Author Topic: Realizing that I will never finish my book?  (Read 6610 times)

Offline Jezzica85

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Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« on: November 01, 2007, 07:25:31 PM »
Hi everybody,
I don't know if I'm just having a bad day or what's going on, but I had something happen today that's really made me lose heart. I've been working on this particular story on and off for the last 2 years, and for the last year, I've been very happy with everything I've written. All of a sudden, though, the whole thing seems clunky, I feel like I should take an ax to it and start cutting everything in sight, I have writer's block that I can't get through with a jackhammer, and it seems like the story stalled. I've had grand hopes of this being a trilogy for the longest time, and now it seems like I'll never even finish the first complete book. I actually finished it once, then this happened to me before and I rewrote it to what I have now. What do I do? I'm fighting the urge to scrap everything again and I really don't want to because I love my characters, but I can't figure out what's going on! Can anyone give me some sage words of wisdom and help me save my story from getting shredded?

Thanks,
Jezzica85
I always thought a fictional character was just that--completely your imagination. Now, I know better. Think about this--your most treasured characters, whether you realize it or not, are everything you dream for yourself. That's the real beauty of writing.

Offline naturewalker

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 04:32:31 AM »
Jezzica,
And I thought I was the only one going through it!!!! Did you shred the first version? Hope you did not! Put it aside for a couple of days. Go for a walk,a swim, listen to music- do anything but donot open this manuscript. If you love your characters- they will stand. Is there anything particular that is putting you off? Try and list out what is giving you trouble rather than generalising and doing the whole thing over again! The human brain can handle lists of seven quite comfortably. So list out seven SPECIFIC things you are finding awkward. Change them. Stop. List out seven more. Change them. Stop. Do this for a maximum of three to five cycles. Then, let it go. Do you have an editor in mind? Let the Editor do the rest. At best he will like your effort. At worst he will give you specific feedback about what is wrong in your book.

As for writer's block... no one can beat me at that! I have not written anything meaningful for last six months!!! I still am hopeful that my first book will get published by the end of this year. Well.. if not this year end, may be by mid- next year...

I am sure this happens to most people. I am sure it only needs a little bit of grit... but we can get out of it! I have been trying to write on MWC regularly to break my inhibitions and blocks. It seems to be working.

So get down to it- and most of all- ENJOY yourself!
Success is not a matter of spontaneous combustion... one must deliberately set oneself on fire

Offline bob414bob

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2007, 05:34:03 AM »
We all go through this. I've gone from loving my book to hating every word more times than I care to mention. My advice is to set out a brief out line of where you want the book to go. Then check that against your ms. I know when I started mine, I had a clear picture in mind, then my characters had other ideas and went off on a tangent.

I do agree with naturewalker as well. Go and do something completely different and relax. I'm sure when you come back to it you'll have a burst of inspiration and will see where you want to make changes.

Offline Christopher Silva

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2007, 06:15:07 AM »
I have found that I simply put it aside for awhile and try not to analyze it so much. i'll give it to a friend or post part of it on a web site and from the reactions and responses I get the urge to hit the keys again.


chris

Nelodra

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2007, 07:09:37 AM »
I agree with all that's been said already, and would like to add some of myown thoughts/experiences.

What helps me beating the writer's block is usualy one of these things:
  • Write a poem or two using the cut-up technique. (Ask Saturnine about it - she told me how to do it.) Mind you - I'm not a poet at all, but this really seems to help me.
  • Go into my sims game and play with my main character a bit. (Of course you'd have to have the sims first, and then you'd also have to have/or create your characters as simmies.) Somehow just playing my characters, seeing them doing the silly things sims do, seeing them moving around, being able to see them in the environment I created for them (I usually build all my own houses, shops, etc, too) helps me getting back into my writing.

These are the things that help me.
They won't necessarily help you, but you could always try. Youwon't knwo if it works for you unless you've tried it.  ;)

Offline Jezzica85

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2007, 07:38:49 AM »
Thanks for all the advice guys, I feel much better now.

And no, naturewalker, I never shredded the first version. I still have it and I used a lot of the ideas from it in my second version, basically the biggest difference between them is a switched from an omniscient POV in the first one to third person limited, all from my protagonist's POV, in the second version. I thought it flowed better and has more focus on the right person (which it does, so I did a good thing there  :) ). I actually don't have an editor; I'm just doing this for fun at the moment and I'm just trying to get it all down. I don't have the guts at the moment to do anything more than that.

