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message 1: by Luke (new)

Luke (Lord of the Llamas) (llamalettore) | 12 comments I've been trying to write, or at least attempt to write a novel for a very long time now. Unfortunately, I always get stuck after the first few pages? Any authors here that would mind giving me a few tips?

message 2: by Madeline (new)

Madeline Reynolds | 214 comments Mod
I had that struggle on a few manuscripts! I found that it was easier when I not only made a timeline but a very detailed timeline, so I would not write myself into a corner.
Another thing you could try is when writing your first draft, instead of saying "What will sound good?" say "How will this lead to my next event?"

message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 191 comments You could try writing some shorter pieces first, to get yourself in the habit of seeing a finnished piece. The knowledge that you can finnish something will then help to remind you of that fact when you're working on a longer piece of writing.

You could also try setting small goals for different stages of completion, and rewarding yourself after you achieve each one. If you do this, make sure the reward for finnishing the entire story is better than the ones for each stage, to give yourself a little extra motivation to finnish.

message 4: by Madeline (new)

Madeline Reynolds | 214 comments Mod
If the problem is that you can't discipline yourself to sit down and write a book, I know a friend who decided to write one page a day for 200 days and was able to completely write and edit her novel in a year :)

message 5: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 1 comments I've started writing short stories. I've completed a few longer works, but never could get them to work out right. Now I'm focussing on writing shorter pieces, which is helping my writing a lot.

Also, one thing I do is free writing exercises. I'll just type or write in a notebook for a while before writing my stories as a sort of warm up. I don't know if that helps everyone, but for me it really opens up my creativity. Sometimes I'll write about what I want to do with my story and it helps me work out the details that are fuzzy in my head.

Just having fun with your writing is important. And I hope this comment makes sense, I'm really tired so this could all be complete nonsense.

message 6: by J.L. (new)

J.L. | 18 comments Luke wrote: "I've been trying to write, or at least attempt to write a novel for a very long time now. Unfortunately, I always get stuck after the first few pages? Any authors here that would mind giving me a f..."

I find that when people have a hard time getting past the first few pages, i.e. introduction to the characters is generally because they have not spent time creating conflict. conflict drives the story forward. I'd encourage you to spend time figuring out what teh conflict or antagonist is.

The story starts when the protagonist and the antagonist bump heads. It doesn't mean literally, but it's when something that will spiral the protag toward the climax slaps them in the face. :-)

At least this helps me.

message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin Mason (robin_mason) I plot each chapter in as much detail as I can. On a 75,000 word novel, my outline would likely be 15,000 words.

If you haven't done so, try laying out a chapter by chapter framework and then start to fill it in with what you want to happen and who you want to be in the chapter (where it is etc.), even with just a word or two, but then adding to it as you see the various bits of the book coming together (the involvement of certain characters, certain interrelationships, physical movement, events, subplots etc.).

So, you could try writing the first chapter outline, the last chapter, salt it with a subplot in this chapter and then that chapter, add other significant moments in other chapters, then start to fill it in bit by bit. It's kind of like doing a crossword puzzle (this corner, then that corner, then this bit, then that bit...).

It's very satisfying of itself to see it slowly coming together, taking shape. It is easier to change direction (add new chapters, new scenes, other characters etc.) at that stage, too, because it is less about the writing than about planning and there will be fewer parts to tinker with to accommodate change. You're taking a high-altitude view of the book and can see the whole thing more readily.

I believe Madeline is likely talking about the same thing when she says make a detailed timeline. Also, to her very good question: "How will this lead to my next event?", I will add that you should consider ending each chapter with some kind of tension, something at least which pulls the reader along with you through the story.

Once you have your meaty outline, your road map, just write. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be. You can edit to your heart's content once you have a more or less full story. To me, that is the most fun part because it is no longer about getting the full story down on paper, which can feel a bit laborious sometimes (I'm talking about the actual typing of 75,000 words...). I'm sure others enjoy that part of the journey more than I do and, ultimately, it is whatever works best for you.

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