Writing Discussion: What HELPS you write? What HINDERS you?


#1

From writing short stories, to Interactive novels, to Interactive autobiographies!?!

I want to know how YOU write. Anyone from published authors to fan-fic writers, to the occasional person who writes a WiP, but never shows it the light of day and instead let’s it fester in the darkness where it will slowly, but surely develop into the next mutant book bent on human annihilation. (Which reminds me. I better go dust off some WiPs.)

How do you write your stories? Do you have a game plan in mind from the get-go? Or do you just let your creative brain have at it. When you write do you already have an idea for the tone of the story? The type of tense you will use? The POV? Is there a certain presence or uniqueness to your writing?

What has helped you write your stories? What has not? Are there any tips you would like to share to the world? What has NOT helped you? What has been detrimental to your writing?

The reason I ask is because so many of us write, but not many of us ever finish our first story. Whether it be lack of inspiration, time, diabolical children, or the madness known as Writer’s Block.

I feel that a thread to discuss the way people write, how they inject their persona’s and styles into their works, how people go about writing in the first place, and what helps and doesn’t help them would help other aspiring or published authors find new ways to write, or reinvigorate old ones.

Anyone is welcome to share their experience when it comes to writing.


#2

Personally I just let the words fly. I think of the broad spectrum and let the words take me anywhere I go, but lately I’ve noticed that it hasn’t helped me much. While at first it creates a great premise and in turn helps me do a large portion of world-building, the actual task of writing it all into a story gets tedious. I lose inspiration, have a lack of time, or simply forget.

I’ve found that world-building has helped me write and given me a large amount of material to work with and write about. Recently I’ve tried planning scenes ahead, and thought about writing the end first and then trying to connect the beginning to that end.

I’ve also noticed that at times I do keep myself occupied constantly with branching paths, which diverts a good amount of time from the meat of the story.


#3

Hoo, boy, I’ve got a couple of things that flat out stop me from writing, and a couple that make me lose track of all time until I realize I’ve got a short story on my hands.

One of the weirdest things, because it can do both of these, is music.
It’s not dependent on the type of music, the band, or even whether or not the music has lyrics. Sometimes, if I listen to music while writing, it makes everything fly by, and I write at double my usual pace. Other times I get distracted by the music, and end up stopping my writing to just listen to the melody. It’s an odd gamble, but I’m finding that the more focused I am going into the writing the less likely I am to be distracted by the music and therein the more likely it is that the music will help me.

I’m with you there. I can start super strong but the longer a story goes on the harder it is for me to actually finish it, usually I start slowing after I’ve plotted it all out. I still speed up when I get a new and exciting idea for the plot or a twist or something cool to add in but those come less and less as the world gets flushed out more and more.

However, one thing that does help me write is just writing everyday. I always try to allocate a certain time to just sitting down and writing. Nothing else but writing. Even if it’s no more than half an hour that I can spare I spend it writing. It makes it a lot easier, really.

That and doodling. If I’m feeling uninspired I try to doodle out the characters, the scenery, or even just the next scene to help me visualize it better. (Sometimes the doodles are stick figures, sometimes they’re more flushed out, either one helps me.)

Also, last but not least, drama. I adore writing dramatic moments. So if I’m slowing down on one uninspiring point, I try to look forward to the next dramatic moment. I write chronologically so I never skip around in chapters. This means that if I hit a particularly hard part to write I just keep reminding myself that fun stuff is ahead.


#4

I typically write after dinner. My writing process is largely mechanical (jot down the pitch, research, outline, first draft, edit, second draft - repeat until satisfied). I’m an obsessive plotter and I spend generous amounts of time researching what I’m writing about.

If I get a promising idea after I finish my outline, I edit my outline and future parts of the draft I’m working on. I pretty much never allow my inner-editor to make revisions while I’m still writing out a draft. My perfectionism will never let me finish anything that way.

I prefer using past tense and third-person POV. In terms of certain uniqueness, I don’t know, possibly narrative snark.

What has helped me write my stories:

  1. Complete silence.
  2. Slightly chilly temperatures (warm rooms make me feel sleepy after a bit)
  3. Drawing my characters.
  4. Writing out exploratory scenes with my characters and their interactions.
  5. Tea.
  6. Tea.
  7. Tea.

What hasn’t helped me write my stories:

  1. Background conversations in any language I can understand. Oh my god.
  2. Any music with lyrics.
  3. University deadlines.
  4. Job applications.
  5. Scholarship applications.

#5

I just let my characters direct my stories and I often research various Wikipedia articles, go on websites relevant to my stories or listen to music that suit my characters. What hinders me is background noise, my emotions and loud conversations.


