1. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    What do you do when you don't want to continue writing the scene you are writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Drusilla, Jul 9, 2013.

    What do you do when you don't want to continue writing the scene you are writing? Do you force yourself through it or just jump forward, thinking that you will fill in a "bridge" between this scene and the next scene later on? How chronologically do you write?

    I have a problem right now. I am writing a scene, but I feel kinda stuck on it. I want to jump forwards in the story or maybe take a break from that scene, but I feel bad about it. Right now, I don't feel encouraged to write more on that scene.
     
  2. Rimuel
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    Rimuel Member

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    You work on some other project for a short while (a few hours to two weeks), then come back to it.
     
  3. Logik
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    Logik Member

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    I don't think there's a reason to force myself to write linearly just because that seems like the 'proper' way to do it. So if I'm stuck I usually go fowards and sometimes the next scene comes very easily, and may even change the scene before it. And when I go back it's usually easier to write the scene where I got stuck.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Skip it. Write the next scene. Come back to it later and decide if you want it or not.

    That's my method.
     
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  5. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Writing a novel is a huge project and it is unreasonable to think that you will write your first draft exactly as the way it'll be published. Even if you write perfect scenes in perfect chronological order now it might not be so perfect after you have completed the whole first draft because it is very likely that you will make minor/major changes in your original plot. So, you might have to make changes in the scenes and the timeline. Complete the scene you are writing if you can, if not there is not a problem to write some other scene. "I feel bad" is a non-reason, seriously.
     
  6. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    If you don't want to write it, you should probably sit back and decide whether you actually need it in the story. If the scene is boring you when you write it, the scene will probably bore the readers when they read it.
     
  7. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    Think about it like this: if you finish everything else in the story first and that one scene is the only part you're struggling with, you're already gone pretty far. If things go really bad, you could lose interest in the whole project because of that scene. Don't force yourself to write that scene now. Our subconscious is constantly working, even in our sleep, and that scene could come to you when you least expect it. For a long time I had this habit of polishing and perfecting every scene and every sentence and it can be really frustrating. It really helped me write after I admitted that not every part of the project will be pure genius. Some parts simply do their function by moving the plot forward. I don't know if that is why you're struggling with your scene, but if it is, think about how even great writers write some parts that simply advance the plot and are in no way brilliant on their own.
     
  8. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    I always write chronologically. If something's giving me a fit, I take a break, or switch to a different project.

    Different authors have different methods though, so there's nothing wrong with jumping forward. You could hold off and wait till the editing stage to get back to it even.
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    This has always worked well for me.
     
  10. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    ^ bingo.

    It is not how I do it, but if you get stuck, move on. You'll find it when you come back on the re-write and by then your brain will be all ready to do what you need to to make it right. Sometimes I leave things half-written and then come back and mop up the mess later.

    You know how, when you are cooking or doing a project, you don't clean up as you go, but rather clean up the whole mess at the very end? The scene you are stuck on is that place where you spilled glitter, on the carpet, while scrap-booking. The glitter isn't going anywhere. Leave it alone until it's clean-up time then make the inside of your editing vacuum all festive, for a little while!

    Then, as a celebration, you can go see if Costco sells glitter in five gallon buckets yet. Nothing says you had a "done with the writing" party quite like fifty pounds of glitter all over the neighborhood.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes, skipping ahead is the only way to keep from losing forward momentum, but it does have its disadvantages. Character development and plot development are processes that interact with one another. That is, the way in which the plot unfolds will influence, however subtly, the development of your characters (and vice versa). So, if you are at point A, are struggling to get to point B and skip ahead to point C, you may well get past the point at which you are stuck but you may also find that when you go back to A and write your way to B, it becomes more difficult to get from B to C (because one or more characters are a little different at C now than they were when you skipped ahead).

    Not saying not to do it, just understand that it may not be as simple as just skipping ahead.

    Good luck.
     
  12. CyberFD
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    CyberFD Member

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    I know that if I had the discipline, I would totally write out of chronological order and just write out the scenes I want first. I know that I will wind up not going back to the spaces in my story and it will wind up being another unfinished project. You have to make sure that you WILL go back and fill in the blanks. If you can't trust yourself to do that (which I don't trust myself to do) then I would say you should just keep trying the scene you are on. If you know you'll go back then I see no problem with writing out of order.
     
