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Calling all Authors

  1. Jun 5, 2005 #1
    Has anyone here ever written a book, is writing a book, or once tried to write a book and got frustrated with it?

    Well, I am in the process of the latter, and I have paused for a little while (more like abandoned the book for about a couple months :biggrin: ) and I don't know how to get back into the spirits of writing as I was when I first started......because I do enjoy writing; the problem is that right now, I am only anticipating the final product rather than the whole experience behind its creation.

    Plus, since I have the summer now, I really want to take advantage of my time and finish the book before I get really busy again....I have taken a long enough break already.

    I just don't know what to do - so I want to hear all of your stories of the trials and tribulations concerning any of your daunting, yet enjoyable, and sometimes frustrating pursuits of writing a book. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2005 #2


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    I prefer plays and poetry to books, but losing momentum- or hitting a wall- is a familiar experience (to all but the luckiest writers, I imagine). How you get out of a funk depends on how you're writing at the moment- and there could still be several ways. Are you disciplined, writing on a schedule? Do you write when inspiration hits? When you're bored or have extra time? Do you already know how the story will end? How much planning have you done (ex. do you have an outline of each chapter)?

    For some people, just writing whatever comes to mind helps. It gets the juices flowing, relieves the pressure of a blank page, and gives them ideas eventually. For me, this doesn't really work- writing crap usually just frustrates me.
    Editing what you have can get you back into the story and sharpens your critical side. This works best for me.
    Inspiration can also help, especially if you aren't sure where the story is headed or can't quite find the right angle or words. Read some good writing, see a good show/movie or any kind of art you appreciate, go for a scenic walk and let nature or society inspire you, etc.
    Have you tried any of this? What have you tried? What worked, what didn't?
  4. Jun 5, 2005 #3
    I don't tend to write based on a schedule; I just write when I find the time, which is why I "paused" for about two months.
    I first started writing my book by using an idea that just popped in my head; I wanted to hurry up and jot down notes about it, so I just started writing the first chapters, an outline, the ending, etc. So I do have all these notes, and it's all in my head, it's just the putting down on paper where I get stuck (ex. finding the time, patience, etc.)

    Editing is a good idea, and I have tried that on a number of occasions.

    And I have not tried any of those inspirational tools you mentioned....
  5. Jun 5, 2005 #4


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    I don't write on a schedule either. Though when I was doing nothing but writing, I would write all the time, so I guess that was a schedule. :tongue2:
    Have you written parts of the actual book, or do you have mostly preparation material?
  6. Jun 5, 2005 #5
    I have written about the first four chapters, that's about it......but I have it all in my head, as I mentioned before. :smile:
  7. Jun 5, 2005 #6
    I'm interested in this topic too. I tend to write only when I'm inspired to do it. Even then I just slop a bunch of stuff onto the paper just to get the pen moving. (Yes, I like to write on paper.) But it helps even if none of the stuff I write is what I want to remain in the final product. I usually get some useful ideas from it. If I am writing something of any length then I leave the slop there and continue with the story. When I run low on inspiration then I will go back and fix what I did.

    Maybe your stuck because you have a fixed path and teh story wants to stray from it? Are you stuck, or just looking for techniques?
  8. Jun 5, 2005 #7
    Honestrosewater has very good suggestions. I've tried writing myself but always suffer the same problem. Unfortunately I haven't the time to set aside to writing really. Actually the main problem I think is having an readily available place to write that is comfortable and lacking diversion. For myself that is though I can see others having the same issue.
  9. Jun 6, 2005 #8


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    I would go back and read what you've written and see if there is an obvious continuation. And write down the stuff in your head.

    I like pen and paper for preparatory writing. It's freer than the computer (or typewriter- does anyone still use these?). You can more easily cross out, circle, draw arrows, write in margins, make tables, etc. It is easier to quite literally map out or shape your ideas. When I wrote my first (and only completed :redface: ) play, I would spend the night with pen and paper sketching out a scene and head for the computer in the morning to start writing dialogue. I much prefer the computer for writing dialogue because it's faster and easier to do the kind of editing needed for dialogue. Looking up words, researching, and other things needed while writing are also easier on the computer. BTW, http://www.rhymezone.com is a great resource for finding the right words- you may want to check it out.