I've been thinking about starting the second book, because I know basically what is going to happen--the specific events that needed to happen for that book to begin are already written down in the first one. Would that be a bad idea, skipping ahead this far? In my story timeline it would be about 6 months after where I am right now.

Again, thanks a lot everybody, I think you've effectively saved me from another shredding session, and this one I would have regretted.

Jezzica85
I always thought a fictional character was just that--completely your imagination. Now, I know better. Think about this--your most treasured characters, whether you realize it or not, are everything you dream for yourself. That's the real beauty of writing.

Offline thatollie

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2007, 08:31:04 AM »
I've done this before, and I hope this helps. You won't know exactly what works and what doesn't until you've finished. There is no point making changes halfway through, only at the end.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline bob414bob

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2007, 08:44:46 AM »
Hi,
    also remember that no writing is wasted. If you've learned something from it then that's a good thing, used what you've learnt to improve it.
Why don't you post a piece on here to get some other peoples ideas. I find that helps me more than anything. I think as a writer we are sometimes too close to the work to see clearly. A new set of eyes can work wonders and give you a new slant on things. Good luck,

Offline naturewalker

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2007, 02:07:44 PM »
Jezzica!
Good you have all the work. If what you feel like doing is starting the next book- what are you waiting for?! Go ahead! Start. That just might be the thing you need!!!

Happy to be of any help at all.

All the best!
Success is not a matter of spontaneous combustion... one must deliberately set oneself on fire

Offline Writers Block

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2007, 08:22:23 PM »
Leaving it alone for a bit can help.

Or you could try to be proactive.  ;D

Get a pad and pen, or use a a comp, whatever works for you.

List what you like about it, and what you don't.

Once you think you have a list (save it and add to it as neccessary) work on your strengths. At the same time look at ways for resolving your weeknesses.

For instance:
If you think it's your punctuation, then look for ways of improving it, tuition, self-help books, writing courses, or whatever combination resolves your problem.

Look at it as a learning exercise, a means to grow and improve your self AND your skills and confidence.

Whilst it's possible some of your streangths may turn out to be weaknesses, it's equally likely some of what you thought was bothering is actually a positive. ;)

Most important of all - don't give up. :)
I tend to critique in a harsh manner. Please remember it is not personal, but how I prefer anyone critiqueing me to be. It is far more useful IMO.

WB

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Offline AJ Barnett

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2007, 04:24:18 AM »
Jezzica, I think that when you get to this stage, it means that you have become a REAL writer.

You have become your own worst critic, and that means everything.  To be satisfied with your own work means that you aren't looking at it through artistic eyes. As a writer you need to be striving for perfection, and the better you actually become, the worse your work seems. It seems to me that you're at the stage where another professional needs to appraise it - without your perfection prejudice.

Good Luck -Anthony
Author of <a href="http://amzn.to/aoTuEI">SHORT MOMENTS</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/92VNu3">WITHOUT REPROACH</a>

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Offline naturewalker

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2007, 12:30:11 PM »
WOW!!! Beautifully put!!! And I was mundanely suggesting an editor!!! Anthony you must be great yourself!!!
Success is not a matter of spontaneous combustion... one must deliberately set oneself on fire

Offline AJ Barnett

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2007, 02:16:48 AM »
Thank you for that dose of urine extraction, naturewalker. Point taken - Anthony
Author of <a href="http://amzn.to/aoTuEI">SHORT MOMENTS</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/92VNu3">WITHOUT REPROACH</a>

Articles
<a href="http://bit.ly/caC9MG">Publishing on Amazon Kindle</a>
<a href="http://bit.ly/hVXo91">Romantic Suspense</a>
<a href="http://bit.ly/9gWaZd">Dialogue in Writing</

Offline naturewalker

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2007, 02:43:01 AM »
I honestly meant that!!! Please do not take it otherwise!!
Success is not a matter of spontaneous combustion... one must deliberately set oneself on fire

Offline AJ Barnett

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Re: Realizing that I will never finish my book?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2007, 05:16:06 AM »
No, naturewalker, on examining my post, it seems quite pompous. I hadn't meant it to come across like that. I'm just a jobbing hack who went through the grind before finally getting published in 1994. I know from painful experience that self critism is hard to come to terms with. - Anthony
Author of <a href="http://amzn.to/aoTuEI">SHORT MOMENTS</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/92VNu3">WITHOUT REPROACH</a>

Articles
<a href="http://bit.ly/caC9MG">Publishing on Amazon Kindle</a>
<a href="http://bit.ly/hVXo91">Romantic Suspense</a>
<a href="http://bit.ly/9gWaZd">Dialogue in Writing</