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New Writer Looking For Advice

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Agazile, May 17, 2022.

  1. Agazile

    Agazile New Member

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    Hello my name is Agazile,

    This is my first post so forgive me if it's a bit long or lack luster...

    I wouldn't describe myself as a writer and I still don't, at least not a traditional writer but a few years ago out of nowhere I decided to go on google docs and start writing and developing characters, lore and drawing and creating maps for a fictional fantasy universe... A few weeks passed after that spurt of creativity and I dropped the personal project and went back to my normal life, gaming, smoking and the typical teenager stuff...

    Recently (for a few months now) I decided to pick the hobby back up and have written many characters and lore surrounding their lives, creating maps on Inkarnate and overall been happy with it but I'm starting to lose my passion for it, every day I try to write I just end up scrapping thoses ideas and I understand no writer or book is perfect and things like this take enormous amounts of time to come to fruition but I've had serious "Writer's Block" and have no idea where to go from here... Like I genuinely WANT to write, but I don't know WHAT or HOW to write about the things in my mind, everytime I try to do or write something down all imagination and creative thinking just immediately dies out...

    A lot of other people I've been in contact with have told me take breaks and I have, nothing has worked so far... So I guess what I THINK I'm trying to ask is, if any of you that have written novels or personal writing projects such as mine, how did you get over Writer's Block or something similar to it...?
     
  2. For me, this came down to forcing myself to realize inspiration is ab elusive beast, best tamed by write every day, (for me that means an hour minimum) and to NEVER edit or self-critique what you've written that day.

    My worst enemy was my inner critic and editor, who would rework lines and ideas until they were ground into uninspired dust, often the moments after I'd set them down on the paper. We don't write anything perfect out of the box, perhaps not even anything interesting, but as long as you move forward, you will one day be able to start shaping those ideas into a story worth telling.

    So, first, be KIND to yourself. Don't expect too much from those early ideas/drafts and don't feel you need to reign them in. If your main character takes a left turn and you wonder what a right turn would have been like, write both scenes. Don't choose just yet or force yourself to think of the end result. I can't stress enough how it's the practice of writing which opens those doors in the long term, perhaps as much or more than any inspired idea which, inevitably, can begin to dim as the mountain of work to be done rises before you.

    What we call writer's block is often better named as writer's overwhelm.

    If your ideas are more global and not as character oriented, choose a character, give them a goal and write. Also, you don't have to write in sequential order. If you want to skip around, try different ideas from different POVs, do it. As long as you are writing, you will develop the HABIT, which leads to the pages piling up from the single digits to dozens to hundreds. There is no other secret to it at that stage as far as I can tell.

    And find good, well intentioned people to share your thoughts with. Those who will offer encouragement and thoughtful critique. But right now, just find your center in the story/world and write. No pressure. No self-criticisms. No doubts. Just words on paper. :)
     
  3. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    For me is always an issue of beingbm scattered over many things at once. I lost my writing space many years ago and still dont have it back. But i adopted a new strategy. I just agree to write one sentence every night and if im not feeling it… quit. I still have to wait for everyone to go to bed but so far it works.

    i dont worry about it being bot great. That is what rewrites are for. And sometimes the best stuff is what happens when we let ourselves wander.
     
  4. S J Lee

    S J Lee Inkling

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    --> And find good, well intentioned people to share your thoughts with. --> yes, absolutely.

    as for "block" ---> Start small and build. SOMEONE shows up and wants something. (farmer doesnt want to be evicted, kid finds a gold coin and wants to keep it, hunter hates the wolves that killed his horse and wants to destroy them, druid wants to protect wolves from hunters...) Then have them make a few decisions. Druid uses MAGIC to confuse hunters? But now the big wizard in the city senses it and knows he has a rival.... so the wizard now sends his pet dragon to .... bla bla.

    This is what stories are, when you strip away the waffle and jargon of the trade.

    Character + desire + decision + consequences = drama. Rinse and repeat.
     
  5. The most important piece of advice to keep in mind is that every writer is different. There are as many ways of writing as there are writers. And what works for 1 writer will totaly ruin writing for the next. So with all the advice you receive, try it. If it works then great. Keep it. If it doesn't work, then stop following the advice and try something else. (And you can always try it again at a later point, because maybe it works now).

    If you're looking for great writing advice, check out Brandon Sanderson's Youtube lectures. He's taught an introduction to writing SciFi / Fantasy at a university and has recorded the lectures and put them on Youtube for free. They're a great starting point.

