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Bulletin Board > What's the hardest part about writing a story for you guys?

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message 1: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Baugher | 17 comments So I was just looking to start a discussion on what the hardest part of writing a story is. For me it's finding a good reason for my main character to care about the situation he's put in. for example: WHY did johnny join the army...well because the enemy forces killed his father & he's out for revenge<--HUGE chiche btw :P. what about you guys? It's good to talk your writing problems out!


message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 212 comments Well, usually the biggest problem is revisions, but when working on true novel-length works (my Ninja Librarian is really a collection of short stories that work together to form a novel) the biggest challenge has been keeping it consistent, probably because my writing time tends to be carved out in little bits here and there. But in general keeping the plot tight and the tone consistent are hard.


message 3: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Baugher | 17 comments Jonathan, as my creative writing professor says: good writers borrow, great writers steal :P. What he means is that if you like a concept from somewhere else, take it. Just turn it an make it your own. For instance, a fellow author that I know recently started watching fringe. In the specific episode, there is a person who can effectively tune in to another person's thoughts (paraphrasing here) he liked it so much that he wrote a story and submitted it to the anthology we put together! I agree though, being original is harder than punching iron :P


message 4: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Baugher | 17 comments do you find that anything in particular helps you guys? i know for me, outlining is essential or I'll write myself into a corner


message 5: by Md (new)

Md Auz | 10 comments I’m a sit down, don’t look up until its finished, writer. So the hardest part is constructing the first sentence. After that, my characters take over and tell me what to write. The challenge is keeping the work under 100,000 words. My agent likes 85,000 words my characters circa 150,000, so ultimately, when I’m finished, there is always rewrite to lose the excess.


message 6: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 848 comments Making sure it fits with the BIG PLAN and not writing myself into a corner. Everytime I do a summary it changes itself and I end up going a different route to get there. I know what the ending is and a few pointers on the way but the road itself tends to be reveal as it goes.


message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin Morgan (robinleighmorgan) | 54 comments I used to write commentaries for a local neighborhood newspaper. Writing them became quite easy yet the hardest item which I always had to deal with had been saying everything I had to say with a 1,000 word limit hanging over my head. I used my skill in writing them to write my debut YA Paranormal romance, for which I had to learn the "rules" regarding writing fiction.


message 8: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) Sometimes it's finding the will to write. When I've gone over my story SO MANY TIMES and can't bring myself to do it again.


message 9: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 212 comments Abigail wrote: "Sometimes it's finding the will to write. When I've gone over my story SO MANY TIMES and can't bring myself to do it again."

Amen to that!


message 10: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 227 comments The bit in the middle. I usually have a strong idea for how a story starts, and/or how it ends, but I find the faffing about in the middle bit quite tedious, a lot of the time.


message 11: by Nicolas (new)

Nicolas Wilson | 51 comments The hardest part, for me, is when I outpace my outline. Most of the time, I try to keep a clear narrative outline for the full story. Once in a while though, I get so excited for the beginning, or the end, or the interaction between characters, or an aspect of the concept, and get stuck trying to write a story that doesn't force them to act stupidly. That held me up for most of December.


message 12: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Puddle (trishapuddle) | 240 comments The problem I struggle with is getting that first chapter right. And because I usually write in first person present, I have to be careful not to start too many paragraphs with the word 'I'.


message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 113 comments My biggest problem is having enough time to write. I do this as a hobby and have very limited spare-time. With promotion/marketing and checking/editing, there is little time left for actual writing (which is the part I like most). I've currently got 8 detailed ideas for books lined up and another 10-12 concepts which need flashing out.

I love writing first chapters, but I find final chapters trickier. Finding that closing sentence is hard.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Creating a great opening that draws the reader into the story and gets them to commit beyond that first page.


message 15: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) | 144 comments Getting started. Once I do that, it's off to the races.


message 16: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Rhoades (jackierhoades) | 149 comments My stories are definitely character driven and while I have my characters outlined and backstoried on paper, it isn't until I start the actual writing that I find their 'voice'. Once I write a scene where I 'hear' the right voice, then I can move fairly quickly through the plot, that's after I rewrite everything already written!


message 17: by Diana (new)

Diana Anderson (dianaanderson) | 2 comments Editing & the synopsis.


message 18: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 155 comments The middle. There always seems to be a point toward the middle of the book where I have to push through.


message 19: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Lane (leighmlane) | 152 comments The middle is always the hardest part for me to get through, especially if I only have vague plot points in my outline. Sometimes getting from Point A to Point B can be downright maddening, which in my case sometimes leads to procrastination and altogether avoidance. With that said, I've written a dozen novels, and every one of them has posed its own unique challenges.


message 20: by Sascha (new)

Sascha Illyvich (saschaillyvich) | 35 comments Jacob wrote: "So I was just looking to start a discussion on what the hardest part of writing a story is. For me it's finding a good reason for my main character to care about the situation he's put in. for exam..."

