Hello all. I am new to this board as I am now (wanting to shrug off my lack of discipline and start writing seriously. I have some short storys I've written and a 90+ page manuscript of a fantasy novel I've been working on. I've resolved with the new year (for the fourth or fifth year in a row)
to complete this novel.
I know I need to discipline myself. I am unsure how to go about it. I am looking for suggestions, of any type, that some of you may offer that could help me in this area. TIA
January 15th, 2001, 10:43 AM
Force yourself to work at least a tiny bit of the novel each and every day, barring family emergencies, etc. If you're truly inspired, nothing will keep you away from your project, but we all get into a slump now and then and daily work, even if it's just a few sentences, keeps the novel fresh in your mind.
January 15th, 2001, 12:47 PM
Thank you. One problem that I find myself in also are the idea that enter my mind that I am at lost to effectively catalog. What is the best way to put a potential novel to paper to save for future writing?
January 15th, 2001, 05:26 PM
My suggestion is to keep the goals to a minimum and realistic. For instance, donít say you will finish the book this year. Instead say that you will finish a page a day, week, month. Whichever time frame suits your schedule. Donít be afraid to re-evaluate your deadlines and adjust them accordingly. There is nothing more frustrating (for me anyway) than to constantly miss your own deadlines and expectations.
I think each person has their own method that works for them and you just have to find what works for you. Personally, Iíve found that I set a date for a bare draft, just enough to get the basic idea down on paper. Then I set dates for revising and Iíll revise the story a dozen times. I just keep revising it until I canít think of any way to improve it. I havenít really gotten any story to that point, though two are Iíd say 99% done.
As far as other projects go, I canít really offer any help there. I have 6 short stories and 2 novels Iím actively working on and 7 other short stories that are floating around my brain.
My only other advice is to not hesitate to remove sentences or paragraphs. Even if itís the best sentence of the whole story, if it doesnít fit or mesh with the story, lose it. Good luck.
January 16th, 2001, 03:21 PM
wow kats, that's some workload there! I'm more of a "one-thing-at-a-time" person, like kats said you have to find what works best.
Whenever I get a great idea for a story or an idea that would add to a story, I jot it down on paper or type it on the computer, depending where I am. Then I build on it, getting enough ideas to organize into a story. I'm assuming you have an idea but don't know where to go from there?
about your novel in progress: kats was so right about cutting anything from your story that isn't necessary. I make myself feel better about "pulling the trigger" on a goodie that doesn't belong, by just saving a copy of that chapter or passage on my computer in a "discarded ideas" file folder. If it's written on paper I stuff it in a real file. That way I know I can go back and nothing has actually died.
If you've been working on this novel for four or five years with only 90 pages to show for it, that's a sign you need to re-examine why you're writing it and what you want to say with this story. If it were happening to me, I would take it as a clear sign that my characters aren't vivid or clear enough in my mind. Limp characters make a plot grind to a halt.
[This message has been edited by wynnyelle (edited January 16, 2001).]
January 17th, 2001, 02:17 AM
KATS has some good points, keep at writing.
Make some mini-goals for yourself-write X-number of words or or X-number of pages a day.
I really suggest picking up ON WRITING by Stephen King. It is pretty short and has some really good advice in there.
-The more you write, the more comfortable you become with writing.
-You can always re-write what you just deleted, nothing is set in stone.
-"Read, Read, Write, Write, Read, Write, etc."
January 17th, 2001, 03:19 AM
Wynnyelle, youíre right. I guess thatís why I had to take a break. Iím just glad I wrote everything down so I donít have to try to remember any of the finer points of my stories. I have maps, governments, religions, and basic outlines for the books and the short stories are all past the 3rd or 4th draft.
As far as a discard file, that is so true. And I swear one day Iíll go back and find a story for each of those wonderful one liners. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
Another thing that can make the story grind to a halt is not having a clear enough idea of where the story is going. I know some people say to just write and the story will more or less write itself, the characters will take over the story. This does not work for me. I have to know exactly where the story is going. Perhaps if this is a stumbling block for you an outline would help.
January 17th, 2001, 08:29 AM
Actually, even though it has been about 4 or 5 years since I started this novel, the story is quite lively, jus that I have been lazy, to be frank, about finishing it. I like the suggestion of doing a page a day or a week or month. That is something I will start with. This very day. Thanks for all you guys' input on this.
January 17th, 2001, 02:38 PM
my current work has required a real headache of an outline. However, I find that no matter how detailed an outline may be, getting to work and actually writing the story brings up many things that only trotting the whole story out would do. That's why my current first draft is half writing, half summary/outline--I don't want to invest too much time in scenes I may end up cutting. Yeah, I have files of golden one-liners, sparkling decriptions, and witty conversations that all got the axe.