Monday, July 9, 2007

The Three D's: Doubt, Depression, and Disgust**

Okay, I'm going through something right now. I may just be blowing this out of proportion, but I'll just rant here. Maybe I'll feel better.

Today I tried to re-plot my novel. You remember Jivtor, and all the trouble I had with that story, right? Well, I'm still having trouble. Maybe I should just kill the story, I dunno, or leave it and come back to it. Let me explain, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Lately, I haven't really been in the mood to write. Everytime I look at the page, I get up and do something else. I try to run through things to get my novel going. I always have a pretty good start, but not long after that, I just fizzle out. I don't know what to put in the middle. All my plots always fizzle out by then. I've tried a thousand different ideas, and I just don't know what to do. It's not just this story either, I'm just learning it on this one sooner than the others.

On all my other stories that I've ever started, I fizzle out about 30-40 pages in. It never fails. I never know what's going to happen to make the story progress. I've got a whole folder full of ideas that I just can't bring myself to throw away because they've got promise, I just don't know where they're going. The difference between those stories, and my current two isn't much. On the current two that I'm writing, I've tried plotting out what happens instead of just writing by the seat of my pants. Apparently, my butt can't write. So anyway, most of the advice I've ever heard says, "If you're fizzling out in the middle, then you should try plotting it out. It's not like it's set in stone, and you can always change something, but it gives you an idea of where to go." The problem? I can't think of anything to put in the middle, even when I'm plotting it out.

At first I thought this problem might be the genre I write in. Maybe fantasy, as much as I love it, just isn't my thing. Maybe I should write something else. But it doesn't matter what genre I write in, the problem is the same. I can never think of what should happen to the person. Maybe I just don't have a theme that's defined enough? Maybe I don't have my story developed enough? Maybe I should just pack up all my writings, all my papers and research and books on writing, and my computer, dig a big hole in the backyard, dump my stuff in there, cover it in gasoline and watch it burn while dancing naked around the blaze chanting Native American war chants...*sigh*.

And it's not just that anymore. Now I'm terrified that if I try to drop these stories, like I did all the others, maybe I'll run out of ideas. So the situation is: I can't work on the stories I have because I hate all the ideas that I come up with--they're too weak, there's not enough of them, they're not interesting, they're just filler scenes, etc; I'm afraid that if I leave these that I'll never end my streak of starting novels and never finishing them; I'm afraid that I just don't have what it takes to be a writer; I'm afraid that I'll eventually just run out of ideas because I can never finish one and I'll use them all up.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Is it normal for writers to go through this sort of thing? Is it normal for them to question giving it up and working as a door-to-door vacuum salesman? Is it normal for a writer to hate every idea they come up with? Is it normal for writers to eventually just think that every idea they have is trash?

*sigh* I'm going to bed.

** -- 2/3/2008 -- I fixed the title. I'm glad that someone searched my archives to find a spelling mistake from almost 7 months ago.

1 comment:

MerylF said...

I think we all go through the stage of starting endless novels and not finishing them. It's part of learning, I think.

If you're really stuck and can't get anywhere with the current work, then maybe you need to throw ideas at someone and see what bounces back. Sometimes you just need to talk to the muse.

Sometimes, these saggy middles appear because you don't really know where you are going, or you've lost sight of the end goal. Sit back and think where your hero needs to go, look at where they are, then write in a straight line from here to there.

Finally, some great advice from an author whose name I have forgotten; if your characters aren't doing anything, get them moving. Give them a job or a purpose and make them do it. Once they are moving, you get moving as well.