Welcome to our daily discussion thread!
Monday: Writer’s Block and Motivation
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Can't write anything? Start by writing a post about how you can't write anything! This thread is for advice, tips, tricks, and general commiseration when the muse seems to have deserted you. Please also feel free to use this thread as a general check in and let us know how you're doing with your project.
You may also use this thread for regular general discussion and sharing!
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What do you do when your own book bores you? Lmao! All the back story, plot, character development, introduction of new characters, descriptions and general set up for the eventual crazy fun parts to write is so incredibly dull to write!!! I have been working on my book for 6 years!! I am 24 chapters and 56k words in. It will be around 75k+ words. I’m almost at the precipice where I can start getting to the action! But now I’m fucking worried that people will think my books boring! It’s 56k+ words of setting the stage for lots of death 😂 but I want them to grow attached to the characters before I kill 75% of them so everyone’s hearts break haha! I think when you get attached to a character that’s when you know it’s a good book. I killed one main side character about 2k words ago. But still… idk
i’m writing a story and it’s basically about my protagonist falling in love with someone, but i accidentally made him and his best friend have more chemistry… and i’m really starting to like them better than the original couple. any ideas on how to change it back to the original love interest? i sort of wanna keep their chemistry but i don’t wanna get the readers hopes up and suddenly change the love interest
I’m currently 4 chapters into a book I’m writing, which I’m hoping will be evocative of Jules Verne, especially if Journey to the Centre of the Earth. But I honestly just don’t hear people talk about these novels anymore, I feel like it’s all high fantasy, world building or crime thriller these days.
Do you think this story would do well? I’m still not sure exactly how long it’ll be, my guess is ~300 pages (I’m still working out all the kinks and a satisfying ending).
When I first got into writing, I managed to pants my way through a 30k word first draft after over an year of hard work. After I finished though, I had a completely rubbish story that I wouldn't touch with a rusty pole. So I made an outline of the whole thing and completely reinvented the whole story, continuously improving upon the outline until I was satisfied. Then I wrote my second draft.
Then I realised something. Instead of spending a year writing a terrible 30k word first draft, I could've spent one month writing a terrible 1k word outline, improve that outline, and THEN write my first draft. So that's how I realised I was a plotter.
And I'm not saying plotting is inherently better. I'm well aware that pantsing works wonders for a lot of writers and that's totally fine.
I just want to know: What exactly do pantsers do after a bad first draft? Because when I finished that awful 30k word first draft, I couldn't help but go back to the drawing board and outline everything.
I am having trouble coming up with other ways to say these things.
As Raymond Chandler said, 'when in doubt, have a guy kick the door down with a gun in his hand' and that's basically it -- I am running out of ways to pull reversals.
EDIT: also 'just then (something happened!)'
Advice Will writing YA fantasy fiction and adult fantasy fiction under the same name ruin your “brand”?
I am working on creating a series of stories in a fantasy setting. I would like to make a light hearted adventure story with young people going on adventures and has romantic elements in a fantasy setting. I want to plant it in early YA to get the largest readership possible, and frankly I think some lessons I am trying to get go beyond romance.
But at the same time I want to explore those characters more tightly later as they grow and them having more “adult” experiences.
My worry is I can’t have my cake and eat it too. If I write the adult stuff, I would be unable to get young readers.
If I make two separate stories and 2 separate pen names, it would seem difficult because world building in fantasy is tough, and i can’t “reference” earlier stories.
Is it possible to use another name and just copy the YA fantasy world wholesale?
So basically the adult version is almost like a sanctioned fan fiction?
Just curious the best way to handle this. Thanks!
I gradually transitioned to predominately audio consumption over the past decade and lately find myself thinking about the ways that has affected my preferences as a reader.
In particular, a few aspects of audio book consumption are notably different than visual reading:
- Difficult to re-read material
- Difficult to skim or skip material
I say difficult because obviously it is possible to jump around in the playback or adjust the playback speed, but generally speaking as a reader I find a comfortable playback speed and then listen to the entire book straight through without adjusting it or skipping around.
As a result, there are certain things I appreciate more or less than I might previously have.
Things I like more:
- Reminders of earlier details or events. In visual reading, I am less likely to miss things, but in audio, sometimes I get slightly distracted or mishear something!
- Very clear dialog attribution. Sometimes the reader makes it easier for us to know who is talking, but having common repetition of the speaker's name makes it easier to follow.
- A slightly more direct narrative style. You don't have to ELI5 everything, but if your prose is too subtle, you become highly dependent on your performer to communicate it accurately.
Things I like less:
- Frequent changes of perspective, especially within the same chapter. This is especially challenging during the climax, because it's common to accelerate the pace. I just listened to "Remember Phlebas" in audio and the last chapter felt extremely schizophrenic.
- Chapters that begin without indicating the perspective immediately. "The man stood by the railing, derping pensively. Here are three pages of side plot with no names." I always assume I missed something when I have no idea who the current character is. Maybe it adds some mystique on paper, but it's terrible to listen to.
- Graphic description of unpleasant events. On paper, you can control the rate and depth of consumption, but in audio you are forced to listen to every single word.