Hardest part really is figuring out the little details to make the romance work against all odds all while trying to make the plot work for all my characters. Biggest challenge right now is finding music to inspire me emotionally, so I can come up with the characters my readers love so much.

Sascha Illyvich


message 21: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Baugher | 17 comments Sherri wrote: "The middle. There always seems to be a point toward the middle of the book where I have to push through."

I struggle with this a lot as well. Any ideas on how to remedy it? haha. I'll get going on an outline and think to myself "AH THIS IS GREAT" and then I get five chapters in and then think to myself "well crap" haha


message 22: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Chase (jdchase) | 21 comments For me the hardest part is having too many new ideas as I write so I have to stop and think each one through. This often necessitates reading back and making changes to ensure continuity/consistency. I am writing a serialized novel at the moment so that I can't go back and change things because previous chapters have been published. I am finding it incredibly difficult but very rewarding. It is helping to prevent me going off on a tangent ... well, a little!!


message 23: by Jill (new)

Jill Lovelace (Bookaddict559) | 10 comments I have a problem remembering all the teeny tiny details that have to continue on throughout the story. I'm always having to take notes on this and that to try and remember what needs to be added in. Touch task for sure!


message 24: by Jill (new)

Jill Lovelace (Bookaddict559) | 10 comments Tough*


message 25: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Chesley (melchesley) | 49 comments I've been joking around about it a bit on Twitter, that the hardest part about writing a book is promoting it. While that is still true, I think it comes in a close second to writing the synopsis and the query letters.
There are lots of aspects, to me, that are hard, but once I get the hang of it, it becomes a lot easier... except promoting. XD


message 26: by D.D. Chant (new)

D.D. Chant (DDChant) | 91 comments For me it is the first 20.000 words, the part of the book leading up to the 'big scene'. I have real trouble holding back and explaining everything, not just jumping at the deep end and confusing the reader!!!


message 27: by Kim (new)

Kim Flowers | 10 comments the hardest part for me is usually that I have a beginning and ending but am not sure about the middle or how to get to the ending!


message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeldiack) | 56 comments Writing is the most enjoyable part: laptop, music, beer and your creative mind going nuts. Promoting and marketing is tough and dreary but rewarding when you get to interact with followers and fans.


message 29: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 155 comments Jacob wrote: "Sherri wrote: "The middle. There always seems to be a point toward the middle of the book where I have to push through."

I struggle with this a lot as well. Any ideas on how to remedy it? haha. I'..."


Unfortunately, no. The only way I know how to get through it is to make a goal to write a certain number of words a day, and not stop until I reach it. Sometimes once I get going, its not so bad. Other times...lets just say I've spent an entire day getting less than 1,000 words on the page.


message 30: by Md (new)

Md Auz | 10 comments I give you this thought as gift, print it out and stick it on the wall:

It is a law of Murphy, that in the any manuscript you write, now or at any time in the future, you will scribe a passage that serves no other purpose than to frustrate you, spoil your day and make your work a challenge.

It is your job, at this point, to work around it. There is no skill, no talent, no muse that will be able to help you – persistence will be your only tool, your only friend!


message 31: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) This has been fun to read. I know I'm not alone in struggling to write or edit, but SEEING the problems everyone goes through makes it more real.


message 32: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Baugher | 17 comments Abigail wrote: "This has been fun to read. I know I'm not alone in struggling to write or edit, but SEEING the problems everyone goes through makes it more real."

It's easy to forget that everyone goes through much of the same things haha. It's so easy to look at good books and not appreciate exactly how much pain went in to them :P


message 33: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Flynn-Shon (jennshon) | 51 comments That moment when I consider putting all my characters inside a building and taking a blow torch & some gasoline to the exterior...if I just keep writing the feeling usually pases. If it doesn't I find some tertiary character to knock off and it usually makes me feel better even if the scene never ends up in the finished book.

This discussion is great!


message 34: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz | 384 comments Jacob wrote: "So I was just looking to start a discussion on what the hardest part of writing a story is. For me it's finding a good reason for my main character to care about the situation he's put in. for exam..."

Jacob, you may or may not have seen the expression "never explain." I think this is good advice in writing novels. Let the characters' motivations be seen through their actions and spoken words and in those thoughts that are relevant to actions and words.


message 35: by Richard (new)

Richard (amazoncomauthorricharddparker) | 29 comments Abigail wrote: "This has been fun to read. I know I'm not alone in struggling to write or edit, but SEEING the problems everyone goes through makes it more real."

