1. triagain22

    triagain22 New Member

    Mar 5, 2018
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    Drowning in Creative Freedom - HELP

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by triagain22, Mar 5, 2018.

    Okay, so here’s the deal.

    (And FYI this probably makes me a terrible writer, but that’s not what I care about here.)

    In my book (- I say with great trepidation -) I had everything pretty well all worked out. I had up to Chapter 10 of ~18 written out and I had all the pivotal scenes and ending fleshed out; I just needed to put the pieces in and fill the transitions. Should have been easy.

    Then, I don’t even remember what happened; something probably didn’t work or I came to a new revelation that changed everything or maybe I just got stuck. So then I started ripping and tearing, adding and deleting, shuffling and sliding… and haven’t stopped. The details I’ve changed make almost an entirely new story. I’ve changed POV’s; MC’s; Why’s, When’s, & How’s; and all the little things.

    To use a descriptive aid, I basically gutted a race car to the block and frame and made it a mud-bogger.

    Point: where do you draw the line with all the changes? At what point do you stop, sit back and say “No. No more upending changes. I’m sticking this one through.” When is enough, enough - and how do you decide?

    It’s to the point where, when I get into talking about it with my friends and family their eyes get wide as their hands come up to calm me down. I swear they look at me like I’m a madman with a gun.

    It’s okay Tri, just put it down. Now back away. Slowly, Honey, slowly.

    Because at this point I’m chasing my tail from one option to another and not making any progress because I have 5 variations of the same book that are all too different to just be combined as one. And I like and dislike aspects of ALL of them.
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Perhaps you should find somebody to see what you have, and get some feedback.
    I have to fix somethings in my own WIP, but most of it just needs to be made more

    Good Luck. :)
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Aug 23, 2013
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    I've made drastic changes before, but never this much this late in the process.

    Are the differences strong enough that you could make any of them different stories, possibly as part of a series?
    Elven Candy likes this.
  4. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

    Jan 28, 2012
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    This is why I think those of us who are interested in one day actually getting published need to try to see their work, if only some of the time, from a commercial point of view. How am I going to market this? What will I be able to say in my query letter that will attract an agent? If I can actually get the agent to read it, what will she like about it that will make her think it can sell?

    I think if you like some things about all five versions, getting any of them published is a terrific feat. You've had your time for artistry. Now you need to start thinking like a professional who wants to see it on shelves.
    Elven Candy and Simpson17866 like this.
  5. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Jul 24, 2017
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    The great white north.
    I usually stop making changes when I start getting bored with what I'm writing about, which is usually about halfway to two thirds through my first draft. This is one of the reasons one of the reasons I plot out first, so I have something to work off of when this happen. Then I do my best to fix the plot holes and character problems and at this point I might throw a few more changes in there, but usually at this point I'm done, except for minor edits. If I get more ideas after this point, I write them down and throw them in the idea box to use later on some other project. Any time I've ever made any major revisions or rewrites, my stories just seem to ramble from page to page with absolutely no focus and it's usually just easier to start over as another project.
  6. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

    Jan 25, 2016
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    I had this same exact issue with my current WIP until very recently. What happened to me was that I was trying for a story that was too big and complicated for my abilities. It would've been awesome in someone else's hands, but I couldn't write it. I saw that there were issues in the story and in my attempt to fix said issues I ended up changing the story a little at a time. The basic plot remained: dragon has to kill phoenix, but everything else went through several major overhauls.

    What helped me tremendously was writing a short story, as that helped me to learn how I write a book, start to finish, that actually works. I took the knowledge from that and put it to the novel and realized that I was having so much trouble because I couldn't write a novel--it was too big and had too many subplots.

    So I ripped out many of the subplots and all the characters but the MC, then (for the first time was ever able to) wrote an outline. I brought back a few characters because they were essential, added two small subplots that add depth to the story, and am now almost finished with the first draft and it's SO much easier to keep track of everything.

