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queenmegumi
June 8th, 2005, 11:59 PM
Maybe it's rain that's effecting me out here in Northern California, but does anyone else sometimes feel daunted by their own work? I feel like the story I'm writing has massive potential, but I'm feeling sorry for myself because I can't seem to make the events and characters as cool on paper as they are in my head. I'm writing the next chapter to Owl and The Eagle entitled Pausanias, but I'm struggling with it right now and am feeling sooo frustrated. This story is huge (I'm basing it on the Persian Wars as written by Herodotus which is kicking my butt) and feel like I'm waay out of my league.

Anyone else want to wallow in self pity along with me or brigthen someone's day with words of confidence (hint hint) ;)

michaelS0620
June 9th, 2005, 12:59 AM
A little self pity. I am beginning to feel what you are feeling. I have been able to distract myself somewhat as I have put a lot of engery into poetry. I think it has helped my prose writing as well, so it isn't all for nothing.

But I do begin to feel that the weight of the manuscript is making it more difficult to continue. I may have to start breaking the chapters up into their own files. Its funny how your mind plays with you like this. When I was first getting started, the growning word count was a motivator, but now it has become a block.

James Barclay
June 9th, 2005, 04:59 AM
It's an intersting one, this. I expect many of us have had what we feel deep inside is a 'big idea' and wonder if we can actually do it justice. I sympathise with you and have to say that if you are feeling this way, there might be something in it. Perhaps you don't quite have the experience just yet. It's something to confront and work through. And remember that putting it aside, if that's what you choose to do, can benefit you enormously in the long run.

As an example, my new series is being published in October this year. I had the first inklings of the idea way, way back in 1988 but had no clue how to give it voice. I came back to it time and time again and while the idea developed, I knew I still didn't have the basic experience in most skill areas (writing, research, characterisation, you name it). And frankly, I wasn't mature enough as a person to tackle it.

Meanwhile, I wrote plenty of other stuff and was eventually first published in 1999 with a different idea altogether (The Raven). It actually wasn't until I was half way through my fifth book (in 2002) that I could see the path and knew I could write it. The great thing was the excitement that came with the knowledge I was finally going to bring it to life... it was truly wonderful.

I'm so pleased I waited... I've brought all I have learned to bear on it and still had a huge challenge to make it work. It told me that had I gone for it years before, I might have ruined the magic and never come back to it... never been able to deliver the result I had envisaged. It could have been foreer tainted in my mind and that would have been a great shame.

Time and readers (and sales!) will tell whether I should have waited longer still... :)

NOM

JamesL
June 9th, 2005, 05:14 AM
I feel like the story I'm writing has massive potential, but I'm feeling sorry for myself because I can't seem to make the events and characters as cool on paper as they are in my head.

I experience this frequently with the short fiction I write. I have what I feel is a pretty strong idea for a story and yet when its done it doesn't quite seem as good as I envisioned it. However, this may be simply because I've been working so close to the story and taking hours and hours to finish it and so maybe the 'magic' has been lost. The only way to discover the truth is to get critiques and see if other people can see the story the way I originally saw it. The best confirmation that your story has turned out the way you first imagined is when it gets picked up for publication. :D



This story is huge (I'm basing it on the Persian Wars as written by Herodotus which is kicking my butt) and feel like I'm waay out of my league.

If you feel like you are out of your league, then perhaps you are. One of the best pieces of advice I ever personally received was from George RR Martin himself. He told me not to run before I could walk, or in his own words, "don't try to climb Everest before you've climbed a hill."
This is a sterling piece of advice. I put aside the massive, epic trilogy I was working on (which, when I look back now, was laughably out of my league) and instead I concentrated on short fiction. As a result my writing has improved and some has been published, giving me a much-needed ego boost. ;)


And remember that putting it aside, if that's what you choose to do, can benefit you enormously in the long run.

