1. PurpleCao
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    PurpleCao Member

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    Stopping yourself sidetracking

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PurpleCao, Jul 13, 2010.

    How on EARTH does one keep their brain on track?
    I started plotting out a 'world map' for a fantasy story. Basic things, lay of the land and whatnot. Basic information on cities, inhabitants, races...
    Until I created this massive area, a battlefield from ages past, preserved by magics as it was. A field of strife, covered in the ornate armoured corpses of those that fought. A mysterious land that no one remembers. Who fought? Why? Who won? What RACES were involved? All of these slipped into obscurity when many races outlawed magics. It's just a zone where the heavy use of magics stops the dead from staying dead. A cursed and dangerous land few dare to cross through, and instead spend weeks to travel around.

    It was just going to be mentioned in passing. But the more I started filling in the edges of my map, the more my eyes darted back to this central location. I envision some of the armours. Still-standing bodies, spears held in defense, sword through the chest.. almost a statue to the past war. I know i'd like to write a story here, but it really doesn't help me write my CURRENT story getting sidetracked about it.

    How do you keep your mind where it's meant to be?
     
  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do I keep my mind where it's meant to be? I'll explain my philosophy very simply regarding this one...

    Hell, where did I put that shopping list...? ;)
     
  3. Writing.Geek.
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    Writing.Geek. Member

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    I have no idea how to keep it on track.

    I always say (Every day) 'Oh, I'm going to write today.', and I plan me writing...but, some days, I never do, because I get sidetracked by the internet. OR I have my story opened, and I'm working on it, but I also have the internet opened, so I go on that instead. I HATE it!

    Especially since I love writing. But, it seems like I can never keep my mind on track while I do.
     
  4. OvershadowedGuy
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    OvershadowedGuy Member

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    Perhaps you shouldn't.
     
  5. roseberryse
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    I'd have to say I agree. If you keep sidetracking, perhaps the better story lies with where your mind wants to go rather than where you're telling it to be.
     
  6. jodysparks
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    jodysparks New Member

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    It's so easy to get sidetracked! I'm a pantser. I can't deal with outlining things, and I tend to then wander around in my plot, over-describe my setting, etc. I used a great semi-outline process to help me keep on track. I found it on C.J. Omololu's blog. She found it on the Verla Kay blue board, another writing forum.

    It's like building a tic tac toe board. When you fill in the squares with plot points, then you see how all information in the squares connect. That way you stay see when you're beginning to get side-tracked.

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I can't help myself but be sidetracked; it actually helps my writing in a big way :)
     
  8. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just let myself be sidetracked, open up a separate text file where I write down the ideas for the new story, and return to the old one when I'm out of inspiration.
     
  9. PurpleCao
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    PurpleCao Member

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    Ordinarily, i'd agree that the better story lies where i am focussing. However, I want to create a fantasy world before I kick the bucket, and focussing on an aspect of it's past, no matter how compelling, won't help me with that. I'm not sure I could dual-write the stories simultaneously, either.
     
  10. Herl
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    Herl Member

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    but let me tell you that many writers of big fictional worlds, specially sci-fi, started writing short stories that probably were born out of their mind sidetracking.

    Trust me, if your mind is wandering off, and it doesn't happen regularly, it's for a reason, go with your instincts for a change and see what happens.

    Perhaps if you write a short story about that place that is intriguing you so much, you can just let it all out and then write what you want to. It's just like any other thing about living, you have to please your body and subconscious on their "needs", otherwise they won't let you live.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    PurpleCao, I have no clue why you seem to think there's a problem.

    For my first novel (which right now exists in first-draft form), I created an elaborate fantasy world, a great deal of which is not and never will be in the story. It's just part of the background. It never occurred to me that I was wasting my time in creating it; it never occurred to me that I should focus only on the aspects of the world that pertained directly to the story I was working on at the time. It made the world richer in my imagination, and therefore gave me more confidence as I was writing.

    Your imagination is working on your fantasy. Isn't that what you want? Doesn't that feed your writing? It sounds like you're complaining that you have too many ideas, too much material to write about. How could any writer complain about that?
     
  12. effy
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    effy New Member

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    This is exactly what I've been doing. I should probably get off the internet right now :)
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have a separate laptop for writing. It's very old and has no internet connection, so if I'm working on it, I can't be online.

    I'm only wasting time when I'm using THIS laptop, doing the kind of thing I'm doing right now ... :redface:
     
  14. Herl
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    Herl Member

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    brightest idea ever
     
  15. Fantasy of You
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    Fantasy of You Banned

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    You should use a typewriter.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Typewriters cost millions of dollars and can only be found in museums.
     
  17. thewordsmith
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    Haaaa hahahahahaha haaaa haha. Zackly!
    How do I keep from getting sidetracked? If I knew that, would I be here writing this post?

    Really? Then I must be fabulously wealthy and didn't know it! I collect old, and I mean REEEEEALLY old typewriters, some dating as far back as a 1912 Oliver with the key bars looking like myriad little St. Louis arches arranged to right and left of center. I once had radiowriter (used only large and small caps) from the 1920's. Somewhere in moving from one place to another it was misplaced and I haven't been able to find another anywhere. And I'm holding out for one of the early non-qwerty keyboard types. (There were numerous experiments with key placements in the early days of typewriters.) Now one of those probably would cost a cool million. And, just as a 'Did you know?' afternote: In the earliest days of the mechanical age, a typewriter was consider far too complex a machine for a 'delicate' woman to handle and so all secretaries were men!
     
  18. BlueWolf
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    I guess it all depends, doesn't it?

    The more background you write, the more this World will come alive and help with the story, even if many of these things do not end up in the book, or a simple passing reference to them.

    However, if all your time is being taken up with what has gone on before, and none actually spent on the book itself, you will never get anywhere - because it sounds more like a RPG world for role-playing enthusiasts, who make up their own stories based on the history and so on.
     

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