Winter outside a house with children in a horse-drawn sleigh

AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 84

Thread: Motivation to finish writing a novel

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    44

    Motivation to finish writing a novel

    Currently at 34,000+ words. Now it's starting to feel like a slog, but I have to keep at it. It feels like I've been writing crap for the past...30,000 words though. It's really a struggle for me to write past even 15,000 (in general). Any advice on how to stay motivated? The only thing I keep telling myself is that once I finish a full-length novel, the second will be easier.

  2. #2
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    11,334
    I can't imagine writing if there wasn't some way of enjoying it - it's too thankless a job to do for any other reason (and too poorly paid). Can't you focus on why you loved it enough to start? What you love about writing, or why these characters have intrigued you enough or the story has engaged you enough? Positive motivation requires positive thoughts.

    Best of luck with it.

    Last edited by mccardey; 09-19-2017 at 06:35 AM. Reason: Adding sunshine because it might help.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    I can't imagine writing if there wasn't some way of enjoying it - it's too thankless a job to do for any other reason (and too poorly paid). Can't you focus on why you loved it enough to start? What you love about writing, or why these characters have intrigued you enough or the story has engaged you enough? Positive motivation requires positive thoughts.

    Best of luck with it.

    Thanks! The most enjoyable part of writing I think is the feeling of my fingers "punching" the keys. Seriously the best part of writing, imo. But you're right. I should try to focus on the source of the initial joy (which was the MC).

    Always happens though. I start a story, very excited about the premise, then fizzle about about 10,000 words in. Longevity is my bane.
    Last edited by CalRazor; 09-19-2017 at 06:55 AM.

  4. #4
    The One Who Tells The Story relletyrots's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Where stories are born, and dreams are put to bed.
    Posts
    93
    Quote Originally Posted by CalRazor View Post
    Any advice on how to stay motivated?
    Truly, the thing I find most motivating, is thinking about the finished novel. I feel great excitement about the premise, and the thought of finishing the tale--and having the complete work at hand--fuels me best.

    It's also helpful to make sure the story is consistently engaging, and doesn't drag or become stale.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    California
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by CalRazor View Post

    Always happens though. I start a story, very excited about the premise, then fizzle about about 10,000 words in. Longevity is my bane.
    This is me as well. Exactly. I have about five novels started and they are all just a slightly different take on the same story. All are sitting at about 10,000 words. So, sorry - I don't have any advice. I just wanted to let you know that this issue is not just you!

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by relletyrots View Post
    Truly, the thing I find most motivating, is thinking about the finished novel. I feel great excitement about the premise, and the thought of finishing the tale--and having the complete work at hand--fuels me best.

    It's also helpful to make sure the story is consistently engaging, and doesn't drag or become stale.
    That's a really good way to look at it, having the completed work in your hands. Very tangible reward.

    Yeah. Making sure the story stays engaging helps--I usually get bogged down in exposition/dialogue and have to consciously switch gears. It takes me awhile to get to the "And several days passed" point.

    Quote Originally Posted by JES0428 View Post
    This is me as well. Exactly. I have about five novels started and they are all just a slightly different take on the same story. All are sitting at about 10,000 words. So, sorry - I don't have any advice. I just wanted to let you know that this issue is not just you!
    Nah, it's a relief to find someone else with the same problem. I have way more than five! So, so many...Not only that, but they're drastically different stories. I realized a long time ago that I'm an idea guy. Ideas aren't usually the problem (at least initially). Follow through is a completely separate game.

    Follow through wins at life. Ideas without anything to tether them to reality get lost at sea. Someone toss me a lifesaver (at least my breath will be fresh when I drown).
    Last edited by CalRazor; 09-19-2017 at 05:00 PM.

  7. #7
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    14,833
    Motivation is simply how much we value the reasons we want to finish whatever we are doing. Only you know your reasons.

    If it's all a slog after only 10,000 words, with the unfolding tale bogged down in exposition, I would have to ask myself if the issue perhaps lay with the content of the preceding 40 pages not being able to support a story, in which case the solution could be to reconsider the story and how the story begins.

    Exposition can be slow and is often stretched out unnecessarily because we wrongly believe it is needed by the reader when it is not.

