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ncgirl3608
08-01-2008, 08:52 PM
A few months ago I had all these great ideas to write a novel, but when it was time to sit down and actually write something my mind went blank. Just could not get a word down. Finally, came up with two ideas I liked, wrote a little, then trashed those. I kept thinking and thinking and after a whopping two months, I was in the middle of doing something completly not writing related and then an idea came to me that I was interested in writing about. Geezz...talk about writer's block. How long does it usually take before you come up with something?
Erin

Indy Tarquinson
08-01-2008, 08:59 PM
For me, I usually don't force it and the idea just randomly comes to me. Sometimes from watching a movie or reading a book, some concept will trigger an idea. I get a lot of ideas from my dreams, and I always try to write the ones I remember down, and usually something interesting grips me from there.

C.bronco
08-01-2008, 09:15 PM
I thought this would be a thread where we could suggest novels yet to be written.

Here are a few for those in need:

Set admidst a barbeque sauce cook-off competition, Angelique must decide between her love for robust flavor and her aversion to trans-fat while uncovering a government experiment gone wrong which, if exposed, could lead to the largest class-action suit in history.

The last man alive on the continental U.S. discovers happiness and inner peace with the help of a rogue ferret. (Warning: violent content.)

A chop-shop owner with a heart of gold battles subterreanean beings who want to destroy humanity and take over our fossil fuels.

Higgins
08-01-2008, 09:39 PM
I thought this would be a thread where we could suggest novels yet to be written.


The last man alive on the continental U.S. discovers happiness and inner peace with the help of a rogue ferret. (Warning: violent content.)

A chop-shop owner with a heart of gold battles subterreanean beings who want to destroy humanity and take over our fossil fuels.

Good stuff. I used to claim I didn't get blocked. Then there was the case where I made that claim and got the retort that having a lot of bad ideas is the same as having no good ideas. I'm not sure this is true. But I do wonder. After all -- if I have a lot of bad ideas and write a lot of bad novels then -- from my point of view -- there is no block.

I still don't know because I have a terrifying image of what happens if you say bad ideas are not the same as no good ideas because a sculptor I know has a basement full of life-size glass nubile naked girls in queasy translucent green aquamarine and they look like bad ideas despite having been "cast from life" as it were.
"That's what a block looks like..." says the sculptor. Scary. And somebody already paid for them and the sculptor cannot bring themselves to let them out of the house. "I'm giving the money back..." Or painting them silver or something. What a nightmare.

Okay...so how long do good ideas take? If good means good enough to start writing a novel...hmmm...I would just start with some moderately bad ideas and hope they improve in the second draft.

jennifer75
08-01-2008, 09:43 PM
A few months ago I had all these great ideas to write a novel, but when it was time to sit down and actually write something my mind went blank. Just could not get a word down. Finally, came up with two ideas I liked, wrote a little, then trashed those. I kept thinking and thinking and after a whopping two months, I was in the middle of doing something completly not writing related and then an idea came to me that I was interested in writing about. Geezz...talk about writer's block. How long does it usually take before you come up with something?
Erin

Why don't you test yourself with your idea, and save it another 3 months for NaNo!


Did I just say the "N" word?????

jennifer75
08-01-2008, 09:43 PM
For me, I usually don't force it and the idea just randomly comes to me. Sometimes from watching a movie or reading a book, some concept will trigger an idea. I get a lot of ideas from my dreams, and I always try to write the ones I remember down, and usually something interesting grips me from there.

Yea, same here. My idea just came up and slapped me upside the head.

Mel
08-01-2008, 10:05 PM
Had an idea a couple weeks ago. A character or two, very vague idea of the story, a few scenes that are still in the shadows.

A bit frustrated so last night I searched for writing exercises just to get started writing. Came across one that is a partial sentence, then you're suppose to finish it and write 100 words. I just ran with it and wrote 400+ words. Ended up with 2 guys talking. After that I came up with a total of 5 characters (humans) and one alien race. I know who these characters are and what they want. I deleted what I wrote and plan to outline this one for November.