This is sage advice (which is what we expect from NOM :D ). I have many ideas chugging around in my head, some of which have been there for years. Now is not the right time to begin working on them, but eventually the time will come. There is nothing wrong with waiting. If an idea or a story seems to be getting the better of you, don't be afraid to put it on the backburner and return to it later when maybe you are a little older, wiser and experienced. :)

kater
June 9th, 2005, 07:19 AM
In short YES. I always have so many ideas with, I think, a major degree of potential that it is really daunting to approach one having not finished another, which invariably happens. They all seem to be stories of epic length, at least two books or more, and putting them aside is extremely difficult as the ideas keep flowing - but the writing doesn't quite explain all that I'm thinking.

JamesL
June 9th, 2005, 09:28 AM
I feel like the story I'm writing has massive potential, but I'm feeling sorry for myself because I can't seem to make the events and characters as cool on paper as they are in my head. I'm writing the next chapter to Owl and The Eagle entitled Pausanias, but I'm struggling with it right now and am feeling sooo frustrated. This story is huge (I'm basing it on the Persian Wars as written by Herodotus which is kicking my butt) and feel like I'm waay out of my league.

Something just sprang to mind - British fantasy author, David Gemmell is writing a 'historical' trilogy based around the siege of Troy. In a recent interview he said it required a huge amount of work and planning. He is studying weather reports and various articles about trade and ships in the ancient world, and that is just for the opening chapter. If Gemmell (who is author of Legend, has over a dozen sucessful books to his name and is hugely experienced) is finding the going pretty tough writing such an epic series, then I'm not surprised that you are as well! ;)

kater
June 9th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Having read the first book, Lord of the Silver Bow (shhhhh ;) ) it didn't seem like he had too much trouble. What I'd say about DG's Troy series is, there is a massive framework there for him to explore and use. With new fantasy and even sf pieces of length there is a tremendous amount of work required just to get the story moving. I'm findng my sf piece really hard to write because I'm constantly reimagining ways of doing things - I have even more respect for sf writers like Peter Hamilton, Heinlein, Asimov etc after realising just how much they put into their worlds.

JamesL
June 9th, 2005, 10:37 AM
Having read the first book, Lord of the Silver Bow (shhhhh ;) ) it didn't seem like he had too much trouble.

I don't think he had trouble, per se, he just said the trilogy required a lot of work and it was tricky at times fitting in his characters and story with the framework that was already in place.

Hey, how come you've read the book? It's not even out....hmmm... :D

So go on then - how did you get hold of a copy?! :eek:

michaelS0620
June 9th, 2005, 10:51 AM
James,

I think you give good advice. I know myself, and a lot of others I know who are would be writers get an idea for a massive series (often based on another series) and jump right in. Starting by trying to write a 6-7 book epic series without every really completing a short story, is asking for trouble!

JamesL
June 9th, 2005, 11:39 AM
James,

I think you give good advice. I know myself, and a lot of others I know who are would be writers get an idea for a massive series (often based on another series) and jump right in. Starting by trying to write a 6-7 book epic series without every really completing a short story, is asking for trouble!

Believe me, the advice I give in my above post is the result of bitter experience. I've lost count of the number of novels I've started to write and the grandeur of various trilogies I've imagined which never made it past the first 10 chapters.

One of the worst things, in my opinion, that a relatively inexperienced writer can do is start to write an epic trilogy or fantasy series. It's a waste of time. You make it to about chapter 5 and then realise your characters are one-dimensional, you have no idea where the plot is going and your writing is so stiff it might as well be made of cardboard.

Orson Scott Card, in his book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy states that for the new writer, the first 1,000,000 words are for practice. Yep - the first 1 million words are practice. Even if you have a story published, it's practice. Only when you've written a million words, he says, can you take yourself seriously and maybe embark on that grand epic you've got in mind. Until then, stick to the short fiction, novellas and if you are really desperate to get going, the stand-alone novels.