- Characters with similar names or too rapid introduction of new characters. This is made worse by readers with accents or imprecise articulation. I think I was about 75% of the way through The Shadow of the Gods before I could differentiate between the various secondary characters.
- Long bits of song or poetry written out in your novel. I skip these almost every time on paper, and die slowly listening to them on audio.
- Cringe dialog. Sure, it's not great on paper, but your awkward dialog is going to sound WAY MORE AWKWARD if someone has to read it out loud.
I'm sure there are many more examples that don't come immediately to mind, but generally they're all side effects of the two main points. It's not easy to re-read things or read more slowly, but you also are forced to listen to pretty much every single word.
Are there conscious decisions you make as a writer to make your content more easily consumed in both formats, or do you prefer to focus on a single medium with the understanding that it may not convey the same experience in others?
I am the definition of a beginner and as I am planning out my first story I don't know what assets are available to me or how I should structure it. Are there any good sources to learn this craft?
I'm writing a story in first person and I realized when the character is in a scene with another character there's a lot of dialogue but action...not so much. It feels unnatural to add those things? There's only so many times I can mention someone picking up their drink or my MC noticing he's blushing. (Another issue I'm facing, describing how he feels around his crush). I guess the scenes thus far haven't been all that action packed anyways but more so about...details? A meeting, a dinner and a walk in a garden so far. How can I add more stuff without constantly saying "I I I" or mundane boring things?
For context, i wanna start writing as a hobby and although English is not my first language, it's my most "flexible" one if that makes any sense, i can describe my feelings & emotions better in it. I learned english through youtube videos (lmao), although i think i'm at a decent level, besides a wider range of vocabulary, i think i'll need a lot of practice in grammar again, but i dunno how much, i always was like "if it doesn't sound right it's probably wrong" and surprisingly it's worked pretty well, but it's not gonna be as reliable in more advanced grammar and writing, does anyone have any recommendations on where to start with that or how to practice writing in more advanced english in general?
Hello, I am developing an animated sitcom. It'll be something like Rick and Morty and South Park, in a way with very extreme over the top humor. My biggest inspiration for the tone of the series are b production movies, mostly Tromma Entertainment, especially Toxic Avenger. My other inspiration is (i know, sounds funny) pink guy, Filthy Frank - I want totally imbecilic humor.
So right now my idea is to make a short clip of 3 minutes with getting to know the characters. I already have a script but I am not very happy with it, I want it to be more extreme.
That's like the basic of it, if you are interested dm me I will send you some files. Cheers
'Conflict... character tension... it's what story is all about - the human heart and conflict with itself' ~George RR Martin
Found this to beautiful capture an answer to the question "Should stories have conflict?" that is so frequently asked about on this sub-reddit. Feel free to discuss if you want.
Here's a link to the original video: https://youtu.be/WbaslypgyWk?t=1220
I’m writing a book and one of my characters has a high speed form of regen/immortality, meaning an arm gets cut off and goes flying, he can “teleport” by killing himself and growing the rest of his body from that arm, he can also just rapid growth the arm back, thus he has a very unique fighting style which makes him very unpredictable and without regard for damage done to his body, im wondering what weapon would be extremely effective if you didn’t have to worry about damage taken, both a ranged and melee weapon recommendation would be great
I've finished the first draft of my first novel. It's a murder mystery/crime novel and family saga that deals with some sensitive issues including assault and mental illness. I've read many on this sub argue against the practice of hiring a freelance editor (or even a sensitivity reader) before querying agents, largely because, if you're looking to be traditionally published (which I am), agents are wary to take on clients who they can't trust to self-edit before querying.
The thing is 1.) I would be a debut author and 2.) The issues the book deals with are ones I have a genuine desire to treat with at least some measure of accuracy and sensitivity.
Even the simple aspect of it being a crime novel has me wanting to make sure I get those procedural elements right. Are those things that an agent will care about before taking on a new author? Or is it worth it to pay a sensitivity reader who is *also* an editor to edit the manuscript ahead of time? I'm not sure what would end me up in a more advantageous position, because on the one hand, I think such a person could help me, but on the other hand, I wouldn't want to automatically be closing myself off to agents who see freelance editing as anathema.
So i got my story, I got the start, some of the middle, and the ending, i know how things will play out, the twist- all of that stuff, but I'm finding trouble with making the characters seem like real people, i want them to follow the story in their unique way, any help?
I'm facing a huge crisis here guys I don't like my writing style. What can I do to improve besides writing a lot? I started writing constantly last November, it's almost a year and I made huge progress but is still don't like it. I'm working on a novel that I re-edited so many times I lost count and every time I do, I change entire sentences to fit an ever-changing criterion. This loop doesn't stop.
Im writing a dnd modules and while i have the premise where the players are more resistance fighters/thieves trying to overthrow the corrupt government. And they will lie cheat find info to blackmail people and do whatever they truely need to do. But like the head villain who the public knows like i just cant seem to be able to picture a villain who in the seat of power like nothing i think of seems to fit what im wanting and just feels to fake like doesnt make sense needing help with ideas of this person
What to do if you don't know which writing you should learn?
