Writing the freakin story

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Memmorio, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Memmorio

    Memmorio Apprentice

    I have always loved writing but never really been able to do it if that makes any sense. I can make the story, I can develop characters and evolve them in my head on a high level I really think. I cannot seem to write the story though. Dialogue feels forced and unnatural even when I can picture the conversations in my head. I have seemingly no ability to describe things either. Sometimes I feel that I would be great writing in a group. Never really been able to find a group quite like that though.

    I've read many a "How to," to writing and tried many a trick. Sitting down and writing absolutely anything for instance. I've tried prompts and timed writing sessions as well. I am a huge self critic and can't seem to think positively of the issues mentioned earlier in the post.

    I am wondering, the posters here seem to be able to write without any true issues, how do you do it? Hopefully you made sense of this chaotic post. Thank you for any help you provide.
  2. Lavender

    Lavender Master

    Write a lot and read a lot. When I first started my novel it was terrible but as the years have gone by and I've written more and more, I've found myself improving. You are obviously creative and imaginative if you invent all these ideas and stories in your head so you have the main ingredient there already to produce something really good.

    Perhaps you might consider posting an example of your work in the Showcase for others to critique so you can gain some advice on what areas of your writing may need work. If you'd rather not, you could PM me an example of your work and I'd be happy to offer you some advice. :)
  3. Argentum

    Argentum Lore Master

    Well. For one thing: Just do it. You can spend years creating, but even if you think you don't have enough information to start, extra detail can always be created later. So, at some point you're going to have to decide to just start things with what you got so far.

    The second thing is this: It's going to be crappy. You can't fix and edit what you don't have down on paper (word doc). It's going to be awful. First drafts always are. But the thing is you always go back later to edit, alter, remove, and add. But you can't do any of that when your story is still in your head. First you will have to start writing, no matter how awful it is. Once the story is down on paper, THEN you can worry about fixing it up. Tell your huge self critic to take a hike and not come back until the story's finished. ;)
  4. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Grandmaster

    I'm exactly the same way. To the point that I haven't written anything except a narrative and a few world building pages.
    Right now I'm chalking it up to not having my own computer. My Fiance has a laptop and I have my phone, but I can't do any serious writing on either. I also can't pen and paper write fast enough to get a good flow going.

    I hope to get some stories out and critiqued by myself and the writers here.
  5. Motley

    Motley Master

    Being a harsh self-critic is the worst, and perhaps most common, stumbling block for writers. Others who say, "Just do it," are 100% right. No one is great at something right away. You need practice, and that means writing often and aplenty. Once you've been writing for a while... a year or so... you can look back on your old stuff and realize how much better you've gotten.

    And you're probably not as bad as you think you are right now.
  6. Joe the Gnarled

    Joe the Gnarled Mystagogue

    I used to feel the exact same way Memmorio. I could come up with imaginative story ideas, plots and well developed characters but the writing just was not there. Over the years I have gotten better. It is like any other art form. It takes years of practice before something worthwhile comes out.
  7. Wolfie

    Wolfie New Member

    personally, I write the whole novel, and only go back to change things when it's plot related. Once I have that first draft I go back and read it all again. I make corrections to style and phrasing and smack myself over the head repeatedly thinking "What was I thinking when I wrote that!?"
    Finally I cave a second draft and a bruised forehead. I read it all again and focus on plot, adding, removing, and adding again. Here is where I invest in my future baldness, pulling my hair over how to maintain the tension, how to make each character more unique, how to put their personality into each word. It's where I realize that perhaps I need to scrap several pages, or expand a paragraph into an entire chapter.

    I repeat these two steps until I'm satisfied with everything. It's a painful process filled with love... but mostly it's just painful. I can only assume it's a bit like giving birth.
  8. Jenna St. Hilaire

    Jenna St. Hilaire Journeyman

    Smoke and mirrors. :)

    Honestly, writing is just about the most frustrating, difficult process I can imagine. I'm procrastinating on a novel right this minute, and I've successfully finished two.