    Can here and now happenings be substituted for the exposition?

    On the other hand if dialogue gets me bogged down that is a sign the dialogue is serving no purpose.

    If all the beginnings are variants of the same story, the only way forward may to be to force through that swamp or pick up from a point in the story where it is known what happens thereafter and go back and sort out the beginning once the end is reached.

    Not trying to make light of what must be a frustrating position to be in. Good luck.
    Last edited by Bufty; 09-19-2017 at 05:44 PM.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  8. #8
    Back on Track Carrie in PA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in my own little world
    Posts
    1,747
    My advice is to push, simply because I hit the same brick wall in every manuscript, and it's usually right around 30-40K words. I hate it, it sucks, the characters are stupid and I hate them, the setting is ridiculous and I hate it, my word choices suck and I hate them, the freaking FONT pisses me off and I want to just burn it all down. Then, once I push past and get myself to about 50K, the birds start singing again and rainbows appear and unicorns dance and all is right with my fictional world and I'm able to enjoy discovering the rest of the draft.
    Officially published! Strange Magic anthology, featuring my creepy story "Little Whirlpools" is now available!


  9. #9
    cutsie-pie Curlz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    in a pineapple under the sea
    Posts
    1,756
    Quote Originally Posted by CalRazor View Post
    The only thing I keep telling myself is that once I finish a full-length novel, the second will be easier.
    If all you want is to finish a full-length novel, then do it nanowrimo style. Give yourself a wordcount goal and just type away. The result may not be great but at least you'll have "the end" on paper and you get the joy of accomplishing something.

  10. #10
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    10,595
    Quote Originally Posted by CalRazor View Post
    Currently at 34,000+ words. Now it's starting to feel like a slog, but I have to keep at it. It feels like I've been writing crap for the past...30,000 words though. It's really a struggle for me to write past even 15,000 (in general). Any advice on how to stay motivated? The only thing I keep telling myself is that once I finish a full-length novel, the second will be easier.
    There are times when motivation will flag, but for myself, I have to keep myself interested in the story, or rather, in what's happening right then in the story, the words I'm typing on any particular day. And I do that (most days) by getting as deeply into the scene as I can, digging out the nuances and layers of whatever conflict is front-and-center at that time.

    At any rate, a drop in motivation is often caused by boredom and disengagement. Possibly you need to pause and take stock of what you've already written and see if 1) you took a wrong turn somewhere, and 2) you're making the most of complicating the conflicts you've already introduced. It's possible you don't have enough conflict and/or enough interesting things happen.

    Oh, and I should add that in your average-length novel (90-100K), the first big shake-up/turning point generally occurs around 25-30K into the story. Has that happened in yours yet?
    Last edited by BethS; 09-19-2017 at 06:02 PM.

  11. #11
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Just north of the Deep South
    Posts
    11,368
    Middles are hard. There is a reason folks refer to the second act as "a swamp". You have passed the excitement of the beginning, and have not yet reached the satisfaction of bringing the story to a close.

    Personally, I find that the surest way to make it through the middle is to work in compelling and relevant subplots as these are usually "new" complications instead of more of the same thing with the main plot. It adds back in a little bit of the magic of the beginning, while still pushing me toward the end of the story. (Also, most subplots grow out of backstory for me. Things in the characters past that come into the present to make things difficult.)

    I'll also note that novels are hard in a way that short stories are not. (Short stories are hard in a way that novels are not. Both are hard to do well.) While complication is the key to writing something longer, if you find that you rarely move past shorter lengths, perhaps you are better suited for shorts. (I am not. I struggle to get any story down in under 10k words, because my brain simply doesn't function as well that way.) And that's not something to chafe about, just something to consider.

    That being said, most novelists get angsty in the middle of the first draft. Because there is always room for doubt about whether it will be good or if we've started in the right place or if this is even the right plot. Folks who are set on writing novels just tend to grind their way through. It can all be fixed in revisions if it actually isn't very good. (Personally, I find it's usually better than I remembered. But in the midst of the slog it feels like garbage.)
    _________
    A.G.C.

