1. Annihilation
    Offline

    Annihilation Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona

    What does it mean when you're having trouble writing story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Annihilation, Dec 2, 2014.

    Right now, I'm having a hard time creating a form and just telling the story. Lately actually, I've been writing but end up deleting it and starting over then deleting it again and now I'm starting fresh again.

    It seems like I'm having trouble being creative. Or maybe it's this certain plot I came up with because I want this story to be good. I don't want to just write anything.

    Any tips on what I should do?
     
  2. Lae
    Offline

    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    UK
    should be a million posts & threads on here and the internet about writers block. I'm not so sure it exists but not being able to come up with something to start you off is a common problem. I worked around my problem by reading the stuff that inspires me, that gave me some ideas and a feeling for how it should flow then it just snowballed from there. It's easier once you start.

    Also try not to put pressure on yourself by trying to get it perfect first time, that's just not going to happen. Get it on paper first then rework.
     
  3. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    Research and/or plot development often help me. I like to develop my plot until I intricately know what will happen in each chapter, I can then jump around my piece and expand the parts that grab my attention at that moment. This is made easier by virtue of the fact I generally jump between several protagonists/ antagonists (well three usually) from chapter to chapter.

    I find when I become bored that there is usually something lacking in my plot or my characters that requires further development.
     
  4. Commandante Lemming
    Offline

    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    1,000
    Maybe give it some time and let it marinate.

    Also maybe stop deleting stuff you think is bad. Give yourself permission to write badly - your readers may disagree with you on quality - and if you advance the plot badly, at least you've advanced it and can move on to the next scene. If you write a bad scene, keep moving and come back to it later. If you still think it sucks, you can revise it AFTER you've finished the rest of the story.
     
  5. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Stop deleting - stop stopping. Finish the project, no matter how bad it is. Then finish the next one, no matter how bad it is. Get feedback on them. Go back later and study them. Do critiques for others. Nobody writes the perfect story, and nobody (except the one in a million prodigy) writes a good the first time - or second, or third. Becoming a good writer is a process, and a lengthy one.
     
    Mckk and Fitzroy Zeph like this.
  6. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    This sums it up quite well. One thing about writing, as opposed to other art forms, is you can go back to the same piece and upgrade it hundreds of time if you wish.
     
  7. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,824
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Here's your trouble. You're putting a hammerlock on your creativity. Nothing has to be great first draft - you may come to that level in your writing eventually but imagine picking up a guitar - can you play like Jimi Hendrix first try? - hell, no. Writing is a process like anything.

    I went through the same thing what you are doing when I was younger. I even went as far as to never get past two paragraphs before I'd grab another sheet and start over. For that I have only 1 complete draft to show for ten years of writing - age 12-22.

    Never, never delete anything. You'll never see your progress if you do. And finish things even a small flash piece and polish it - you'll see that first draft doesn't mean garbage - it just means, bones. And it's good to see a rough draft turn into a nice bit of writing.
     
  8. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,784
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    Having a draft of any sort means you've got something to work on and improve.

    Instead of looking at a 'bad' draft and thinking "oh, I'll just throw this away and start again," see if you can find a way to improve it. Then put it away, come back to it in a day or two, and see if you can improve it again. You'll have been cooking it over in the back of your mind in the meantime, and you will probably surprise yourself.

    The worst thing you can possibly do is constantly discard your work, hoping someday the 'perfect' bit of writing is going to spring full grown from the head of Zeus. It's not called 'work' for nothing!

    Keep plugging away at what you've already written. If your dialogue is crap, keep re-writing it until it works. If your characters are boring, do some what-iffing to make them more interesting. If your sentence structure is clumsy, see what you can do to make it run more smoothly. If your plot isn't going anywhere, see what you can do to give it purpose. Do a lot of 'what if' exercises with what you've already got.

    A lot of people like writing prompts. A writing prompt is not a finished story. It's just the idea for a story. Think of your draft as a writing prompt. A topic. An idea. A character. A dilemma. What do you think you can do with it?

    If you are in the habit of starting at the beginning of every story, you might want to try writing some scenes from the middle of the story instead, or even the ending. Do anything to jog yourself out of this rut, but do NOT keep throwing your stuff away. That's just about the worst writing habit I can think of.
     
    peachalulu likes this.
  9. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    You said it right there - that's your problem, as others have rightly pointed out. If you keep this up, you just won't have anything. You need to keep writing, and yes, your first draft is unlikely to come out being very good at all. Suck it up. That's why you edit and rewrite :D Things can always be changed, but if you keep deleting, then there's nothing to work on. You won't see where your mistakes are. You won't develop because you're not even actually writing anymore.

    And even writing crap is useful. I was just looking at some of my super old stuff - back when I was 14. Ohh my word, what I wrote was utter crap. I share it with my friends to laugh about it because it's so awful.

    And now? Well, all my beta readers seem to enjoy and some have even loved my book and it's (self-) published on Amazon now.

    What I'm saying is - I don't think I'd get to this level, where I'm at, if I hadn't been writing all that crap back when I was 14, and 15, and 16, and if I hadn't carried on writing drivel after drivel, I would never have got good enough to be writing anything anyone would even read, let alone enjoy.

