Skip to comments.Writers... help! I can't finish the story!
Posted on 08/17/2006 8:36:45 PM PDT by Number57
I've had this story worked out in my mind for going on twenty years. 1989. But now... I am stuck. I started a book based on it, but I'm no writer, obviously. I constantly re-read and edit, and re-read and edit more.
Probably because I've posted part of the story on sites that critique writing.
Anyway. I've hit a wall. A large brick wall. I've since stopped editing my own stuff, but try as I might, I can't write another chapter that I'm okay with. How do you, in your experience, get past it? I'll appreciate any help anyone can offer.
You have been writing a story about 1989 for 20 years?
Write the basic story BEFORE you edit. Never edit during the creative process. Editing come from a different part of your brain. Concentrate on your story - the entire story not just one chapter. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. Get the basic story straight first. Then go back and fill in the details. Then edit.
I've done that. Seems like every few years I get the 'call'... natch
After you have assimilated the good advice of nuconvert, try simply writing, one word after another without regard for anything other than letting the words flow. There'll be time enough for editing after the writing's done. (Reminds me of a line from a Kenny Rogers song).
No. I started writing it in 1989. On a typwriter.
Colonel Mustard did it in the dining room with the shish kabob..... Go on a cruise to the Bahamas
I applaud your desire and dream to write.
In perusing your post I noticed a series of grammatical errors, not the least of which is ending sentences with a preposition.
I'd suggest you return to the basics, active and passive verb tense, diagraming a sentence, and in the absence of that, don't edit your own work.
Still, I encourage you.
That's probably the best advice... just do it.
Oh yes, Rule #1. Don't let ANYONE critique your stuff until you've finished it to your own satisfaction. No one's opinion really matters except yours...and the editor's, of course.
Thanks, Hilltop. lol
It's very simple. Write the first sentence:
"Call me Ishmael."
Then, if you get stuck for further ideas, just skip to the end and write the last sentence:
"It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan."
Now all you have to do is fill in the middle!
Sit down and write. Don't write perfect prose, don't write Steinbeck (its been done); just write.
Get a rhythm going. Do it every day. Repeat as needed. (Write, don't edit.)
For some insight, read Steinbeck's Journal of a Novel.
In the meantime, write!
[Writers write; editors edit.]
What is it that catches you (stops you)? Is it where to take the plot?
Do you believe you have a thorough understanding of the character, nature, and thought processes of your characters? Are your people well developed enough to solve the problem/s before them?
Can you take the main characters, set them on a "stage" with their problem, and "see" them interacting with each other the way real people would, to solve their problem/s?
If not, then I suggest going back and fleshing out the characters more fully, assigning them more depth of thought, action, and interaction, giving them more and varying qualities of personhood, so that you can see what they would do in a given situation.
Then beef up your plot to create a situation or beef up the situation you have already put them in, a situation where they HAVE to solve a problem to "survive," set them on that stage, and watch what they do. Then just write it down (and edit, etc.).
Start the chapter: It was a dark and stormy night...
Quit rewriting the same chapters over and over. Push forward, if the next chapter isn't what you want, write a bridge chapter to get past the part that's giving you a problem.
This will also sound kind of strange, but don't fall too much in love with one piece of work, or keep reworking the same things over and over. I don't know if you're into sports, but I've thought about this story a lot. Roger Staubach won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, and played in two others. On a Thanksgiving day game, he was knocked out, and his backup, Clint Longley came in. Longley threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win a game against the Redskins. He never had another significant NFL moment. Staubach commented in his autobiography that after that game, Longley would sit around looking at the game film over and over. Staubach said he quit working, and was happy just to relive that one moment of glory, over and over.
Keep pushing yourself, and your work will continually improve, but only if you keep working. When you are successful, move on. When you fail, move on. But keep writing.
As Winston Churchill once said, ending a sentence with a preposition is something "up with which I shall not put."
Well, no advice on how to end, but for the love of God, when the sexy teens finally figure out that a hideous monster is trying to kill them, have them get the gun out of the closet, not the flashlight...I hate that!!!
Problem solved! Just make it exciting and scary and stop worrying about it!!
In my experience, writing with right-handed pencils significantly increases one's odds of developing severe writer's block.
Forgive me, Petronski! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
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