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I Need Serious Help with Incomplete Novel

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  #1  
Old 05-29-2009, 11:27 AM
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Default I Need Serious Help with Incomplete Novel


For over three years, I've been on and off writing this novel about a girl who leaves her utopian village in search of something that she doesn't quite understand.

It started off really great but the novel is getting so large that I'm beginning to think its a bit stretched and I haven't touched it in so long that I'm not sure how to get back into the groove of things.

This is btw the first novel I ever attempted to write.

IF anyone has any advice or tips for me it would be very much appreciated.

I'm determined to finish this thing even if I have to die trying.

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Old 05-29-2009, 12:05 PM
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I'm in a similar situation: half-finished novel that needs a serious overhaul, but getting back into the groove is proving difficult. I've no shortage of ideas, have the plot worked out, tons of research material, etc. Mostly it's finding uninterrupted time that stops me. That and a bunch of short stories I'm also working on at the same time. So I would also be interested in any getting-back-into-the-swing-of-it tips anyone cares to share.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:57 PM
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I've never been in quite that situation, but I'll make a suggestion: try retelling it, as if it's a bedtime story for someone. I don't mean "Once upon a time"... I mean just start telling someone the whole thing without looking at it.

Not only will that tell you how much you remember, but also exactly how much is needed for the story to be complete. And when you forget details and try to work them out again, it'll put you back in the mental space you were before. Hopefully, then you'll want to start writing it again.

I've been doing a character clinic which requires retelling bits of my story, and that has gotten me ready to dive back in!
Good luck both of you!
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:23 PM
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Sit down and read what you have, word by word, cover to cover. If, by the end of it, you're not itching to get on with it, dump it and write something else.
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Old 05-30-2009, 01:19 AM
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Try reading 'Yoss'. Odo Hirsch. It's not exactly an adult book, but that doesn't detract from it.

It's similar to your story; and don't be fooled into thinking that there's something wrong about reading a similar story.
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Old 05-30-2009, 01:51 AM
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Sit down and read what you have, word by word, cover to cover. If, by the end of it, you're not itching to get on with it, dump it and write something else.
The perfect suggestion. You need to know how you left the story, then things will start to fall into place again and probably take off with the needed momentum.

Exactly what I'd done with my current novel--two years ago. It's now almost completed (final editing/polishing stage) and I haven't really stopped since, outside of a couple week breaks now and again.
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Last edited by Devon; 05-30-2009 at 01:53 AM..
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Old 05-30-2009, 02:18 AM
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Well, I say give it a chance, actually.

Depends how long and how much you pore over it.

Even the most exciting novels begin to bore when you've read over it ten thousand times.

I say step away from it for a while, do something else for a few days, a week or more, even; and then do the prudent suggestion above (Mike's post).
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
Sit down and read what you have, word by word, cover to cover. If, by the end of it, you're not itching to get on with it, dump it and write something else.
Originally Posted by Devon View Post
The perfect suggestion. You need to know how you left the story, then things will start to fall into place again and probably take off with the needed momentum.

Exactly what I'd done with my current novel--two years ago. It's now almost completed (final editing/polishing stage) and I haven't really stopped since, outside of a couple week breaks now and again.
Hmm. That's what I secretly thought, but I was wondering if anyone had a magical solution. Oh, well, you can't really fault a person for hoping, can you?

So now all I need is a free night and to stop procrastinating, methinks.

Thanks, guys!
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:05 AM
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stop procrastinating, methinks.
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....and you thought there wasn't a magical solution. Presto!
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:09 AM
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But I have been procrastinating for over fifty years - it's hard to break old habits.
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:43 AM
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I've been in the same situation, but with a play.

It got to the point where I was about to dump it, but I let it mingle in the back of my mind. I don't know if this makes sense, but all sensory data seemed to filter through the play, the character, the plot (in my mind) until something sparked and I knew how to proceed with the piece.

EDIT: I think this is how my brain normally begins the process into writing something, so I don't know how effective it would be for someone else.

Also on Mike C's comment, "itching" to write and being able to write are two distinct things. I was told many times to just forget about the particular play mentioned above, but I always believed there was more to it. I just didn't know what it was exactly at the time.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:03 AM
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I was wondering if anyone had a magical solution.
*poof* Your novel is complete and polished, ready for submitting to publishers.

(If only it were that easy, right?)
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Old 05-30-2009, 05:50 PM
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Hmm. But then I'd miss the fun of writing it. Okay, okay. I'm getting the message, folks.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:11 PM
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I need to continue working on my novel too, but unfortunately, I can't make a thread about my specific problems.

I am planning on following the tips already posted here, in about a week when school gets out again.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:23 PM
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Aha! The number of people with this dilemma grows. Good luck, Thought Process!
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:39 PM
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Well I've never been in this kind of situation, but maybe you should try reading / watching a bad story of the genre. Usually, seeing the utterly terrible execution of an otherwise good idea gets me into the writing mood.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:55 PM
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seeing the utterly terrible execution of an otherwise good idea gets me into the writing mood.
That's a weird and interesting motivator!
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:04 PM
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Because you think, "I can do better than that without coffee!" And thus fanfiction is born It just makes you feel good about yourself as a writer--the desire to one-up the hack who wrote this piece of paska is very strong. I was just motivated by a particularly excellent novel, actually, which broke me out of a two-week writing slump. But to each his own... slumming or otherwise.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:24 AM
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Give it to a friend or a relative. They will help you to come up with the good end. Believe me, sometimes good idea comes from unexpected sources.
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:23 AM
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Know what you want the end to be like, otherwise you won't recognize it when you get there. Take it one chapter at a time, one major event at a time. And keep the writing fun. If you make feel like work, you're only giving yourself another job.
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