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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Wrote 3700 words over the last week.

   
Author Topic: Wrote 3700 words over the last week.
xardoz
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Probably not a big deal to a lot of folks here, but it's amazig to me. I've had crippling writer's block for almost two decades. Dozens of stories, both short and potential novels, would evolve several pages of background notes and a few hundred words of actual writing and fizzle. Over and over again, it would all go nowhere.

Then last weekend, the dam burst. The plot skeleton is in place, the setting evolving, and the main and several minor characters fleshed out. It's all evolving and there's room for changes and growth. And it's all staying fresh and interesting to me.

I haven't felt like this in years. It's like a withered limb is suddenly whole and functional again.

I'm keeping it under wraps from my family and friends for fear that exposure might kill it, but I had to say something to someone.

So thanks, Hatrackers, for letting me vent my joy at being able to write again.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled debates over the appropriate usage of the semi-colon, already in progress.


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BenM
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Now just keep the momentum up. My biggest enemy is the inertia that follows 'taking a break'. Keeping the ball rolling is almost easy by comparison.
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Osiris
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Nice job I had a similar experience this week too. I wrote 1800 words in a single sitting, it felt pretty good.

I only stopped at 1800 because I had not clearly outlined Acts 2 and 3 for the story.

Is it possible that the fizzling out problem you are having is because you don't have a clear path for the story to take? From what it sounds like, you are setting up background for the story but not setting up the story itself.

I recently finished a 7500 word story. The driving force for me was that I had the climax and ending of the story in mind at all times. I realized from the experience the usefulness of having not just outlined the background, but also sketched out the characters and created what I call the topography of the story (I basically draw out a mountain in profile, I write the hook at the base, the climax at the peak, and the ending at the opposite base, and fill the slope with scenes that escalate the tension).
So you can think of it like climbing a mountain, the peak is your goal and keep it in sight at all times.

Anyway, glad to hear you got that burst


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MartinV
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I know the feeling. And I miss it.
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xardoz
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quote:
Osiris: Is it possible that the fizzling out problem you are having is because you don't have a clear path for the story to take? From what it sounds like, you are setting up background for the story but not setting up the story itself.

I am now pretty certain that was a large part of the problem. Previously, I'd come up with a couple of really cool scenes, develop the milieu, then the protagonist, and only then start plotting and that's when it would fizzle.

This time I roughed in the protagonist and setting, then concentrated on the arc. Bam. It's like a mountain river. I've dug out a channel that leads from the peak to the sea, but all sorts of little forgotten streams are now feeding into it and it's flowing on its own.

I like the story, but even more, I'm liking the work again.

Hell, I'm up before dawn on my day off just to get going again. This ROCKS!

[This message has been edited by xardoz (edited September 06, 2010).]


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JamieFord
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Congrats! Keep going!

Better to do a little every day, than a TON one day and burn out. Pace yourself, scene by scene, and you'll be amazed at how productive you can be.


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PB&Jenny
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Yay! Hooray for xardoz! Let the trumpets play!

In that case, don't read my last post about Atlanta Nights. It may kill your progress.


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Gan
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Jamie -- Thanks for that advice -- I needed to hear it.

Sometimes I think we focus too much on word count. It's certainly important, but I'm starting to understand that consistency in production is even more so.

Example: I wrote 17,000 words in about 2 days once. It was amazing, for me, because I too had writers block. Afterwards, though, I was just burned out. The story failed, though I suppose not entirely because of burn out...

Anyways, enough rambling. Great job Xardoz. Keep it up! Perhaps next week I'll join you in hitting an acceptable word count. One can only hope and try, right?

Also, Xardoz -- I highly recommend the articles on John Brown's website (Johndbrown.com) if you're ever having issues with writers block again. He has fantastic advice on the matter, and it truly pushed my writing to a new level.

Edit: Note I wasn't meaning to insinuate that you're producing far too much, Xardoz. Hopefully I didn't come across that way. Damn the internet for not having tone of voice.

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited September 06, 2010).]


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LDWriter2
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Good, good. It's always fun when a writer writes.

Congrats and keep it up.


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xardoz
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Thanks, guys. I'm tired today, so I'm not pushing it. My hero is going to need a companion or two for his journey, so today I'm trying to find out who they are and where they fit in.
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Robert Nowall
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It's a really good feeling when one's writing comes together like that---it's been awhile for me, actually---I liked a thing I did last May but nothing much since---and even that, I didn't have any immediate use for.

Wish I could get a novel off the ground...


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LDWriter2
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I just wanted to add that I had a few days like that make at the first part of July. I had already started one novel but decided it was that one I wanted to work on. I was on vacation and since we never ho anywhere for a number of reasons-not just money-I wanted to write. My wife worked on her crafts for her web site, anyway I just started working and kept typing. It was then that I decided I wanted to do two pages a day and hopefully finish by Dec. But during that time I wrote a lot more then two pages a day. I decided not to go see a movie I had planned to see so I could write. I also worked on a couple stories and redoing a couple of others.

A whole lot of fun and very satisfying. Almost wish I could take more weeks off. But I would have to spend money I'm saving for a workshop in another state. Don't know if I really get to go but lack of money won't be the reason I don't. The two pages a day isn't working so well, it must be one of Murphy's Laws. But that week or so was great glad to hear you've been doing almost as well.


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