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Thread: Middling Blues

  1. #1
    Back on Track Carrie in PA's Avatar
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    Middling Blues

    I passed the 30K mark, and my excitement has turned to loathing. I hate my story, it's boring and it sucks, my characters are on my last freaking nerve, my scenarios are unbelievable, my settings are dull and flat and lifeless, and this is a steaming pile of CRAP.

    I hate Every. Single. Thing. about the stupid novel. I hate the title, I hate my stupid mock cover, I hate it all. It needs to be hurled over the edge of a live volcano, burned to a crisp before it even hits the lava, then the ash spewed upward and burned again.




    So, basically, it's the same as the middle of every other novel I've written. *sigh*

  2. #2
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Daps from a fellow midpoint sufferer. I didn't outline my story because I was so busy leading up to NaNo, and I detest what I'm writing. The last, like 5000 words are just delaying because I don't know what to make the characters do. I've got those nagging thoughts of, "This is terrible. Why are you wasting your time? You're just going to shove it in the trunk as soon as you're done, so why bother?"

    Luckily, or maybe unfortunately, the stronger voice in my head says, "Because I don't like to lose."
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  3. #3
    Procrastinator Extraordinaire Lillian_Blaire's Avatar
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    I went through this (and am still experiencing it). My plot is weak, my characters are dull and one-dimensional. I outlined, I planned, I've been thinking about this particular plot for several years. I love these characters...don't I?? But I want to hurl my laptop across the room. I want to scream and pull my hair out. I keep thinking some light will go on and suddenly I'll have the perfect method to make this all come together. My 'method' is to just keep writing. Like, maybe if I dig the hole deep enough, I'll come out on the other side.

    Just keep pounding keys, it's all you can do. Rather than going back and editing, I just started a new document, changing my characters a little, writing other scenes I like more, even if they don't fit into the current timeline of the story. I hope I can get it all to mash together soon. I'm at 50,000 words, but the story isn't even half over, there's a lot more writing to do. And frankly, I'm still writing because my pride won't let me stop. But I have a feeling this one will end up in the trash.
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  4. #4
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    I've never had so much trouble staying at par during NaNo. Sure, there were days that I couldn't make the minimum, but I'd have so much of a lead that it wouldn't be a problem and those days would be far between (or after I'd already won but hadn't finished the novel). This year I'm having a lot of trouble concentrating when I write, so even having a large space of writing time, I'm happy to reach 1K. So when I had a week off, I got a little ahead, but not as much as I should have had, and now I'm just barely hanging on.

    My summer book was the same way, where writing was a chore, but I felt confident about my characters, at least, and here i just feel like I don't know them well enough. Weirdly, I felt better about them in that first week, but I seem to have lost them since then.

    The other problem I'm having right now is trying to separate my novel from the source of inspiration, but still keep the elements I want in it. The separation has led me to estrangement from the love interests (especially the secondary character's LI) and because I'm writing so slowly, it seems like they've been out of the picture forever, but they're a pretty important part of the plot. I'm just having trouble getting them back into the picture compared to other elements that I've been working on.

    I can't just write words to write words if I want to pursue a project. I've played that game and it's always led to me abandoning the novel as soon as NaNo is over. Right now I'm having a hard time seeing me wanting to bother revising this. There will have to be some magic coming up to win me over, I think, and that magic is harder to find the longer you're stuck in the Great Swampy Middle.

    (If only writing the novel was as easy as writing posts about the novel)
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  5. #5
    Look on my works, ye Mighty Jade A's Avatar
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    I've been doing pretty well so far this month, but I've hit writing fatigue. I just want to stop. I like my characters, but I don't know where I'm going with my plot of this script. I have an outline, but it's only of big events. I left space between them so I could explore the world. But now I feel like I'm directionless. Somehow I have to get from point A to point B, but how?

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Mary Love's Avatar
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    I like my project so far. After reading here, I feel like that may be a newbie mistake, lol. I know it has issues. My lead is falling a little flat, some motivations are weak, my world building (as always) desperately needs help (like, originality--any at all), but all the same, I'm liking it a lot more now than that dreaded beginning. That was tough. Now, everybody is talking about saggy, dreaded middles and I feel like I'm doing this wrong, because I'm cruising and feeling good. About to enter the second act, have a big plot point to hit around that curve that I'm looking forward too.

    Anybody else doing well? Am I doing something wrong?
    Last edited by Mary Love; 11-18-2016 at 03:43 AM.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Matt T.'s Avatar
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    Iím not really in a position to complain since I passed the 50k mark a little while back, but Iím feeling very frustrated with my story as well and need to vent.

    Iíve been writing it more or less according to my outline, which works for the most part. But Iím not happy with it. Some of it is because I havenít edited anything yet, which is usually where my writing starts to shine, but I donít think thatís the problem.

