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  1. Ross O'Keefe

    Ross O'Keefe Member

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    Confidence

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ross O'Keefe, Sep 13, 2017.

    I've just plotted the outline for a novel after years of experimentation with short stories. I have had one of the central characters in my mind for about 10 years and I've tried so many times to map out her story. Now I feel like I have it.

    It's a crime story, but not a pulsing thriller. It's more about the four central characters involved with the crime, their individual stories and the point at which they all converge.

    I have a beginning, a middle and an end. A three act structure and nice little twist at the end. It has form, and it has direction.

    So why, now, have I lost all confidence in it? (And what should I do about it?)
     
  2. Trish

    Trish Lost.. got any breadcrumbs I can follow? Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds good. As to what you should do about it? Write it anyway. Write any part of it, whatever speaks to you the most in the moment. Maybe you're not a linear writer, or maybe you just need a kick start?
     
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  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just start writing. Nothing bad is going to happen if it's rubbish to begin with.

    Example:

    One of my favorite Golden Age Science Fiction novels is The City and the Stars (1956) by Arthur C. Clarke. It's a wonderful novel and epitomises everything the I love about Science Fiction of that era.

    But... That book started as something else. It started as a story Clarke published in 1948 called Against the Fall of Night.

    He completely rewrote the story and published it again as a new novel.

    Nothing bad happened.

    I think too often writers get locked in a cycle of an unspoken thought that if it's not glowing off the page from the first go (cue resounding angelic singing) then they'll be out of the race, or some other nameless calamitous event will ensue. There is no hulking guard to lash you if you write words that you eventually throw away, or change, or save for some other time because you like them but they don't fit anymore.

    How can you lose confidence in something you haven't even really started writing?
     
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  4. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Contributing Member

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    Could it be that the story is 'stale' in your mind since you have thought about elements of it for so long?
    Punch up the story and make it more exciting so it grabs you again?
     
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  5. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speaking from personal experience, I had to leap a mental hurdle to start to write the novel that I'd planned out for a few months. I can't really describe it, but it was kind of a paralyzing fear that I wouldn't be able to actually write the damn thing, that it would fizzle out a few chapters in and all my excitement and planning would end up with an epic fail. It was especially hard because I was making the leap from fanfiction (where I was quite popular in my corner of the fandom) to original fiction, and I wasn't sure if my success there would translate to a story entirely populated with characters/setting/plot of my own creation.

    I'm not saying that this is at the root of your loss of confidence but it sure was for me. I had everything ready to go and then procrastinated for a couple of weeks mentally rocking back and forth in the corner screaming I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO THIS WHO THE HELL DO I THINK I AM TRYING TO WRITE A DAMN BOOK LIKE AN ACTUAL WRITER OR SOMETHING

    Eventually I got over it and started writing. It sounds silly now, but putting those first words down on the page was really scary. It got easier and easier with each page, though, and the finished product met with a success I'd never come close to imagining.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Because you paused. I remember reading a piece of advice in some book of essays by successful writers that you can't pause, because when you do, it all starts to look stupid and silly. (Not their words; I can't remember their words.) I was just whining yesterday that I hadn't written a scene in my WIP in too many days and so I was struggling to get moving again.

    Write something. Feel the stupid and silly wash over you, and ignore it. Keep writing. The juice will probably come back in to it.

    If it never does, no matter how hard you fight, then move on to the next idea and this time, never pause.

    Edited to add: Elizabeth Gilbert, probably in Big Magic, anthropomorphizes the phenomenon: The idea chose you, and it was willing to wait a little while, but if you make it wait too long, it's going to move on and choose a writer that will give it attention.
     
  7. Ross O'Keefe

    Ross O'Keefe Member

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    Guys!

    Thanks for your comments. I think you're all right.

    Any piece of creative work feels as fragile as a cobweb in its infancy. I get wrapped up in the language; in how the words sound when read back. And I worry that a story has been brewing for so long it only exists now as an idea.

    So, in the absence of any other ideas right now, I guess I'll start writing this one!
     
  8. John Calligan

    John Calligan Member

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    Fake it till you make it, boyee.
     
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