1. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    suddenly feeling dispirited half way through

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by vinniram, Feb 14, 2010.

    I've been working on one project for about a month now. It's a mystery novel set in Hong Kong, and it involves a man who was posted there by his employers. After a while, he gets dragged into solving a murder, because his unintentional misinformation has allowed a corrupt policeman to arrest a boy of a murder when really the true culprit has yet to be caught. He decides he has to solve it in order to free the boy.

    All was going well as I was writing this novel. I got to 50,000 words and things were going fine. My worries about length were diminishing fast. I hit a big chapter in which my MC decided to actually start investigating the murder (this is at about 50,000 words in) after a lot of building up has occured.

    However, now that I'm at about 55,000 words, I'm starting to feel really dispirited about my idea. I get thoughts like:

    How unrealistic is my idea?
    The pacing is all off.
    My characters are unbelievable.
    There is too much coincidence - (there is a whole subplot which develops which relates to my MC's employer, which the reader is led to believe relates to the murder, but which in reality occurs for entirely different reasons.)

    These thoughts are starting to fill my head. It reminds me of other times when I've tried to write and suddenly I feel my idea to be stale and unworkable. I believe that I will be able to push through to the end of my novel, but there will be so many plot holes and flaws and the prose will most likely be terrible.

    I want to push through, but what went from a rush of creativity and excitement now feels like a horrible bog of boring reading in which I'm so unsure whether I'm pacing things too fast or too slow.

    It's driving me crazy.

    If anyone out there has any similar stories of total dissatisfaction which suddenly develops, or inspiring words, or anything, please do tell. I just really want to be able to push through, but maybe I need to take a break...
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't comment on all those thoughts, but when it comes to believability, I have one philosophy. If you believe it, they'll believe it.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Try providing good reasons as to why such and such happens or why this character does one thing instead of another. Bottom line is that if you make it believable, then your readers will [most likely] believe it.

    That's just something you need to work on. Try reading and studying some other books and see how those authors handle pace.

    How so?

    That shouldn't really be much of an issue. There are several books that have major coincidences (the most famous example being Les Miserables).

    My advice is to just keep writing. You can always go back and revise later.
     
  4. thinking
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    thinking Member

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    This may be a strange question, but did you plot your novel beforehand?

    I know a lot of people hate plotting, but it's the only thing that keeps me going, especially when I get stuck. If you haven't plotted, then go through what you've done so far and summarize it in a few paragraphs, or a few pages. This will probably take some time, but don't sweat it. However long it takes, it will be worth it down the road. From there, I would try to come up with an end for the story, and write it out in a few more paragraphs. You don't have to go crazy, but knowing where you're going can give you the motivation to get there.

    This also helps you realize all the plot holes and inconsistencies. It'll help you figure out exactly what's wrong and how to fix it. Putting things on paper really helps clear up what's going on; it can seem like a huge jumble when you try to keep it all in your head.

    Finally, once you've got it figured out, and you know what's wrong with what you've written, STOP! DON'T change a thing you've written. Ignore the inconsistencies and the plot holes, and just keep going as if they didn't exist. If you start revising now, it'll kill your chances of finishing.

    I think most writers suffer from a slump in motivation once the hit the middle of the novel. I did the same thing. I think it's because you just run out of "good" ideas. Plotting it out really helped me. I sat down one night and wrote out the scenes that needed to happen. As soon as I was done, my energy came back, because I knew where I was going. That is my best advice to you; take it for what it's worth.

    Another thing; thoughts of inadequacy are par for the course. There's no way to avoid them. Everyone thinks his writing stinks at some point. I do it all the time. Don't focus on it, not until you've finished your first draft. Just keep going. One you're done you can go back and cut everything to bits, but don't let yourself do it now.

    For the record, I think the novel sounds cool!
     
  5. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Just keep writing is my advice to you. It's your first draft, it probably won't look pretty. If you really feel negative, you can just re-write it from now, or you can wait until this draft is over and re-write it. All in all, just write.
     
  6. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    thanks for the advice everyone

    @ thinking:

    I started the novel without an outline, but about 20,000 words in I outlined to about the 3/4 mark. But I've veered away from my outline a bit, so I'm gonna redo it I think.

    Thanks for that advice of going through and summarizing what's happened so far. I know doing that will help straighten my thinking out, cause at the moment I have trouble remembering when things happened before. And thanks for the vouch of confidence ;)
     
  7. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I second the motion that you should just keep writing. Sure, you might double-check the direction the plot is about to head toward, but as long as you keep writing until you are done, you can revise and fix holes or errors at your leisure.

    If you stop now, the odds are good you'll stay discouraged. Just finish the novel, then re-think and re-write.
     
  8. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I think it's normal to get discouraged at some point. I had a couple of instances where I either doubted myself, or had just lack of motivation. My advice is agaisnt the grain. What helped me was to step back and stop writing for a while. I went a month or two here and there and didn't write anything. I just thought it through and relaxed and then I was filled with all of this creativity and eventually I was complete. It took me eleven months to write my novel though, so if your on a time crunch and don't want to dedicate that amount of time to one story, then I understand the need to try and just write through it. But stepping away for a while really helps clear your mind and come back to the story fresh.
     
  9. thinking
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    thinking Member

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    @ Vinneram

    no problem!
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Vinniram, sometimes in life there is no quick fix. You have to build up your toughness, and, like muscles, toughness requires work to grow. Don't expect sad tales from other people to bolster your own resolve. Don't seek tricks or ideas from some other writer's imagination. Get to work. Nobody ever promised that writing would be easy. It's work...that's why so few ever become successful. Good luck.
     
  11. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    What you say is true NaCL. But I'm glad I did post here - that advice I got from 'thinking' to go through and summarize scene-by-scene what has happened so far is really what I needed - now I feel I have the drive and direction to continue.

    Trust me - I know there ain't no quick fixes in life... I almost gave up writing once because of things going on in my life which I thought I would never be able to get past, and it's only after four years I decided to give it a go again after finding a more peaceful space. But this time, I'm not giving up. I'm going to finish this novel. In fact, I'm going to open Microsoft Word right this second. Thanks for the advice.
     
  12. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    I'm glad to hear that you broke your block vinniram. I have to agree with NaCl on the topic too, however, that sometimes you just have to force your way through to see the end.

    Caleb
     

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