    Touch: A Trilogy - AVAILABLE NOW!
    "The 'Touch' trilogy is a masterclass in world-building, tells a fascinating story with economy and intelligence, and does so with fine, pared-down prose." - Eric Brown, author of The Fall of Tartarus

    "I loved this novella series. Brooding, earthy, whispering to us with a delicious mood of creeping dread while filling the heart with a pure sense of wonder." - Charles de Lint, author of The Onion Girl

    A.G. Carpenter
    @Aggy_C

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Mary Love's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,313
    Try to quit. If you can, enjoy, but if you can't, keep going and finish!!

    (Don't remember the original quote source, but I love it.)

  13. #13
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    BTown, baby. Go Wolves!
    Posts
    2,268
    Quote Originally Posted by BethS View Post
    There are times when motivation will flag, but for myself, I have to keep myself interested in the story, or rather, in what's happening right then in the story, the words I'm typing on any particular day. And I do that (most days) by getting as deeply into the scene as I can, digging out the nuances and layers of whatever conflict is front-and-center at that time.

    At any rate, a drop in motivation is often caused by boredom and disengagement. Possibly you need to pause and take stock of what you've already written and see if 1) you took a wrong turn somewhere, and 2) you're making the most of complicating the conflicts you've already introduced. It's possible you don't have enough conflict and/or enough interesting things happen.

    Oh, and I should add that in your average-length novel (90-100K), the first big shake-up/turning point generally occurs around 25-30K into the story. Has that happened in yours yet?
    I've hit a lot of brick walls, but I just kept ramming them until I broke through, because I am wrapped up in story, character emotion, and the joy of writing.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

    BLOGS

    Cindy Tapia
    Our Town
    In Loving Memory Brandon Lee

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW JoB42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    203
    I don't know. I have no idea. This is the big question, but there's no easy answer. It's simple to get tips on building scenes, on providing conflict, on developing strong characters. We can google for answers on how to write a sentence. Avoid adverbs, don't repeat words unless it's for specific effect, shy away from passive voice, said bookisms can be distracting, create a flow in the prose by varying your sentence lengths. Use concrete words more than abstract words. The advice goes on and on, and it's all easy to find--hell, even children preach this stuff on youtube videos--and I'm guessing we've all read or said it hundreds, maybe thousands of times.

    But how do you keep going?

    I wish I knew the answer. The general wisdom, as I understand it, is that every writer is different and every writer must thus be aware of his or her own psychology. What motivates you to write? Perhaps more importantly, what motivates you to complete a project? Do you need a boss to say, "get this done." Or do you do it because you want to see the finished product?

    Really, I think this question is about finding the personal tools it takes to accomplish something big. Some writers swear by outlines. Some insist that it works best if they sit down and write from page one all the way to the end. Some writers jump all over the novel, hopping from a scene here to a scene there. I don't know what your personal method is, but if I could be bold enough to put forward a suggestion: it doesn't appear to be working.

    If you're writing from page one and going forward in a linear "pantsing" style and you're consistently failing to finish what you're working on... maybe that style doesn't work for you.

    Likewise, if you're outlining the whole story then trying to write it out and you're consistently failing to finish... maybe that style doesn't work for you.

    So. When something's not working, I guess that leaves two options:

    1. Change the style to see if something else works, or

    2. Change yourself so the style does work.

    Option one sounds easier if you can find something that works for you.

    Option two sounds really hard, like maybe impossible. I don't know if it's possible to change, but I sure hope it is. I believe the trick is in forcing yourself to adopt new habits. If your habit right now is to start a project then stop, it stands to reason that you'll keep doing what you're in the habit of doing. Instead, it might help to lose sight of the end word count goal and just focus on the one page. And then the next page, and then the next. Dive into the actual work. The grind, the push, the new page, then the new page, then the new page. Boring? Sure. But do it because it's work. Because it's what you do.

    Or, and this is just a suggestion, maybe sketch out a few ideas of future scenes in the novel. Find the ones that excite you again and begin writing those. This is completely different from the above approach, but I think it can help to bring a little energy back to the project. When you have some great scenes imagined, start writing them. Then jump back to where you were, write some more of that, and then jump to another point and keep writing. Write it like a jigsaw puzzle, and let your mind tackle the whole of novel in these manageable pieces.

