1. JKing
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    JKing New Member

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    When an idea goes stale...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JKing, Aug 20, 2009.

    I've been writing my novel a little at a time, and at first I was really energized about the idea, but now I feel myself losing interest and second-guessing myself as to whether it is any good. Should I keep writing and hope to regain that inspiration I once had or is it time to move on? Is this a phase that novelists go through with their stories until they reach a certain point?
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on how much you believe in it. Some stories/books are like that. It's either not the story you should be writing, or you need to take a break from it. Continuing is okay, from a certain point of view, but it's not likely to be as good.
     
  3. bc1
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    bc1 New Member

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    This has happened to me too. I have reached a whopping 2700 words and stopped...lack of interest, boredom, or maybe it isn't any good and I subconsciously know it...good luck...the best to you.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with rei's take on this... you may be realizing your original idea won't fly, in which case, continuing is just flogging a dead horse...

    or, you may have been too buried in it and just need a break, so coming back to it with a fresh perspective may renew your passion for the story...
     
  5. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Happened to me in my earlier stages of writing. The cure for me is to write every day and I don't take like a weeks worth of breaks because then you just flop out of the mood. Maybe it will work for you as well? Besides, if you write every day, more ideas will come to you bringing more to the table so if your first idea doesn't fly, the next ones may...
     
  6. Elistara
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    Elistara Member

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    I went there too. After about 2 months of writing, all the newness wore off for me, and it got.... hard to write more. I lost interest, wondering if it was really any good. Self doubt. I ended up stopping writing it. It took me 6 months before I regained any passion to continue the story, but I got back to it, and the piece more than doubled in size since then. Yeah now, I take breaks, when the ideas slow down, or just nothing comes to me.. but I keep returning to it because it is fun.
    Enjoy what you do. Take a break if you must. :)
     
  7. murphcas
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    murphcas Member

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    I agree with those who say take a break. I've been writing the same story for almost two years now and I'm not that far on it. The main part is because I'm a bit stuck with it, but another reason was because I stopped and then came back to it with new enthusiasm.
     
  8. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    I am in the same state with my novel. I got 15000 words done in a short time span, then I lost interest. It was too simple, my other ideas are far more complicated. There's no politics, a small cast, and a small number of events.

    I haven't touched it in a few months. It was a bummer cause the people I showed it to kept asking me if I was going to finish it. They said the story really sucked them in and they were dying to know what happens next.

    So I've recently come back to the novel, but I'm not writing what I planned out. I'm keeping what I have but the plot is going in a new direction that I will hopefully be happy with. I'm still taking a break though to write short stories and to simply get the other ideas of my head and to help make my novel differ from my other works.

    I suggest maybe changing some things around, maybe rethink the plot. Show your friends and see if they can restore your confidence like mine did!
     
  9. OrdinaryJoe
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    OrdinaryJoe Member

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    This just recently happened to me as well. I had written four chapters and then pretty much stopped cold. My problem is that my Grandfather passed away and since then I have not felt the passion I did when I wrote before. I still have hope that my desire to write will come back. So, in a very round about way, I guess what I am trying to say is that I beleive that mood and desire play a large role in staying the course. I hope you find the desire to continue. If you need motivation just go to your local library or book retailer and look at all the books that people have written. Each one of those people probably went through the same problems that you are having right now.
     
  10. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I've had this happen enough times. Actually, I think it's happened every time I've started writing a novel. Short stories seem totally different. I can finish one of those in a day. The couple novels I've started always seem to collapse somewhere around 20-30k words.

    Normally it's a massive flaw that stops me. Either I don't like the characters as they are written, or the plot just doesn't have anywhere else to go.

    When I get to that point I just put it aside. Add a few notes at the end on what I think needs to be changed, and start something new. I have yet to go back to any previous stories, as new ideas are always more exciting.
     
  11. Far Away
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    Far Away Member

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    I think it happens to everyone. It's certainly happened to me...I'd say that if your heart just isn't in it anymore, don't continue.
     
  12. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Oh gosh, this has happened to me a lot.

