What to do next?

Paul_Tromba

Happy little accident
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Have you ever reached the point in your story that you have been looking forward to the most? Either because you think the shock value will be worth its weight in gold or because it's a cool moment that you've imagined a thousand times in your head to get it perfect. What do you do once it's written? Yeah, you have to finish the story... or not. Though if you do plan on finishing the story, what do you do? Do you take a break? Do you add in senseless filler? Do you start planning for that next point and write what is needed to get there? I want to know what you all do.
 

LunaSoltaer

Spicy Transbian
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Well, I kinda cheat by making one of my "I wanna write this" moments basically the literal end of my book. But what usually happens is I find interesting ways to create and then fill space between my planned scenes. I suspect my pacing is horrid because of it, but I at least try to make sure each "detour" scene adds something I can tie together to a central theme (which ironically I didn't plan those out either, they are just kinda emerging and I'm down for it)
 

Leficios

W's Lapdog
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Oh, the point, well, points I've been looking forward too are spread throughout the arcs.

I literally thought of so many things for the three year school arc it's not even funny.
 

TheEldritchGod

A Cloud Of Pure Spite And Eyes
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How? I mean, how do you run out of things to write? Go back to the beginning and read. When you cone to a character or plot point that has not come to a conclusion, conclude it. Repeat.
 

Paul_Tromba

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How? I mean, how do you run out of things to write? Go back to the beginning and read. When you cone to a character or plot point that has not come to a conclusion, conclude it. Repeat.
I'm not saying that anyone is running out of things to write. Though I like your style.
 

K5Rakitan

Level 32 👪 💍 Pronouns: she/whore ♀
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I have at least two of those points drafted and sitting in my paper notebooks. It's going to be so nice when my baby learns to read and can entertain himself so I can get back into writing.
 

TheEldritchGod

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I'm not saying that anyone is running out of things to write. Though I like your style.
Ah. Your problem is rhythm. Not plots or scenes. Reading is work. It takes mental energy. As an author you have to regulate how the reader reads. If you have not, go find a PDF of House of Leaves and force yourself to read it. Don't worry about the story, pay attention to the formatting and layout. I hate the story, but admire the skill.

When I write, I use line breaks and extra spaces to give the reader time to pause. I often start with a single line in a new chapter when I'm starting with action, but full paragraphs when the story is at a more omniscience 3rd party perspective that is explaining things. I bunch up certain parts into walls of text on purpose because I want to 'squeeze down' on the reader, then release the tension with a few sparse paragraphs of only 3-4 sentences.

When you get to a climax to a plotline or a 'high point', you have to be careful. It's like a roller coaster. The Chain Dogs have brought you to the top of the lift hill. The reader is the chain dog. Now the reader needs to 'coast'. You made him push the story to the top, now he needs to coast. Sure, you can put in loops or turn him upside down, but until that section of the story is 'over', it needs to be 'downhill' reading wise.

Now, what you are worried about is, 'This was the best ride I had.' but that is the wrong idea. Readers don't need 'best rides'. They want 'good rides'. They want rides they can come back to and 'ride again'. You should write every story like the reader will have a new experience if they choose to re-read it. I just had one of my best examples come up in HKN.

Chapter 26 - The good die young, is a tense scene, but you KNOW as a reader the MC won't die. It's only chapter 26. It isn't about him dying, but what he does in his last moments.

Chapter 27 - So I will never die, is the aftermath of that survival. However, you the reader know something is wrong. The king isn't acting right. Something is up.

Chapter 28 - Once more with feeling, is the entire previous scene from the King's point of view and suddenly, everything you read in chapter 27 is turned on its head. I don't repeat it word for word, I just highlight a few parts and as a reader, if you reread the previous chapter, I have no doubt, you'll go, "OOF! Holy FUCK!" Now that you read 28.

I try to do the entire book that way.

Don't confuse 'Big' or 'Best' with 'Good'. People like hamburger. You don't have to make everything a steak. You need to space it out so the reader can breathe, so there are parts they will want to go back to later and reread and go, "Damn. That was actually terrifying". Or, "Damn, He got lucky." or "Damn, I love that maid character! Best Waifu of the year!"

