October 13, 2020 at 6:30 pm #120615
So I have this great story I’ve been working on. It is fantasy, has many characters, multiple view points, new magic system, and is generally awesome.
Problem is, I can’t write it… yet. I’m not a bad writer, but I’m honestly not even ready to write a novel yet much less one of this magnitude.
So my question is, what do I do now? I don’t want to abandon it, but I can’t figure out if I should just let it stew while I work on completely different stuff, or if I should mess around with it and try to improve the worldbuilding, characters, plot, and my dedication before writing the first draft?
Please share your thoughts, if you’d be so kind.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forOctober 13, 2020 at 9:02 pm #120633Chelsea R.H.@seekjustice
Hey, it’s completely fine to decide you aren’t ready yet! In fact, I admire that you’re willing to say that. It shows a lot of maturity, in my opinion.
I’ve definitely been in this position (I’m actually in it now, to be honest) and I think stewing on it for a couple months or a couple of years is the best course of action. For me, it’s a massive historical fiction project that I’ve been sitting on for five or so years now. I’ve spent my time fleshing out my characters, researching, plotting, getting inspired and that sort of thing.
Since you’re writing a fantasy, I’d focus on a lot of worldbuilding, since that’s an aspect that often takes years to develop. But also don’t be afraid to work on other things. Short stories, poetry, smaller-scale novels, or whatever it is you like doing. If it’s a story that really matters to you, it’s going to stick around for however long it needs to 🙂
Mahalo keia huiʻanaOctober 14, 2020 at 5:14 am #120634
Like Chelsea said, I think it’s super cool that you’re self-evaluating and wanting to take the right steps forward!
This actually happened to me these past couple of years, where I had a historical-fantasy that was too large-scale for me to handle. I started it, revised the premise, and then started again way too many times. Right now I’ve moved on to writing a contemporary fantasy with lower expectations for myself, and I’m nearly halfway through and enjoying myself a lot 🙂
I think that if you’re sure you want to keep this idea around, you can do worldbuilding, character development, plot and even write short stories on it, to kind of get a feel for the background work you’re doing. If your goal towards improvement involves writing consistently, and you find inspiration in an easier project (as I did) then go for it! You’re not betraying your first, grand story idea. You’re just improving yourself so you can get there.
If part of your concern is that you’ve never written such a large work before and you want resources on planning the plot, I recommend what KM Weiland has on her site: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/. It’s helped me know what to aim for in a novel (or just a story!) in general and the plot points that always make a good story.
INFJ // The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)October 14, 2020 at 6:05 pm #120644
@literatureforthelight *waves* Hey, have we met? I’m just curious, because I happen to be a Grace also, so I kinda got a soft spot for them.😁
This is a great question.
What I did was to start a novel that I viewed as “less important”…to just kinda get some experience. I need to get an idea of how writing a novel works, and how I work.
I’ve learned a lot so far, including that I’m mostly a Panster…which will be helpful approaching that big project I’ve been plotting for years.😉 So, instead of pushing my “masterpiece” story back further, I’m going to dive right in and let the Panster take over.
I was a little nervous about just jumping right into a novel at first, but I’ve found (so far) that sometimes the best thing to do is just take a leap and hope for the best. We miss things when we don’t step out of our comfort zones.
I view it kinda like taking a big test. Right now, I’m doing a “practice test,” (which is still important for my grade), but I’m also looking forward to passing that final.
Every bit of writing counts.
Not all those who wander are lost.October 14, 2020 at 9:03 pm #120647Daeus Lamb@daeus-lamb
@kayla-skywriter If it’s any help, biting off more than you can chew is a great way to improve your writing!
👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢October 14, 2020 at 11:19 pm #120650Josiah DeGraaf@josiah
@kayla-skywriter My first thought would be to put it to the side at the moment, continue to slowly develop it and refine it, and to write some other novel that wouldn’t be as challenging first as practice before moving onto this. However, I do agree with Daeus’ point as well that sometimes we grow the most as authors by tackling a challenging work. How many books have you already written?
Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.comOctober 15, 2020 at 11:02 am #120660
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. I’ll probable try that.
