1. K.C.
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    K.C. New Member

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    Staying on subject.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by K.C., Mar 8, 2015.

    I have a terrible time with this. I jump from one novel to the next. I will write two chapters in on and immediately write two in another. Also, I tend to re-write everything I wrote because I second guess myself . Anyone else have these problems?
     
  2. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as you don't have your characters in one book waking up in the bedrooms of those in the other . . .
     
  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I find it difficult to focus my attention on one thing at a time. So I tend to outline my entire book, and when I get bored of one section I just jump to a more interesting chapter and work on that instead.
     
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  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That would actually be interesting. I could see it now:

    Character A: Holy Crap! Where the hell am I!?

    Character B: You're in xyz.

    Character A: Xyz!? I've never-never even heard of the place!

    And thus the story of characters from Story A questing to return Character B back to Story B begins.
     
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  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    On the second guessing yourself topic. While it is good to have high standards don't expect your first draft to be gold. Also don't stand next to it until it is done. It is good to press on and go forward even if you know that first or 5oth draft isn't done yet. As you write more you will gain expirence that will help you revise those early chapters later on. Also you need to step away from them sometimes to really seem them more clearly.

    Well on the changing topic concept. I don't think that is a large problem and it is common enough. It depends. If you have 2,000 stories all with a chapter 01 on draft 30 but none have a chapter two? That is bad. Writing for me tends to work off a muse. A moment when I feel it. If I am not feeling one story I will switch. I will see if another captures me at the moment. I probably got about 5 - 10 different story lines that have my attensions right now.

    Remember, unless you are doing this for work. Have fun. Don't let the desire to be perfect or done spoil it. Becaue this right now. Writing, the process. That is what you need to love. If not there is no reason to pursue this. Know what I mean?
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you making progress? If so, don't worry about it. If not, time to work on one and only one until you finish it. Period. Otherwise you'll end up with a lot of unfinished pages and "I wish I had ...".
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Lots of people work on more than one story at the same time. As long as all the stories (or most of them) eventually get finished, there is nothing to worry about.

    The only problem with this approach—which doesn't seem to be a problem for you—is starting umpteen stories and then walking away if they start to bore you. If they start to bore you, then make them more interesting. Do something unexpected, and see where that takes you. If you need more time to think your way through a story problem, though, by all means take it.

    I do not subscribe to the popular notion that you can always write your way out of problems. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a little break. Take a break and wait for that 'eureka' moment when the story problem solves itself ...which it will, if you keep thinking about it in your spare time, etc. You don't need to keep plodding on, writing 500 words a day of pure drivel till you get there. Don't be afraid of taking an actual break. If the break means you work on something else for a while, then at least you're writing, and keeping the writing habit going.

    However, like @GuardianWynn suggested, don't spend too much time editing and re-editing a chapter until you have finished the entire story. That kind of perfection quest can keep you from moving forward. Do your best, do a quick edit, then move on. Save the persnickety editing till you have the whole story in front of you, and can shape it accurately into what you want it to say.

    Good luck, and do have fun!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  8. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having a strong mental image of the plot and stream of action helps me stay on track, much like watching a good TV show or film. I am driven to see the next scene and to see the plot move on. If I am bored then there is something very wrong indeed with my work and conceptualisation.

    A strong vision of the flow of the story also prevents second guessing. Every scene and conversation is another stream flowing into the main river of the novel which flows inexorably towards to climax and the end.
     
  9. K.C.
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    K.C. New Member

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    Thank you all for your replies. This has all been encouraging to the fact that I am where I need to be.
     
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  10. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    :D That's a fantasy novel I might be willing to write!
     
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  11. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    That's a bad habit IMO

    I think you don't allow yourself to learn if you keep jumping
     
  12. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I sort of agree. My thinking on this matter is still very incomplete, so take it with a molecule of sodium chloride.

    For myself, I treat writing like any skill, where each faucet contributes to the whole, but each can only be measured in the whole. Don't get me wrong, practice is good, but you really know what needs work when you're looking at a finished piece of shit, instead twenty little shits. For example, ask anyone here to write a scene, standard, conflict etc etc—they'll probably do a pretty good job; they've done it before, and they can do it again, they're competent scene writers. Ask them to write a novel... well, few people have seen any end to that journey, so how will they make it this time? They haven't survived every high and every low, because they haven't seen the last page (myself included). I'm obviously not speaking for everyone here.

    Take sewing, as a hastily-not-well-thought-out metaphor: I want to learn how to tailor. Specifically, I want to make some really sexy pants. As I learn stitching patterns and tricks, practicing with little bags and socks, I need milestones. I need to set out to make full sets of shitty pants as I progress, so I can take stock, learn, practice more, and eventually return to make another shitty pair. That way, I'm measuring and practicing the whole damn thing, instead of parts that I can't guarantee are improving.

    A problem I see is people trying to make the sexy pants first, without practicing the basics. So they get frustrated with their current WIP of sexy pants, and decide that a sexy shirt would be way more interesting to sew. But they haven't even learned how to make a shitty pair of pants yet.

    To bring it back to the topic, I often got stuck on serious projects by plotholes and inconsistent characters, and gave up as a result. I need to learn how to massage those things better. Being more skilled at small things like characterization and large things like overall character arcs is something I can only effectively practice by writing complete stories that I will NOT publish. Getting 2k words into five projects isn't going to help me get any better at handling true characters, beginning to end.

    To sum up this poorly articulated ramble for the OP: You're not doing how I would do it based on where I am (of course, that in no way means you're doing it wrong).
     
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  13. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    You could work with that. I remember reading a story called the Daydreamer when I was younger... it's a bit vague but the story follows one boy's daydreams so the book is always changing topics. You could do something with same concept of constantly switching topics, but it would have to make sense why it's constantly changing.
     
  14. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plugging plot holes can be fun, if you can use the material of the story to patch the hole with. To use your metaphor, in writing, the "shitty" pair of pants can be reworked into some fine sexy ones. It's just a matter of realizing the possibilities-- and oh, yeah, finishing the shitty ones in the first place.
     
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