1. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    Where can I vent about my writing woes?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ILaughAtTrailers, Dec 14, 2015.

    I don't have any friends or family members with me right now and need another family to listen to me whine and cry about my failed novel :,(
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Why has it failed and are you thinking of trying to fix it?
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    What was your novel about?
     
  4. LemonadeLover
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    LemonadeLover Member

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    Have you hit a bit of a writing road block? Where nothing seems to be going right, your story is filled with plot holes, your writing needs a huge amount of editing, you're pretty sure that you won't amount to anything and your friends and family just don't understand what you're going through?
    Might have got it all wrong but I hit this point more frequently than I could have ever imagined when I was going through the first draft of my current "working title". I became completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the task I'd set myself and had a huge amount of self doubt.
    Have you completed the first draft or multiple drafts? If so, put it aside for a few weeks or months or whatever time you deem fit and think about something else. When you come back to it you'll see many of the points which made it not so good at first and then you can correct them, no one can write a novel straight off unless you're some kind of uber talented writing whiz.
    If you've tried to get it published or got bad feedback, again put it aside and then go through it and figure out what people didn't like- maybe it was your characters, writing style, story line had too many plot holes etc and keep working at it. Because you'll get there, and your novel will end up being as good or even almost as good as you imagined, eventually.
    I'm rambling because I'm super tired, but remember. No novel is a failed novel, it's just unpolished and in need of a bit of tweaking.

    Good luck :)
     
  5. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    I just feel it's stupid and childish. I'm twenty-four and this is my first novel that I've been working on since I was twenty. I have it planned to be seven books (of course... how stupid and naive of me) and it's of the superhero, fantasy, and space genre and takes place in the future and across a different planet for each book. It focuses on this group of characters who meet each other in the first book and they all have their own emotional problems and go on this journey kind of as pirates across the galaxy because their government (who control the entire universe) has been corrupted and they're abusing their powers against its citizens, so my characters are kind of the rebels and they're collecting these artifacts and collecting powers so that they can take out this big bad government and replace it. I don't know, it's stupid -- I know -- and it's been done but I'm obsessed.

    Right now I'm still working on the first book and in the outlining stage and I'm reverse planning it starting from the end because there's just too much that I want to fit into 120,000-150,000 words to start from the beginning. But I just got to the midpoint and now I'm stuck.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Maybe get out the planning phase and just write.
    Always helps me to get some excitement back over a project.
    I spent years and years planning a rewrite for one of my novels. A lot of time wasted when I could've actually knocked out a first draft and had something to edit and work with.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, what @peachalulu said. If what you're doing now isn't working for you, try a different approach. You've probably done all the planning you need, anyway. Just start writing. If not at the beginning, start with a scene that you are dying to write. And branch out from there. You can write scenes in any order, really. Put them together later on, once your real story emerges. And don't get too focused on how many books there will be, how many words in each book, etc. Just start to tell your story. And it will grow as you tell it.

    My one bit of advice when it comes to planning is this: establish a timeline. A timeline is not an outline that's pre-planned. It's more like a diary that you add to AS you write. Record when things happen in your story. If your novel takes place over the span of a year, for example, make sure every event of importance gets added in to the relevant month with the name of the day/ date attached. Keep these events in order. That way you won't lose track of who did what when, or how many months elapsed between scenes. Stuff like that.

    It's especially important if your story switches between different locations. Make sure they all dovetail together as far as timing goes. Don't have somebody start out on a journey that will take 4 weeks and have them arrive at their destination 3 days later. That kind of thing. If they start for home at the start of spring, and their journey takes 4 weeks, they won't arrive in the middle of summer either!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    :friend:

    Aw, hey, I started my first novel when I was 19, inspired by a role playing PC game, and I'm now 28 with at least 3-6 completed drafts each at 80,000 words that I've all completely scrapped. This kinda thing happens. I'm now in the process of planning it again for the umpteenth time because my last drastically changed plan got stuck at 28,000 words :nosleep::cry: I've just now worked out the story logic and am in the process of planning out a series of events, and am stuck on Chapter frigging Two :supermad:

    So yeah, hey, you're totally not alone. And don't call your story childish - sure, perhaps there're elements better discarded or altered - but the core of it, the thing that got you so excited - don't call that stupid. It's not. It's something precious to you. It's just a diamond in the rough, is all :friend:
     
  9. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    How do you know there will be 7 books. I mean that sounds like an odd number. A lot of people have ideas for trilogies or sequels or even series but they don't necessarily have a number of books in mind yet. How did you land on 7 if the first book hasn't been complete yet? 4 years is a long time to work one one book and not having had the first draft done. I think you are over thinking at this point. Do not think about anything else but THIS book. No think about the other books you want to write in the series, just think about right now.
     
