1. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    Sticking to a Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TheDarkWriter, Jan 31, 2013.

    I keep having trouble staying on on one story. I keep coming up with different ideas and jumping from one project to another. How can I stay on track with a story? Does anyone else have this problem?
     
  2. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    Collecting ideas is the most success I've had in my writing journey. I'm never at a loss for plots or characters or anything else. Unfortunately, I've never actually finished anything aside from short stories. Like you, I can't keep myself focused on one and am constantly making another new document on my computer, which will eventually be lumped into the group of other unfinished manuscripts.

    I'd love to see what advice people have as well.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think the only solution to this is discipline. Write down your other ideas, but don't work on them until you're finished with your current project.
     
  4. Caesari
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    Caesari Member

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    I have this issue, and it usually happens when I come to a "lull" in my stories. When the plot slows its pace, it is hard for me to keep interest, so I always try to work on something during that time that will add intrigue for me to the storyline.

    Storylines must speed up and slow down. So when it slows down, I force myself to write the parts that seem boring to me, and then I go back and try to "spice them up." If I am bored with them, so will the reader.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agreed. If you have any dreams/hopes of being published, finishing is the only way you'll achieve it.
     
  6. wavodavo
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    wavodavo Member

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    With respect, TheDarkWriter, what you're describing might be avoidance of the harder work of writing a story.

    I use my iphone voice memo feature to record other ideas that pop in my head while writing a story. This usually happens as my feet are pressing the floor and my rear is rising off the chair...a sign I'm about to bolt.

    I recognize that ideas flooding in and my desire to leave are signs I'm at a tough part of the piece. What it really needs is for me to knuckle down and find my way through whatever is stopping me. Usually for me it is a decision point in the plot. I have to choose where to go next storywise.

    I force myself to sit there and write short sentences of possible ways to move ahead. Most of the time one of the sentences appeals to me and spurs me to forge ahead with the story.

    I agree with the other writers here. Make a pact with yourself to complete what you start. Check out your other ideas later.
     
  7. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    I've been guilty of multi-projecting to procrastinate and still am to a degree.

    Currently I'm trying to focus on just one project. The trick is to say that if you were forced to burn every draft you were currently working on except one, which would it be? Start with the ones you're bored of and work your way up.

    The odds are, there's one that really means more to you than any of the others. Get to work.
     
  8. AchiraC
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    AchiraC Member

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    Oh, very familiar indeed! The things that pop into my head fall into two categories: little, random snippets and actual advancements for other projects, usually in the form of a scene. I write both down, otherwise I might forget a perfectly good idea.

    The first are easy: one big document with all those random little things. I look at them from time to time to see if I could fit something in my story.

    The second are evil. They are begging for you to write them down. Completely. Easily stealing an hour of your time. Evil.

    I deal with those evil ones by having multiple projects in the software I use to write. It gives you the opportunity to add a description/summary to a scene. There I write the idea down in as little words as possible to be able to remember the whole idea in the future.

    I also confess to working on more than one project. I have one main story, that eats up the brunt of my allotted writing time. Then there is the related, possible sequel. I don't really write that, but I work on the story and - most importantly - the setting. I need to, otherwise the setting in my main story isn't finished either. I also have a few completely unrelated projects that I like to open when I've hit a wall in my main one. I find it helps to shift my focus every now and then to keep myself interested in the arduous process that is putting words to paper. Also, when I hit that proverbial wall, I may need a few days to figure out how to tear it down. Not writing would be one option, but I like the other one better: write something else.

    This process takes discipline. I used to write whatever struck my fancy on that day, but that was not very successful. Considering I was still growing up at the time, I think it was very understandable. Now, 'all grown up', I know I need to do the hard part too, if I actually want to finish the whole story. And since I want that very much, I tell myself to practice discipline. I still slip, but I'm only human, right?
     
  9. swifteye12
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    swifteye12 New Member

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    I actually see nothing wrong with working on multiple projects simultaneously, but I see where this could become a problem. I don't have that many different ideas (at least not formed enough to begin writing), so the most I'll do is write in a large Scrivener document where I can bounce around from story to story if I'm blocked on one. Sometimes this helps me to figure out what's holding me up on another of the stories.

    Of course, this isn't always the best method for everyone. Basic discipline perhaps. Or maybe you don't love your story as much as you want to--brainstorm and see if there isn't a better plot or a more intriguing twist or character that you can implement to help you love your story even more.

    But then I'm the person who's had a story in the works for 7 years, so I'm not necessarily the best to listen to when it comes to focus.
     
  10. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no way I stay on track. If my story truly interests me to the point where I can't stop thinking about it, I stick with it.
     

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