One I've done in the past is to pick a random sentence from a book and use it as starting point.

Another one is to look at a picture and see what kind of story you can come up with.

If I let myself I'll won't come up with anything, or it's too vague to move forward, but if I use something to give the writing muscle a push that works for me. There are times when a character will walk up and show me where they are and what they see.

As they say, the more you write more ideas will appear.

ChaosTitan
08-01-2008, 10:31 PM
Good stuff. I used to claim I didn't get blocked. Then there was the case where I made that claim and got the retort that having a lot of bad ideas is the same as having no good ideas. I'm not sure this is true. But I do wonder. After all -- if I have a lot of bad ideas and write a lot of bad novels then -- from my point of view -- there is no block.


I'd rather have a bunch of bad ideas, than sit there and be stuck for a good idea. At least at the end of the two month "block," I'd have a couple dozen (or hundred) pages of something written. Even if it's dreck, dreck can be revised and fixed and salvaged. I can't salvage a blank page, and not writing lets my writing muscles atrophied.

Higgins
08-01-2008, 11:08 PM
I'd rather have a bunch of bad ideas, than sit there and be stuck for a good idea. At least at the end of the two month "block," I'd have a couple dozen (or hundred) pages of something written. Even if it's dreck, dreck can be revised and fixed and salvaged. I can't salvage a blank page, and not writing lets my writing muscles atrophied.

I agree. That's one good thing about writing. It's much easier to get something useful out of a few hundred dodgy pages than it is out of a basement full of scary statues.

Also, I think, if you keep at writing, you learn how to modify bad ideas or pages or chapters into good ideas or pages or chapters and pretty soon you have a good novel or two.

KTC
08-01-2008, 11:11 PM
I have a notebook of ideas. I just open it, point and go.

Ken
08-01-2008, 11:38 PM
it took me 4 months to come up with a premise to base a novella on. And when I sat down to write it, at last, I wound up scrapping the premise and going with something else. / Good luck with your work.

AMCrenshaw
08-02-2008, 01:45 AM
Write and write and write. In any form. Notebook doodling and journal entries. Short stories, poetry, whatever. This is what I do. Even if I don't get what I'd call a Good Idea from the writing itself, I am still in practice for when that Good Idea does hit me.

To get ideas, I read the newspaper, read the newest science mags, take walks, listen to music, eavesdrop on people, etc. And I keep a notebook with me at all times. It's like a bank with no fee.

* * *

I had been 60-70k words into a novel (that I felt like I put a lot of energy into) when another idea struck me. I'm thankful to have written, had the experience and practice of writing. I was already prepared, in some sense, to write that Brilliant Idea.

And besides that, the original ms and all 60-70k words are still on my computer, backed up. A hard copy is somewhere in my closet. Just in case I ever get to thinking about it again.

AMC

sunnyxlove
08-02-2008, 09:48 AM
I come up with ideas in a whim. I use my dreams a lot too!~!

CBumpkin
08-02-2008, 03:48 PM
I'm one of those people who takes a long time to come up with an idea. It's fun, but I wish I could develop great ideas sooner than I do. I'm picky about what I want to write about.

Regarding writers who "can't seem to finish the stories they start," here's some great advice from Orson Scott Card:


"All that means is that you're starting them before you've invented them thoroughly enough. You have one idea, and you start, but that one idea is not enough to resonate deeply within you, so you can't find your way to closure because you haven't really opened."

tehuti88
08-02-2008, 08:46 PM
Yikes. I don't so much usually "get ideas" as something slowly seeps into my brain and then gestates for weeks or months before I finally feel it's complete enough to try writing as a story. Once in a GREAT while I'll get an idea, BAM, then write about it, but that only works with short stories, and I don't usually do those. I write in very long serial stories that usually take a couple of years to finish so that gives me plenty of time to mull over ideas for the sequel.

It's just such a gradual process that I never think about how long it takes to "come up with" a concrete idea. Just because I have an idea doesn't mean it's ready to be a story yet! :o

ncgirl3608
08-04-2008, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the great ideas...appreciated!
Erin