    Personally, I've failed more times than I want to remember. I've lived with the same problem you mention. Starting a project but losing it. I have so many things on hard drives and other things lost forever. And these are things that people have told me they loved, but I've done nothing with them. They sit far away from me, and as dumb as this sounds, I'm afraid of them. Scared to pick them back up and face that same thing. My personal monsters, maybe. To see pages that should have been something, pages that show potential and talent, but ultimately scream about what a failure I am. A failure who lacked the drive, the work ethic, the discipline, the basic self-respect to finish what was started.

    Anyway. My point was that I think I understand. The two points of advice above are things I've found somewhat helpful. Pushing through and just writing. And jumping to different scenes to respark whatever madness convinced me I was supposed to write in this life in the first place.

    Good luck. And if you learn anything more or find some worthwhile tips, share them. God knows we can all use the help.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    In my head
    Posts
    125
    All of what everyone has said above.

    Stalling could be because of a few reasons:

    1. Story does not have enough steam to carry on for longer.

    2. You've hit the 'saggy middle.' Nothing wrong with the story, only your motivation.

    3. You're more of a short story writer, and the stories you choose don't have the layering needed for a longer story.

    4. You're just lazy.

    5. None of the above, in which case, it is something to do with the story you're trying to tell-- a theme that is personal to you that you're shying away from.


    See, the very first draft of the very first novel is a sort of mental block. For a while, when I was writing my first novel, all I wanted to do was finish that goddamn draft.

    Perseverance was the only thing, really. I just pushed through.

    You need to figure out the reasons for your stalling, and try and create a custom solution from all of this thread, which contains some great pointers that I wish I had when I was stumbling around with my draft.

    When nothing worked, I used to take the novel, break it into scenes on index cards, then keep writing new ones/ changing them around, in order to maintain interest.

    Whatever you do, don't give up. Make sure you hit that finish line, and if you need to gripe, we're here to listen and cheer on.

    All the very best with this.
    Last edited by AcaciaNeem; 09-19-2017 at 08:29 PM.

  16. #16
    Not my first rodeo. Liz_V's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    421
    Middles are hard for a lot of writers. In fact, CalRazor, you're right at the point that a lot of people I know bog down -- including established pros. They don't call it the 30K Wall for nothing....

    Some tricks that have worked for me:

    - Make sure you know where you're going. Whether you're an outliner or a pantser or somewhere in between, stop and think about what the next few chapters need to achieve, what ducks they need to get in a row so the end can happen properly, and whether you're currently pointed in that direction. I don't outline novels, but I often pause around chapter 7 or so (out of 15-ish, so right at the middle) and do at least a bullet-point outline of that one chapter just so I have intermediate targets to aim for.

    - Take a break for a few days, and do something creative that isn't writing. Painting, music, whatever -- doesn't matter if you're any good at it, just give your brain a chance to play in some other medium. (Actually, this is a good trick at any point when you're flagging.) Then, get back to work!

    - Remember what made you go "Oooh!" about writing this book in the first place. A nifty plot twist, a great setting, a fun character, doesn't matter what, just that it got you excited. Spend some time thinking about that, then once you're excited again, sit down and get that excitement onto the page.

    - On a related note, some writers make a "love list" of all the things that fill their hearts with glee about their book.

    - Find a carrot that you can dangle in front of yourself, to write toward. It can be a big scene or something as small as a single line of dialogue that you're looking forward to writing. Concentrate on writing up to the point where you get to use that cool bit. Then, find another carrot, and repeat.

    - Sometimes, you just gotta slog. Set yourself word count goals, bribe yourself with cookies, or whatever works to make you buckle down and get through this part. If you're like most writers, it will get better as you get farther along.

    Finishing things was always the big obstacle for me, too, so I do know where you're coming from, FWIW. Hang in there!

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    243
    Plenty of good advice in here, so I'll just say the only real way I know is just to keep writing. There's no real method or solution other than that. Sometimes the story isn't there, and sometimes it is. On the other side of that wall is a really steep hill, and once you start down it, things pick up, really fast.
    Twitter @DarbyHarn

    'In this country Ö if youíre an artist, youíre guilty of a crime: not that youíre aware, which is bad enough, but that you see things other people donít admit are there.' - James Baldwin

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    11
    Writing a first draft is never easy, even if you've written a book before. I finished the first draft of my first book almost two years ago now, and I just stared first drafting another, and am realizing that it never stops being a drag haha!