  10. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    That should be a sticky. Writing Woes. Where you can went about your writing. So The Not Happy Thread does not have to take that.
     
  11. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    I just want to kill myself. No, not really.

    I'm going back to university in two weeks for the second time and leaving my pathetic hometown behind. Everyone in my family thinks that I'm just going to drop out again and that I'll end up right back where I am now: homeless, unemployed, and alone. I believe them. I want to major in computer science, English, theatre, or math, but I have no interest in those things other than that they make money and have good career prospects. But I am at a point in my life where I have to get a job at some crappy place I'm just barely qualified for or go back to school. I want to have a good life outside of working at fast food and so I elect to go back to school so hopefully I can get a job and end up owning my own place, which is saying a lot considering how the rest of my family has turned out. I have only two years left of my degree and I know at the end of it I'll probably just be working another job I don't want to be at and just want to work on my novels. But I'm twenty-four, don't have any talent, and no drafts.

    I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what I'm saying. I don't know what I want to do. I want to go back to school because that is what someone in my situation is supposed to do, I know that but I don't see myself as a computer specialist or some mathematician working on formulas all day. I see myself as a writer of drama and writing about what it means to be human and shit and I know that sounds pretentious. But there's no money in that, it's not realistic, it's not a career, I can't major in that and expect to get some job right out of college that's not being a waiter. It wouldn't be smart to realistically want to be that until I had some actual work or talent to show for it and I don't and it's been four years since I've been working on this stupid novel.

    I can list all the other pathetic aspects of my life but what's the point. I know it's not rational to want to think about killing myself and I know all of you are going to rally against me and say not to do it and that life is worth living, that it'll get better, and that not to give up. I don't even know what I'm rambling about anymore but I guess that was the point.

    I'm most likely not going to kill myself. I've made these stupid rants before. I'm just at a point where I've finally realized I'm going to end up a failure and that there is no hope for me to be successful and famous and revered like I want to be. I am too old, too talentless, too lazy and stupid, quit too much, fail too much, and just don't have the perseverance to keep going at anything. I hate my life. I wish I wasn't here. I don't know why I was born or brought into this world. I'm not good at anything. I don't have friends. I've never had a girlfriend. The one thing right now I do want to be good at -- and this has changed over my lifetime with things like poker and addicting video games -- is writing and it's just been too long and I don't feel there's any progress being made and just feel like I'm sucking the life out of my family because I don't get a job and just keep going back to school and quitting and piling up debts. I know I'm just going to keep living but I hate this realization that I've been living a delusion thinking I was going to make it in life.
     
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  12. Mr. Galaxy
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    Mr. Galaxy Member

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    So, why not major in journalism?

    I know simple answer, probably won't interest you but just putting that out there. Or you could even study to become an English teacher and work on your stories in the off seasons.

    Your most likely not going to kill yourself you say... well that would be a permanent solution to a very temporary problem. I've been in your shoes before, or fairly close. Homeless, unskilled and flat broke, going to collage wasn't even a possibility. I ended up joining the military and had a good old time. That was when I was 23 by the way. I'm 30 now, married, and have the luxury of sitting in my office most of the day writing whatever comes to mind.

    I understand your frustration, you feel unsuccessful and useless. But I promise you, if you put your mind to it, you can do just about whatever you want, given time and hard work.

    Now that you've made me feel old I'm going to go drink another cup of coffee and and grumble about "kids these days"
     
  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think everyone (if they're being honest with themselves) feels this way about every novel they write at some point during the process. I know I do.

    Firstly, there's an extremely good chance that any first draft is going to be... let's say: off the mark. Once you're finished the first draft, do what most seasoned writers advise, leave it to 'cool down' for at least a couple of months. Do whatever you have to do to keep your mind off it.

    At that point, go back and read it. Print it out so you aren't tempted to dive into rewrites at this point. You may be surprised. If you were able to keep your butt in the chair long enough to write an entire first draft (assumed to be between 60,000 and 100,000 words) it has to have some redeeming value and at this read-through, you'll find at least some of that.

    • Make notes,
    • Find the structure,
    • Mark scenes (or parts of scenes) that aren't needed,
    • Find what makes your perspective on this vastly-overdone story type unique. Yes, it's there, but in all probability, you will have to dig to find it.
    And then (and only then) start your rewrites.

