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Unh, A Problem Writing Original Novels!

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Onyx

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Argh,

 

I feel like I'm just plain stuck with what I'm thinking up for my latest novel. I've given up on so many novels, I can't keep count. The only sort of writing exercise I keep going on is on the fan fiction works, e.g Mass Effect games, because it's easier to do stories with a pre existing template. Funny thing is, this was what Shakespeare often did, he took in stories and gave it his own spin and nobody often was the wiser. e.g Holinshed Chronicles. But I don't feel like I have the depth of his language, or of a Joyce even though I switch styles after a while if I write long enough. Writers of ExC, how do you think up original content? I'm nearly at my wits' end regarding this. I don't want to keep doing fan fiction forever. I want to be like Tolkien, Joyce and Shakespeare, to be able to create something original in essence.

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Well, what is your process when you start brainstorming? Do you start with something you know? I had this problem for awhile, and what I did was as soon as I would come up with a plot, I would go back over it and change it around piece by piece. Take an idea, go further with it and you might find something takes off for you. PM me if you want. I'm writing too so whatever I can offer, I'm here. :)

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I hear you. I try to plot my work so I know what happens in X chapter at any given point. If I run out of steam in one section I can take up in another. If you're flat not interested in what you're writing, people won't be interested in reading it either. Sometimes a particular genre of writing just isn't an author's strong suit though--so maybe play with other genres and see if that works better.

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My process is to blunder on as long as possible, let ideas arise on their own. I rarely try to take from my life, not because it is uninteresting, but because it is more interesting (and less harrowing) for me to try to imagine somebody very different to me's feelings and actions in their lives. I've never made maps of what I'm going to lay out. I've never done that before. FYI, I write to no genres except what arises, though I like sci fi and fantasy. Also comic and funny novels.

 

Oftentimes, it's extraordinarily hard to interest me in something in the first place, so I almost always lose steam, I almost never know why I lose interest, I just do and I wish this wasn't the case. My brain's weird that way. How can I beat this loopy groove?

 

These are my major issues for my writer's block.

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I am big manga fan and that is what inspired my last novel.

 

I also write a lot of short stories. I go to the Tropes generator (google it) and have it randomly generate some ideas for me. Or you can just surf TVTropes and see what strikes your fancy.

 

Writer's block is a different beast. I try not to think too much when I write. If I hit a snag, I'll put something like this [zibbit scene here] or [zibbit another word for strange]. The initial end product will be choppy, but it will keep you writing. "Zibbit" works because it is short, unique and easy to find using ctrl+f searches.

 

As far as creating unique worlds, I don't write genres that require me to think of new ones. I just challenge things in this world. However, if you are looking to create fantasy worlds, I suggest reading mythology. Greek and Roman is good to start; Chinese and other eastern myths are badass as well.

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With writing there are just so many angles. There are bottom up and top down approaches, though when you're writing a novel you tend to work from both ends.

 

You need to identify what type of sculptor you are. Are you the writer who starts with nothing but a simple inspiration such as an emotion, and then create a reason for the reader to eventually reach it?

 

Are you the writer who looks at one simple event, story or situation and then adds a touch of magic and transforms it into a vivid drama more real than the original? because that type of writer can often take real life memories and transform them into something more beautiful. It's almost like you're letting a delusion take over you for a moment.

 

Then you have the type of writer that works top down, identifying the higher level aspects first such as what the intended message is, what key events will take in the reader's journey, and then fleshes out each section.

 

As for activities you can do now. One great aid to writing is to just notate your dreams for a fortnight. You'll find that after several days of doing this you will see a noticeable improvement in your cognitive performance, especially your creativity. It also helps you to learn to communicate a little better with your subconscious.

 

To add to that you can also devote some time to reflecting regularly (providing you have events in your life to reflect about). What happens if you do it in haiku form? Or even better, what would happen if you challenged yourself to write a story as a set of haikus. When doing so the goal is quantity over quality as you just want to get ideas out of your head and onto paper. Writing haikus on the fly will help you enhance so many of your skills at the same time.

 

Sometimes coming up with ways to inspire writing is a fun task in itself. What would happen if you challenged yourself to construct sentences where the first letter of every word spelt out another sentence? Or making this easier, what if you just did that with the start of every sentence?

 

What about taking the structure of a particular song, and then using that arrangement of syllables to create your story?

 

It sounds a little outrageous but you'll quickly find that these challenges inspire further thoughts because it fuses both logical / sequential with the visual / parallel.

 

Aside from the story itself, it's also important to know what you aim to give and present, or at least think about it. How would you like to change or transform the reader and the world? What message(s) could you share with them? What experiences would you like to impose on another?

 

With a novel there's just so much scope. How about writing a set of smaller volumes? It worked for Asimov and Austen. So then you can focus on small digestible ideas that you build upon.

 

Most importantly though, know your devices, know yourself, and then exploit yourself.

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Thanks everybody! I've started yet another novel, but this time I'm letting it reveal itself. I may try another method of writing. Akheia, section altering is one such method I may explore more, Zomberina, reading more about Serbian history sounds intriguing.

 

Falemon, I feel like I'm the type two and three, alternately.

I may try writing in volumes, they sound like they're up my alley.

In a novel, I've used an entire poem to create structure for a chapter that sets out the entire themes of the trilogy of novels I have planned out in my head. It's a really tough poem to understand, but it is such a beautiful poem and it engenders a sense of regenerative optimism and a horror at the ugliness of the world's tragedies and crimes.

 

Thanks for everything, again!

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