This is a great thread and I've enjoyed reading it. Believe it or not I always try to start with a thoroughly satisfying, kick-ass ending, so I know where I'm heading. Admittedly I've rewritten the start of some books several times in order to get there, and yes the middle is always the hardest to slog through, but if I get bored I just throw in a little sex or a little violence, or a little of both to spice things up. :-)


message 36: by Dianne (last edited Dec 30, 2012 02:57PM) (new)

Dianne | 7 comments When I was editing for people, I was convinced that anyone could write the first half of a novel. It's all setup. And setup is easy. From the midpoint to the closing pages, that's where the craft comes in and it's the toughest part for me. It's also what separates the men from the boys, so to speak. And it can be painful. I think finding the moment is always a good solution when I'm stuck. Someone once told me that a good scene is like a good party. You come late and leave early. Knowing how to craft those pages to make a "good party" is always difficult. When I'm stuck, I ask myself why is this moment important? Why now? You find the answer and you've got it. Great characters help, too. There's some you can just plop in a room and let them do the work... others, not so much.


message 37: by Darlene (new)

Darlene Jones (darlene_jones) | 152 comments The hardest part for me is refining and enhancing the basic plot line. After I have the basic story down and know how I want the plot to go, I go back to enrich the story with necessary detail, etc. This is the time I can get bogged down if I'm not careful.


message 38: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Lee | 25 comments The hardest part is in ensuring all the characters have a part to play in bringing the story to a conclusion - being certain the part they play is a valid one and not just an excuse to write scenes that please me at the time of writing. It's a bit like surfing when you pick the wrong wave, you nearly always end up pulling out and then there is a whole load of paddling required to get back to the point that you were at in the beginning.


message 39: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 12 comments Sherri wrote: "The middle. There always seems to be a point toward the middle of the book where I have to push through."

That's where I am right now with my second book. I need to get my butt in a chair and just write, but that's my problem.


message 40: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 9 comments For me, the hardest part is coming up with character names. Especially for the people who are only present for a scene or two. I try to not repeat names but then again there are a lot of John's and Mary's out there!


message 41: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Greenhalgh-Davis (eagleshadow) | 7 comments For me, an editor and perfectionist, it was learning to separate rough drafting and editing. I always tried to do both at the same time, which slowed me down immensely. Then I read how rough drafting and editing use two different sides of the brain, and when you try to perfect as you draft, you frustrate the creative process. It helped me to read that, you should write the first draft for yourself, and all subsequent drafts for editors, publishers, and readers.


message 42: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 227 comments Shelly wrote: "Then I read how rough drafting and editing use two different sides of the brain, and when you try to perfect as you draft, you frustrate the creative process...."

I'd love to see the peer reviewed paper published on that particular piece of bleeding-edge neuroscience.


message 43: by Pauline (new)

Pauline Allan (paulineallan) | 15 comments I would have to say the editing process is the hardest part of writing for me.


message 44: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Fish | 43 comments For me, the hardest part is letting go. I always feel if I just rewrite a few bits it'll be that bit better. I'll probably be the only person who can tell the difference, but that's not the point.


message 45: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2165 comments The hardest part ive found about writing a story is putting quotations around all dialogue, just forget to do it i guess or never thought to. Also I find that if you dont have a bit of an idea or concept for each chapter going forward that it tends to be all jumbled words that run off and because im organized I tend to want to fix it up as soon as I see that its not right. I of course have errors and mispellings like everyone else but dont consider it a flaw as i am just like everyone else in that dept.


message 46: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz | 384 comments Andrew wrote: "For me, the hardest part is letting go. I always feel if I just rewrite a few bits it'll be that bit better. I'll probably be the only person who can tell the difference, but that's not the point."

Amen!


message 47: by D.J. (new)

D.J. LeMarr (djlemarr) Getting through the first ten pages of it


message 48: by Claude (new)

Claude Dancourt (claudedancourt) | 91 comments Funnily, not rushing toward the ending. I love developping characters and plot, but after a while, I am compelled to just close everything to start something new, and I have to restrain myself not to close the deal in two pages or so ;p


message 49: by Martin (last edited Jan 06, 2013 03:24AM) (new)

Martin Reed (pendrum) | 53 comments Like a few have mentioned, I think the toughest part is staying on course with the story you've committed yourself to. It's too easy, while writing your novel, to have the boiling cauldron that's your brain overflow with a myriad of ideas, some of which will sound great in an entirely new book.

This happens to me a lot. When I'm writing and "in the zone", certain mischievous brain cells will conspire to throw me off my game by tempting me with new ideas. I respond in kind and show them who's boss by intoxicating them with an abundance of beer. Just make sure to have jotted down said ideas in a separate document labelled "future $500 million franchise" first, before passing out.

M. Reed


message 50: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Fish | 43 comments I keep a document full of other plot ideas and notes for editing other books I've already written. If I've already decided what the next book is then the outline also tends to have built up before I get there. It might turn out completely differently, but it gives me the momentum to keep the wheels in motion.


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