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Thread: How do you stay interested?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    How do you stay interested?

    How do you stay interested in your novel? I have started two different novels this month. Once I reach the 5,000-word mark, I get a little bored of the story and start to lose interest. Does this happen to anyone else? How do you remain excited about your work?

  2. #2
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    If I find myself getting bored, I know I've gotten off-track. So it's go back to the place where I was still involved and see where I went wrong. Bored writer - bored reader.
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  3. #3
    Seashell Seller Layla Nahar's Avatar
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    I think one does best when one comes up with a truly viable story idea. (Wish I could tell you how to do that...)
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  4. #4
    Simplify. frankiebrown's Avatar
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    I make the plot more interesting.
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  5. #5
    Playing the waiting game MsLaylaCakes's Avatar
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    It happens - I'm an outline type of person, so I might skip forward to the parts I want to write and then come back to the point where I was stuck. Usually, knowing what happens later helps me write what 'needs to happen'.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW SianaBlackwood's Avatar
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    For me it's the characters much more than the plot that keeps me interested. If I want to know what happens to the character I'll keep writing. If I find myself bored with the story I'll take it as an indication that I haven't managed to come up with a character interesting enough to make me want to find out how they deal with being in a story.
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  7. #7
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    I do occasionally let myself work on a side project, but I make sure that if I write on a side project, I make sure that I'm writing at least a paragraph or two on my primary work the same day. Sooner or later, I'll hit my stride in the primary work and put down my side project within a week or two.

    I'm actually grinding to the end of my current wip and I'm gearing up for the next one already. I'm really only shooting for another 4 to 5,000 words to hit my goal of 75,000 for the first draft.
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  8. #8
    Non-savvy tech writer WinterDusk14's Avatar
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    I juggle between novels. It takes a bit longer to finish but at least my writing is getting somewhere, even though it's a little spread out. I also get new ideas for one while I write the other, so it's sort of a welcome distraction.

  9. #9
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    If you can possibly have a "compelling idea" it will surely help. I had this last year for Nanowrimo, and I found the idea exciting enough that it pushed me to write the whole thing. I've only got some vague idea(s) this November, and I only have about 3k words since the 1st. I'm not real enthused...
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  10. #10
    needs something clever to put here Ellielle's Avatar
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    I do get routinely bored with first drafts, usually starting somewhere between the 20k-40k word mark. When I get bored, it's usually a sign that I'm veering away from plot and goal-oriented action, and into random diversions (or endless, plodding conversations). So I write a clunky transition to whatever is my next plot point on my outline and keep going. This section will require substantial edits (and frequently what bored me will get cut), but with each draft I write, it gets progressively less boring.

    However, if I can't even make it to 20k before getting bored, that's usually a sign that something is wrong with my initial idea. Often, in this case, it's not developed enough, and I need to sit down and think more about plot and less about premise. I quite frequently end up chucking the whole thing at that point, because I realize the idea isn't substantial enough to carry me through 80k+ words. (This happens with maddening frequency; I'm absolutely terrible at evaluating ideas before I start writing.)
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    When I get bored, I decide it's time to throw a new complication into the plot. It can lead you to interesting places. Sometimes this could be new character, too.

  12. #12
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    I treat writing as a job. Nobody but me is going to do my job. Nobody but me is going to write my books. So I make sure they get written.

  13. #13
    Custom User Title ... or is it? jvill's Avatar
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    My passion for wanting my friends and family to read my tale and see my characters is enough to keep me going. If anyone I don't know reads it and enjoys it... well... sure that's great, but that was never my original goal.

  14. #14
    Angel Wing Fetish VoireyLinger's Avatar
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    I don't. I finish by sheer dint of will and a determination to get paid. The new-shiny book will always look like more fun and the old one will always feel like work.

  15. #15
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    If I find myself getting bored, I know I've gotten off-track. So it's go back to the place where I was still involved and see where I went wrong. Bored writer - bored reader.
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    I also take into consideration that perhaps the scene where I find myself bored may not be needed. Or wanted. Like SW said, if it's boring me, it'll bore the reader, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    How do you stay interested in your novel? I have started two different novels this month. Once I reach the 5,000-word mark, I get a little bored of the story and start to lose interest. Does this happen to anyone else? How do you remain excited about your work?
    Writing is what I do, and what I enjoy. I don't have to stay interested, I just have to finish what I start. If I don't finish, I shouldn't have started. It's just a waste of time, and life is too short to waste time.

    But, really, this is a bit like asking how you stay interested in sex, or in video games, etc. I stay interested because I enjoy writing. If I didn't, I'd go play a video game while having sex.

  17. #17
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    Most shiny new ideas will give enough inertia to get at least 5,000 words into an embryonic story with little effort and great enthusiasm. Eventually, however, the ethereal tiptoe through the tulips of that new idea ends and the further development of that story requires some solid thought, some thorough execution, and some work. If one wants to be a writer, it's necessary to take a story beyond that inertial enthusiasm and actually work that idea into a real story; to use one's intellect and knowledge of the craft to produce something worth sending out to the readers.