    Another issue I had that was causing massive problems was that I was writing the story in close third person. This particular story, as it turns out, only works in omniscient. I didn't realize that until I decided to try for omniscient just see where it went. And you know what? I'm having a blast! I had also tried writing the short story in close third, but couldn't go anywhere until one day I decided to try for first person. The same thing happened in that suddenly I was actually able to write the darn thing without constantly getting stuck. You might be like me, in that if you don't have the right point of view you get stuck a lot.

    My suggestion is to rethink the story. Strip it down to the bare essentials and build it back up with the stuff you have now. If you can, make a basic outline so you can see how all the plots and subplots will play out before you go through the trouble of writing them in. Since you already had an outline for the story, go back to it and think "does this give me what the story needs? Does it make a great story without all these things I've changed in it?" If it does, I suggest you sit down and write out that story. My suspicion is you have a lot of ideas popping into your head and instead of turning them into their own stories you end up putting them in this one, which is apparently not working.

    Remember, if you love an idea, you can always write another story with it!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  7. Dragon Turtle

    Dragon Turtle Deadlier Jerry

    Jan 16, 2018
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    Here's what I would do. Take a step back and ask yourself what story you really want to tell in this book. Write a one-sentence description of that story. It doesn't have to be a polished log line intended for pitching the book; it's just for you to use as reference. The more specific you can get, the better. The last two books I wrote had pretty convoluted plots, but in each one I identified the component that made me most excited to tell the story. (In both cases it happened to be a relationship between two lead characters, but it can really be anything.) When I felt conflicted about differing directions the story could take, I asked myself which one best served that core component I loved the most.

    Write that thing down, and don't let yourself change it. You can switch to a different one when it's time to write another book. But, IMO, if you do this right--find the thing that REALLY excites you--you won't want to switch.
    Soapbox likes this.
  8. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

    Sep 30, 2015
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    @triagain22, I hope you kept the previous versions. I never do a major rewrite without keeping the old one, sometimes, like you, I feel like I have gone down a rabbit hole, and want to go back to where I started.

    In my day job as engineer/project manager there is a "shoot the engineers point" in every effort. That is when you line up the engineers by a wall, give them their bonuses and accolades, then machine-gun the lot of them to prevent further changes so you can actually finish the project on time. Actually, that occurs at the Critical Design Review (CDR) when we determine that the project design meets all the requirements of the original tasking. At that point, further changes are in fact "desire-ments" rather than requirements, and making them becomes exceedingly difficult, requiring high level approval, so it can go forward to implementation and test.

    So is your project at CDR yet?
    Andrew Alvarez and matwoolf like this.
  9. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

    Jun 24, 2017
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    I think you should stop changing it when you can fit everything together seamlessly and you like how it looks. Ultimately, and you already said this, it's the power of creative freedom. You can do whatever you want with the story. I don't know what your story is about, so I'll use mine as an example. If I wanted to take the MC in my WIP, who is a regular human teenager with no special abilities or anything, and make him a god who rains fire down on all of his enemies in an effort to rid the world of them, I could. There's literally nothing stopping me from doing so. I could chuck my almost finished manuscript and start writing about this idea. And, who knows, with what I know about him, he may make a pretty good evil god character. Everyone might love him. They might make a movie about him in this version of himself. But, do I want that? No. I like him how he is, with the story he's in. Yeah, it might be fun to imagine that for a while (Oh boy he'd be merciless) but that's not what his existence is for. You have to sit down and remind yourself of what you're trying to portray, who your characters are supposed to be. If you sit down and really think about it hard enough, it'll come to you. You'll realize what you truly want from this story, and how you truly want it to turn out.
    You need to backtrack. Go back to the last point where everything was right. Then go from there in a different direction then you're currently going in. Please, please don't throw anything away though. You may go back and read it later, only to find a little gem you missed. Or you may go back to something and decide it's the best route for the story.
    Okay, if they're too different to be one book, can you make them be five books? Can you expand on these variations and make them long enough to be a book?
  10. Melissa Parker

    Melissa Parker New Member

    Mar 15, 2018
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    I always try and save what I have from a previous idea, you never know you could get 2 stories out of it

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