1. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    Putting Your Story On Hold

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aimi_aiko, May 31, 2011.

    We've all had the moment of:

    "Is this story any good?"

    "This idea sucks."

    "Why did I write this?"

    ---

    Every writer has put a story on hold, or trashed it, in some point of their lives. All because they lost interest in their story line. I've done this many times. I lose more than interest, but I lose confidence in my story as well. I have recently put a story I've been working on hold for a while, and just the other day, I started a new story. I'm afraid I'm never going to touch the other story, at least for a while. Funny thing is, I'm already losing a little bit of interest in the story I'm currently working on as well.

    I know we've all had this happen, it's just how it usually works for a writer. Tell me about the times you've had this happen and what you did to resolve or defeat it.
     
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  2. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I've tried numerous times to write this story about the theatre. Except it always comes out a little over blown and went nowhere.

    To compensate for this years later, I took my favourite parts and planned them into a larger story. It turned out that what was in my head was merely one scene of a bigger story, and that it was lack of planning that kept getting it stuck.
     
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  3. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Sometimes I start with this really good idea, and I really like the idea, but the characters aren't clicking or I'm not writing it correctly, etc. When a story of mine just isn't working, I save the idea, or a character I like or a scene I like and try to incorporate it into another story.
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    All story ideas, even the greatest, will eventually seem stale when you work with them every day for months. Try watching your favourite film twice every single day and see how long it takes before you end up hating it.

    How to get around it? I don't think there's any easy way. What I do is try and focus on the individual scenes and all the details within them I haven't yet planned, and what possibilities there are for improving them. When you focus on that and don't think about all the work that lies ahead with the rest of the story, it feels more like playing again.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have done that twice. The first one I was so doubtful when it was ready and when rereading what I had written it felt like trash. It was really painful because I had put so much love into it, but obviously my skills as a writer wasn't near enough at that time. Some time later I reread it again thinking it wasn't all bad, really, it just need some more working on it, so I picked it up again, thinking if it will never be as good as I want it to be, it doesn't matter, I will write just because I like it so much, it doesn't have to be publishable. Looking at it like just a hobby I started rewriting it and gradually the enthusiasm for it came back to me nd now Im on the second half of the second draft with a lot more hope for it. The second time there were two major problems: 1. I seem incapale of making it longer than those 50K words (or just a litte more) it needs an extended plot, I think and I still don't know what to do with it. 2. it received some pretty straightforward critique from a friends of mine, and of course I only took the bad part to me, and completely lost self confidence about it, so right now Im feeling a little blocked as for that particular novel. I haven't decided yet what to do with it but I like it a lot too, even though I don't yet have the same feelings for it as the first one (which I have had in my head for like 20 years, so its kind of natural, LOL).
    Don't throw them away if you lose interest in them, maybe one day you will look at them again realising they were not as bad/uninteresting/whatever as you thought and you might even come up with an instant solution for how to improve those things you still don't like. You can always rely on them in the moments of lack of ideas, when you don't have any other plans for new stories. :)
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The project I'm working on now began as a very vague notion. When I thought I was clear on what I wanted to do with it, I started to write. As I went along and developed more characters, the idea began to change and the story started to bend out of the shape and scope I had initially conceived. I kept pushing, though, and finally, when I was about 15,000 words in, I pushed back from the desk and said, "This isn't working."

    I put it aside. I read a few new novels and re-read another I had liked a lot. I didn't forget my project - on the contrary, whenever I had the opportunity, I gave serious thought to what my options were. I worked out some new ideas, new approaches. When I felt I was ready, I went back and started over. That's right, started over from the beginning. I did leave the first two pages intact, and I cut in some previously written material, but only about 2,000 words, altogether. In no time, I surpassed the 24,000 word mark, and I'm still going strong.

    What about the parts I wrote previously? Mostly backstory that I refer to frequently. Turns out it was not wasted effort, as I needed to clarify the history of several of my characters. But only a sliver of this will end up in the ms.

    As others have said, we all go through it. In my case, I wasn't clear enough in my own mind on how I wanted to proceed. But in the past, I've had ideas that, once I got into the actual writing, just weren't as fruitful as I'd hoped they'd be. That's why I walked away from this one for a little while - to see if the buzz was still there when I came back.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    The story I'm currently working on I've trashed over ten times (I think, lost count). It's taken me over five years to get it out the way that feels good to me. The idea just won't die when I trash the draft. So now I'm just pouring it out whether I like what comes out or not. That can be fixed later. I just need this idea outta my head!
     
  8. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    I find that sometimes I will shelve an idea because it's not working or I've lost enthusiasm for it, but it will keep stewing in the back of my mind and later (usually a long while later) it returns in an improved form and I am happy enough to write it again. The sitcom I'm working on has gone through three very different iterations before the current form, with which I am extremely happy.
     
  9. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    My problem is I'm not confident in my writing ability. I'll read what I've written and I think "This is crap. I suck at writing" and then I rip up my story and throw it away. I guess we are our own worst critics.
     
  10. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    I am in the middle of trashing another version of my novel that I am not proud of. I've already written over twenty versions and I still can't get anything right. I haven't published one novel because I feel that my writing still isn't good enough for the shelves. I write everyday all day, yet I see no improvement in the way I'm writing. If anything, it feels and sounds worse.

    Uh... I haven't found a solution to my problem yet D:
     
  11. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I started writing seriously after reading two Novels in a university literature class. One was Fight Club - which totally blew me away I love that book. The next was some trash chick-feel-sorry-for-myself cry fest that I still think to this day it totally sucks.

    When I was in the first stages of writing my draft, I had thoughts like 'why am I doing this, I prolly cannot write a good enough story to even get published...' Then I remembered this garbage book I had to read and thought to myself, 'well, if that heap of crap sold, then I don't see why what I write wouldn't be able to!' That really helped me realize that I really do have something that I think people would enjoy reading.

    Still haven't finished though, but I'm a lot closer now.
     
  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    First of all, I hope you've read more than just two novels. Secondly, as long as you think "prolly" is a word, you are not likely to be published.
     
  13. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Wow, you are very rude.
     
  14. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    A little off-topic and a little out of line, don't you think? It's just an internet post, chill.

    I keep forgetting this key fact, which is why I'm never satisfied with what I write. Thanks for reminding me, Norm.
     
  15. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suddenly find it weird that I've never trashed a story because of lack of confidence. I always quite like the stories I have written. I can most definitely see that the writing could need improvement and work, but the story itself is great. I never write anything I wouldn't read about after all.
    When a story of mine gets trashed, it's because I start without a plan, and 10K words in it's still going nowhere and at that point the initial "first-started-dating" inspiration has vanished, and I lose all ideas. I came to realize I need to plan a story, beginning to end, first, and spend a few weeks working on it in plot form only. During this time, I might write a few scenes just to see how they would play out if I'm having problems picturing it, but these rarely makes it into a finished story.
     
  16. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I dunno, when I was in the army I didn't just get to not go to work because I wasn't feeling motivated. I have a plumber friend who doesn't just not do his job when he isn't feeling inspired. I guess it's the difference between a hobby and treating something with the dedication and respect of one's profession. Hobbies you do when you're feeling up to it, professions you do because it's your work.
     
  17. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whenever it comes to a point where I feel I need to take a break (although I usually have to be writing for at least 1-2 weeks with the idea that it's crap before I just stop: a couple of bad days isn't enough to make me halt progress). Sometimes it just needs a week and other days it has taken a year away to rekindle my interest. Either way I'll always go back to it.
     

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