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Help/Support Group: Writer's Who Have Trouble Finishing Fan Fiction

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by RingThane, Jun 27, 2003.

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  1. RingThane

    RingThane Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Hello and welcome to the help/support group for writer's who have trouble finishing stories that they have started (Whether they really want to admit it or not). :)


    This thread is for both accomplished writers and writers who are struggling and is designed for everyone to share experiences and offer insight on the topic.


    I know (because I fit into this catagory) that it is frustrating and at times very disheartening when you finally throw your hands up in defeat and abandon you story.


    So feel free to vent your frustration or give advice that might help writers such as myself with this particular problem. :)


     
  2. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2001
    Ui, ein Deutscher :D.

    Yeah, I have exactly the same problem! Mainly because I get disinterested in my stories or even come to feel some kind of contempt for them. That always happens sooner or later! So, I can't come up with anything that satisfies me :(. I decided to stick to short stories because of that...
     
  3. RingThane

    RingThane Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 7, 2002
    :D


    I get disinterested if I run into a lot of writer's block or nobody really replies consistently. Either that or another idea for a story demands that I start writing another story that I forget about the other one I writing before.

    I've tried short stories, but I always seem to write morer than I originally anticipated. *sigh*
     
  4. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2001
    Aww, now that's bad. Sadly, I don't know what to do about it...I kinda have a constant writer's block, 'cause, well, sooner or later I think of every story I begin that it is nonsense :p. So, short stories are not your style, I guess? Well...how about you just write as much as you want and then leave it at that? :)
     
  5. duskwings

    duskwings Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2003
    Where can I sign up? 'Cause I really need it. Great idea for a thread. :D

    I have sooooo much trouble finishing stories. I know this doesn't show from my fics on the boards (they're all viggies, plus one post in a round robin), but I am pretty much incapable of finishing fics. I think it's because of my incredibly short attention span, and because my brain works in cycles. For a couple weeks, the creative juices flow through my brain and I'm writing lots of good, interesting stories, and getting a couple hundred plot bunnies. Then, all of a sudden, I'm just drained dry, and I'm bored. I can't figure out what to do, so I just sit around and surf all day, or I hang out at the boards and refresh the page every couple of seconds. I just lose all creative drive. It lasts for weeks. And then there's my programming phase, when all I want to do is work on some new project. I just can't stay focussed on writing--my brain wanders off elsewhere (usually on leave from intelligent thought 8-}) and I can't write. The ideas are still there, but when I start trying to write them, I just delete everything I write down because it's terrible.

    Occasionally I try fighting this by forcing myself to write--picking a topic and writing on it. Or I write in my journal. But that doesn't really help. It seems like I'll never be able to write again, but then, all of a sudden, I get a brilliant idea for something, and I'm back in the groove again, writing and writing. I can't figure out what controls these little cycles of mine, only that they happen, and I can't seem to do anything about them.

    Unfortunately, once I get back to writing, I usually can't finish the previous story, because it's not what I'm interested in anymore. So I write random viggies, and I try to get myself back to writing the big stuff, but it doesn't work.

    The longest complete story I've ever written is something like 60 KB. The longest partial story I've ever written is something like 120 KB. And then I read the thread where people are talking about the longest story they've written, and they talk about hundreds of pages--not just KB, pages.

    I think I'm aberrant.

    I don't post my fics as I go, though. I learned my tendency not to finish things very early, and I've made a promise to myself that I will never post a story that I haven't finished--I don't want to torture my readers like that. But some people think that pressure from readers really helps, so maybe I should think about it.

    Does it really help? Having input from readers, having them say "more! more! more!"? I never really thought so, because that way it's still forced writing, but I haven't had first-hand experience.

    Oh, and sorry about the rant. I talk too much. ;)

    -duskwings
     
  6. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Oh, stick to your guns, duskwings! :) I never post a story until I've written the entire thing, or at least the entire first draft. As a reader, the thing I LOATHE (besides Mara Jade :D ) is authors who bring through wonderful stories, then run into RL or just can't figure out what to do next then drop them. If they ever DO come back to them, I usually don't pick them up again, because by that time I've lost track of the plot & the characters.

    I have a story on a floppy, it's 112 pages long, and it is not finished because I ran into a massive plot hole and can't figure out how to fix it. It happens.

    My solution is to have several stories going at once. I add to them as the mood strikes me. Sometimes it's only a paragraph. As they approach the halfway mark I buckle down, and there are times when the only thing left to write is some dull exposition that I think is boring (because I already know what happens), but it needs to be in there to explain things to the reader.

    Sometimes it helps not to write in order; another advantage of finishing before you post. I can write scene A, scene B, scene J, scene Q and scene Z. Later I can put in scene Y, scene M and scene R. Do you see what I mean? If you don't feel like writing about the Queen's secret council, skip ahead to the hero's attempts to fight the giant rhinos, or whatever.

    Finishing a story is HARD, and it's WORK! So don't feel bad if you have trouble, lots of people do. Don't sweat it. Just do something else until you're in the mood.