You say you have a point in the story you have a problem 'topping'. Question, it is a part the reader will come back months later and re-read and go, "Good times."? No? Then you failed. It's Exciting, and Gripping, and Emotional! But what is its re-readability?

I wrote a story where I got the reader to cry over a bottle of lamp oil committing suicide. No, it wasn't alive, the MC was insane and just talked to the bottle. It hung itself. The MC had scenes where he was amazing, then it was followed by finding out just how broken he was. A FL was introduced, but you never find out if she was real, but it is suggested she is. You never find out if they lived happily, but in the few scraps of info I give you, I create the illusion of an entire universe you can only guess at. In that empty space, the reader fills in the gaps.

There are few high points. It's mostly rambling madness, but I still get people now, years later stumbling across it and going, "Damn... That... that was something. Oof. Thats a gut punch."

My point is, It isn't just what you write, but what you DON'T write. It's not about the words, but how they are formatted, how you group them up and the empty space where you let the reader exist to fill in the story as THEY want it.

I wrote an audio drama once that was about a lawyer taking a kitten to an emergency vet clinic and Death starts talking to him over his radio. Three separate stories that all tie together to explain how the lawyer got there, the lies and deceit that resulted in the chain of events as to how he got there, and how the lawyer had to make a choice. In the end, the last thing the listener hears is the sound of tern signal. Is he just changing lanes, or is he taking the off ramp?

Yes, it's DEATH talking to you, but he's just the framing device. It might just be the lawyer's guilty conscious. It was a VERY low key story that I kept small and personal, but I would say it was very intense. There was no 'best part'. Just a meal, and meal, and a meal and a meal.

You don't know what your reader will love. Each 'meal' is different, so some readers would like the part about the revenge plot, others about the redemption, another about the learning to overcome loss. You don't know if you 'best' is going to be what your reader thinks is best, so ultimately, you should try to make sure there are other parts that are 'good' as well. It's okay if you follow up the saving of the world with trying to figure out how to cook pudding, if the Cooking Pudding Plotline ties in with everything else and gives the reader something to enjoy.

Now, that's not easy to do, but that's what being an author is about, learning how to get inside the mind of your reader.

Don't tell your reader 4. NOBODY WANTS TO BE TOLD FOUR. Tell your reader 2+2. Let him say to himself, '4'. Because maybe you framed 2+2 as 4, but to some readers, 2+2 will mean, 'I should go talk to my father before he dies. We've been drifting apart. Thank you for helping me to come to terms with my own anger towards him and how he treated mom as she was dying of cancer.'

Did you mean that? No. You intended 4, but to that one reader, it was life changing. You can't do that on purpose, but you can try. You can set things up that way. And that's why I think you need to re-evaluate what you think is "the point in your story that you have been looking forward to the most"

Every point should be something you look forward to.

Every word should do double duty. It should have multiple meanings. Each scene should have a purpose, and then another purpose. Each character should be a story in and of themselves. Each success to be celebrated, every failure to be regrettable, every loss to be morned.

Should be.

But if you do that, your reader will burn out. Too much and they burn out. Some readers will love an intense flame, some want a slow burn. So while it's great to have everything be amazing, mundane scenes, normal things, slow things are just as important. I guess that's why I have a problem considering 'running out of things to write' to be an issue. My story exists, but the rhythm is how I write. The building tension, the release, the small bites, the bitter pill and the sweet snack. What the story is isn't nearly as important and HOW it is written. If you focus on the 'How' of the crescendos and lows, the hills and valleys, you'll notice that what you write almost writes itself.

Then do yourself a favor, and go back and throw half of it out.

Writing is a numbers game. I always write twice what I need and throw out the half that is crap. If I am re-reading something and I for any reason feel, 'I don't like this' or just, 'meh.', I remove it. Half of what you write is below average. Throw out half of it and the remaining half will be above average. So write that silly side story. Write the story from the point of view of a can of soup. Any idea that strikes your fancy and then throw out half of your ideas because, trust me, nobody strikes gold 100% of the time.

