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Too many aborted ideas

(8 Posts)
splendidisolation Mon 30-Oct-17 23:05:50

I'd love to hear from more experienced writers who may have struggled with something similar.

I'm a chronic idea-starter, which means I have about ten different stories on the go, each with about 12k words on them. I seem to get to around 12k and think "this is a shit idea" and abort, OR I start thinking my idea isn't deep enough, so I begin trying to russian doll them all into a single mash-up story and think "wow, now this really IS a shit idea".

It's like I can't seem to focus on any one idea before wanting to discard it or thinking it's shit. And then I read books (Hot Milk being the latest example) where nothing much actually really happens plot-wise, and I feel angry about discarding ideas that (IMO) have more meat to them.

I do have ADHD - not that it matters, but it's possible that's having some impact.

Can anyone relate to this problem?

I think NaNoWriMo may be pretty useful for me, because my plan is to just pick one of these novel carcasses of mine and add an extra 50k to it. Never done it before but may be just the thing?

mousemoose Mon 30-Oct-17 23:10:08

Go for it. Like you say, many very successful books have not much crazy plot activity going on, but are amazing reads. You need to believe in yourself and push on through. If nanowrimo helps you do that, or even helps you write another 12k, that’s great, it will be a break through for you.

schmalex Tue 31-Oct-17 06:27:21

I don’t know much about ADHD, but I think it’s common to have doubts once the initial shine of an idea wears off. You just have to write through it. I tend to write freely until I get stuck, then stop and plan the next section.

I also did a lot of false starts when I was beginning to write. I think it’s part of the process. I doubt many people write a whole manuscript at the first attempt.

GetAHaircutCarl Tue 31-Oct-17 08:49:33

I am always overloaded with story ideas.
My list of 'to be written' ideas runs to pages.

I've worked out that a small number have legs. The rest will probably be what I term a 'sparkle'. A fresh new shiney idea that seems much more exciting than the W(s)IP.

My advice would be to park most of them.
Whilst I cheerfully work on a number of projects at the same time, indeed I insist on it, my expectation is that all those projects will get finished ( or make it to a point that I'm happy to share them).

If a writer has numerous unfinished projects, that tells me that most of them are just diversion tactics.

I decide which ideas are goers and which are sparkles by spending time figuring them through way before I open Word.

I'll jot down everything I can about the idea. The characters, the setting, the themes. I'll work out the plot ( especially the main story beats).
Then I'll step back and assess.
Do these characters/ ideas really need their own novel/film/play?
Does the plot work?
Does the idea have shape?
Do I see myself working my arse off during the hard bits to get this thing done?
Do I love this idea more than another?

If the answer is yes, then it goes I'm the definite pile. And will have its turn when a slot becomes available.

splendidisolation Tue 31-Oct-17 09:46:21

Thanks so much for your insight and @GetAHaircutCarl in particular, I'm going to refer back to this!

GetAHaircutCarl Tue 31-Oct-17 10:21:51

As ever I will add the caveat that this is only what works for me.

It is offered up as a possible solution not a rule!!! Other writers will adopt other methodology that works perfectly well for them grin.

OutrageousFlavourLikeFreesias Tue 31-Oct-17 14:36:12

In my experience, about 12k in is always the part where your novel enters its unattractive teenage stage and you start believing it’s a colossal waste of time. This is 100% normal and has nothing to do with how good it might end up being. It’s just a part of the process.

The only way out is through. Keep writing even if it’s rubbish (you can fix it in editing). Write a bit every day. Keep going and do not stop until you’ve finished your first draft. You can fix the crappy bits in editing, but you can’t edit what you haven’t written.

Good luck!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 31-Oct-17 14:50:32

You should definitely do NaNo.

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