    Anyways, I'm probably just going to echo everyone else when I say, just keep at it. Set small goals for yourself throughout the week and be proud of yourself for completing them. If you get to a point where you're truly feeling stuck and not sure what to do next, try talking it out with a friend or stepping away from the draft for a few days. You'd be surprised what some distance and/or another person can do for your creativity. And when all else fails, just think about how great it's going to be once it's done and you can say "I wrote my first novel". It seems like it'll never happen, but when it does it's such a satisfying feeling. Seeing a finished product - whether it's a short story or novel - never fails to remind me why I love writing so much.

    What helps me personally as well, is I write the manuscript out of order. I write the chapters I'm excited about first and fill in the cracks as I'm writing until it eventually becomes a finished product.

    You've got this! Good luck with your writing

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    California
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Love View Post
    Try to quit. If you can, enjoy, but if you can't, keep going and finish!!

    (Don't remember the original quote source, but I love it.)
    I love this. I have "tried" to quit numerous time (READ: got sidetracked by life) but I keep coming back to writing. I know now that I will not be satisfied until I finish my novel.

  20. #20
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,632
    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Love View Post
    Try to quit. If you can, enjoy, but if you can't, keep going and finish!!

    (Don't remember the original quote source, but I love it.)
    Another +1 for this. It's very true. All the wasted years I've spent, trying to quit.
    Happiness, is just a word to me
    And it might have meant a thing or two
    If I'd known the difference.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by JoB42 View Post
    I don't know. I have no idea. This is the big question, but there's no easy answer. It's simple to get tips on building scenes, on providing conflict, on developing strong characters. We can google for answers on how to write a sentence. Avoid adverbs, don't repeat words unless it's for specific effect, shy away from passive voice, said bookisms can be distracting, create a flow in the prose by varying your sentence lengths. Use concrete words more than abstract words. The advice goes on and on, and it's all easy to find--hell, even children preach this stuff on youtube videos--and I'm guessing we've all read or said it hundreds, maybe thousands of times.

    But how do you keep going?

    I wish I knew the answer. The general wisdom, as I understand it, is that every writer is different and every writer must thus be aware of his or her own psychology. What motivates you to write? Perhaps more importantly, what motivates you to complete a project? Do you need a boss to say, "get this done." Or do you do it because you want to see the finished product?

    Really, I think this question is about finding the personal tools it takes to accomplish something big. Some writers swear by outlines. Some insist that it works best if they sit down and write from page one all the way to the end. Some writers jump all over the novel, hopping from a scene here to a scene there. I don't know what your personal method is, but if I could be bold enough to put forward a suggestion: it doesn't appear to be working.

    If you're writing from page one and going forward in a linear "pantsing" style and you're consistently failing to finish what you're working on... maybe that style doesn't work for you.

    Likewise, if you're outlining the whole story then trying to write it out and you're consistently failing to finish... maybe that style doesn't work for you.

    So. When something's not working, I guess that leaves two options:

    1. Change the style to see if something else works, or

    2. Change yourself so the style does work.

    Option one sounds easier if you can find something that works for you.

    Option two sounds really hard, like maybe impossible. I don't know if it's possible to change, but I sure hope it is. I believe the trick is in forcing yourself to adopt new habits. If your habit right now is to start a project then stop, it stands to reason that you'll keep doing what you're in the habit of doing. Instead, it might help to lose sight of the end word count goal and just focus on the one page. And then the next page, and then the next. Dive into the actual work. The grind, the push, the new page, then the new page, then the new page. Boring? Sure. But do it because it's work. Because it's what you do.

    Or, and this is just a suggestion, maybe sketch out a few ideas of future scenes in the novel. Find the ones that excite you again and begin writing those. This is completely different from the above approach, but I think it can help to bring a little energy back to the project. When you have some great scenes imagined, start writing them. Then jump back to where you were, write some more of that, and then jump to another point and keep writing. Write it like a jigsaw puzzle, and let your mind tackle the whole of novel in these manageable pieces.