    Writing is not just a creative activity. It's also an intellectual one. Squeezing the creative juice from a new idea but bailing when it's time to put in the intellectual work isn't going to result in anything but a hard drive full of 5,000 word aborted embryos. Do you want to be a writer or just someone who writes little bits of stuff?
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  18. #18
    Obsessive Plotting Disorder Parataxis's Avatar
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    I am a story teller. So I keep what I've written reading to my writing group as I go. I get myself excited by working to get to the point where I get to tell people things about my story/characters. It's a good motivator.
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  19. #19
    Let it go Persei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parataxis View Post
    I am a story teller. So I keep what I've written reading to my writing group as I go. I get myself excited by working to get to the point where I get to tell people things about my story/characters. It's a good motivator.
    Basically. I love to hear people saying my idea is good -- it helps me get going with it. But honestly, the ideas I'm not interested, I just don't write them.

    Sure, my junk fold is full with starts and has no ends whatsoever, but what I did finish, I enjoyed every single bit of it.
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  20. #20
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    If you're getting bored take that as a sign. If you're bored so will be the reader.
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  21. #21
    I stay interested because my stories always find a way to surprise me even when I have a detailed outline. Unfortunately, my attention wanders when I'm enjoying something so I still need to force myself to sit and write.

  22. #22
    Eight Legs, All Holding Pens ArachnePhobia's Avatar
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    What seun and Voirey Linger said. No matter how engaging you find a story, you are going to hit a point where you just don't wanna do it. The only way past that point is to do it anyway.

    However, you might want to compare the two stories and find out where, exactly, you're starting to lose interest. Is it where the hero knows what they want but has reached their first real roadblack? Is it the escalation of the conflict, when you know you've got to raise the stakes? If you find out what's stopping you, it'll be easier to get going again.
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  23. #23
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    Sometimes the problem is that you're starting too many new pieces. To write a full-length novel, it's important to buckle down and concentrate. If you get 5,000 words in and then start something new, you're never going to finish anything. You have to discipline yourself to keep going. Back when I was writing short stories, I had dozens of stories in my "in-progress" folder. None of them ever got finished. I had to learn to keep focused. If I got a new idea, instead of starting a new story, I would just add the concept to my "ideas" folder. Once I started forcing myself to finish one story before beginning another, I started making progress. Now, I have more than 50 (finished) short stories to my name.

    It's possible there may be flaws in your novels that your subconscious is trying to warn you about. This happened to me last year--I wasn't able to write more than 10,000 words and I soon realized it was because I didn't know know the main characters well enough. They were like cardboard, until I sat down and fleshed them out. So look at your novel with a critical eye. Perhaps there's a major plot hole that needs attention, a subplot that needs to be added, or characters that need to be developed further.

    Or perhaps you need to write an outline, to guide you and tell you what to write next. Many people write by the seat of their pants, but a lot of people need an outline to follow. Using an outline doesn't mean you're limited to what's in the outline. Think of it more as a rough sketch beneath an oil painting--you can still paint whatever colors you want. You can do whatever you want with your story, but an outline will help keep you on track, so you don't wander aimlessly. Truthfully, my novels usually end up vastly different from their outlines. I'll discard entire subplots, or add new ones. I let the story evolve naturally, even if that means departing from the outline. But when I don't know what to write next, I go back and look at the outline, to see what still needs to be written.

    One last possibility is that you're simply not ready to write novels at this point in time. There's no shame in that. Some people write nothing but short stories and novellas. Others prefer to write thick novels. Some (like me) started out with short stories, then moved on to novellas, and finally graduated to writing full-length novels. There is a big difference between them--a novel isn't simply a longer short story. The structure is entirely different. It takes practice to be able to write one successfully. In fact, most published authors do NOT start out by selling the first novel they wrote. They relegate their first (and sometimes their second and third) novels to a trunk in the attic and don't sell anything until they've had plenty of practice.

    In other words, don't give up! Figure out what's stalling you, and work on fixing the problem.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    How do you stay interested in your novel? I have started two different novels this month. Once I reach the 5,000-word mark, I get a little bored of the story and start to lose interest. Does this happen to anyone else? How do you remain excited about your work?

    I start something I am interested in enough to finish.

    If you're one of those writers who gets distracted by shiny new ideas every time you've spent the least bit of effort on the last one (and yes, it's common), then break the habit. No excuses, no shortcuts, and no, there are no secrets to doing it. You just finish what you started. Or you will be always be one of those "writers" full of ideas but never finishing anything.

  25. #25
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    For me 5000 words is the end of chapter one, so I haven't really had time to get bored. Now 20,000 is normally the place when I realise that one idea doesn't make a novel, and a need to throw in a ninja or two.
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