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Bemoaning Your Story?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Addison, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Addison

    Addison Auror

    This thread is for everyone who has wanted to tear up their manuscript, chuck it in the fire, take a hammer to their computer, or chuck their laptop out the window all to kill the story that's sucking the life out of you. The techno-dementor.

    I've had several story ideas. Some are just little cut things I play with to get the engine running. Most are kinda...backburner projects. My main project is KILLING me! It came to me when I was a preteen. It went through several drafts as I was in my reading High Time, and learning about writing. Since then and college, there's been several drafts. Ten years since the story's -for lack of better word- conception the plot and characters and everything has changed, morphed, mutated and evolved. It's. Not. STOPPING! Character backstories and ages, the plot itself, oh my god. It's like five years ago in the grocery store and my kid sister's trying to choose between three cereals. "JUST CHOOSE SOMETHING!".

    It's gotten to the point where, even today, all I can do is complete writing exercises. Whenever I open part of the actual story I'm grinding my teeth. Something between "Write, write the story...which story?" and the more common "In the sink or under my tire? How would Apple prefer to die?" It's like something in my brain has shorted out. Like technology around Harry Dresden.

    I have done everything to try and reboot. I've read two books, working on a third, without working on my story. I've baked, cleaned house, exercised, gone to the lake. Nada. Tomorrow I'll try writing a completely different story, different genre and everything. Hopefully that will help. Maybe piss off the wizards and dragons in my head so they come back with a vengeance.
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    Same here! What I have now, is nothing like the original draft, though technically I am still working on the same story, but now it is clearly much better than what I had started out with. I've lost count of how many drafts I have done and every time I start a new draft, I say to myself, I say... 'This is going to be the final draft,' and it never seems to be. Right now I am stuck somewhere in the middle - beginning and end is done - but I know I have to write those hard chapters I left out in the previous draft because I knew they would be too hard to write. At the moment I am getting through a couple of sentences a day, when all I really want is it all finished.

    After that I need to rewrite some landscaping issues, and rework one of the battles to fit, then fingers crossed it's all done. Then it will be time to work on the next draft of Book2 in the series...

    Although, for some reason, the second book was much easier to write than the first, and much quicker, and I had less outline than the first. There are still issues in B2 to do... and I never really completed the last chapter of the third book, so that's in the future redraft. But right now, I need to finish B1, draft 2??.

    I suppose what keeps it going, is looking back at the originals, and realising just how much everything has improved - and that is everything from the writing, grammar, structure, characters, world building, characters, the story itself. It then seems a huge pity to throw it all away in frustration.
  3. Peat

    Peat Sage

    I understand that sort of hatred well. There's a complete 90,000 manuscript that's seen multiple drafts that I simply do not see myself ever touching again.

    I also understand that thing about ever-evolving characters and story ideas. I've never been one of the people sitting on this one idea forever, but I know a fair few who have, and a lot of the ideas I have now are different versions of the ones I had when young. I think the vast majority of writers keep their unused ideas somewhere in their head, just waiting for the right spark to set them off again. And sometimes it happens with used ideas too.

    I was going to say finish a draft and they'll stop collecting sparks, but re-read your post and see it hasn't. I don't know what to suggest there.

    But I do know what I did with a story I hated and that's forget about it. The file still exists in case I change my mind but there's a firm resolution that I am no longer working on or interested in that story. I drew a line and moved on. I know it's not always possible, but there's too many ideas in the world to be chasing after the one that won't work.
  4. I have such a story. I am not working on it presently, but I feel sure I will return to it and incarnate it into a final form someday.

    The feelings echoed by people in this thread sound very similar to how I felt about that story before I began my current project. Maybe try writing a totally different story, like I did?
  5. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

    I want to destroy every manuscript I write in eternal fire. Then I go ahead and put some up for sale anyway. You can call me a masochist because that's definitely what I am.
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Your tale sounds very familiar. Went through it with my first book. Kept changing the concept and plot over-and-over, and I spent years spinning my wheels. Didn't make any progress until I just said screw it. I started to make choices, stuck to them, let the story unfold based on those choices, and saw where it took me. No turning back until the first draft was done.

    Sometimes this took me to really good places. Other times not so much. Sometimes it put me in a corner and forced to write my way out of it instead of going back and changing something. And IMHO I came out the better for it, not just story-wise, but writing skill-wise. I'm not saying it worked out every time I got into a corner, but it taught me to be a little more patient with my decisions.

    There were times where I came up with a "crazy-stupid" idea that would get me out of a pinch with the intention of it being just a place holder until I came up with something better, but it turned to be something pretty cool, or at least it became the basis for it. Sometimes crazy works.

    And finally, the best lesson that first book taught me was when to walk away. After 3 years, four major drafts, I was at an impasse. The book wasn't ready. In fact it was a mess, and I wasn't sure how to fix it. But there were so many awesome things in it, and I had so many ideas that I wanted to develop more. There were things that needed fixing and changing and arrrrgg. INTO THE FIRE YOU PAPER DEVIL. I hate you. I hate you so much that I love you. If only I could find the magic key that would unlock the angel within. GAAAAHHH... *sob*


    Any way.

    I realised that, with my current skill set, there was just so far I could take the story. And I had reached that point, so I had to move on. If I didn't, I'd stagnate as a writer. I wouldn't get any practice developing new stories from scratch and taking them from beginning to end.

    This didn't mean I couldn't go back. It just meant I needed to other things and focus on them.
  7. R Snyder

    R Snyder Dreamer

    Coming late to this question so I don't know if you've backed out of the corner you're in . . . And I don't know how you write, how your stories evolve, so my question is this: Do you know how the story ends? And if so, what's the middle point of the story? Beginning, middle and end. If you have these points as landmarks, you can write to them. I often write the ending well before I'm even halfway through the first draft. I put that idea out there as a destination and then the middle is an event or turning point that I like to put in place.

    I hope you're making progress.
  8. Addison

    Addison Auror

    Oh, I've had the beginning, middle, and end for the story since day one. But they kept changing! Everything kept growing, shrinking, losing weight, gaining weight, changing colors, EVERYTHING! The only thing that every stayed the same is the genre.

    Right now the story I have has not changed. Crossing fingers that it won't, and I have the beginning thoroughly outlined. I also have the last chapter, the ending scenes, and the crucial Middle scenes.

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