    Personally, I've failed more times than I want to remember. I've lived with the same problem you mention. Starting a project but losing it. I have so many things on hard drives and other things lost forever. And these are things that people have told me they loved, but I've done nothing with them. They sit far away from me, and as dumb as this sounds, I'm afraid of them. Scared to pick them back up and face that same thing. My personal monsters, maybe. To see pages that should have been something, pages that show potential and talent, but ultimately scream about what a failure I am. A failure who lacked the drive, the work ethic, the discipline, the basic self-respect to finish what was started.

    Anyway. My point was that I think I understand. The two points of advice above are things I've found somewhat helpful. Pushing through and just writing. And jumping to different scenes to respark whatever madness convinced me I was supposed to write in this life in the first place.

    Good luck. And if you learn anything more or find some worthwhile tips, share them. God knows we can all use the help.
    Yeah, "pushing through and writing" is my mantra. I think I have a good work ethic. I know how to write even when I don't want to write (which probably sounds like I'm contradicting myself given the premise of this thread). So that in itself helps with motivation.

    You make very good points. I've been trying to write in a "linear" fashion, and it never occurred to me to bounce around and write scenes as they come to me, filling in the gaps later. I used to sketch out plot points, but they would inevitably devolve into conspiracy, larger-than-life plots that made them confusing to place into the narrative. It's probably a good idea to simplify plot points, sketch out some scenes and go from there.

    I'm not sure if constantly focusing on the word count is the best idea either. Hard not to though, since books below a certain length tend to have a much harder time finding an agent/publisher (to my knowledge).

    Quote Originally Posted by AcaciaNeem View Post
    All of what everyone has said above.

    Stalling could be because of a few reasons:

    1. Story does not have enough steam to carry on for longer.

    2. You've hit the 'saggy middle.' Nothing wrong with the story, only your motivation.

    3. You're more of a short story writer, and the stories you choose don't have the layering needed for a longer story.

    4. You're just lazy.

    5. None of the above, in which case, it is something to do with the story you're trying to tell-- a theme that is personal to you that you're shying away from.


    See, the very first draft of the very first novel is a sort of mental block. For a while, when I was writing my first novel, all I wanted to do was finish that goddamn draft.

    Perseverance was the only thing, really. I just pushed through.

    You need to figure out the reasons for your stalling, and try and create a custom solution from all of this thread, which contains some great pointers that I wish I had when I was stumbling around with my draft.

    When nothing worked, I used to take the novel, break it into scenes on index cards, then keep writing new ones/ changing them around, in order to maintain interest.

    Whatever you do, don't give up. Make sure you hit that finish line, and if you need to gripe, we're here to listen and cheer on.

    All the very best with this.
    I know what you're saying about perseverance. I think is the farthest I've written in a book, so that's something. My last one was vaguely around the size of my current novel, but was a little shorter. So, it's small progress, but progress is progress. But yeah, putting the rest aside, it's all about perseverance.

    As to your points, it's definitely very possible that I'm more of a short story writer. Historically, that's been the case. But I'm trying to exert more discipline on myself and write things longer because the ultimate goal is to turn this into a career (to my understanding, this is harder to do with short stories). Also, it feels much more satisfying to write a longer book than a shorter one, simply because of the relative amount of time invested into it.

    For the record, I don't think I'm in danger of giving up. More like I just needed a swift kick in the pants to help sustain that motivation. Getting my first draft done in a decent amount of time is definitely a top goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz_V View Post
    Middles are hard for a lot of writers. In fact, CalRazor, you're right at the point that a lot of people I know bog down -- including established pros. They don't call it the 30K Wall for nothing....

    Some tricks that have worked for me:

    - Make sure you know where you're going. Whether you're an outliner or a pantser or somewhere in between, stop and think about what the next few chapters need to achieve, what ducks they need to get in a row so the end can happen properly, and whether you're currently pointed in that direction. I don't outline novels, but I often pause around chapter 7 or so (out of 15-ish, so right at the middle) and do at least a bullet-point outline of that one chapter just so I have intermediate targets to aim for.

    - Take a break for a few days, and do something creative that isn't writing. Painting, music, whatever -- doesn't matter if you're any good at it, just give your brain a chance to play in some other medium. (Actually, this is a good trick at any point when you're flagging.) Then, get back to work!

