.

    Someone posted here a while back what you would have to output to be as prolific as known authors. I think to output the same as Stephen King we'd need to write less than 500 words a day every day. Most writers it would be a couple of hundred.

    I am as guilty of the 'no time to write' excuse as everyone else. But an excuse is what it generally is.

    If you are lacking motivation then getting something short out there to show to friends and family you really can write can be a great shot in the arm. Believe it or not millions of people would start handing over body parts to be able to write fiction; the fact that you can is something to be pleased about, not something to beat yourself up for.
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think too much is being said about 'just write' and 'not enough time', as if all it takes to churn out a good story is a bit of effort. Writing, as long as it isn't just verbal diarrhoea which will have to be completely re-written later, is a really difficult tasks sometimes. There's so much to consider, so many different ways to tell the same story. And sometimes we don't have time, other times we don't have the energy or words fail us. It's much better to settle into this reality than spend our lives bashing ourselves for not meeting unrealistic expectations.

    I think, once I shape a complete idea for a novel into something much shorter, like a short story or a novella, the idea changes to fit that new form, like a pot-bound plant, and as many times as I tried to get back to it and make it bigger, it never managed to grow bigger than the original 'container' it was 'grown' in. However, I found that focusing on an important scene, or a subplot, rather than the whole, can be written in short form and used later in the bigger work. I often have quite a few chapters and scenes written in development stage, which I pluck out of my files when I get to that point in my novel. It's always a treat when that happens. So exploring aspects of novels in a short story works, but keep the overall idea attached to novel length expectations, rather than making a series of choices which reduce it to shorter form. Because you can more easily subtract than add, imo.
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a novel coming out in December that was originally a short story/novella. I ignored the original version for a couple years, then came back to it and decided there was more story to tell. So I told it.

    I don't think ideas ever die, for me.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    The time needed for jotting down a short story and jotting down a few scenes or a chapter of the longer one is the same.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to write, you'll find the time to write.

    Yes, there are job and family and other responsibilities, but after them writing can be made a priority. Maybe you cannot make time to write every day, but a motivated writer will find a way to get those stories finished. It may take longer than they hope, squeezing in thirty minutes here and fifteen minutes there, and maybe even three hours on occasion.
     
  7. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Garball

    How many hours do you sleep a night?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  8. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe it's more like a workout regimen. Chest, back, legs, arms/etc. You want to do a certain amount of time or exercises per movement, but maybe one day a meeting goes long. Before you know it, chest day went from 1.5 hours to .5 hours. You still go to the gym, but now, you can only bench
    5
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Guess it's time to dump the girlfriend.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    No. I've got ideas going back to the early 90's. The ones that die are lousy anyway. The ones that still haunt me, though are waiting their turn to be written.

    I've never turned what I believe to be a novel into a short story. Although, I considered not entering Not Pink and fleshing it out into a novel. Right now I've added about 30 extra pages and counting and I'll be pleased when I'm done. Even if it isn't a novel. It's been nearly a year since I approached this piece and was able to pick it up and flesh it out without hardly any snags. I had a major stall where I could not proceed through one scene for over a week but I've managed to plow through. I'm used to this though. I call it stewing. I let my work stew until some new experience, new information, or something as minor as a comment or artwork can fill in the gap that will help me to continue. I don't really believe it's inspiration. It's more like finding the right car part. You can't just jam in anything and make it work. You have to search for the right one even if it doesn't seem like you know what you're looking for.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  11. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    This. I always thought one needed to be writing 8hrs a day to get anything done, not really. I've set myself a goal of 2,000 words a day and it's easy to achieve in under 2hrs. Granted I have more time on my hands than most people, but the 500 words a day quoted here wouldn't even take 30mins. Most of the time it's putting yourself in front of the keyboard more than it is any real issue with time. I can't think of many people who don't watch at least 30 mins of TV a day or spend three times as long on the net, just catching up with people. I wrote 12,000 words of a first draft in the last week alone. If I could sustain that over 6 months or a year the output would be amazing.

    So on that thought, no I never cut an idea down, if I think it has merit as a longer piece then I'll set out to write that longer piece at some point or leave it alone entirely.
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you can also 'find' a lot of time by writing in your head when doing other things. Sure, sometimes you have to pay 100% attention to what you're doing, but there's lots of mundane tasks that don't need much mental effort. You can work out characterization, plot, and even some wording while mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, shovelling snow, cleaning the bathroom... whatever.

    I've found this useful for those times when I thought I was too busy to write. I might only find ten minutes a day sometimes, but it was ten minutes of frantic typing, no pauses or gaps, because I already knew exactly what I wanted to say.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think if for you, if the story will die a short when it should've been a novel, then develop it to its appropriate length when you're working on it and don't bother to cut it because of the limited time. Maybe it will take you 10 years rather than 2 to finish it, but at the end of the day, wouldn't it be worth it? How do you feel when you look back at a story you know should've been longer but has died short, all because of a lack of time? Are you satisfied? If yes, then carry on. If no, then I'd encourage you to rather take longer over the story and write it as you feel it should be written.

    For myself, I find once you've imposed a certain idea onto your story, it's hard to backtrack. The only way to "backtrack" is to start fresh, and even then it's kinda hard. Starting right seems to be quite important I think.
     

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