What's your biggest struggle as a writer?

Coming up with story/plot ideas and linking scenes together. Like, practically coming up with the next actual thing that happens. I can write stuff from stiff outlines but I’m not very good at coming up with stuff organically, you know?

I can get struck with a whole vivid massive idea of the exact emotional arcs these characters will come through, those moments of highlighted feeling, etc. Then it’s like. “Now I have to start writing the actual happenstance and I have no idea what they’re doing… Uh… they walk into a room and then walk into another room then… walk out the door and… uh… stand there, I guess?”

Then I’m horribly stumped. I’m awful, haha.

Also, plot holes and character motivations. I drive myself crazy with the question of ‘Will the reader think that this character’s behaviour isn’t justified and get annoyed by it/find them whiny?’ I feel like at some points I’m overcompensating with reasons and retconned backstory. So many damn reasons.

Sometimes people just… do things or hold grudges or rub people the wrong way for no particular reason at all. It’d do me well to remember that, I suppose.

Also! Motivation. I am so tired all of the time. Motivated people are like rainbow unicorns and I admire them greatly for having the discipline that I do not.

1 Like

As a reader/player, please try to find a different way to go about it. The options are always so over the top that it makes me want to scream, because it’s so difficult to develop a character who would behave that way.

I’m not picking on you–hope you know that! It just really is a problem (and one that I’m sure I will run into myself, so yay me… not). In a way, I’d almost rather have the immersion breaking description of (THIS IS FLIRTING!!) than to only have the option of making my character behave like a blushing 13-year-old or a smarmy weirdo who asks someone to bone as soon as she meets them. It’s like, okay my character is thirsty, but stop humping the dude’s leg, please (especially when the object of her affection has shown zero interest or is outright hostile to the idea of being with her!).

I have to compliment @Bacondoneright on this, too, actually, because he has made it so that a character who is clueless about romance and has no experience whatsoever with dealing with attraction can display the signs of attraction without being a flustered child or behaving like a dog in heat. For someone who isn’t comfortable writing romance, he is proving quite adept at it.

5 Likes

Writing consequently everyday. Keeping concertation on the specific task in general.

2 Likes

At this moment it’s keeping focus on what I need to edit and finish, instead of writing the next book in my head. Creating new and shiny things is always so much more fun than polishing what is already there.

In general though, it’s trying to navigate a path between what I want and what I feel I should want. What expectations on a story are there because it makes for a better story, and which ones are there simply because that’s how it’s usually done?

9 Likes

For IF my biggest struggle has to be the MC themselves. I can write friendly, rude, funny, or serious characters well enough. What I don’t know how to do that well is write six different generic personalities for the player to pick from, or how to have the MC be a blank slate in between those choices. It’s simply too foreign to how I’m used to writing.

I’ve considered having the player simply choose the MC’s personality in a single option so I can write flavor text better, but I’m told that’s generally a bad idea for IF. In a similar vein, it can be hard for me to ensure all the dialogue choices ultimately lead to the same conclusion, so I don’t have to branch every conversation.

5 Likes

Just pick a personality and write that one well and with depth. You don’t have to be bland or have too many options, your life will be better for it. That’s what I did.

4 Likes

Fast tip:

Don’t write the flavor text at all right now. Just write

*choice
#Shy answer
#Neutral polite answer
#Hot-blooded answer

And then write out the action bits of your story. That way, you can make sure all the branches loop back together.

Later, you can go back and be just one character in your mind as you go through all of the “hot-blooded answer” sections instead of having to juggle six different characters in your head all the time.

5 Likes

Something I do is have at least one or two set traits or characteristics for the MC. It could be MC is snarky in nature, but players can mitigate that with choices, or MC is incredibly fidgety, and again, players can mitigate that. I’m working on flavor text myself so I understand the difficulty, especially if this is your first IF like mine is. I think that’s been the hardest part for me as well, creating and defining the MC. “How much can I do without taking away player agency? How little is too little? How much is too much? Is this stat useful? How can I utilize it more?” Especially if you write like I do, and create everything on whim and at that moment.

1 Like

I bounce between sloth levels of lethargy and writing on a dozen stories at once instead of committing to one. When I actually do write I notice my stories tend to go dark rather quickly and I’m a terrible gauge of what’s too dark.

2 Likes

Free time, always need more of it.

Other than that, writing short stories. Due to having less free time like I used to, I have attempted to write shorter works but it never turns out that way. I can’t help but to add more stuff that I feel is necessary to flesh out the story properly. As a result, even attempts at shorter works tend to take a long time.

5 Likes

My mind/imagination moving faster than I can type, leading to me not writing anything has I am to busy daydreaming plotlines.

2 Likes

First things first, Postponing my writing schedule, lots…lots of times… basically whenever i plan to write. I know i’m so lazy

Secondly, if i manage to beat up my laziness and finally take my phone to write. My mind is like:

Mind: Do your worst dumb***!!

Yeah… Thinking about an idea is pretty easy actually but… WRITTING IT DOWN ON PAPER IS SO!..SO!..sobs

1 Like

Editing, for me, which is bummer because much of writing is rewriting. It takes me roughly 6hrs to write 4k words that’s most of the way there. On a good day. And not all days are good days. It also takes me around 6hrs to first-edit 20k-ish words. Even if I don’t run into coding errors, I tend to need dozens of clarity tweaks and typo fixes. I also take a first pass at punching up some jokes and cutting others that dilute things. My main problem is that I’m so fed up with the content by the time I hit that last keystroke that it gets to where I can’t even see the stuff. Often, I have to spend weeks away just to see what’s in front of me. TL;DR: it’s much easier for me (probably others too) to spew out content that’s 70% of the way there, than to go back meticulously and get it to 85% on second pass, 95% on third pass, and 100% at fourth. More enjoyable, too. But . . . those later passes are SO necessary.

2 Likes

Stephen King once said that, after you write something, do not read it for six weeks so that you can re-read it with fresh eyes.

3 Likes

Finding down time to write. Work takes up a large amount of time, and my brain (and eyes) are too tired to even think of writing after.

2 Likes

That is good advice. Looking at it constantly just seems to make it worse. I’m curious, though, how many of you will go to edit your work and end up getting bogged down in minor changes to wording? To the point where you start making it worse…

5 Likes

Editing is harder for me than creating new material, but normally I make a pass at the material, then continue on.

If my test readers point out problems (ex. more tell than show), I make comments/notes that another pass will be needed and then schedule it after whatever else is on the roadmap of development.

Edit: Here is an example I left for myself a couple of days ago:

6 Likes

That would be me… even when moving on to future pieces, I can’t help but take a peek at older scenes and edit them again.

2 Likes