  13. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you don't feel inspired to write that scene, change it so that it does inspire you, because chances are that if you don't enjoy it, your reader's won't either. To me, one of the most important things is to always be inspired by what I write, so if that inspiration disappears, there's something wrong with what I'm writing. I need to figure out what the problem is and solve it before I move on since the scene might have consequences on the rest of the story and skipping it might cause bigger problems later on. But that's just how I do it; not the way, just a way.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just me, of course, but if I'm having trouble with a scene, I have to figure out why. Is it needed at all? Am I writing from the wrong POV? Is there too little actually happening (too introspective, too much dialogue)? What makes it difficult for me to write?!? Until I figure it out, I can't move forward - something in that scene may affect the way the rest of the story goes. And if I can continue the story without "fixing" that scene, it probably means I didn't need it to begin with.

    Bear in mind, I write without outline and revise as I go, so it's all linear and I have to know what's already happened before I know what can happen.
     
  15. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write it. It may not be the best, but it allows me to move forward. I can (and will) go back and edit/revise/improve it, but having it finished offers the framework to move on, and it's easier for me to mull over and figure on what needs fixing, if anything in that scene/section.

    But what works for me might not work for you. Good luck moving forward!
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    In my current project, I was well into a chapter, and struggling, when I realized that the entire chapter was from the wrong POV. I did something I've never done before - went back and revised my outline, then started the chapter from scratch. I didn't even copy and paste from what was already done. I wanted a completely fresh perspective. Now, I'm rolling again.

    This leads me to another thought, reflecting back on similar previous discussions on this forum. Regardless of how one writes, there seems to be an expectation that once a project is started, continuing the forward momentum requires the writer to keep writing...something. But in my current project, I have come to understand that "forward momentum" exists on many different levels. The basic storyline was written and outlined over a year ago, after much background reading had been done. Since then, I've written three historical chapters and the entire "present day" story. And yet I have stopped and redone the outline twice, with other revisions in between, stopped to create a geneology chart, assemble maps, update character lists and with each major historical event that serves as background to my story, I've stopped to go back and reread the materials I have on them, recheck my notes and do one last 'net search to see if there is anything I've missed (especially important with any historical figures who appear in the novel). Of course, each time I resume the actual writing, I have to "read my way back" to a certain extent, and at such times I have to resist the temptation to edit. All of those might be seen as interruptions in the writing process, but I see them more as integral parts of it.
     
  17. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    I find that once I consider a chapter "stuck" it is best to move on to other parts of the whole. A day or a week later that set aside part gets a fresh eye and much revision. I often rework a 3000 word chapter a dozen times, and it usually winds up as 1000.

    Writing a novel is like building a house. First the blueprint, then the foundation, frame, and roof. The rooms then get walls and floors, plumbing and electric before the paint and carpeting goes on. Since you are doing all of these tasks, you need to move from room to room, until the house is ready for occupation.

    Sorry if this sounds a bit like Jerzy Kosinski's "Being There"!
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You bring up a good point. I think too many times we confuse "keep the manuscript progressing" with "keep writing". If doing the "extraneous work" is what's needed to keep the story moving toward completion, then that's what you need to be doing.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First decide if the scene is even necessary. If it serves no purpose, dump it. If it does serve a purpose, can that purpose be served another way, I agree with T. Trian, that if you can' get into the scene, the readers are not likely to either. Your passion, or lack thereof, bleeds through.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm not having this draw back but maybe it's because I'm learning so much along with the story. Last night and today I went back to an earlier scene that I had written to make something else work. But I felt like the scene was boring so I just moved on. Then it came to me how I could reveal something important to the story in that scene and make it interesting at the same time. Eureka! Now it's a fun scene (I think so) and has one of those hooks it ends with: what did they read in Alia's journal? Stay tuned to find out. :p
     
  21. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    I'd go ahead and force myself through, trying to make myself enjoy it in the process.
     

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