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Selene LuPaine
08-05-2005, 09:08 PM
Just a question really, that you will find I am full of, lol!


But how hard do you find it to complete your novels? What kind of road blocks do you find? And how do you overcome them? and would you like fries with that? Or how about a hamburger?:D

Saanen
08-05-2005, 09:27 PM
I used to never finish anything. Nothing, seriously. I just petered out, my interest died, and I set the book aside and never came back to it. I kept a lot of those fragments and some of them are pretty good. I finally realized that my problem was lack of plotting--I simply didn't know where the story was going.

Now I know that there are certain points in a project where I need to drop back from the writing and work on plotting, before I run into a wall and the whole project gets set aside forever. I rarely go into a new work knowing where it will end up plot-wise, but I make sure my characters are fully realized before I start, that I know roughly the events that will happen in the first segment of the book, and that I have at least an inkling of how the whole thing will resolve. Then, after a few chapters, when I've introduced all the main characters and set the plot in motion, I take time out from writing to work out the plot for the next segment of the book and maybe clarify motivations. All this may change as I continue writing, but if it does I know I've got time to stop writing again and adjust the plot. About halfway through I really focus hard on plot so that everything will make sense and I can concentrate on the writing and not have to stop to work out plot details.

This seems to work. I no longer start and end projects after a few chapters. The one book I've got on the back burner is truly on the back burner, because after writing the first quarter or so of it I realized that I was going the wrong direction. Right now the book is simmering, and I plan to come back to it ultimately, trash most of what I've already written, and rewrite it into a very powerful story. But not yet--it's not ready yet.

JerseyGirl1962
08-06-2005, 12:44 AM
What Saanen said.

I started and stopped a novel years ago; I knew it was trash through and through. But then I started working on another one, about 2 years ago, and only recently put it on the back burner, as Saanen has done. Why, after working on it for such a long time?

I got it critiqued (by 1 person, lol), and it was pointed out that the story stopped cold in the first chapter. Not a good thing. Now that doesn't mean that I think the story is junk or anything; but I think I needed to hear from someone else what I feared but didn't want to think about: The story needed to be overhauled.

I knew it, deep down. But I kept taking a whack at it, because I was emotionally attached to it. Rather than keep whacking at it, I decided to put it in the proverbial desk drawer and get back to it at a later time. I still like the story, but I think I'm burnt out on it at the moment. I hope to do a complete rewrite at some point, but not right now.

This time, with my current WIP, I decided to do the more organized approach. I had an idea which I sketched out about a year ago, had written a couple of chapters. But I decided to ditch most of the stuff I'd written because I came up with a better idea. I came up with character bios (which I got out of writing book written by an agent named Peter Rubie; no idea if it's still in print or if he's still an agent) using a template from that particular book, wrote an outline.

I've checked off each point in the outline as I've written about it (it's a nice guide, not something written in stone - I've already put one scene ahead of where I was originally going to put it). I'm up to Chapter 7 already, and I only started a few days ago!

Now that I've blathered on ;), I guess the gist is, I feel as if this time I will indeed finish a novel because I've taken the time to set it up. I think I'll work better this way, in that I have a general idea of what comes next, plus I decided to have only 1 POV character. I've made it simpler for me, and more streamlined. Of course, what may work for me, may not work for you or anyone else.

Ultimately, time will tell if this puppy sees the light of day. But I'm hopeful. :Thumbs:

~Nancy

loquax
08-06-2005, 01:55 AM
Boredom makes it hard to finish for me. I get bored of what I'm writing. I know people keep saying "hang in there" to this kind of response, but I quite like being bored with my own stories. It's a bit like digging for treasure. The more junk you find, the more there has to be a diamond necklace in that next spadeful of dirt.

sunandshadow
08-06-2005, 04:13 AM
I haven't yet finished a novel - often by the time I get 40-60k words in, either I realize my writing has improved so much since I started that I might as well start over (not as common now that I've been writing for several years) or I realize that what I've written has no plot.

For shorter works, I've finished about one in three. But I have no interest in writing shorter stuff professionally so I have spent all my time in the past few years on one novel attempt or another.

Selene LuPaine
08-06-2005, 04:31 AM
I haven't yet finished a novel - often by the time I get 40-60k words in, either I realize my writing has improved so much since I started that I might as well start over (not as common now that I've been writing for several years) or I realize that what I've written has no plot.

For shorter works, I've finished about one in three. But I have no interest in writing shorter stuff professionally so I have spent all my time in the past few years on one novel attempt or another.

Yes that has definately happened to me. After reading Robert Jordan and a few other books my writing style improved, and even more so while playing role playing games. Then when I looked back at one of my novels I can see that I had changed so much in the past few weeks or months. So now I really have to revise one of my novels.

I also find that I talk more and think more on the novel i want to create and learn ways to improve it and the world I am creating than writing the novel itself. Like I have drawn a couple of maps, and then I am going to draw some floor plans of the major places my characters will be in etc.

mistri
08-09-2005, 04:37 PM
The biggest problem I have with completing novels is the middle. For me, the beginning is exciting because it's all new and I have so much story to tell. The end is the coming together of all the plot strands, and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The middle? Gah. It's always a slog for me, no matter how many interesting plot elements there are to introduce. It's because by the middle, you've been writing for a long time, but the end still seems a long way off.

