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I can't Stop Stopping!

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Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:58 am
AlfredSymon says...

Okay, so here's my problem.

I'm writing a story. I'm extending it to extra parts and I'm going good at slowly showing the character's qualities. But when I enter the area where I reveal my main plot, I always get stuck. After-which, I feel bored and dragged about the story. Then I stop writing and write another story. I don't know why but I always do this.

Have any idea on how extend my plots? And how to make them better? And also how to "not-stop-writing" a story?

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Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:02 pm
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lilymoore says...

Hey there, Alfred. First off, you are not alone on this front because I've found I have the same problem too. When I start out, everything is going smooth. But about the time I have to moving into the plot, I end up stopping and never starting again.

But I have found ways around my problem. Hope these can help you, at least a little.

Start the story in the middle of the opening action.
As long as you know how you want to start moving into the plot, this works really well. Start with the action and work all of the character stuff in afterwards. That way, you beat the bird before it bites. Plus, if you do it this way, you have the whole story to work in the character qualities gradually, mixing it with the action much more.

Plotting with Goals
Before you even start writing, sit down and figure out the plot of the story. It does have to be point for point but make a note of the major points. Then sit down and write down goal dates as to when you want to be at that point. That way you have something motivating you. Deadlines are great for that.

Try free writing
One method of writing I actually really enjoyed was to sit down with my cast of characters and for a while I just wrote about them doing things. I ended up with about 50 little mini-scenes, all of them at most about 500 words long. Well, I took the 12 I liked best and placed them in chronological order of where I wanted them to happen in the story. From there, instead of writing in one long line, I was giving myself a destination already and asking myself, “How do I get from Point C to Point D?” And then I fill in the space in the middle.

Best of luck, Alfred, and remember, the only person who can stop you from being a writer is you. :wink:
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Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:10 pm
JabberHut says...

Lily has some excellent tips. In fact, I really want to thank Lily for that free writing one. That's a really, really awesome idea. I'm going to try it with one of my novel ideas 'cause that one needs so much help, the free writing idea could help tremendously! I'm squealing from excitement!

Anyhow, I've run into the same problem as well, Alfred. I'm always eager to introduce and play with characters in my story, but getting a move-on in the actual plot suddenly disinterests me, as if I know the end is coming and I'll be sad when it comes.

Planning definitely helps me. I outline my novels, and I make them as plot-specific as I can stand to keep me on task while still allowing for creative room with my characters. If I know what I do, I can push myself to just write through the scene so I can write more juicy character scenes.

The biggest tip I can give though, and I doubt it'll top Lily's marvelous ones, is to just write. Push yourself to write through a scene, no matter how sloppy it may turn out to be. It at least keeps the story moving, and you keep on writing. Eventually, you'll get through that icky plot business and move on to the fun stuff. Just don't stop. A couple methods I've used to keep me writing:

-- Word wars! They're really fun and extremely helpful. What you do is ask another person (or people) to participate. You all will write as much as you can to your story in a given amount of time (I usually do 15 minutes), and the one with the most words wins. They're just fun, and everyone's getting their writing done. You don't feel alone but are rather pushed by your peers to write more and get further in your story.

-- Bribe yourself! If you write so many words or get through a certain scene, treat yourself to a snack/treat. If you finish the novel, buy yourself a gift from the store -- something you've been interested in but have been too busy writing to consider getting. I usually bribe myself with M&Ms 'cause that's my favorite chocolate candy. Ice cream works too! In the cold, I bribe myself with hot chocolate. If it's at night, I bribe myself with sleep!

-- Read. It's weird, but if I read a book or read works on YWS, I suddenly get the urge or get inspired to write my own story. Even movies do this! As long as you keep your literary juices flowing, you'll eventually be inspired to write through that lame scene you've stopped at.

Good luck! Hopefully, you'll find a way around that silly stopping business. ;)
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Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:00 pm
AlfredSymon says...

Thank you Lily and Jabber! I'll consider your tips very well!

I experience this a lot and therefore making your tips treasures!

Thanks again! ;)

- Al
Need some feed? Then read some! Take a look at today's Squills at In the News.

The Tatterdemalion takes a tattle!

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Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:59 pm
BlueAfrica says...

I used to do this ALL the time - I still have about half a dozen unfinished novels floating around. If you're a novel writer, then I suggest doing National Novel Writing Month! I did it in 2010 and it was the first time I finished a story! Admittedly it wasn't great, because I wrote it in 30 days, but it was DONE, which was a HUGE triumph for me. Having a deadline works wonders. In 2011 I not only finished, but my story was actually long enough to reach 50,000 words, and it feels so great to have that achievement under my belt.

You get so much support from other writers during this month, plus you have a deadline, plus once you finish/win it creates this empowering feeling that makes you feel like, "Hey, this is easy! I can finish a story!" Which of course allows you to continue finishing stories because now you know you can.

So that's my suggestion, if you're talking novels.

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Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:35 pm
Sureal says...

Consider writing a story that has less focus on plot, and more on character exploration?

If you can handle a bit (well ... okay, a lot) of sex and violence, check out the novels by Brett Easton Ellis for an example of this sort of novel. He's one of my favourite writers. I'm particularly fond of Less Than Zero and American Psycho. Check them out.
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Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:54 pm
Dynamo says...

Sounds like your classic case of writer's block. I get stuck a lot when I write a story, too. Sometimes I find myself unable to write more than a few sentences, and at other times I'm punching out chapter after chapter without end. The important thing is to never stop writing. Even if it's only a sentence or two, try to write something every time you work on your story. A few lines a day will start to add up, and sooner or later you'll get through your block. The worst thing you can do is stare at your computer screen, or page, and write nothing.
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