    And read Techniques of the Selling Writer. Yes, I say that a lot (check the messages I've posted on here to find out how often, if you care to) but learning craft is the most important thing a writer will ever do... besides leaving a legacy. :)
     
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  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I understand this is just a rant, and that's okay. There are times when everybody feels 'why should I bother.' And of course when you're starting out in life, you don't really know where things will end up. I think that's normal. And ending up with a degree that doesn't make you employable is certainly something a lot of young folks face these days.

    However, one thing has struck me about what you said about yourself. You said: (I) quit too much ...and just don't have the perseverance to keep going at anything...

    While there are lots of things in life you can't control (including what your family is like, whether you get lucky in love, what the general employment situation may be) the ability to stick to a task is something you have total control over—unless you suffer from ADD or something similar. You CAN finish what you start. You can keep going when things get tough or boring. Perseverance isn't a trait that you're born with. It's one that you adopt. It can help you build a smooth work record—don't leave a crappy job until you have landed a better one—which will impress potential employers across the work spectrum. It can also help you create a story that hits a publishable standard.

    I don't mean you should stick with things that clearly aren't working. That's just as big a trap as the other. You also need to know when to give up. But what you need to do is develop the wisdom to know what is worth sticking to and what is not. Staying glued to a girlfriend who keeps leaving you for another guy and then returning when she gets bored with him is NOT worth your time. She is a lost cause. Admit it and move on. You can't change her. However, sticking with a novel you think is crap—that's another animal entirely. Why? You CAN change the novel. Take advice on it. Spend time thinking about it. Decide exactly what you don't like about it, then make it better.

    If you thought it up years ago, perhaps, and now think it's too childish, then see what you can do to make it a more adult story. Maybe increase the age of the characters? Give them more grown-up problems to solve, while keeping the main storyline intact. Cut out silly teenagery behaviour in your characters (now that they are adults) and perhaps make the ending you envision less simplistic and more realistic? All these kinds of things.

    Successful authors, I believe, are not the ones who constantly dump their work and start again. Successful authors work at what they've written, as hard as they can, to make it better. That's where 'the craft' comes in. Take @Sack-a-Doo! 's advice, and either get the book he has recommended, or find other books that will help you. If you can create a successful story (whether you publish it or not) you will feel much MUCH better about yourself. But this perfect story is not going to drop down on you from above. Like anything else, you need to learn the craft, make mistakes, and TAKE THE TIME it takes to become good at it.

    I would not be aiming at authorship to make you rich, or even to make a living. At least not at this stage. Go for something that will make you some money ...even a crap job ...and keep your writing for yourself. This is your 'escape.' The good thing about writing is that you, the author, have total control. You can write whatever you want. And mistakes don't cost anything, especially if you work on a computer. It's one of the few risk-free activities you can engage in. The only risk comes later, when you show your work to people. Before that time, you are in total control.

    I'd say take a tip and don't let on to other people that you're writing at all. That way there will be no pressure on you. The kind that comes from questions or remarks like: "Oh, when can I read it?" "Good grief, are you EVER going to be done with the thing?" "When are you getting published?" "YOU are writing a book! Oh, don't make me laugh. You're too stupid."

    Just show selected people your finished (and carefully self-edited) draft. Get feedback, then get back to work on any problems they've pointed out to you. And don't be afraid to enlist the help of strangers, rather than your family and friends, if you feel they won't be supportive. Lots of 'strangers' on this writing forum are in the same boat as you, and many friendships can be forged here, between people who also write and understand what you're trying to do.

    Good luck. And never forget how cathartic a good rant can be! Just don't stop there. Pick yourself up and keep going. That's what will build confidence. Nobody can build confidence in you but yourself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  15. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ILaughAtTrailers: I just stumbled across a video on YouTube that sums this up.

    Since links aren't allowed on this forum, go to YouTube and search for:

    Ira Glass on the Creative Process

    And one other thing...

    While the first draft is 'cooling down,' write something else. :)
     
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  16. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    Thank you, everyone. That Ira Glass video was great and just what I needed to hear.

    I don't have the words to say how I feel right now but I'm still writing and working on the treatments for four stories at the moment and just finished the second and editing it now. I hope to start the third later tonight.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Sure they are.*



    We just discourage linking to things just to promote your books or to drive visitors to your blog (though you can put said links in your sig, I believe).

    *The video describes my writing, except I was never discouraged by my lack of skill, and the volume I'm writing to get there is all rewriting the same book, starting from it being not so good, until now when I think it actually is getting there.

    Side note, the video is followed by a TED Talk by the Eat, Pray Love author.
    The transcript
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  18. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see.
     
  19. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    The Ruth Stone anecdote in the TED talk might be the most amazing thing I've ever read about the creative process.
     

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