    Remember, this is supposed to be for fun! :D
     
  7. jedi_bounty

    jedi_bounty Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2002
    duskwings, I think we're twins. :p What you described as far as losing interest and all that, it's my feelings exactly. The first story I ever wrote, I didn't write it before I started posting, I just posted and thought, hey, this is cool. Then I got really tired of it, so I just hurried up and ended it. Then my second story, I wrote about four-five posts and couldn't wait to post it up here, so what did I do? I posted it. Now it's abondoned, even though I really liked it. I just can't remember where I was going or any of that any more.

    As for readers helping you to keep writing. It's true to a point for me. I feel more of a desire to write when I know people want me too. But then, when life gets busy and I don't feel like writing, I don't. Then I feel bad because I know I'm letting down all my readers.

    I think I'll be visiting here often. I need it.

    JB
     
  8. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2001
    Make that triplets :p. It's EXACTLY the same with me. Though I did make the mistake to actually post the stuff chapter by chapter and then leave it in the past [face_blush]. And I can tell you, no, impatient readers are no help at all...I mean, it just presses one all the more.

    Yeah, I'm writing a Non-SW fanfic right now in which I just write scenes in the order I want to :p. I like that :p.
     
  9. duskwings

    duskwings Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2003
    Mistress_Renata - Yeah, I like that I can write ahead . . . but sometimes I'm afraid to. A lot of the time, the stories that I write center around one scene, or my inspiration originally stemmed from one scene. If I write that scene before I write the rest, I'm afraid that I might just lose interest in the rest of the story, and go off to do something else. On the other hand, if I don't write the scene, I'll probably get fed up with writing all the stuff between, and then I'll just give up. So I guess it's a balance.

    The idea of multiple stories in parallel kind of appeals to me . . . I've been trying to avoid that, to make myself finish one story, but maybe it would work better if I had several stories, and wrote on each when it appealed to me. Thanks for the tip! Maybe I'll try that . . . if I can just get the others started.

    jedi_bounty and Chocos_Ramabotti - (my triplets 8-}) Once, long ago (well, a couple years, anyway), under a completely different screen name in a completely different (and now defunct) forum for a completely different subject, I made that mistake, too. I think I'm the only one who remembers. Of course, it was probably terrible (my HD crashed and I lost the story, so I don't actually know), and I try to forget about it, but it was a very good lesson for me.

    -duskwings
     
  10. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2001
    Yeah...I actually did that with my two very first fanfics, here in the JC :(. Ah well, they were horrible anyway :p. Story, grammar, everything...hey, I was thirteen! o_O Okay, I'm fifteen now...but I hope I've gotten a bit better in the meantime :p.
     
  11. duskwings

    duskwings Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2003
    Yeah, I must have been about thirteen when I posted that first story, too. I think I was OK with grammar, mostly, but back then my style was pretty terrible. I don't think I knew the meaning of the word conciseness . . . 8-} I think I've evolved. My english teachers seem to think so. ;)

    And now, onto stuff that might actually be useful.

    When you're in a dried up time (aka writer's block or disinterest), do you find that forcing yourself to write on a story gets you back into the groove of writing, produces absolutely terrible stuff, or doesn't work at all? I find that sometimes it works, depending on my mood. It especially works if I tell myself that I'm going to go back and edit what I'm writing, so it doesn't matter whether my writing is completely terrible. And then I don't go back and edit, because I never finish, but it's the thought that counts.

    Sometimes I also find that if I stay up late, I can sort of get the creative juices flowing. I'm not so good in the morning, but at night, for some reason, my brain switches modes and I find it easier to write. Sometimes it doesn't really work, but other times I can actually write a little. Not much, and the disinterest in writing usually returns in the morning, but I can sort of write at night.

    -duskwings
     
  12. jedi_bounty

    jedi_bounty Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Well duskwings, I've had pretty positive outcomes with both of the things you mentioned.

    1. When I force myself to write I seem to get back into it, even if only for a few paragraphs. My only problem is, I get so into it that my brain starts working faster than my fingers (or hand, depends if I'm writing or typing) and then I get to a certain point and can't remember where I was going to go. That usually turns me off from the story and I quit.

    2. I write better at night too. I've noticed over the years that I'm more of a night person, so I think that's the answer to why for me. In the morning, no matter when I wake up, I'm groggy. That is, unless it's something like the first day of school, then I'm wide awake (I like school! I know I'm weird). In the night, I just seem more awake, until I lay down on my bed.

    With both of these things though, I always get interrupted by something. If it's the whole night thing it's usually my mom telling me to go to sleep. If it's in the day with the whole forcing myself, it's usually, your computer time is up or go clean this up. And see, I'm one of those people who likes to type more than write, because I can type faster! I'm trying to write out a story right now, and I've only gotten three pages, which translates to two computer pages at most. Maybe I just need to go back to science class, that's where I seem to get the most writing done. :p You know, the writing you do when you're supposed to be taking notes or something. ;)

    Ok, enough rambling. I'm interested to see what the other triplet thinks.