    The prose and dialogue are very rough in spots, but the overall story is fine in my estimation right now. Fine, but not the story I really want to tell. The frustrating part is that I donít know what to change. I have snippets of dialogue, disconnected scenes and character actions, story modifications, and even looser emotions or ideas I want to get across, all of which are whispering in my ear, but

    I donít know what to do with them. I donít know whether I should scrap the second half and start anew, or if I should simply modify the framework to allow for some of my new ideas. Telling the backstory of both characters, but especially the female POV character, is killing me. Iím tempted to use flashbacks in italics, but I despise the idea of that.

    I canít shake how much this story intrigues me, but itís really frustrating me right now. I tried writing today, and I finished off one chapter and wrote a short one after that, but it was torture. I compare it to the first chapter I wrote, and my writing is lifeless.

    Iím debating between pushing to the end of the story or starting over right now, making the changes I want to make, and making decisions about the second half when I get there. I just don't know. I feel like there's a much better story hiding in here somewhere that I haven't cracked yet, and I wonder if putting the last third or so on hold and going back to the beginning is the way to find it.

  8. #8
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Love View Post
    I like my project so far. After reading here, I feel like that may be a newbie mistake, lol. I know it has issues. My lead is falling a little flat, some motivations are weak, my world building (as always) desperately needs help (like, originality--any at all), but all the same, I'm liking it a lot more now than that dreaded beginning. That was tough. Now, everybody is talking about saggy, dreaded middles and I feel like I'm doing this wrong, because I'm cruising and feeling good. About to enter the second act, have a big plot point to hit around that curve that I'm looking forward too.

    Anybody else doing well? Am I doing something wrong?
    You aren't doing anything wrong. I've totally been in the middle of some books and just cruising along...just not this one. Having a big non-climax plot point is one of the suggested ways to get through the Great Swampy Middle, and it sounds like you've come to it naturally.
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  9. #9
    Back on Track Carrie in PA's Avatar
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    For all my whining yesterday, I ended up having my best word count day so far. LOL

  10. #10
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Hah, same! It helped that I finally figured out what I was doing wrong and was able to push it in the right direction.
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  11. #11
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    Some of my problems with the plot were solved today, including the one with the secondary character's LI!

    Then I realized the political implications of the solutions and am back to the drawing board. Depressed. In any other climate, it would have worked, but I can't in good conscience use it, even though I'm pretty sure it was the perfect solution narratively and character-wise.
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    I am the prince of Winter. My heart is of ice.
    And he's been slowly melting it for years.




  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Matt T.'s Avatar
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    After feeling yesterday like I just wanted to quit this novel, I tried something different. I didn't attempt to write any new words, and instead went back to Chapter 1 and simply started writing it the way I wanted it to be now. I didn't worry about the rest of the novel or how I was going to tie it in with what I'd already written. I just focused on the voice and making that chapter as good as I could make it. I finished it, set it aside, and worked a little on the second chapter, which I've been hating almost ever since I wrote it.

    It was... strangely therapeutic. I finally figured out a lot of both of the main characters' voices, and these revised chapters are much closer to what I want to write. No idea what I'm going to do with this whole thing or how I'm going to continue it or revise the rest of it past about Chapter 5 or so, but I very much enjoy my first few chapters, and that's enough for now.

  13. #13
    Look on my works, ye Mighty Jade A's Avatar
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    I'm trying to be okay with writing less than I did a week ago. I used to push myself to get the whole 1667 a day, minimum. Now I'm aiming for 1000 words a day, and if I write more, great! I'm still ahead of where we're supposed to be at this point, due to writing a lot at the beginning of the month, so maybe I can give myself a bit of a break? Without really going a day without writing, because the whole reason I'm doing this is to write everyday. Just writing less a day. Let's see how this goes

  14. #14
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    I managed to write 3K yesterday, but today I am completely stuck.

    This novel's problem is that there are too many threads to develop, and I suck at writing all of them. There's the romance thread, there's the show thread, and there's the engineering thread. So the MC goes from scene to scene, here he's talking to Max about the show, now he's talking to Johee about romance, now he's working on the weather system, now back to Max, back to Johee, back to the weather system he thought he fixed already... It's all tied together, but everything seems so disjointed that I can't get a flow going.
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  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Mary Love's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sage View Post
    Having a big non-climax plot point is one of the suggested ways to get through the Great Swampy Middle, and it sounds like you've come to it naturally.
    Ugh. Awesome big plot point sorta fell on its face today. It was so much better in my outline and dreams (literally). Didn't help that we were out of power this morning (blizzard--hello winter), so I was writing like a maniac trying to get the word count in on a 2 hour battery in the laptop, (last time we were out of power it was for two days). I know the scene has to be rewritten, but it looks so corny on paper, I'm doubting if even better writing can save it. Since its crucial to the character and plot development, I'm doubting my whole plot now, and whether or not I can even write. Agggh, one of those days.

    I knew I was hexing myself by being optimistic. Turned away from that statement and ran into a brick wall.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Mary Love's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrie in PA View Post
    For all my whining yesterday, I ended up having my best word count day so far. LOL
    Maybe that's the point of whining. I'll see if my story perks up now after that last rant.

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