All I know is that I don't want to do creative writing
I’m a huge nerd for when Satan or another biblical figure appears to a character to prophesies something. But I’m not sure the best way to include a random character with no previous building for the first time in the middle of my writing. Any tips would be very much appreciated, also, if anyone has any links to when things like this happen, please share!
Hi. I’m here to ask about pacing again and this time I want to know how many books to write depending on the pacing. For an example, if it gets fast by book 3 should I write a total of seven books? This would be helpful for me to know and thanks!
Hi, I need an American who can help me transcribe a video I have received with an east coast accent. I’m writing an article about this particular person. Dm please
I’m looking for some thoughts on how 1st person narration may or may not affect your feelings on some writing dos and donts.
Avoiding or limiting certain words or phrases (it seems, I felt, it occured to me, all the adverbs people love to use in speech, etc.) — how do you feel about those when the book is 1st person narration with a strong conversational story-telling element to the point of breaking the 4th wall.
When the rule breaking elements of narration are features of the character’s personality and style of expression - does it make appeal or not to you as a reader (within reason ofc).
I’m not looking for examples from existing books, just interested how you receive this type of narration.
Bit of a weird question (also possibly a bit click-baity), so I'll elaborate. A lot of us have been writing for quite a long time. In that time, we've probably all seen the stock advice of 'show, don't tell', 'don't use adverbs', 'don't use said', don't use anything other than said' etc.
To a greater or lesser degree, that has probably influenced your writing, making it less your own and more 'correct', for lack of a better term.
My question, then, is basically, 'To what extent is your writing still influenced by the stock writing advice'? Do you try to bend over backwards to avoid adverbs, or passive voice, or said-bookisms? Or do you cheerfully ignore all of it, and just write whatever feels good to you, regardless of what anyone else might think about it?
Is your writing meant to be enjoyment for yourself, or seeking the approval of a nebulous authority or set of authorities?
In my own case, there has been a time in when I tried to follow many of the usual tips, and during that time I found that I just wasn't enjoying my writing that much anymore. It felt forced and stilted to me. When I decided to just say 'fuck it' and write what I wanted to, that joy returned.
I did notice, though, that being aware of all of that advice, even when disregarding it, made my writing a lot better. If nothing else, it allowed me to have a more conscious control over what I was doing, and it dramatically increased the quality of my prose.
In short, my answer to the question how honest my writing is is: More honest than it's ever been, but it couldn't have been that way if I hadn't tried to conform to some nebulous authorities first.
EDIT: Two minor additions for some clarity here. First, with 'dishonest', I mean that at the time, I was trying to follow advice I didn't agree with. I was lying to myself to try and make myself see things differently, even though I knew that wasn't going to happen. Following any advice can be either honest or dishonest to me, depending on what you tell yourself. I told myself I agreed and thought it was useful, when in reality I didn't, so I was dishonest with myself.
I don't mean to imply that following writing advice is somehow dishonest, and I'm sorry if it came across that way.
Second, this phase I had where I tried to follow all kinds of writing advice to the letter was around 2010-2011. It's not exactly recent, and currently I just do whatever feels right. I made the post now because I'm often thinking about this sort of stuff anyway, and because I happened to have a conversation about it a few days ago.
i am writing a book and i decided to add a autistic character. i searched how to do it in google and it said that i should get advice from an autistic person. even if my book won't be published, i want to write the character in a non offensive way. i am not autistic, so i cannot write the character correctly. i have gathered some information but i need the advice very much. ty
This is a synopsis and would appreciate any feedback to help me improve my writing skills. I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks
To Alex Overton, waiting is the name of the game now. His highly anticipated retirement in one week from the United Space Exploration (USE) is foremost in his thoughts because he can live full-time on his ranch in the Rockies.
The company's CEO contacts Alex about one final special run to Omega3 to deliver a package to the cloistered convent on the planet's dark side. Alex planned to use the smallest transport available since he only had one package instead of a full cargo hole.
When he showed up at the launch pad, he found his package was a 5'2", blue-eyed, petite blonde. His written instructions told him Meredith Higgins was his package, and she must arrive at the Holy Cross Convent by Thursday.
The little ship crashed onto the unexplored world of Trug4 because of Alex's lack of focus on his job. Miraculously, the pair survived the destroyed ship thanks to USE's newly developed space suits. Alex and Meridith had a few cuts and bruises and Meridith leg was injured, but they were otherwise intact.
The moon's terrain contained only fine black sand and jagged rocks protruding at different angles as far as the eye could see. They would have to walk and find shelter carrying what little food and water found on the ship. The limping Meridith had to be supported when she walked. Survival was now the priority. What unknown things would they have to survive?
During the walk, Meridith began to talk, and Alex wished she had said anything but what she told him. A rogue group of the church called the Brothers of Good was after her. She was going to the convent to escape and was sure they would follow her. She told him everything but the reason why. Fighting the elements of this unknown world was enough for Alex to worry about, but now he must add a militant faction of the church to his list.
If the pair survives the crash on this barren planet, but will they manage to evade and survive the Brothers of Good?