    One crucial thing, which took me a while to realize, is to not be the character who is speaking. This was the natural thing for me to do; To get inside of the character's mind and pretend I was them. The problem with this is that you lose your critical perspective, and you don't have to really explain what you're (the character is) thinking or what you mean- you of course know what you're thinking and what you mean! You need to put the character across from you and make them tell you (or another character) what they are thinking. Make them tell you what they need to say. Does it make sense? Does it sound stupid? Do you understand what they mean? Do they need to explain more? What could they say to get their point across to you? You now have your critical perspective back and can really antagonize your characters this way. This makes a huge difference.

    If you want paintings for inspiration, http://www.artrenewal.org/ is great. If I think of some other things, I'll post them. Poetry is also an excellent source of inspiration- they're short enough that you can read tons of them to find something that inspires you.
  10. Jun 6, 2005 #9


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    Why can't you write at home?
    This is partially why I wrote at night and during the morning, while everyone was alseep and at work or school (though insomnia did have a little to do with it). If it's noise that bothers you, you could wear headphones and listen to music. Music with words is sometimes distracting for me- mainly with poetry, when you need to listen keenly and pay attention to the rhythm. I listen to classical music when I need music that isn't distracting. Do you like classical music? Music along the lines of Pachelbel's Canon in D is perfect. I actually like a little diversion- I almost always listen to music or something while writing (I would let Hamlet play in the background at night).
  11. Jun 6, 2005 #10
    i currently have 6 books planned out and ive written a bit of the first one. they are mostly science fiction or suspense type books. im not really into drama or any non fiction because they are just too boring. i got the idea for my first book about two and a half years ago but i just never get around to finishing it. ive got the basic story/plot written out and its about 35 pages long on notebook paper. i havnt worked on it in about 6 months or so now lol :(. ive written a few pages in two of my other stories as well. i guess the lack of will to keep writing is what keeps regular people from finishing books lol, but maybe one of my stories will be a best seller one day or even a movie :P
  12. Jun 6, 2005 #11
    I've written dozens of plays, maybe a hundred puppet shows, one complete novel and part of another that I never finished.

    I find that when I get stuck I mentally go to my characters and ask them, "Okay, what would you do here?" This can take you places you never thought you'd go. When I write my plays, I have the whole thing outlined in my head, the characters will often carry me somewhere I did not expect to end up, changing my outlined version and forcing me to rethink my story. Often this is good, sometimes a big problem, but it keeps the story "in character."
  13. Jun 6, 2005 #12
    I am stuck and looking for techniques........and yes, I have a fixed path that I want the story to follow, so I don't really like it when the story strays from that path......I guess I should let the story flow from my mind.
  14. Jun 6, 2005 #13

    Thanks! I tend to utilize the computer more often than paper, because paper gets too messy when I write on it....I cross out too much stuff, get frustrated, whatever.

    True about looking at each character from a different perspective...I'll try that. :smile:
  15. Jun 6, 2005 #14
    Paintings for inspiration.....interesting!
  16. Jun 6, 2005 #15
    My current living situation isn't all that great. It should be changing pretty soon though hopefully. As it is though home isn't a comfortable place to work on anything for me.
  17. Jun 7, 2005 #16


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    Yeah, I've been there. Maybe a friend's house or library would work. If you're in a very bad situation, I know it isn't easy, but I really hope you find help. :smile:
  18. Jun 7, 2005 #17
    That's what I would recommend. I would argue that writing something is better than writing nothing. Free association is a good way to lubricate the mind. You may get ideas for the story you are working on, or ideas for another project. Revisions come to mind for something you already wrote, or had planned to write but haven't yet. I consider it like rehersal before the opening act. In the rehersal you get a feel for which scenes work and which don't. It becomes a much simpler matter of rewriting those scenes once they are going from the page to your head and not from your head to the page.

    That's what works for me anyway. One of my professors has a colleague who is a professional fiction writer. He says his friend writes his outline, decides on his chapters, and completes each page and revises it completely before going on to the next page. That is what works for him, but it seems completely alien to me. Anyone who wants to write has to find what works for themselves.
  19. Jun 7, 2005 #18
    I just looked back at my work yesterday ( :redface: I haven't been able to find the time lately) and I remembered why I stopped writing......because I had messed up the whole first chapter; I really get frustrated when I have to correct something I worked really hard on.

    I am writing a science fiction story set in the future. It is difficult and challenging, which is a little deterring sometimes :mad: .
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