    If you have no heart in it anymore, don't continue. But KEEP what you've written, because maybe in your next novel idea, you'll want to use the same characters, or same setting. You can always scrounge through past ideas to find something to contribute to a new idea. I do it all the time. One of my characters from a past story that I lost interest in is now in my new idea with a slightly bigger role.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Writing is hard work. Sometimes you just have to push ahead after the first blush of enthusiasm fades, and trust that your first instincts were good.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Cog. I think all writers feel this way about their work at some point, simple because of the amount of time you spend with it. No story in the history of literature is interesting enough to keep your mind fascinated for 10 months straight. But it can still keep your reader fascinated for the time it takes to read through it, and hopefully a bit after as well.

    I have it the same way with my work as an illustrator. I see a cool picture in my mind and think it's awesome until the point where I'm halfway done drawing it - then it becomes stale and boring to me - by the time the drawing is finished I care little about it. That just means its finished - in other people's eyes it's usually as cool as the initial idea felt to myself.

    Maybe it will help you to consider anything beyond having the idea, as craftmanship. It's work, labour or whatever you wanna call it, necessary for passing your idea on to others. Learning to like this part for the craftmanship in itself, would help make it easier and more fun.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yup, yup and yup.

    And if you put it away for a while, don't be averse to the idea that what you have written already really wasn't the actual story, but only a portion of a different story that simply got to the party early. You never know where or how a story will find new life.
     
  16. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    I go through this, I find that putting it aside for a bit helps. Often when I come back, my characters have more to say, whatever was bogging me down reveals itself. I am able to work out the kinks and move forward with the story telling, if I still feel the story needs to be told. There are times when I have had to completely ditch an idea and start over, or simply rework a character. Time away will help you decide what is best.
     
  17. mistressoftheflies
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    mistressoftheflies Member

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    I think that you should put it aside for a while and start something new. When you go back to it you might want to continue or you might scrap it for good. But all writing is good practice. :)
     
  18. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    That's a great point there. I think that's why I feel more satisfied when my short stories are done whereas novels tend to get stale. The short story is over faster and I still find the concept fascinating, not the same for my novels.

    I never thought of it like that thanks :)
     
  19. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I always view my WIPs as relationships...I'm married to them, and to 'divorce' one is extemely traumatic.

    This might prove to be a handicap eventually, but for now I've managed to finish most stories that I start (except for ones that just go nowhere; those die a quick death), even if I do have large gaps of time between writing. In fact, stories I've put down for a few months and then come back to are often much better than ones written during a few days or weeks of solid inspiration (these are short stories I'm talking about here).
     
  20. Folken24
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    Folken24 Member

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    This happens to me pretty regularly.

    The way I write is I do outlines and writing sketches, and think about it for a while, usually while I'm on a walk or doing yard work, and then I sit down and write. But sometimes I reach a certain point where I haven't the faintest idea what should happen next, or the ideas I have don't seem to fit.

    Things that have worked for me include:
    reading over what I've already written
    doing writing exercises or writing sketches (very short stories about characters in the story)
    try listening to music that has no lyrics but reflects the mood/tone I want for the story
    or take a break.

    I think there's nothing wrong with taking a break, as long as you return to your story eventually. Sometimes I find myself extending the break because I'm honestly afraid that I'll go back, and I still won't be able to write the story, and what that would mean.

    But I also agree with what others have said. It depends on the story, and why you write. If you want to push yourself to finish the story, by all means. That's one thing I really like about writing, it's all up to you.
     
  21. JKing
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    JKing New Member

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    Thanks very much for the help, everyone. It was a big help. :)
     
  22. Beckster
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    Beckster New Member

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    Yeah, I was working on a story for a couple years and got up to just over 23,000 words before losing interest in it. It was a good idea, I just had no idea how it was going to end or what was going to happen when it did end. Oh well.

    I'm working on another story now that's a lot more personal, which should make it more fun to write.
     
  23. crashbang
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    crashbang Active Member

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    if i begin to lose heart, i think of more ideas. i round the story in my mind. i fill plot holes and think of how to answer tough questions.

    its hard to keep going. but keep your mind set.
     

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