1. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    1,714
    Location:
    Virginia, United States

    When you keep changing the same story....

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lea`Brooks, Jan 29, 2015.

    Hello all! :D

    So I recently posted a thread about not having a plot for my high fantasy novel (found here). You all were very helpful and got me moving forward in the right direction. So I continued to build on my ideas in that thread, but it wasn't quite gelling the way I had hoped it would. And of course, I couldn't get all of your critiques out of my mind.

    So today, as I was free writing, I came up with a completely different idea for the story. Different backstory, different plot, different enemy. And now I hate myself. lol Because this is probably the fifth time I've completely changed this same novel. I'm embarrassed by how long I've been working on it. It's so different from the original idea that I'm actually planning on making the first idea a separate novel. Because it started off more like a post apocalyptic, almost SciFi Utopia story. Then melded into an urban fantasy. Then just a high fantasy. And this is the third plot for it since I changed it to high fantasy.

    On the one hand, I'm grateful. If the story doesn't work, it doesn't work. So it's a positive that I'm figuring it out now and not the second or third or final draft from now. But on the other hand, I'm completely frustrated. How do I stop myself from recreating a story? How can I get myself to the point to where I'm happy with my story enough to actually start writing it? Is this just one of the downfalls of being a writer? Or am I doing something completely, totally wrong?


    Any and all suggestions appreciated. Sorry if I'm being annoying or amateur. :(
     
  2. stevesh
    Offline

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    646
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    We're almost all amateurs and almost all annoying at times.

    The only advice I can offer is something you already know: pick a story and finish the book. You can always go back later and change all the details you've mentioned, but you'll have the story down, anyway.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  3. 123456789
    Online

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,333
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    Someone on this forum said something very profound a month ago. Basically he said, "don't write if you don't have anything to say."

    What is it you want to say? "This is MY fantasy version of the rags to riches story. You can sit back, close your eyes, and put a hand down below, because I am going to do all the work for you with MY imagination?" It's not personally why I write, but a plethora of authors have done precisely this. If that's what you want, your other plot (the one you linked to) is fine. It's basically Harry Potter meets Snow White meets what I assume to be is Avatar last airbender (something I've never seen) and I'm not surprised if you got a sex scene or three in there involving your MC and a few gods, but so what? There's obviously a market. If that's the kind of writing you want, you got to accept it, and move on to the next phase. Tweaking the plot twists and setting won't change what it is you're trying to say.
     
  4. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Lol. Why allo allo again :D

    Well, I'm not sure how good my advice would be, seeing as I had exactly the same problem and I think - I *think* - I've just managed to resolve it. Only time will tell now because I just started writing again a few days ago - you saw the progress journal I started. Yup, that's the one. Until I actually have a finished draft, I can't tell if the path I've chosen actually works.

    Buuuut... nonetheless, I can tell you how I managed to at least think I've resolved it lol.

    I kept thinking back to what made me excited about the story in the first place. I kept going back to some of my earliest drafts and looking at which elements have really stuck with me. Then I took all of these things I knew I loved, and I scrapped everything else, the plot included. I build a story around only the things I loved, and everything and anything that didn't fit into what I loved, I immediately scrapped. I no longer thought in terms of what makes a "cool story" to simply, "How do I make this work with all these elements that I love? Make a story work with this one thing I really want to tell?"

    That's how I stripped it all back and built it up again. I also stopped asking people for advice, actually lol. Not to say you shouldn't ask for advice. But I no longer asked others, "Hey, think this will work?" or "Hey, how does this sound to you?" That doesn't mean I stopped asking completely and utterly - I did ask one or two such questions, but only to a select 2-3 people whose judgement I trusted, and I only listened because what they said actually echoed what I already knew in my gut. I stopped asking for approval, essentially.

    That's the other thing - listen to your gut. Take people's story advice and judgement only when it echos with your gut. Don't worry about simply walking away from people who doesn't believe in the story you want to tell. Don't change things just because someone tells you to lol.

    Last thing - I thought back to why my plot never seemed to work - that was my problem, not sure if it'll be the same with you. My main problem was my plot didn't make a damned bit of sense, cus my fantasy world didn't make a whole lot of sense. I kept building and rebuilding the story - every new draft had a different story to it, even though there were common elements - but I never tackled why the story never worked. Seemed too much of a headache. So it kept falling apart.

    So this time, I spent time working out those story and world-building questions first. I know my world makes sense now. That doesn't mean I have every detail figured out - but since my plot hangs on the whole life/death/resurrection cycle, that part of the world simply had to make sense before I can build a story around it. So I did that. And now, I have a story. I have 6500 words so far - one and a half chapters - fingers crossed, it keeps growing and keeps making sense lol.

    So, in summary: what's the story you want to tell? What stopped you from finishing the book that first time round? And while you rebuild the story, have you honestly tackled those questions/problems that made your story fall apart in the first place? What do you love about it? - keep all those things you love, and scrap everything else. Make everything else fit around what you love, rather than constantly juggling everything to suit some grand idea of the "perfect story" or what others may like to read.

    Like I said, I have no idea if my own advice is any good yet cus I've only just started writing. But this time I have faith it's gonna work. Fingers crossed...

    Edited to add: I also liberally scrapped all elements and especially, characters, whom I added only for the sake of readers. Anything I created simply because some readers didn't like what I already had in my story, I went ahead and deleted without question. I'm not saying they can't come back if there's a place that naturally arises for them. But I'm not planning with them in mind because they were never a natural part of the story to begin with.
     
    AlphaWerewolf10 and 123456789 like this.
  5. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    1,714
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Thanks everyone!! Your advice is helping already.

    What I know.... I KNOW I want it to be a high fantasy. I know I want to keep my races, my main gods/goddess, my world.. I wanted a lot of betrayal, good versus evil (though not actually completely evil), and I wanted an unexpected ending. But that was all that I loved about my story. That's why it's failed since I changed it to a high fantasy. I hated the plot. It was boring, basic, and uneventful.

    But I think... I think.. I might actually have it this time. I have all the elements I loved. But now I have a plot. An actual... plot. Not just merging the only ideas I had into one big story. I created a hopefully interesting and definitely eventful way to go from MC being Queen to MC figuring out who the villain actually is to MC defeating the enemy. And it takes away the "fate" and "God born" element, which did seem a little... off to me. I just didn't know how else to go about it. But I changed that. I now know why (for the most part) my MC is so powerful, and it has nothing to do with Gods breeding with humans.

    The story is simple, but not too simple. It easily flows from point A to point B to point C. But there's still excitement and drama. I can use all the elements I want to use without having to twist the story to fit it. The ideas just fit naturally in there. And with this idea, it makes multiple books more likely --not because I'm stretching it, but because by the time I get to the end, there will be so much actual content, it'll be too much for one book (though I will continue to write it as one book and only split it if I have to :p).

    It's probably not the most original plot. I'm sure it's been done. And done. And done again. But I think I'll be able to make it interesting. I think I can really make this my own and not seem like a rewrite of a traditional idea.

    I feel really good about this! :) Thanks guys.
     

Share This Page