The only way I can combat the feeling of middle-doom is to keep on writing until I'm far enough along to say I'm near the end :)

azbikergirl
08-09-2005, 06:03 PM
The biggest problem I've had in finishing is not knowing what the story's about to begin with. I find the beginning to be the hardest part because there are sooooooo many places to start. Picking the best one is a challenge. Once I know the beginning and the ending, the rest of it is smooth sailing.

zornhau
08-09-2005, 08:21 PM
Know story question. Write outline. Tweak story question. Improve outline. Start drafting.

ChunkyC
08-10-2005, 04:04 AM
So far, knock on wood, I have always finished what I've started: two novels, a 50,000 word novelette, and half a dozen or so short stories. (none published yet)

I've always had an ending in mind, and write towards that. I outline as I go in chapter summaries, keeping at least two or three chapters ahead of the actual manuscript. If I get an idea for something further out than that, I just plunk it into the outline with a question mark instead of a chapter number. The outline is like a series of signposts that I aim for as I go.

I think having these relatively close targets to shoot for keeps me from looking too far ahead and thinking that I'll never get there.

Four_Elements
08-10-2005, 10:20 AM
As I write more and more novels, I tend to get faster at it and completing one is no longer a problem for me. If you really want to finish one, just keep at it :box:. If I'm really passionate about the story, I can finish the first draft in 6 weeks by writing six pages each day.

triceretops
08-10-2005, 10:44 AM
Yeah, what Four Elements said. From 1988 to 1991 I wrote 10 novels in a white hot flourish. Three were hand-written--two typed, and five on the computer. Three of the last ones were actually good enough to get shopped by agents.

I joined AW December of last year to pick up my stint again. Wrote half of a non-fiction book and put it on the burner, finished a novel that I'm shopping right now, and am 105 pages in the second novel. It's tough--it's a slogg plowing through it sometimes, but it's also the thrill of discovery where every part in the book is new, and gives me a chance to showoff to myself and see how clever or innovative I can get.

What can I hook the reader with next? What surprises lay in store for this wierd world I've created.

I hope to regain the success I had. I'm like a dog with a bone--I won't let go of this feeling/drive to accomplish what I know I can do.

Tri

alaskamatt17
08-10-2005, 12:49 PM
Triceratops, just out of curiosity, do any of your published works feature dinosaurs? Also, are any of them still available in bookstores? I'd like to read something by you, support a fellow dinosaur enthusiast, you know.

triceretops
08-10-2005, 01:59 PM
Dinothon along with Cave Island (had them) never made it to print as a result of a house fire. Although Dinothon was nearly optioned by the studios but lost out to Jurassic Park. I have primative theropods and archaeopteryx in my present work, and of course Valley of the Mastodons was about the ice age (which I stopped production on). My short stories are in print (somewhere), but I never explored dinos in those.

My hope one day is to do a full back-in-time, or alternate planet with Jurasic or Cretaecous dinos going hog-wild all over the place. I love paleontology and have been on severel minor digs. You might beat me to the punch with yours, in which case I'll read you. But, good luck to both of us. Kong is bringing back some wonderful digital dinos, and I expect it to be lick-smacking good.

Thanks for asking, Matt

Tri

triceretops
08-11-2005, 06:26 AM
I forgot:

Stop after your daily writing stint is finished. Don't force yourself--you'll lean the script and force your pace. Leave it a point that is very interesting so you can pick it up with a little mor enthusiam.

Before I begin a new writing shift I back-read about 5-7 pages to get into the pace and flow of where I'm headed. Back-reading a portion of the script helps me to remember if I've posed a question that needs to be answered upstream.

Tri

Titus Raylake
08-11-2005, 02:51 PM
As I write more and more novels, I tend to get faster at it and completing one is no longer a problem for me.

Yeah, I agree with Four Elements.

I write six pages a day also. If I'm in the mood to write, I sometimes make as many as 12 or 15 pages.

Nateskate
08-11-2005, 03:00 PM
I force myself to finish, so I will get to the end of the story. I struggle with edits and re-writes.

Saanen
08-11-2005, 04:54 PM
Stop after your daily writing stint is finished. Don't force yourself--you'll lean the script and force your pace. Leave it a point that is very interesting so you can pick it up with a little mor enthusiam.

Before I begin a new writing shift I back-read about 5-7 pages to get into the pace and flow of where I'm headed. Back-reading a portion of the script helps me to remember if I've posed a question that needs to be answered upstream.

I do precisely the same things! Rereading the last few pages is something I always do, and if I'm at a tricky spot I'll often go back and reread the last chapter (or sometimes more). Not only does this help me get back into the rhythm and reminds me of threads I need to pick up, it clears my palate of other people's writing if I've been reading other fiction. Also, since I edit as I reread, by the time the first draft is done it's usually not too rough.

Yesterday afternoon I had to take my truck in for service and I was stuck in the waiting room three hours with nothing but a pen, a notebook, and the most recent printed out pages from my WIP. I got more work done yesterday than I'd done in the last week, and rammed my way through a difficult scene as well! Yay broken truck!