Then do yourself a favor and get a Text to speech program and LISTEN to your story out loud. Don't read it. LISTEN TO IT. Trust me, when the computer talks to you, you will cringe so much. You will pause constantly and rewrite your story over and over. The computer has no mercy and will speak to you EXACTLY how you wrote it. You will hate yourself as the computer points out every 'The The' every confusing pronoun choice, and every misspelling. And you will go back and rewrite it over and over, and each time you will slowly trim away that useless crap and leave only pure product.

That's what I do when I get to the point I most look forward to.
 

Ai-chan

Queen of Yuri Devourer of Traps
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Ai-chan has no end of inspiration. Ai-chan gets inspiration without having to do anything whenever Ai-chan wakes up. But having inspiration and writing it are two different things. Sometimes the scene feels very wrong, but as someone with OCD, Ai-chan got stuck in that scene like a loop in C until eventually Ai-chan's head heats up until it shuts down and nothing else gets done. At that point, Ai-chan just goes to sleep and then won't touch that story for weeks.

It's like phobia of water. If you almost died to water, you wouldn't want to jump into water. In Ai-chan's case, because Ai-chan's brain shuts down from the unending loop, there was a fear developed causing Ai-chan unable to return to that scene. The only way to move forward is to rewrite everything in that chapter without looking at the scene because the loop will start again.
 

SakeVision

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Have you ever reached the point in your story that you have been looking forward to the most? Either because you think the shock value will be worth its weight in gold or because it's a cool moment that you've imagined a thousand times in your head to get it perfect. What do you do once it's written? Yeah, you have to finish the story... or not. Though if you do plan on finishing the story, what do you do? Do you take a break? Do you add in senseless filler? Do you start planning for that next point and write what is needed to get there? I want to know what you all do.

yes and then I went on 3 month long hiatus that is still ongoing. I know what's gonna happen next, just don't have the motivation to keep writing. I wrote entire plan for the plot long ago, but after reaching certain key points it feels like a grind
 

TheHelpfulFawn

A small animal that helps you with your groceries
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yes and then I went on 3 month long hiatus that is still ongoing. I know what's gonna happen next, just don't have the motivation to keep writing. I wrote entire plan for the plot long ago, but after reaching certain key points it feels like a grind
I feel you on this. You know the points you need to get to, but how to get there is whole other separate issue.
 

TheEldritchGod

A Cloud Of Pure Spite And Eyes
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yes and then I went on 3 month long hiatus that is still ongoing. I know what's gonna happen next, just don't have the motivation to keep writing. I wrote entire plan for the plot long ago, but after reaching certain key points it feels like a grind
This is why I usually write two stories at the same time.

HKN was the story I wanted to write, but FTS was the silly story I wrote because sometimes I had writers block.

Question: Do you enjoy reading your own stories?

If you don't, maybe writing isn't for you. Sorry to be that cold, but that's how I feel about it. I can sit down and READ HKN right now and I will enjoy it. I can go over and read FTS right now and I will laugh. I wrote stories that were supposed to be dramatic as well as make you feel better. Sometimes I read the pep talk from the Waifu character to the MC just because I am having a bad day.

STOP YOUR HIATUS RIGHT NOW.

Go read your story. From the beginning. Don't write more, read your story and then tell me if you like it. If you don't, then what would you have to do so that you enjoy reading it again?

I don't want you finishing the story. I don't want you adding another chapter, but you can change the chapters you have. Read them. Then I want you to get a text to speech translator and play the story out loud and listen to it. Use TextEdit if you got apple. It works well for me.

After you do that, think to yourself, "Am I enjoying this?" if you aren't, maybe you should fix it, or maybe start over. I have so many UNFINISHED stories. THIS IS A GOOD THING. Writing is a numbers game. The more you write, the better your skills and the better what you write. It is good to have piles of unfinished product. You know why? I once wrote an entire book in 2 weeks because I just repurposed all my abandoned stories. By the numbers, 50% of what you write should never see the light of day. This goes for every writer.

