1. drifter265
    Offline

    drifter265 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    38

    So it's been three years and I haven't started my novel yet.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by drifter265, Jun 8, 2015.

    Just as the title says.

    I tend to make these rants of mine long (as you may know) and so I'll try to be brief.

    I came up with this idea of several characters finding a magical jewel and having to go on the run from the people who want it and the characters having to learn what to do with it and discovering its origins and the characters learning about each other and themselves and getting over their problems and how they found themselves in this situation and that it was all because they were alone and didn't know how to connect with people because they were abandoned or let down by their families in their childhoods and now they're forced to get along and deal with them because of this one jewel that's bringing them together and now they have to be forced to get along and deal with their issues because if they do they'll get to reap the rewards of what the jewel represents (a better life, money, family) and if they don't they'll have to go back to where they started which was alone and unhappy and the jewel and everything it means will go on without them and since they're the ones who found it they want to see where it takes them and because it's finally gave meaning to their lives and a source of happiness (which is what it represents and is what they want) they want to go with the jewel and see where it takes them and not leave it.

    That's the gist of the story. It's five books I've imagined it to be and for the last three years I've been playing scenarios and scenes in my head of how I want these characters to interact and what the jewel means, what its history is, and why these people that are the antagonists want it, and I know each arc of the main characters and the story arcs of each book until its satisfying conclusion.

    My problem is I don't know how I feel can do it. Maybe I already have it in me and I just don't the confidence. I don't know. The story is fantasy, obviously, the characters are all pretty typical and different from each other. The main theme is family among friends and since without each other they won't have any they don't want to be away from each other or alone.

    Whenever I think I'm about to write out the story and that "this is it, finally" I always write out the fourteen main characters that I want to write about and who I feel will drive the story. I don't know why I don't feel comfortable writing them out right now but maybe it's because they're so personal to me and I've never really talked about it with anyone I feel comfortable letting someone else know about them in fear of being judged or something, I don't know.

    All of the characters have this "base" or "foundation" that they start from and early on they jump from this foundation and head into their new lives when the jewel appears and they have to start confronting their problems because the jewel forces these vastly different and unstable and dysfunctional characters to be together and there's a lot of heart-to-heart. I feel there's going to be a lot of episodes and that it's not just going to be "defeat the dragon" and then the story is over. There's of course a big arc like that in each book because there has to be something bigger going on I feel to discovering the history of the jewel but I want it to be slow and the characters and the audience/readers to get to know each other first.

    I said I was going to make this short. I've told you in as little as I could the majority of what this story is. I guess I just don't know what to do other than to write. Maybe I could outline? Like I'm really into Mad Men and kind of want my story to be like that where it's just the characters and their nuances and quirks being what drives the story and not really anything big like a murder-detective series. Like thirteen episodes or something and at then end all the characters have a conclusion to their arcs and the story arc has an ending to and then those will lead to the next season/book/arc. I have all of that figured out.

    I don't want to keep rambling. I'm sure someone has been in this same situation. I need help. Someone to tell me I can do it. I don't know. Maybe some of you have read what I have in the workshop (God, that piece of crap!) and that's really hurting my confidence too because it's not good enough. I don't know. I just don't know. I need encouraging words. I know the story. If I could spill it out of my head it would make sense but when it's on paper it's never right. I hate it. I'm a perfectionist. I want it to be right. I want i to be like in my head. Please. Help make my dream of writing this story come true.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,930
    Likes Received:
    5,466
    A five-book series with fourteen main characters is a really, really big ambition. It's a little bit as if you decided to start your woodcarving career by, oh, carving a full-size cathedral out of one giant tree. In that case, I might suggest that you instead start with, say, a nice little keychain charm. In this case, I would suggest that you try a short story.

    I know that the short story isn't what you want. But if you demand that your writing career start with a masterpiece, you're not likely to progress.
     
  3. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    From what I can see, Drifter, it's been 2 years since you posted your brief paragraph...3 years since you first dreamed up your 5-novel series. You really have drifted!

    As @ChickenFreak says, try a short story, possibly set within your fantasy world and post for critique. Yes, it might hurt, but not as much as getting your magnum opus slammed because it was full of rookie errors that would have been pointed out in a shorter work - and one to which you weren't so committed.

    I know I'm one to talk about prevarication (I would have said I'm the world's worst, but I've come to realise that's not true!) having finally reached 1,700 words on something I started NaNo with, but there's a lot of truth in the saying that writing starts with butt-in-seat.
     
  4. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    It took me about 7 or 8 years to complete my first work, from coming up with the idea to completing the self publishing process, but the bulk of the work was done in the final 8 months.

    The key factor during those 8 months was motivation - I had mentioned the story to someone on another forum and their enthusiasm for it was immense. Once I knew there was an audience for my work in progress, I sat down, looked at all the do's and don'ts, and got it done.

    You need to find your motivation; without it, your work will go unfinished and unread by your intended audience.
     