    - Remember what made you go "Oooh!" about writing this book in the first place. A nifty plot twist, a great setting, a fun character, doesn't matter what, just that it got you excited. Spend some time thinking about that, then once you're excited again, sit down and get that excitement onto the page.

    - On a related note, some writers make a "love list" of all the things that fill their hearts with glee about their book.

    - Find a carrot that you can dangle in front of yourself, to write toward. It can be a big scene or something as small as a single line of dialogue that you're looking forward to writing. Concentrate on writing up to the point where you get to use that cool bit. Then, find another carrot, and repeat.

    - Sometimes, you just gotta slog. Set yourself word count goals, bribe yourself with cookies, or whatever works to make you buckle down and get through this part. If you're like most writers, it will get better as you get farther along.

    Finishing things was always the big obstacle for me, too, so I do know where you're coming from, FWIW. Hang in there!
    The 30K wall, eh? I like the sound of that. Making a list isn't a bad idea.

    I think you're right. Organization and writing the plot at least somewhat in advance is key. It gives you a road map. When I've stopped writing out plot points, the story and characters become foggy, which probably doesn't do much for motivation.

    Yeah, I plan on slogging. I want to get this beast of a draft over with already lol.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Summerwriter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    428
    Jes0428: "I have "tried" to quit numerous times - - but I keep coming back."

    Oh yes! There are stories that do not leave me alone. Those, who know this writing world better than me, say it is a sign I should keep going with the story.
    Best: Summerwriter

    If you want to read what I have written, you can read it from either of these 2 sites:

    http://lucindalynxwrites.blogspot.com

    http://lucindalynx.wordpress.com


  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW indianroads's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    604
    I love the story, and that's what keeps me going. I love the characters, how they interact... everything.

    A good story begs to be told.

    Do you love your story?

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    In my head
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by CalRazor View Post

    I'm not sure if constantly focusing on the word count is the best idea either. Hard not to though, since books below a certain length tend to have a much harder time finding an agent/publisher (to my knowledge).



    I know what you're saying about perseverance. I think is the farthest I've written in a book, so that's something. My last one was vaguely around the size of my current novel, but was a little shorter. So, it's small progress, but progress is progress. But yeah, putting the rest aside, it's all about perseverance.

    As to your points, it's definitely very possible that I'm more of a short story writer. Historically, that's been the case. But I'm trying to exert more discipline on myself and write things longer because the ultimate goal is to turn this into a career (to my understanding, this is harder to do with short stories). Also, it feels much more satisfying to write a longer book than a shorter one, simply because of the relative amount of time invested into it.

    For the record, I don't think I'm in danger of giving up. More like I just needed a swift kick in the pants to help sustain that motivation. Getting my first draft done in a decent amount of time is definitely a top goal.
    Focusing on scenes completed was/is a much better motivator for me than word count. Problem with word counts is that once I hit a certain number for the day or the week, I'm like, omg I've written all that much, is it even possible to top that? Or, 1k words, job for the day done. Now that I work scene-wise, the word count keeps climbing without any gritting of teeth. You'll slowly find what works for you.

    There are some people who write only short stories, and in some ways, short stories are much harder to do than novels. If your only reason for writing a novel is that it is better for the career, I admire your goal, but will recommend checking up on your story: does it have enough steam to carry a novel? Cast of characters? Subplots?

    The good news is that if you've written and published short stories before, you've already taught yourself to write on the sentence and paragraph level. But novels are very different from short stories. Getting the plot arc and the character arc to work together is quite a big challenge, as is maintaining a bird's eye view throughout.

    Books that helped me: Wired for Story, and Story Genius by Lisa Cron.

    Taking a good, long look at your story should help you push forward. Wish you all the best with the draft!

  25. #25
    figuring it all out Flanderso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    If all the beginnings are variants of the same story, the only way forward may to be to force through that swamp or pick up from a point in the story where it is known what happens thereafter and go back and sort out the beginning once the end is reached.
    This was going to be my advice as well. From someone who has started the same novel numerous times, I would advise you jump forward to a part of the story you know you'd love to write (even if its the climax), then work backwards.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search