1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    The Frustrating First Time

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Killer300, Jan 15, 2012.

    Specifically, I'm trying to write a novel for the first time and... so far things aren't going well to say the least.

    Namely, I can't seem to begin the thing. I have a cool scene from... somewhere within it, but no idea how the story gets there, or when it does. The setting is still mostly up in the air, with the only thing for sure is how magic works in the universe, and the main character's characterization is ever changing. Hell, how the main character enters the plot is changing.

    I bring all this up to ask about other people's first time writing a novel, and one with a really bizarre concept(mine does, a little too much perhaps). Was it this frustrating at the beginning? Or did it flow for you?
    Additionally, are their ideas that just won't work in novel form?
     
  2. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    I'm on my third attempt to write a novel. I've never had a problem writing beginnings; it's the middle that has always seemed to trip me up.
     
  3. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I wrote the whole thing with relative ease, then realized it wasn't salable, and trashed the whole thing and started over.

    It actually wasn't frustrating, because I got the practice version down. When it was time to write the real thing, it was that much easier, because I had a better idea of what worked and what didn't. Just knowing the first thing you bang out doesn't have to be brilliant can be freeing.

    I can't think of any ideas that won't work in novel form offhand. Really, just about any idea can work if you know how to work it.
     
  4. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Yeah. I think it's my inexperience with the novel form, in combination with taking on an idea that... perhaps I'm not ready to write yet. I don't know though.
     
  5. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I started from the inspiration of a scene that ended up taking place in chapter 8. How I got there was asking myself questions: who are these people? How did they come to be here? What is their relationship to one another? What might happen next?

    The main thing that helped me develop the plot was figuring out the characters' backstory, but my plots are very character driven, so it might not work for you. Your plot might be generated by figuring out the world, the political landscape, the social mechanics of your society. It also helps to try and decide what kind of story you're trying to write - fantasy quest? Hero's journey? What kind of conflict is your character going to face?

    Just keep asking yourself questions and more questions.
     
  6. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    i'm writing my first novel, and the end is really frustrating me, but i know the story get's better everyday i write. just start writing the plot. you've got a scene. that's good. start there. see where it ends. see if you need something more before. and write it. good luck
     
  7. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hmm. Thanks guys, I think I'll just go from the scene, and see where it takes me. That's probably the best approach for now.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it just flowed for me, from the first moment the idea for the novel came to me more or less unbidden...

    and there's virtually no idea that can't be turned into a novel by a writer with skill and imagination...
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually develop the idea in my head for quite some time before I start writing it down. It usually begins with a character in some kind of situation, and then I follow that thought, asking questions about it and the characters to get an idea of the story (it's also a good way of finding out if what I have is really novel-material or just an interesting thought. Not all ideas can turn into novels.) I use to know where the story starts right from the beginning of this thought process, it comes with the story idea, but that doesn't mean my beginnings are always good, I often have to cut down quite a lot of it when rewriting, but I don't see that as a problem, if it helps me write the story but serves no purpose for reading it then why should I keep it?
     
  10. Cosmic Latte
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    Cosmic Latte Member

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    My favorite advise on this was my husband weekly (daily???) yelling at me a quote from Finding Forester: "Just Punch the Keys!!!"

    It worked. Six months later I had a finished first draft.

    I'll also have that quote ingrained in my memory forever...
     
  11. cari_za
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    cari_za Member

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    I'm sort of on a similar point. I've written a bunch of short stories, but now I want to put together something bigger. And I'm nervous about how I'll make anything beyond 5 pages seem interesting enough.

    Anyway, I want to pass on this blog post: http://www.austinkleon.com/2011/03/30/how-to-steal-like-an-artist-and-9-other-things-nobody-told-me/

    It really inspired me to keep going. Hope it inspires you too :)
     
  12. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    I always struggle with describing odd weaponry and armor, and staying in one perspective...

    Typically you start the story off with the main character, but why don't you find a creative way to introduce the world first? Perhaps have a conversation between mages that helps introduce the plot?
     
  13. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    For now actually, I've decided to go ahead and use a... interesting scene to start things off.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is usually a good plan.
     
  15. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I know there are mixed opinions about writing books but I'd suggest spending sometime with a good writing book about plot. You'll probably find that some of it will totally not work for you but some of it will be useful.

    When I'm stuck I try to decide what is keeping me from moving forward (in your case it sounds like plot) and I read articles on the subject, books, whatever I can get my hands on. It doesn't take long for me to feel inspired and know exactly how to move forward.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    killer... from the trouble you say you're having with writing, i have to guess you're not doing enough READing...

    if you don't read well [and constantly], you can't learn how to write well...

    since you want to write a novel, how many novels do you read per month?... how many have you read in the past year?

    what kinds of novels do you read?... what kind of a novel do you want to write?

    what authors do you read?... how much fiction reading have you been doing ever since you learned how to read?
     
  17. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I actually do read a fair amount of novels... but to be fair in bursts, and not in the right genre(writing Fantasy while reading Sci-Fi can be kind of awkward.)
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    then you should start reading lots of the best examples of the genre you want to write... and not just 'in bursts'...

    could you build a car if you hadn't spent a lot of time studying all the parts and how they fit together?
     
  19. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hmm, very true. But hey, this project has been a great learning experience regardless now, as it's starting to come together, although quite bizarrely. Thanks though.
     

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