    It takes thousands of hours of practice to perfect your craft, and there's little substitute for putting in the time--both reading and writing. Beyond that, though, it's just hard work. I would guess my pace averages around 3-500 words an hour creating from scratch, at least if I'm putting effort into phrasing. It can take me half an hour or better to write a three-paragraph email, my blog probably takes 15 hours a week, and I've had this forum log me out while I tried to create a response. :) As far as I can tell, there are no shortcuts.

    But if you love it, you love it. And that makes it all worth it. Best of luck!
  9. rjklee

    rjklee Apprentice

    Memmorio, I think i've dealt with the same problem you have for a few years now. Come up with many many ideas, written outlines and character sheets, thought endlessly about ideas and ways to interlock secondary storylines but never actually took the time to do the actual writing. I eventually realised my problem was that I expected a complete product to come dripping out the first time through. But as you can see by the responses above, nobody is comfortable with thier first drafts, they are ugly, the don't flow but they are still bettter than just keeping the idea locked up inside your head where you can't share it with anyone.

    Here is a quote by Jurassic Park Author Michael Chrichton that I read once and really helped to change my work ethic: "There is no such thing as good writing. There is only good rewriting."

    The best advice I can give is to just set yourself a daily goal and then do it, ever something small like 300 words(my current daily goal on the story im working on) will still be 300 more words than you had the day before.
  10. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Mystagogue

    For some people, and I am one of them, having consequences for not completing your daily word count helps. This is one of the principles that NaNoWriMo is built on. You talk the whole thing up, make all kinds of extravagant boasts, and then have to put in the time at the keyboard to back them up.

    When I did NaNo last year I managed to write almost 56,000 words in 25 days. I distinctly recall having one days where I wrote almost ten thousand of those at a coffee shop with other NaNoers, because if everyone else is writing, peer pressure will keep your mind pushing out the ideas, no matter how screwed up and unviable they are at birth, they can always be refined and re-written.

    When I get writing and get a good flow going, I can crank out probably a thousand words an hour. They are by no means ready for publication, but it's a thousand words more than I had before I sat down. The difficult part is training yourself to do it every day. They say it takes two to three weeks to form a good habit, so you need to sit down and write even if it's just a few paragraphs every day.

    There are two ways to go, you can either go for a word count goal, such as Jenna and others have suggested, or you can go for time. Agree that you will spend an hour sitting there at the keyboard, regardless of how many words you actually write.

    It sounds easy, but there are so many other claims on our attention. TV, books to read, family members demanding attention, pets wreaking havoc, and of course this damn internet... In the words of Lewis Black, this is why Americans have ADD as a culture. So it all comes down to self discipline.

    If you want help with dialogue, PM me and I can look it over for you, maybe give you some tips. I think I'm pretty good with dialogue, as my characters all have big freaking mouths and never really shut up.
  11. Dante Sawyer

    Dante Sawyer Lore Master

    I feel like I'm just beating a dead horse at this point but... just write! Don't go back and change/edit stuff too much until the end otherwise you'll never finish. The prologue to my book (which was like 10k words) was complete improv writing. I had not plan for that nor for the novel in general. Some 115k words later, I'm a teenager with a novel!
    Best of luck and chamos man.

  12. UnionJane

    UnionJane Journeyman

    I've had trouble coming up with definitive writing--either because I fall out of love with a certain idea, or I can't organize the details. I can come up with a trillion excuses. However, recently I started on a piece where the excuses fell away, and I've just been hammering out the story as best as I can. What got me going was a challenge. My boyfriend and I decided that because we're skint college kids, we should use our talents to create something for each other's birthdays. He's going to write me a program to help with free associating ideas, and in return, I'm writing him a short story on dragons. Those are our only parameters. I have 22 days until his birthday, and one of three or four scenes completed. All of the anxieties or miscellanea stopping me before has fallen to the wayside. If there's a way for you to come up with a similar situation, I recommend it. I think it's predominantly because this piece of writing is for somebody else, somebody who's going to be interested no matter what in this story. Issues of quality come later.

    If there are other underlying issues, I recommend hashing those out individually. Life by the inch is a cinch; life by the yard is hard.

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