    Stop killing your own story. You're a good writer - it's okay to believe that, as long as you're aware there's always room to improve. To some extent, we all got to believe it, or we'd all stop writing. You're good at this, you know what you're doing, trust your instincts and GO WRITE! And stop deleting. Seriously. :D
     
    jannert, peachalulu and ddavidv like this.
  10. theoriginalmonsterman
    Offline

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    The person who criticizes you the worst is yourself. I myself have constantly deleted stories I've worked on and restarted them trying to make them sound better, but alas it prevailed to nothing.

    You need to try hard to stick with an idea no matter how horrid it may sound. The idea is to write it, read it aloud, get feedback, and edit it. If it sounds awful to you still read aloud to others, because chances are it's probably just you being you.
     
    jannert likes this.
  11. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    True, to be honest people who like their own work are usually rather deluded. Disliking your own work means you have a critical mind which is useful.
     
    theoriginalmonsterman likes this.
  12. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    I seem to go through a few stages on any given section. It's garbage, it's wonderful and witty, it's garbage.
     
    jannert likes this.
  13. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,965
    Likes Received:
    5,490
    Just write anything. Stop deleting and finish the story, no matter how lousy it seems. Plenty of writers--no, not all writers, but plenty of them--write quite rough first drafts, then edit them into good writing. You'll never find out if that's your process if you don't give it a chance.
     
    jannert likes this.
  14. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,210
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Do not delete stories. I've done that over and over again for the last ten years and I'm starting to regret ever doing that. Who knows what they would've turned into had I just kept them and slogged through? At the very least I would've had something to work with rather than blank page.

    Deleting your story is like a painter burning his/her own canvas because the painting looks like crap. Don't. If you're that sick of it, put it in a folder and put that folder in an area on the desktop that you don't look at very often. That's what I'm doing now. Don't delete it, especially when it looks like a train wreck.

    As for what to do? A lot of things you can do.

    + Jump around, write the scenes that are the clearest in your head.

    + Start the book where the story gets interesting. The previous sections can be included in the backstory.

    + Put the story elsewhere in a safe place and write something that interests you.

    + Write the final few chapters first so you can have something to work towards. Sometimes it's helpful to know, generally, where your characters end up.
     
  15. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    That sounds like someone who hates their own work and is trying far too hard to comfort themselves.

    By that logic, does that mean every single published writer ever is actually deluded to think they're any good? Because hey, they got published, which means they had to have liked their writing, had to have thought it was actually good to actually submit it to agents and publishers in the first place... Clearly, they liked their own work. Are they therefore deluded?

    I like my own work. Frankly, I'd have thought everyone who's still writing probably likes their own work. You don't keep writing if you honestly believed you were either 1. crap or 2. don't have the potential to write good or even great things, even if perhaps you don't believe you're quite "there" yet. Inherent in that is the belief that, frankly, "I'm pretty darn good at this!"

    And what's wrong with that? Those who don't have that self-belief are the ones who never finish, because they're too busy either deleting all their work or just not even writing at all. Or sadder still, someone who does finish, and who's actually pretty darn good, and yet never lets their work see the light of day because they have this delusion that they're crap.

    There's no credit in actually disliking your own work, especially if you're disliking it for the sake of it, or because you're just too much of a perfectionist to let your writing have some slack and breathing room. Understand that everything's just more learning, every failure another lesson and another step towards success.

    Understand that you and your skills (and mine) are not perfect and that's okay. I have no ambitions to be the next Shakespeare. I simply want to write something others will enjoy - it is a simple desire. And one that, so far, judging from my beta readers' responses, I have achieved. Is it the next Fault in Our Stars? Is it gonna go down in history and get studied at schools? Of course not. But that's okay.

    Being critical about your own work, however, is a far different matter. And yes, you can like your own work and be critical about it at the same time.

    But if you simply dislike your own work, I'm guessing you cannot be critical - because you cannot distinguish the good from the bad. Being critical means recognising something for what it is and having the ability to analyse and then refine something. Mere dislike is... fairly useless.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
    peachalulu likes this.
  16. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,824
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I love this. Too often someone joins a writing group and laments the lousiness of their own writing. They call it crap, pointless, wrote this up in two minutes but err would you mind critiquing it? I'd prefer someone voicing uncertainty yes, but not deriding their own work. I'm not sure if it's to save face or what.
    I hope I'm not deluded - lol. I like my stories and I wouldn't share them if I didn't. I'm not sure dislike is the right word to use. Why work on something if you dislike it? - maybe if you're frustrated with your work than I can see possibly being more critical because you know something is off. On the other hand sometimes when you like something you're more critical of it because you want it to be the best. But it could be a newbie thing ( the delusion ). When they're still young in their writing and everything looks rosy, and their idea of improving a sentence is to reach for the thesaurus and throw in a jazzy adverb or adjective.
     
    Fitzroy Zeph likes this.
  17. tonguetied
    Offline

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    219
    Location:
    Near Atlanta
    I am curious why a person would delete their work in this day of word processors or endless reams of paper. If you were writing on a chalkboard and needed to recover the space I could understand it. Are you deleting it because you feel that it tainting your thoughts, making it harder to get your point across in a different way? If that is the case then just save it with a time stamped file name then put it aside to start with a clean slate. Possibly if you end up with several copies you can review them and pick out things you really liked in each version, then try to incorporate that into the next version, as long as that doesn't restrict your creativity somehow. Good luck with your story.
     

Share This Page