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Young Writers Society
Fri May 27, 2011 8:15 pm
Well, I've always had novel-commitment issues. Even when I get consistent reviews of "this is great!," "keep writing!," etc., I fail to keep a consistent loyalty to my stories, cheat on it with another plot line, and dump the original. My newest novel "The Grim-Keeper," though, I'm determined to get through. I really like my plot, setting, and characters, and I actually have a personal drive behind this one. But now I'm working on chapter 5 and scratching my head. How do you know where to pick up on the next chapter, or how to make it blend with the rest? Any tips/advice would be great. I'm seriously on the verge of couple's therapy for me and my suffering story.
Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another. ~Lemony Snicket
Fri May 27, 2011 11:37 pm
Woah. This is my problem with everything I've ever done in my life. EVER.
If anything, this is a bump so other people can see this, respond and help us both out.
I am nothing
but a mouthful of 'sorry's, half-hearted
apologies that roll of my tongue, smoothquick, like 'r's
or maybe like pocket candy
that's just a bit too sweet.
Sat May 28, 2011 12:32 am
The way I do it varies. Hopefully one of these tips helps!
1- The very unscientific "This looks like a good spot for a chapter break." I go by pure gut instinct on where the chapters should end and how they should mesh. Sometimes, you just reach a point where a chapter feels finished and it's time to move on.
2- Set a goal. Some chapters have a very exact purpose in the story, and they have a set way of transitioning (usually cliffhanger, sometimes calm before a storm). This helps break your big, overreaching arc into more manageable chunks. It also forces you about how each chapter is going to transition to the next, because that's part of how one phase of the plot moves along.
3- Length. Sometimes you want to keep all your chapters about the same length so just transitioning because a chapter's getting long works.
What helped me a lot was thinking of each chapter like a really long scene. You know how to transition from scene to scene, so just think of each chapter as one really long scene (only, with the added option of sharp cliffhangers). This technique is the closest to the second tip I gave. This is what I suggest to start with, if you're unsure how to do chapters. Eventually, you get your instincts honed to know when to cut it off.
And if you're wondering which technique is my main technique, the answer is all of the above.
I usually have some unofficial goal to a chapter, but if it feels like it should stop or if the chapter seems to be getting really long, I'll make some mini adjustments as I go.
It's just something you have to practice.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo
Ink is blood. Paper is bandages. The wounded press books to their heart to know they're not alone.
Sat May 28, 2011 2:12 am
I know exactly what you speak of. XD
My tip would be to remember that it's your first draft. It is destined to SUCK. So don't worry about making it mesh or fitting things in and making them perfect; sure, it'd make revising easier, but odds are, you'll probably have figured out a better way to tell that story by then, so you'll only wind up tossing it out or reworking it so heavily you can't tell that it was ever anything like your first draft.
So just write. Even if it sucks. Once you finish it, you can focus on making it not suck.
Or maybe take a break for a while. That's what I'm currently doing with my pet project. I've learned from experience that it is best to take a break while you still want to write the story rather than forcing yourself to write until you're all out of enthusiasm and never want to write another bit of that story again. One day, you'll find (or make) the inspiration to continue, and continue you shall. All the while remembering that it's just the first draft so of course it's not going to be great. But at least you'll have fun writing it.
Right now, I'm on my third or fourth break, and every break thus far, I've been able to keep up my enthusiasm and pick up right where I left off and keep writing it until the next breaktime rolls around.
Screwing with gender since 1995.
Adopt A Novel
Knight Kyllorac's Late Log
There are no chickens in Hyrule.
Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:59 am
I have serious commitment issues when it comes to my writing (don't tell my characters!). I've found that either one of three things always helps...
1.) Step away and follow your imagination. If you feel a story more in that moment, then write on it. I started jumping stories when I realized that my brain doesn't give things up. Say I'm writing on story A but story B keeps drawing my attention away. Well, subconsiously, Story A starts to have small transitions that should be in Story B. Because I can't help but write about what my muse wants. So write on what catches you, but never ever throw anything out! You will come back to it eventually. And if you know that you're gonna jump ship, leave a note at the bottom of the abandoned story telling your future self where you wanted this story to go. Same day you'll forget you wrote it, find it and become totally inspired.
2.) If its momentary blockage that has you, sometimes forcing yourself to write will help. It stretches your muscles. Just remember, it can alway be revised.
3.) Skip to the fun parts. Sometimes I find that writing transitions, scene placement, fillers and such can grow tedious when your muse is raving about some awesome scene thirty pages down the line. So skip to it. Write in segments and link them together during revision.
As for the chapter thing, I think going with your gut is the best advice. Everyone does it differently. I like to just write as it comes - with line skips and stuff for changing character views or what-have-you - then cut it up into chapters later. But I think the only thing to say is Don't take it so seriously. Its your creation. Do what you feel is right.
I go to seek a Great Perhaps...
Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:00 am
2 things. The first I do, the second some of my friends do.
1)Mega Plot. Basically take 10-20 sheets of notebook paper, and fill them up with plot notes. You will never be left scratching again!
2)Start from the back. This way you know your end goal, and can have fun leading up to that situation.
Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:38 am
These are my techniques for staying devoted to one project at a time:
1) Start off by writing out an outline for the story. I do this by writing down what happens in each chapter. That helps me to finish because I can actually see where I am in the story and where I'm headed next.
2) If I get a plot bunny for another idea, I open a new document in my "Writing" folder and just write down all my ideas for the other story. Then, I close it and leave it alone. That way, I know the idea is still there when I finish my current project. This also helps to identify your best ideas because perspective can help you to see things in a different way and not all plot bunnies are created equal, haha.
3) I set a goal for myself. For example, my current goal is to finish my novel by the end of August. Using my plot outline, can see how many chapters I have to write a week in order to complete my goal. This helps me to stay focused.
I hope this helps!
For four-fifths of our history, our planet was populated by pond scum.
— J.W. Schopf
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