    I've been in the place where you are now. I'd get great ideas. I'd start writing some of them. But then the inspiration would fizzle out. I would be stuck and have no idea where to go next and I'd drop the project. I changed a few things and now I've self published 3 novels with #4 on the way.

    The biggest thing by far for me was the realization that to fill a novel (40k words and up) you need a lot of ideas. Having a great scene in mind is wonderful, but you'll need 20 or 30 scenes to complete a novel. It might sound obvious, but it was important for me to accept this. And that is because it led me to the next point, which is plotting.

    Once I accepted that I needed a lot of scenes to fill a novel, and that I knew only 2 of them and had no idea what happened in the rest I started plotting my novel. Now, I don't plot extensively. I write down 1 or 2 sentences per chapter. But those two sentences make all the difference. I first sit down and work out what my overall story will be. And then when it is time to write I take my 2 sentence description and I write a chapter based on that. It's a lot easier to think of what you want to have happen in a single chapter, especially if you know where you're going, then if you need to keep a complete story in your mind while writing.

    Another thing I started doing (and still do) is tracking my word count (I do it in Excel). Again obvious, but it takes a lot of words to fill a novel. A lot. You won't write those in a day, or even a week (most likely at least). I take something like 4 months for a first draft. I like seeing progress, and progress can seem slow if you're wading through the middle of a story 500 words at a time. However, if the goal isn't "write your novel" but "write 500-1000 words", then the goal suddenly is very achievable. I can do that in an hour or two. Tracking my word count then helps seeing my progress and formulate goals. I aim for 600 words a day, or 18k in a month roughly. As said, those are sizeable, manageable chunks while I still see where I'm heading.

    Lastly, what really helped me complete my first novel was public accountability. I participated in NaNoWriMo and told my wife (and people here on the forum) that I was doing so. Now, neither my wife nor the people on the forum here would have said anything about me not completing my novel or not writing each day for a month or whatever. But just by telling someone it became real for me.
     
  6. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Inkling

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    I started out writing short stories because I found they were the easiest way to get a result, in the form of a complete story. They also let me try out ideas and find my own writing style without investing too much time and effort in an attempt to write a novel first time out. But, successful short stories demand more of you as a writer because you only have a limited number of words to develop the characters and give a complete story arc.

    The other thing I found helped was writing something. You don't get going unless you write, and you don't get any better unless you write. So you must write. Doing that takes self-discipline, and I found that by setting aside time on given days and then writing at those times made all the difference. What I wrote was less important than writing something.

    Eventually, the idea for what became my first novel crystalised in my head and once I had the story arc clear and settled I started to write. I always start with the opening scene, then write the key scenes, then conversations, then the end. Then I add the details connecting it all together. I'm dyslexic so this seems to take forever - about 6-8 months for a 90 000 word novel.

    Being dyslexic I do not redraft nor do I edit, the first draft is the final draft. BUT, that means I must have the setting, plot, story and character arcs worked out in my head before I begin writing.
     
  7. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    You're young, you've many years to overcome writer's block or whatever you wanna call it... unless you're 80 and still acting like a teenager... in which case, bully for you! heh heh.

    Otherwise, it really comes down to finding what works for you. Taking breaks might be needed now and again, but they can be deadly for me. I don't like sitting and typing, I'd rather be up and about doing stuff outside or whatever, so the rhythm of writing every day or close to it is vital for me to be productive. Some folks are driven by outlines, others (like me) are destroyed by them. Some people need schedules, others (like me) write at crazy and unpredictable times for ten minutes or five hours. So on and so on.
     
  8. HungryAdli

    HungryAdli Acolyte

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    I don't think you should take breaks when you feel that you can't write anything. Just write short stories and then you'll get a better idea on how to develop those stories.
     
    Ned Marcus likes this.
  9. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    The concept of writing when the muse calls to you is a myth. Take breaks when you're exhausted. That should be an exception, not the rule. Write daily. Write ten words. A page. Writing flows when you fall into a pattern. Write and keep writing. It's a learned skill. One that requires more practice than anything else.
     
  10. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    The concept of writing when the muse calls to you is a myth. Take breaks when you're exhausted. That should be an exception, not the rule. Write daily. Write ten words. A page. Writing flows when you fall into a pattern. Write and keep writing. It's a learned skill. One that requires more practice than anything else.
     
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