Maybe this story is dead and needs to be put in the 'coodabeen' folder. Who knows? Maybe you can salvage part of it later for a better story. But if you want to be a writer, Hiatus is DEATH. Write SOMETHING. write anything. Hell, you bored? I've been thinking about doing this. Go read my Flip The Script story. Write something for it. I won't promise I'll use it, but it's a strange concept and it's easy to come up with ideas because it's small scale. Pick a side character and make some shit up. Don't do it to make a good story. Don't write it to make a 'chessboard of mathmatical perfection' as the story plays out.

Just write a fun story.

Writing isn't a grind if you enjoy it.

BTW, side note: FTS was the 'joke' story. HKN was the high quality serious story. Take a guess which one everyone likes. GO ON! Guess.
 

SakeVision

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BTW, side note: FTS was the 'joke' story. HKN was the high quality serious story. Take a guess which one everyone likes. GO ON! Guess.

I actually wrote several projects in the meantime, but gave up/put them on hiatus after about 10-30k words each. Sometimes more.

I really don't wanna publish them only to go on hiatus again.

Also, I have trouble enjoying liking what I read cause you know....I already read that many times and know what's gonna happen. But sometimes, I just...cringe. Sometimes, I like the story a lot when writing it at first, then something switches, and I start cringing at it.
 

TheEldritchGod

A Cloud Of Pure Spite And Eyes
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Also, I have trouble enjoying liking what I read cause you know....I already read that many times and know what's gonna happen. But sometimes, I just...cringe. Sometimes, I like the story a lot when writing it at first, then something switches, and I start cringing at it.
The moment I started writing only stuff I liked re-reading I think was the moment I actually became a writer. If you are cringing, your instincts are most likely right. Fix it. You should enjoy writing. Or don't. That's fine as well. This shouldn't be a chore. Sounds like it is. I can say everything I am writing I could go back and reread and enjoy it. It brings me joy to know others enjoy it to. Not many, but a few. but you know what? I don't need that. I'd still enjoy the story if nobody else read it.

However, if even one person reads my story and takes away one iota of happiness from the experience, then I did a good job. If one person takes inspiration from Ryan or a chuckle from Toshi, then hey, I made the world a better place.

You know, I've saved lives. I've restarted hearts, talked people off ledges, and convinced people to live one more day. I've also failed to save a few. People have called me hero, but I never felt it. So I write about heroes. I think in the end, what makes a person a hero is simply someone who makes the world a better place then when they found it.

Making the world a better place isn't always about doing things for others. Sometimes you just got to look out for yourself. People depend on you and if you are in a good place and happy, then that will effect others. Being unhappy about setting a goal you never achieve hurts more than yourself, but those around you. People who care about you wouldn't want you to be unhappy. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself and just do the best you can. If that's spending the next 6 months playing a video game, hey, a happy you bleeds off onto others.

It's nice when we write something that changes the world, or changes a single person's world, or something that just makes someone smile so they can get through one more shitty shift flipping burgers to put food on the table for their family, well, that's something worth while as well. And maybe you can't. Maybe nothing you do works. Maybe you can't change one life, or even get one smile.

You tried.

That puts you miles ahead of everyone else who decided that doing nothing was better. Trying and failing is infinitely better than not trying at all. Failure is the best teacher. You really have to be a masochist to get good at writing, because it involves taking your heart and putting it out there for people to stab. But you know something? You do this enough, you get to the point where it's okay. Eventually you learn that they aren't stabbing you, they're just making you tougher.

And if you type enough, eventually you will do something right and you make the world a better place. Sometimes it's an epic story about saving the world, sometimes it's just a post on a forum saying, "You're better than you think you are. Try to be happy and see where that takes you."

I've never felt like a hero because I only think about the ones I failed to save. You do that so you can pretend that maybe there will be another chance to redeem yourself and you don't want to make the same mistake twice, but the truth is we're just built to beat ourselves up over failure. It's how humans are hardwired. We dwell on the negative far too much. This is why people like happy people. Just being happy around others can make them happy as well. People aren't sheep, we're chameleons. We change to be like the people around us.

Fix what you can change, accept what you cannot, try to be better that yesterday.
That's about all anyone can do.
 

Agentt

The keeper of periods and commas.
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When that happens, I write that chapter, or series of chapter separately, and then use them as references when it's actually time for that event to happen
 
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