  5. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,589
    Likes Received:
    5,074
    Why do people think writing is easy?

    Writing is hard. And it's a learned skill. You need to learn to write.

    What you've done so far is daydream, which is fun, but which is also pretty easy and seems to be intuitive for most people. Going from that to writing a seven-book epic? Huge jump.

    Write something shorter and simpler. If you think that's going to be 'wasted time', write it in the same universe as your epic, and then when your big story is ready to go, you can post your short works (assuming you decide any of them are worthy of public review) as promo material. Learn how to structure, how to use words to express all your great ideas, etc. Learn to write. It's not as easy as it seems.
     
    bunbun94, rincewind31 and EdFromNY like this.
  6. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,205
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    You might be experiencing what every newbie writer (like moi) feel. Fear. Fear that your story won't live up to to your expectation. It's natural. Remember, it's the first draft, it's supposed to suck. Write it out and let a trusted beta-reader check it out, and put brief excerpts of it on here for review. Don't worry about it being perfect.

    I'm not sure if it will help any, but try to imagine an audience out there waiting for your book. Maybe they're typing on a to-be forum about when that book's coming out and how excited they are about reading it. See if that gets you motivated.
     
  7. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    You have to begin writing.

    Maybe the notion of outlining...not mega-detailed even, just plot point or important scene or event or bit of dialogue to the next.

    As was said, writing is work, hard at times.

    Hammer out that first draft, of the first of the five books at least. Several things will likely occur:

    --Your story and characters will refine themselves.
    --Your writing will improve (you'll notice this from the first chapter to the last one.
    --You'll have something to work with rather than imagined ideas and characters, something concrete (so to speak).
    --Completing a first draft is a major step, one that usually invigorates writers and helps them continue on the long path.

    And remember: It's a first draft. It's NOT going to be perfect. You're going to edit and revise multiple times, so don't fret over exact wording or dialogue or description or grammar or characterization or foreshadowing, or whatever.

    Get it out, on a word processed file. If you don't your story (stories) will never come to fruition, never be told.
     
  8. sprirj
    Offline

    sprirj Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    158
    First off, forget five books. Concentrate on book number one. Then forget book number one. Concentrate on chapter one. Then forget chapter one, concentrate on paragraph one.

    Commit to writing 500 words a week. See how you go.

    Years down the line, when your brains not as sharp as it used to be and the grandchildren ask "are you really a writer grandad?"
    Are you going to say "yes look at my really long sob story I posted on a writing forum back in the day"

    Or are you going to say " yes, shall I read it to you?"

    And it wouldn't matter if you were published, or if you never completed all five books, but you could inspire just the closest people to you, in that next generation, then confronting your fear has to be worth it right?
     
  9. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,205
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    If it makes you feel better, OP, it's been seven years since I made up that story about the blind Colonial detective. It's also been around that time I thought up of my fantasy story (that I, only now, am just getting started on).

    Start with a stand-alone book, that's what most publishers want anyway. A new author saying they intend this to be a five-book epic saga makes them cringe. Pick bits and pieces of the story that you like and sew them together into a decent stand-alone book. If that book does well, then you can consider talking to your agent about expanding it to more books. But for now, start with that stand-alone book.

    EDIT: More thoughts from me:

    --> Is it possible that on a subconscious level, you don't want to write this story? Over the last few years, I've looked back at my Colonial detective story and realized, 'Hey, none of this really interests me!' In fact, the whole 'historical blind detective' thing sounds more like a gimmick to me than something I find particularly interesting.

    Maybe you feel like you'd be serving yourself better by writing something entirely different and this story is just a waste of time? There's nothing wrong with it being simply imagination, some stories are just meant for that. Write the story you'd want to see on the shelves.

    --> Maybe it's the internal structure of the story? Not enough world-building (my problem)? Too many protagonists? Why don't you combine a few of these protagonists and see what you get? Too many POVs can really hurt you. How do I know this? Because I tried the multiple POVs per chapter with seven characters and the plot pretty much crashed and burned on the spot. Try thinking about the theme of the story and pick out at least one or two characters that you feel can really hammer that theme home.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  10. Aaron Smith
    Offline

    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    401
    Just start writing.

    "On the pedestal under the cloth, there was a jewel..."

    See I wrote that without a thought. It's easy. Just get started and you can create great things. Don't limit yourself to your ideas.
     
    123456789 and Link the Writer like this.
  11. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,334
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    Not bad
     
  12. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,205
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    "...a jewel shaped like a crown with carvings of dragons imprinted under each of the crown's spike. It hummed with a soothing, mysterious melody, so much so that the elders considered it a gift from the gods. Others, however, considered it a curse..."

    Not perfect, but it gets the point across for the first draft. :D Don't let your anxiety limit you.
     