Thank you, I do struggle with plot especially in larger works. I’ll use that.
That view does help, I’ll keep that in mind. But… What’s a Panster?
Yeah, I’m more like a kid ready to order off the adult menu than a five-year old preparing a gourmet feast, but I’ll keep challenging myself.
That is what I’m planning on at this point. As for the last question… I haven’t written any books. I haven’t even finished the first draft of a novel.
You all are being so helpful, thank you.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forOctober 15, 2020 at 12:37 pm #120662Olivia Catherine@olivia
I know a lot of people have answered your question already, but I totally understand your problem. I was just in that position a couple months ago, when I thought of a super awesome and powerful story idea, but didn’t think I was a skilled enough writer to do it.
I asked a couple people what they thought I should do, and my wise friend gave me some extremely wise advice. As she said, even if you aren’t as skilled as you think you should be, you can always write the first draft and then go back and rewrite it later if it doesn’t meet your standards. Even if you end up changing things, nothing is stopping you from writing the first draft and seeing how it turns out. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself.
I agree that what the others said is true too, but a lot of what you decided to do depends on the story itself. I didn’t think I was good enough to write mine, but after a few months of thinking on it, I decided to take my friend’s advice, and I’ve been working on it ever since. Just filling out a character questionnaire for my MCs and such, before I actually begin writing.
But my point is, whether you decide to write your story now or later, it’s totally up to you and whatever you feel comfortable with. Whatever you decide, I wish you endless colourful words and limitless beautiful descriptions. 🙂
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. -JRR TolkienOctober 15, 2020 at 10:06 pm #120671
@kayla-skywriter No problem! I forgot to mention that the section on her website is called “How to Structure Your Story”.
I think a pantser is someone who likes to write spontaneously and do little to no planning beforehand. The ‘plotter” on the other hand, usually likes to start with some sort of outline before writing their story. I don’t think these categories are exactly either/or, but more of a spectrum, because “a lot of planning” or “only a little planning” mean different things to different writers.
@arindown Hey Grace! No, I don’t think we’ve met yet. But it’s neat to know that we have the same name 😁
INFJ // The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)October 16, 2020 at 11:33 am #120673
So nice to meet you then! What stories are you working on at the moment?
Btw. thanks for explaining the Panster/Plotter thing.😄 It’s hard to pin down meanings.
Not all those who wander are lost.October 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm #120705Zee@zee
You know, this “big story” you’re planning may be the best thing you’ve ever come up with so far, but if you don’t get it out of your head and onto paper (or into a computer file) your brain won’t have room to come up with something even bigger and better.October 16, 2020 at 5:18 pm #120714Josiah DeGraaf@josiah
@kayla-skywriter Got it. I do think it may be wise then to write a “practice novel” first to gain experience before tackling this one. Most writers need to write several books before they’re publication-ready, and while you could do this as your first book, especially if you feel like you need more time and experience, starting off with something else could be the smart move in this case. But ultimately it’s up to you and what you think is the right choice for you right now!
Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.comOctober 17, 2020 at 9:31 am #120730
@olivia That’s some great advice
@literatureforthelight Awesome. Thank you for clarifying.
@zee I’ve been writing down all my ideas and the details of the story, I just want to wait before actually writing it. But you’re right. this is likely the best idea I’ve ever had, and I don’t want to waste it.
@josiah Thank you.
Okay everyone. I’ve decided that for now I’m going to put this story to the side. I’ll still probably write some short stories and do some worldbuilding. I may even get around to outlining the plot. But my main focus will be on short stories first and then a practice novel or two.
Thank you for all the help.
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Kayla Skywriter.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forOctober 19, 2020 at 1:16 am #120772October 19, 2020 at 3:13 pm #120783
@literatureforthelight I love fairy-tale retellings! If you’re ever looking for a Beta reader…😉 What prompted you to do a retelling?
I’m currently working on a fantasy novel. So far, the main things I’ve been working with are hard choices, distrust, a man twisted by lies, a angry prince, a gold-hearted princess, a horse named Bruce, and a bunch of wizards.😂 Stories are always so hard to explain…
Not all those who wander are lost.
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