Advice please-Writer's Block

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novelwriter
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Advice please-Writer's Block

Postby novelwriter » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:22 pm

Hi-

I am having a hard time with my novel. Right now I am suffering from writer's block or something like it and I want to know how do you recover? I have read sources that suggest writers to wite everything about their characters first and that in itself is another problem. What approach should I take?
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Postby jt752 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:49 pm

Try working on another story.
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Postby Mlou » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:50 pm

It may help to skip the blocked part and write a scene from further on in your story...something you have in mind that is going to go a certain way.
I don't write everything about the character first. I have a general idea of the kind of person they are and what their function in the story will be but they develop their own personalities and quirks as the plot moves ahead.
If the plot is complicated, I do have a rough time line to follow, to that my character doesn't end up in 2 places at the same time. :)
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Postby pengwenn » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:03 pm

I don't know who gave the advice (it was either Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson or Dave Wolverton) but since you're the first reader to your story as you're getting it out on paper if you stop writing then it's a good bet that a reader would stop reading at that point. They suggested trying to find what it is about that particular point in the story that you've lost interest.

Does your plot seem too complicated? Too simple? Are your characters boring and you don't care about them anymore? Do you not know what's motivating your characters to go on?

If you really don't know put a big ? that spans the whole page (so it stands out when you're reading it later on) and just continue on with your story at a point you know you can write about. Writing something later on might free you up to write what you passed over.
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Postby *Elle* » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:01 pm

Trying putting it far away for a week then go back to it! :D 8) :)
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Postby timberline » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:42 am

There are times, however, when you look back on the first 200 pages and say, "They're good, but the whole idea of [fill in the blank] is sheer crap." I've done that twice in the past year, kicking out a thousand words a day and realizing the premise is hackneyed, the plot is derivative, the style is facile.

So, you try another approach, another book. That's the only advice I can offer. Of course, some of the crap would make great movies. Maybe I'm in the wrong game.
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Postby Jamie Ford » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:10 am

Look at your ending. Do you have one? Is it one you are desperately trying to write towards to get to a resolution of some kind? When I get hung up it's usually because I haven't thought out the ending properly.

When I read a book, it's to find out what happens next. The same thing with writing, I want to write the next scene to see how it unfolds. If I'm not motivated to write the next scene, then that next scene needs to change.

That's just me...
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Postby TheMudge » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:33 am

Now, see, I work just the opposite of Jamie: I usually don't know how things are going to end until halfway or more through.

On the other hand, HIS novel is being published . . . so maybe you should listen to HIM . . .

:oops:
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Postby Jamie Ford » Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:32 am

I tried it that way too. And tried. And tried some more. :cry: I just can't pull it off...
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Postby novelwriter » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:25 pm

Thanks everyone for all the advice and please keep it coming. :D I don't know if the problem is I have read so many books on the subject. Hmm-I do have an idea of how I want it to end but would it be too weird to work backword. I have two computer programs one is for character and the other is for plotting the story. Everything you are saying s making sense and I am dreading that it might be a little of everythig. (Agh! :cry: )

What I do know is that the ideas jump in my head as parts. Kind of like a novel puzzle. :D
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Postby TheMudge » Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:02 pm

When they jump in, write them down.
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Postby novelwriter » Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:20 pm

Hi Mudge-

Thanks for your suggestion. Do you keep a notebook at your bedside to jot stuff down? Btw that question goes for anyone as sure fire way to cure writer's block. :D
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Postby TheMudge » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:44 pm

I have two different journals by my bed . . . but my ideas seldom come then. Usually in the car, when I am driving.
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby novelwriter » Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:38 pm

My idea for my main character''s father's profession was inspired by watching Enterprise because one of the characters job is cheif engineer. So I made the father in my story be an engineer. That is an example of how my mind works.
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Postby TheMudge » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:19 am

Which is fine. Do you know what an engineer IS? Obviously, we don't have starship engineers (unless your story is set in the future), but we have chemical engineers, electrical engineers, train engineers . . . and so on. Which one is the father?

Is that important? Actually, maybe, yeah. In my experience, there are certain similarities in the types of people who become engineers (they're all smart, they're all detail oriented, etc.) but VAST difference in the personalities of the ones who go in to CHEMICAL engineering than the ones who go into, say, SOUND engineering (these guys are almost ALWAYS frustrated musicians, it seems . . .).

So my advice would be to either read up on the different types of engineers, or talk to a REAL engineer. Find out what the jobs entail. Think about what kind of person it would actually take to DO that job, to choose it for a career.

And THAT, Novel, is characterization.
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"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby charlesp » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:16 pm

TheMudge wrote:I have two different journals by my bed . . . but my ideas seldom come then. Usually in the car, when I am driving.

Jott to self

www.jott.com is great for this... speed dial on a cell phone and you can send yourself a message to your e-mail (they do voice recognition AND save the file in case they get it wrong) so you can send cool story ideas to yourself easily... maybe not what THEY intended it for... but I like that use.

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Postby novelwriter » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:54 pm

Thanks mudge for your help. It also is called research. What I can tell you from personal experience is that my dad is a retired National Guardsman who worked on jeeps and stuff-and he still putters around the house with lawnmowers and snowblowers. (Ducktape and bublegum my friend-lol) :D
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Postby TheMudge » Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:42 pm

And hammers. And WD40. If you can't fix it with a hammer, duct tape, or WD-40, it ain't worth fixing.
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby novelwriter » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:04 pm

very funny Mudge! OT- :D You wil be happy to know I started a writing excise yesterday I found in one of my books. Tha was easy so far.
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Postby charlesp » Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:17 pm

Some more ideas:

http://www.43folders.com/2004/11/18/hac ... ters-block

I love the closing:

One day on the set of Marathon Man, Dustin Hoffman showed up looking like sh!#. Totally exhausted and practically delirious. Asked what the problem was, Hoffman said that at this point in the movie, his character will have been awake for 24 hours, so he wanted to make sure that he had been too. Laurence Olivier shook his head and said, “Oh, Dusty, why don’t you just try acting?”

So, when all else fails, just try writing.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)
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Postby TheMudge » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:54 am

Alan Alda suggests using a tape recorder, no editing. Just talk. Talk as the characters, talk TO the characters. You work out a lot of problems.
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby novelwriter » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:58 am

Charles thanks for the link. Btw-Mudge have you done that trick with a tape recorder? How did it work for you? I am asking because I am female and even for my biological age I have a young sounding voice that doesn't translate to tape well. (Yuck-hates voice on tape.)
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Postby TheMudge » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:19 pm

Not since I was 12, no . . . but then, I have different ways of dealing with writers block . . . usually go for a drive.
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



www.joyfulcurmudgeon.com

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Postby xcheck24 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:57 pm

TheMudge wrote:I have different ways of dealing with writers block . . . usually go for a drive.


I used to do that with a lot of things. Driving calms, soothes me.
And I haven't been doing those aimless sorts of drives any more. More because I'm afraid of getting lost.
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Postby pengwenn » Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:08 pm

With my eyes driving is about as far from relaxing and soothing as you can get. Unless it's a wide open road. City driving and all those lights shining at me can be a bit much.
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