  13. EmptySoul
    Offline

    EmptySoul Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2015
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    83
    Location:
    A coffee shop where it is always 3 am.
    Try writing one scene with just two characters. Then a second - it doesn't have to be the same two. Get an app like Novel Idea to keep the scenes organized then, when you are out of scenes and ideas, start working to organize and connect them. Sometimes the biggest issue we have as writers is that there are so many ideas and visions in our head that they actually clog us up. Start getting the scenes on paper and loosen that clog.
     
  14. Aaron Smith
    Offline

    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    401
    Sarcasm?
     
  15. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,334
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    No, unlike some other guy whom I can't name-but will know who he is because I never respond to him- my sarcasm is crafty. I was being sincere.
     
  16. Aaron Smith
    Offline

    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    401
    I see. There's a lot of different eyes on this site, so you never know.
     
  17. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Seems to me the last thing you need to do is outline. All that is is a different method of procrastinating. If you don't know enough about the story by now to start writing it, chances are you never will.
     
  18. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,205
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    That, or s/he probably needs to just start writing it. Sometimes the story just doesn't reveal itself unless you start. They're tricky like that. My fantasy story didn't really reveal its true plot until I started writing it. In my head it was just a generic 'overthrow the bad people, fight a world war', so imagine how surprised (and pleased) I was when my characters took the story and said, "Nu-uh, this is what our story is really about."
     
  19. drifter265
    Offline

    drifter265 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    38
    So I guess it's been 2-3 weeks since I started this thread. I should let you guys know that I've been reading your replies over and over again over the last three weeks and just knowing that someone is "there" to help me when I need it feels good and so thank you, everyone.

    A lot has happened. I don't really want to go into it because it's not about my story or about writing but in a sentence it's I moved out of my mother's house and went to live in my car in the city where my brother and sisters live and I tried to find a job and couldn't (I'm 23, have an associate's, and unemployed) and it sucks because I felt really alone and didn't have any of the emotional or physical support I was relying on when trying to move out of my mother's house and was hoping to get support while trying to find a new job and not have to stay out of my car. But long story short, I couldn't find a job, living out of my for weeks wasn't working, and I had to go back home but instead of going back to my mom's, I went to my grandmother's and now that's where I am and I don't what I'm going to do. What's saddest of all is three of my uncles (who are in their 40s and 50s) still live here and I'm afraid I'm going to turn out just like them. Who still lives with their mother when they're in their forties?!?!

    I guess while I'm looking for a job, and not getting anything and just filling out job applications, I'm thinking about what I'm doing with my life (no friends, no money, no prospects) and I feel all I have is this story. Thinking about it now and trying to look at it through the perspective of all of you guys reading this and in the context this is, my fantasy story seems pretty cheesy to me at the moment. Like, OF COURSE I'm going to be writing about about characters who are alone and depressed and on the run and find a jewel that symbolizes the happiness they'll never find in their own lives. It's because that's my life and I'm a loser and alone and depressed and so are my characters. What I felt living out of my car was that I was thinking "this is what I was writing that whole time, while my characters were on the run and living in poor areas, this was what it felt like, this is what hopelessness felt like," and so I can feel now that I can relate more to my characters than how I did before I moved out and lived in my car.

    I guess what I'm doing now is just working on book 1 like a poster on here said, forgetting about the other books in the series (even though I'm never going to actually "forget it" because this whole story is so ingrained in my head I wish I could just write it down already). I'm writing an outline and working it like it's a thirteen episode season of a series like on a tv show or something you'd watch. I like the idea because it can give the story structure which I feel is what my story very much might lack - even increments of story beats and well placed plot points. It's helping and I actually discovered my story needed it earlier this year and it made things so much easier. Like dividing each season into four parts - the inciting incident, complication, climax, and resolution - and then four episodes going into each part except the last part which just gets one episode making it thirteen episodes total. This is how I imagine show runners outline their own tv shows since most shows now get thirteen episodes per season? When I first did this it was four episodes per each part totaling 16 episodes and while I was working on the last part and the last four episodes I felt how much of a waste of time I was doing working on just the resolution and giving so much energy to something that should just be "wrapped up quickly" that I decided to just mince it down into one episode instead and I came to the thirteen episodes completely by accident and then put the tv series and my story structure and kind of just "ohhh" that's why they do that. So it was pretty to come to that on my own and not read it somewhere.

    I guess that's all I have right now. I'll come back later or make another post or something. I felt I just had to get this out, explain my thoughts. I'm going to keep working on my outline and then expand it when it's done (like the snowflake method) and I think that's how it will work best that way my story will be tightly-plotted and not ever wandering or that I'll always know where it's going and so can write faster. I don't know it's just what I'm thinking right now. Thanks guys. Just having this medium to express my thoughts on is helpful enough whether or not anyone reads this or responds to it. :) Thank God for the internet, helping us social anxiety people find an outlet.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,602
    Likes Received:
    5,875
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    You start by writing one paragraph at a time. It can't become right without getting down on the page.

    Write, learn, edit, repeat.
     
    Rhys likes this.

Share This Page