    JB
     
  13. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Well, when I have a writer's block or disinclination, either I work on one of the other stories OR I just don't touch them and work on another project (sewing, artwork, whatever) instead. That's one of the advantages to writing it all BEFORE you post; I don't have to worry about readers clamoring for the next installment! :)

    Sometimes you just need a break. After I finished my last story (Special Effects) I went into a sort of funk for a few months, and didn't start anything new or tackle any of the old stuff. I read the boards & posted. But later I had a bunny, and hey presto! There are now two underway, at various stages of completion.

    :)
     
  14. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 9, 2001
    You called for me? :D

    Well, I didn't really try forcing myself to write that much, but I remember that it didn't help much...

    About writing in the night: Absolutely! I'm one big nightowl (can you say that in English? :p) and sometimes when I stay up until 4 AM or so, I suddenly get into "writing mode" :p. Then I write a paragraph or two, but after that I might not write again for weeks :(.
     
  15. JaegerGhent

    JaegerGhent Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Ha! You started the thread! :D


    I have so much trouble finishing stories. I've started a bunch of them, but have only ever finished 3(two short stories I wrote in like a day, and one fic that took me over a year).

    I think it's mostly that I get disinterested, like a few of you have said. And I get Writers Block really really bad. Can go for months without getting a single idea for the next chapter. :( Then I feel bad because I have readers waiting for a new post, but I can't think up anything, and the story has become boring for me.


    Wow...it's wonderful to vent. :p
     
  16. CalaisKenobi

    CalaisKenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 15, 2002
    This is such an interesting topic! First off, I have to admit, I am one of those writers who ended up suffering a severe spell of DRL and had to leave my stories abandoned for several months. I managed to post to my readers to let them know I was still alive, and to occassionaly sneak a post in, but it was still hard to not have the opportunity to finish what I had started.

    As to the question of whether or not reader response helps make a writer continue, I think it depends on the author. I, for one, feel horribly guilty if I am not posting, and try to force posts. That seems to be the wrong thing though, for despite forcing me to begin writing again, it seems that my posts come across somewhat stilted. Instead, it seems that forcing oneself to write to a schedule is the best way to lead to a story's successful conclusion. On my first story, I forced myself to write two posts a day. Although that timeframe is unrealistic for most people, it worked for me. Now, I am trying to complete said story by posting at least once a day. Considering the story is going on 900 pages, I am hoping that it will soon be complete.

    I think it also helps, when you begin a story, to have a clear conclusion in mind, or at least some principle you are trying to bring across. If that doesn't work, write your story so that some ending is absolutely apparent, and write toward that. For example, begin a story with the ending:

    Though the battle had been hard fought, and many had lost their lives in the fight, from the very beginning it had been apparent to Ti'ka that only one outcome could finish the day. And as he piloted the last remaining Rebel shuttle toward the giant monolith of the Imperial fleet, he knew that his sacrifice would not be in vain. Dodging the few Imperial craft that attempted to block his way, Ti'Ka began to accelerate. Just as the vision of the destroyer completely filled his viewscreen, he jumped to hyperspace.

    *********************************************
    2 days earlier:

    "We have received word that the Imperial Destroyer "Jaugernaut" has set course for the Rebel base on Baldar," the Rebel Captain announced solemnly. In his seat at the back of the small auditorium, Ti'ka felt a strange tingle of premonition. Ignoring the odd feeling, he continued his soft conversation with Daner...


    Obviously, this strategy only works occassionaly, but for a new writer, it might be the best way to force oneself to finish at least his/her first story. Since the ending is known, it's relatively easy to bring the story to completion. If it any time, the writer becomes stuck and feels unable to finish, he/she can simply wrap their current thoughts up and bring the story to its already determined ending. And, the author can always go back and revise once they have finished as well.

    I don't know if this helps at all *probably not :p * but I thought I'd try.

    CK
     
  17. NarundiJedi

    NarundiJedi Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 8, 2001
    I never have a problem with a lack of ideas, just with sporadic readers. It really does discourage me, because I have a hard time believing that I'm writing my story just for myself. I like to tell stories, and to other people! :p

    I find that writing other things helps for a breath of fresh air, but if I've been idle on a story for a while (due to DRL and exams) then most people don't notice I've updated.

    It's just getting annoying, because I have a fairly large fanfic that I REALLY want to finish, but it becomes a drag after a while. The next fic I write in the series WILL be finished before I start posting so I get a chance to enjoy taking my time. :p

    Jae Angel
     
  18. tatooinewizard

    tatooinewizard Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 13, 2003
    I do have a hard time, sometimes, finishing stories that I start. I've got a few novels waiting to be finished, one of which I started back in '99. My first piece of fan fic, which I'm almost finished posting, that was very difficult for me to finish. It's slightly over 120 pages in Word, but that's not really why it was hard to finish. I was get extreme doubts about the quality of my work and I didn't know about these boards at the time, with no feedback it nearly slaughtered the whole attempt.

    But for the first time in my life I have overcome the ever-looming hideousness of writer's block. Hopefully that means I'm learning how to deal with it without caving.
     
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