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  1. Teladan

    Teladan Senior Member

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    Forever Abandoning Projects

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Teladan, Dec 13, 2019.

    Firstly, I'm aware this isn't a new problem with writers. I've written all of my life and have started and stopped countless times. I've produced upwards of 500 pages toward various projects since 2015, but most of these are all shorter works or stories set within a larger personal "world-building" project which I don't plan to publish. I can never seem to complete a novella. I've tried at least four times. The longest story I ever wrote was 68k words, but I ended up putting this on hold. I told myself that my latest project, a novella, would be the work I finally try to send out to publishers or self-publish, that this would be different, but my interests are always shifting.

    I'll elaborate. I was inspired by the fantastically ethereal and gorgeous prose of Peake, therefore I started a fantastical novella. I drew character sketches, planned for several weeks and then wrote about 8,000 words, but in the last few days I've begun to struggle with this story. I've always had a love-hate relationship with fantastical settings. Half of what I write is realistic, humanistic fiction, the other half leans toward atmospheric and strange imagery. I personally feel like fantasy world-building, even if it's not an important part of the story and the characters are front and centre, acts as a handicap for my writing. This latest project started off well, I think, and I truly felt like it was something new. Now it just feels stale and like something I'd write. It doesn't help that I'm always shifting in my interests and always being influenced by the last thing I read. I read Chekhov and now I feel my story isn't serious enough (despite that fact that it deals with introversion, has themes of suicide, etc.) or it's not in the style I truly want because it's dressed as fantasy. I always feel the next thing I write will be more sophisticated. The imagery sustained this latest idea, but I feel like I just want to write stories set in the real world without any of the constraints of world-building, research and everything else that goes into creating a novel setting. Honestly, it feels like I'm ruled by spurts of inspiration and that I've just awoken to find out, once again, that my latest project isn't exactly what I wanted to write. But that's not entirely true. It's complicated.

    I'm not looking for validation and I'm not asking for guidance. I just wanted to share this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  2. Teladan

    Teladan Senior Member

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    Just in the interest of completing my monologue, I'm quite attracted to the idea of short story collections. I may pursue this instead. A body of shorts tied together by some theme. Maybe this I'll be able to see to fruition.

    Has anyone else had similar troubles? I would be interested to hear.
     
  3. hedgerowpete

    hedgerowpete Member

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    I have the same issues, I have 21 "projects". All from 20k to 180k words. All non fiction manuals. I find i know what i want to write and have ahead full of ideas, skills, i do a storey board and i blurt out 10k words in an instant. I then dry up completley. I die on that subject for a year or twenty and then suddenly have a new idea that deletes the first idea and then i rewrite the whole thing again

    untill I run out of steam again
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  4. MissBadWolf

    MissBadWolf Senior Member

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    I abandon story ideas but not fully. I generally keep in the back burner but still used to build the multi-universes the stories are based on.
     
  5. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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    When we are inspired to write something, it can feel like being touched by God. We have to write. But when you go back and read what you wrote, all sorts of things pop out at you that drains all that inspiration away. But, that’s where the craft comes in. If you can stick to one project and perfect it using technique and craft, you might get the final product to be what you first envisioned.
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm a true fan of the short story and the miraculous things that can happen in about 5k words. I put far more time into writing shorter works than I do longer ones. But selling a collection can be tricky. You'll want to start by selling some stories to magazines and journals. This will not hurt you at all when it comes to putting your collection together. In fact, it should help. Most short story collections contain several pieces that were originally published other places. Where you publish your shorts can make a big difference. Selling to well-know places can impress agents and editors. Selling to unknown markets won't so easily get their attention or likely spark much interest.

    So, polish up your best shorts and send them out to some solid publications. My mentor suggests aiming for two really good short story publications a year for three years. Then you have half a collection ready to go and some good credits to back up the rest of your work. Not that it's easy at all, but I do think it's a good path to follow. Good luck.

    Also, don't worry about the writing you abandon. What we can and will write is always better than what we've written. I think we write what we're supposed to at the right time. Sometimes it's just part of the learning process, and that's perfectly okay.
     
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  7. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Active Member

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    Respect for your desire to finish something, and best of luck with the short stories. Some people are just more suited for one than the other (or both).

