PDA

View Full Version : Boredom, Stalling, Loss of Excitement...?



Kujai
05-07-2008, 11:48 PM
When writing, editing, and writing once more, especially with tediously long projects, do you ever get the feeling that your narrative is getting a little stale? That your once grand idea is nothing more than a passing thought? If so is this due the fact you’re your plot is indeed sour or does eyeing the same words, symbols, and letters over and over again create a sense of regularity in your mind, thus your once peaking excitement in your idea is reduced to nothing more than transitory inspiration?

Phaeal
05-08-2008, 02:01 AM
Common phenomenon. This is why writers need beta readers to whom the work will be all new and (one hopes) exciting.

akiwiguy
05-08-2008, 02:52 AM
It's why I have to leave work to sit for a while so I can go back and see it more objectively.

With specific reference to editing narrative passages, some people do find little tricks that help, and one that I now use is to read my work backwards (I mean paragraph by paragraph). It's a bit similar to a well proven fact that most people can copy a drawing much more accurately by doing so while it is upside down. They are no longer seeing what they think the picture represents, rather more objectively what it actually is. And I've found that the "read it backwards" technique helps me see much more clearly the structure of a paragraph outside the context of the story unfolding in my head. Not so applicable to the feeling that a whole story is stale, but might be worth trying more specifically when passages seem to have become simply a jumble of words. I'm sure lots of people have their little tricks, but that one definitely helps me.

Jackfishwoman
05-08-2008, 08:03 AM
Good questions Kujai.
When this happens to me, I have to walk away from it for a while and get some sleep. My dreams bring things to me in a different light or things that my waking mind could never have fathomed.
Another thing i do is write, write, write without going back and reading it. that way it is fresh, immediate. But then I depend heavily on proof-readers!

kct webber
05-08-2008, 03:00 PM
The novel I have on it's final edit right now seems more boring to me than it did when I started it. That's just because I've read it so damn many times. So yes. It does seem stale. But the key word is "seem". It isn't; I have to take my betas' word on that.

murmel
05-08-2008, 03:28 PM
With specific reference to editing narrative passages, some people do find little tricks that help, and one that I now use is to read my work backwards (I mean paragraph by paragraph). It's a bit similar to a well proven fact that most people can copy a drawing much more accurately by doing so while it is upside down. They are no longer seeing what they think the picture represents, rather more objectively what it actually is. And I've found that the "read it backwards" technique helps me see much more clearly the structure of a paragraph outside the context of the story unfolding in my head. Not so applicable to the feeling that a whole story is stale, but might be worth trying more specifically when passages seem to have become simply a jumble of words. I'm sure lots of people have their little tricks, but that one definitely helps me.
Proofing is my biggest issue. I blame it on my analytical mind. While I should be able to use it for finding errors and blunders, it enables me to "fill in the blanks", to read what's not there. Especially dreadful: edited sentences, where the edit left out the other half of the sentence...

Posting it on a website or using a different font helps.

Anyway, back to the original question: I started writing my novel #1`August 2006. I finished it August 2007, and a friend read it. Her judgment was: "good story, I love your characters, however there are issues..." She (editor and teacher) made me think about the craft and about publishing. I had to start a new project a month ago, because I couldn't make myself go back and work on it again. Burnt out, tired, stale... but after working on my new project, things are living up. So, maybe that's what is needed: put it away for four weeks, work on a new wip and then go back. I wouldn't do a six-months hiatus as Stephen King recommends... then the trail would be cold for me.

steveg144
05-08-2008, 04:33 PM
Yep. Best thing to do is let it sit for a bit and go off and work on some totally different project for a bit. You'll eventually start itching to get back to the work you let sit, and your work on it will be improved by the brief "vacation." The key word here, however, is brief: I read somewhere that Tolstoy let War and Peace sit for twelve years at one point, which strikes me as maybe a bit much. ;)

Kujai
05-08-2008, 06:18 PM
I have been ‘stalling’ for about a month now, as a result I’ve exceeded my mental deadline. I do however write meticulous notes when ever possible. Currently I have a militia of betas set up, two, but I do want to provide them with a finished product, one that has a sensible amount of effort and exhausted editing, thus not insulting their intelligence. But I’m in a stalemate, a gridlock of words. Many AWers say you truly can’t know how ‘good’ something is until it is judged by another. As a counter argument one can always measure their work to the work of another, but the grim theory of apples and oranges is now taunting me so. A fix perhaps or an excuse to continue the stalling…? Something has been itching at me to not finish despite having only 3 chapters or 4% of the work left to be fulfilled. Perhaps I’m enjoying this tasty yet irking process a bit too much to cut it away. There’s always the next one, ah the next one…

I’ve noticed that this response has been deliciously unproductive. As a result, I must obey your advice steveg144, murmel, kct webber, Jackfishwoman, akiwiguy, and the gracious Phaeal. :flag: I will end my vacation, fulfill my obligation to the betas, and gain new found motivation. Back to work, eh? An end to this tranquil flow of procrastination… Ah but isn’t it a crime to take the life of such a pocket-sized critter, Procrasty?

A lip smacking cycle…? :poke:

Kitrianna
05-09-2008, 08:51 PM
I left my first completed novel for almost a year, possibly more. I even had this insane belief that it was almost perfect, but a portion of a chapter irked me, I just didn't like how it flowed, so I finally put my foot down and told myself that I must change it (I wasn't comfortable about submitting with those passages in it). When I finally got off my butt and edited the whole thing (no choice when I was changing a significant amount of a chapter) I found that those I trusted to catch my mistakes (my mind runs faster than my fingers on a regular basis) had failed to notify me of these problems. I did not however find it stale nor tedious. A year later I found that I was almost engrossed by my own writing, even though I knew all the twists, turns and the ending. Mind you that's me and not everyone is willing to cool their heels for a year like I was. Just my two cents for what it's worth (you can give me my change later...I know I have some coming).