#6

Music has both helped and hindered me as well, but recently it usually hinders me, but that’s because I use YouTube at the moment as my phone is busted. Just being on there is one HUGE distraction.

Perhaps my water is what’s holding me back.


#7

Oh another question actually. When you write, where do you start? The beginning? Middle? End? Or somewhere in between.

I noticed that my writer’s block gets worse as I near the end of a chapter, but in the beginning I just go all out.


#8

Did you call me? :wink:


#9

You know I’m actually trying something differently right now. I’m writing the main part of the story, but I’m avoiding writing in the interactions with NPCs. I find that a lot of my blocks tend to be with NPC’s, so instead I’m writing the story and leaving parts where NPC interactions can occur.

Thoughts?


#10

The interactions with the NPC’s are a big obstacle for me as well, but it’s a part that needs to be written. If I don’t know what to write into the conversation from the getgo I tend to write a rough outline for the conversation first, and then fill in the details while I’m writing the actual conversation. It helps me keep my writing on track.


#11

One of the things I’ve gotten into the habit of doing which has been really good, even though it takes some self-discipline (unfortunately not always my strongest suit, especially artistically, lol) is to force myself to sit down when I have a nice, quiet half hour or so to spare and try to write SOMETHING, anything. Even if it feels like I could not possibly cobble together any words at all, much less a worthwhile sentence.

Maybe I end up doing a little editing instead. Maybe I write a paragraph that stands alone and doesn’t contribute to any project I am currently working on, but eventually seeds another idea. And on those very rare 1% occasions when I really can’t dig deep enough to create anything, at least I can walk away and unwind knowing I tried for the day. But a lot of the time, I tend to be more prolific than I anticipated and am glad I tried (even if I scrap it later, which can happen, too). It keeps the wheels always turning, so I am that much more prepared and practiced when I am feeling more productive.

^^YES. So much this!!! Glad it’s not just me. Same with #5, 6, and 7 for @Owlet, as well. Got to have a fresh cup of tea (or five)!


#12

I put myself in the eyes of the character, with super senses or something.
For example instead of being able to see the glistening of the leaves, I’d try to make it vetter and better, so it’s on the same oath but in more detail, for example being able to hear the anxious beating of the butterflies wings dancing across the sky or some stuff.

And I write the beginning of tons of stories easily, and tons of beatiful happy endings, and tons of other ending too, but I’ve recently been trying to think of more actiony stuff, even though I found most of it tedious and boring if done badly. And I dont do it well.

What doesn’t help is: trying to think of the best 1st sentence or blurb or title BEFORE writing the actual story.
And dont just 'let the ideas flow’
Everyone can think, but most people just need to think more specifically/ originally.


#13

Music and pillows help me write. 99% of the time, if I’m being productive, it’s because I’m curled up in my bed listening to strange 8 tracks playlists.

The beginning! I don’t know if anyone remembers my game, Carhalow, but the very first thing I wrote was the first scene and I had no idea what was going to happen after that. It was just a little snippet of an idea, and I moved on from there.

Actually, this can be my bane if I don’t figure shit out before I continue. I like ‘letting things go’ as some people say, but that rarely offers me a good ending. So if I get a cool idea I need to stop, be like “Hey, Iris, perhaps you should get an idea of where this is going.”, and then plan it out… and then continue writing.

Or else it goes nowhere lmao.


#14

As I have mentioned multiple times already on the forum, the main this that helps me write is music.


#15

First I never make hard plans, I always leave room for my ideas to grow and evolve. Sure having a loosely defined beginning and end is important but the path between can be just about anything.

Secondly I try to find music that fits with the theme. It helps me in vision this world. After I’ve decided on how this works I weave characters into the world rather than just dropping them into it. Make your NPC’S a part of the way your world works as opposed to people just existing in it.

Music movies and games tend to inspire me in different ways and help me blow off the steam and pressure of such a monster project. Sometime you really need a break.

I try to think up a world in which I personally would want to explore.

What kills me is being interrupted of looky-lous. Need a lonely dark place to work darnit not a crowd of nosy noisy folks grrr.


#16

Having a basic plan helps me. I need to know where I start and where I want it to end, plus a few key scenes here and there. I also plan out a chapter in detail before I start writing, though I always leave room for new ideas that come to me while I’m writing.

Music (without lyrics or with lyrics in a language I don’t understand) helps sometimes, but not always. I have found that atmospheric noise - rain, thunder, and the like - helps a lot more.

And finally the thing that has helped me the most is to talk about the story I’m writing. Having someone listen to what I’m working on and the issues that arise along the way is extremely helpful in keeping me motivated and working out solutions.