    If it is still your desire to write a larger piece of fiction, can you write a novella or novel solely for the sake of finishing it? Never mind your passion, muse, or inspiration. Can you stack the firewood?
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Richach

    Richach Contributor Contributor

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    It seems that the only person to read your work is you? Maybe sharing by sharing some of your work in the workshop to get other peoples views may help. :)
     
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  9. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    You need to be dedicated to finishing, period. No matter what, you finish what you start before you start something else. Motivation doesn't matter. Determination does. I don't start anything that I don't finish anymore.

    Granted, it wasn't always that way. Last year, I started six books and I finished six books. Two of those were projects that I started years ago but never finished. One, because I was stuck on the format and the format simply didn't work so I started over with the basic story, threw the format away, and wrote it how it needed to be written. It was a solid, nearly 100k book. The other, I was in the middle of when I ran out of time to write when my kids were young. I always meant to get back to it and last year, I did. Finished it up at 124k. I also got through a 350k trilogy and started another one. I'm about to get working on the second book in that new trilogy. Never once did I ever start one of those books without being fully confident that I'd get it finished. I refuse to work any other way.
     
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  10. Le gribouilleur

    Le gribouilleur Member

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    Whenever I feel exhausted, I take a break and then go back to writing. Sometimes, I take a break for several days. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to come up with ideas. And taking time away from my writing and then going back allows me to read it from a new perspective, which helps me identify my errors in my storytelling better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  11. Josie Grenwood

    Josie Grenwood New Member

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    I've started to doing this. No matter what I finish the book. I often used to get half way or towards the end and start something else and the cycle would repeat year after year. I must have about 15 unfinished projects. Then about a year ago I saw a video by one of my favourite writers and she said in an around about way, no matter what just finish the book. Even on the days you hate it. Just write the book.

    Don't stop. Write. The. Damn. Book.

    Now these are words I live by and would you know my latest novel is set to be in done in about a month or so!
     
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  12. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Then you figured out one of the biggest secrets in all of writing. Get stuff finished. All the half-done projects in the world mean nothing. You can't publish half a book. You can only publish a completed one.

    Good job.
     
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  13. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Often, and for several reasons. A common one is that real life intervenes and by the time I have an opportunity to get back to a story, I've lost interest. Another reason is that i read something - damn! somebody's done the same idea better. The most frequent reason is that the story loses its way.

    Once I stop worrying about structure and style and genre and whatever other nonsense we get hung up on and start living in the story with my imaginary people, i have no problem accompanying then where they need to go.
     
  14. LostArtist

    LostArtist Member

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    I suffer from this too.
    I have had a story running around in my head since I was 17. I have made things out of it. I made two hand-drawn animations in university, drafted a comic book, and a handwritten manuscript of 560 pages.
    Still, all of these things barely scratched the surface of the main story and it's also a long time ago, I have since moved on to other projects. The things I liked back then became done and cliche by the time I was in my late 20's, and yeah at times I didn't like the story. but one day I may pick it up again.
    The worrying thing is that when you are world-building you feel like you should have an answer for everything. when all you really need is the: Who. What, when, where, why, how. Everything else you want to tell (The drama, the romance) keep it to that. create a strong outline so you have a road map, so you know where you are going.

    But I completely sympathise with you. Keep strong and I wish you the best of luck
    Hope I helped
     
  15. Damage718

    Damage718 Active Member

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    Like most other things, it ebbs and flows. One feels great, the other dreadful. As others have said, there are times to walk away and take a break; not force it.

    Also, this is part of the idea of never throwing things away. I dug out a couple old stories I forgot about from the doomsday drawer for my collection I just completed, and am going over old notebooks and random scraps of paper I've found to compile ideas for book #2. Sometimes looking back on old drafts or ideas is cringe-worthy, but other times it can spark a new idea using the old one as the base/starting point. So in essence, abandoning a project(s) isn't always a bad thing. It could just be temporary abandonment, only to resurface later, and in a much better way.
     
  16. AASmith

    AASmith Senior Member

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    Do you create character profiles? I understand that you draw them out but do you sit down and think about who your characters are, how they will react to certain situations, what do they like, what don't they like, what is their purpose for the story, ultimately why do they matter? Also do you outline before you start writing? I used to try to pants everything in the past but that didn't work for me. I would end up hating what I wrote half way through the novel and I couldn't figure out what to do. Outlining allows you to figure out your entire story and identify weak spots before you write so that when you do, it's a much clearer path. I would suggest watching this video:
     

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