Do you ever have no ideas?

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Anacoana
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Re: Do you ever have no ideas?

Post by Anacoana » 15 Dec 2014, 14:26

I have that problem sometimes, and what I do is I think about the type of characters I'm sick of that have already been created or want to see more of. Hate the lack of diversity in most books? Make a diverse cast! Hate how it's nearly impossible to find books where the main character is something besides white and straight? Bingo, you've got an idea for a character. I also love to twist fairy tales and see what I come up with.

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Post by moderntimes » 15 Dec 2014, 15:47

For me, thinking it over, it's not that I don't have ideas -- my fevered brain churns all the time -- but that sometimes I simply don't want to write! It's not laziness but a bit of "been there, done that" and so I need to occasionally get away from my writing. I'll read, see a movie, go out with my live-in girlfriend, see people, have some great TexMex, whatever.

And then a day or 2 later, I'm back writing again.

It's also not a case of being unable to write -- working for a newspaper and a magazine cures you of writer's block asap -- you're on deadline and you MUST write! So I can call upon that energy whenever I choose, if I really want to get a chapter or short story or whatever finished.

And sometimes, yeah, I'm just feeling darn lazy!
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by flippnazn23 » 15 Dec 2014, 18:32

Absolutely, I mean, I think it happens to all the great writers. There's just times when nothing doesn't want to come up. Sometimes if I'm setting myself up for writing - nothing. Sometimes if I'm at work, BAM, sudden idea. They were so right when they say that the best ideas come at the most random times.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 14 Apr 2015, 19:45

pygmy_ghost1982 wrote:Usually I have ideas, but I get stuck in a scene that kinda fizzles out and I have to stare at the work until I figure out how to bring the energy back into it. Typically this happens when I know what is going to happen next and I want to be working on what happens next and not the fizzling scene I'm wrestling with.
OMG, I experienced that. I kinda zoomed through until I reached that point, and then I was in the zone. It worked out, 'cause I went back later and reworked the original material.

Sequence is hard. I've heard that in Hollywood, the professional actors often have to film scenes completely out of sequence, but they roll with it, I guess. I don't think it's that easy for writers!!

-- 14 Apr 2015, 20:49 --
moderntimes wrote: And sometimes, yeah, I'm just feeling darn lazy!
I've got the opposite problem--I'm too driven. Like, if I'm not writing onto my series every day, I get upset. Not seriously upset, but I have a hard time just getting myself to kick back and relax. It works out overall, because I have a leisurely lifestyle in general and I can choose my own hours for everything. I generally try to respect my energetic fluctuations. It's weird, though, because I do a lot of writing in the evening when everyone else is watching TV.

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Post by moderntimes » 14 Apr 2015, 19:57

zeldas_lullaby wrote:
pygmy_ghost1982 wrote:Usually I have ideas, but I get stuck in a scene that kinda fizzles out and I have to stare at the work until I figure out how to bring the energy back into it. Typically this happens when I know what is going to happen next and I want to be working on what happens next and not the fizzling scene I'm wrestling with.
OMG, I experienced that. I kinda zoomed through until I reached that point, and then I was in the zone. It worked out, 'cause I went back later and reworked the original material.

Sequence is hard. I've heard that in Hollywood, the professional actors often have to film scenes completely out of sequence, but they roll with it, I guess. I don't think it's that easy for writers!!
A good trick that works for me. If I get stuck on a sequence or chapter, I just save what I've done thus far and then skip ahead in the book. If I am stuck w. chapter 22 (maybe an argument scene) then I just start "chapter xx" which might be a love scene or fight or a funny sequence to break the tempo, whatever.

We've all got the general themes of the book we're planning to write, and so we've got preliminary unwritten chapters in our heads. So just stop chapter 22 where you're stuck and write a totally different set of 2 or 3 new chapters and save them too. Then soon you'll have the previous chapter clear in your mind again and will be able to finish it, and later you will then weave all the other chapters together into a complete story.

And this avoids totally stopping the book's creation and maybe interrupting the whole process. So just writing a new section keeps your mind on the book in progress while still allowing you go temporarily suspend the specific place where you're stuck. Works for me.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 14 Apr 2015, 20:05

Yeah, but I can never pull that off without a million inconsistencies in the storyline!! AARGH!! I'd have to do it in huge chunks, if that makes sense, but I think I understand what you're saying.

So what I always try to do is plow through to that point, at which time the scene in question will just flow forth like a beautiful stream of words. :-)

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Post by moderntimes » 15 Apr 2015, 04:06

Zelda, inconsistencies will crop up always. I'm not necessarily saying to abandon an entire sequence for a long time -- just skip over and write another chapter for a while, maybe an hour or so. This I find is usually enough so to bust up the logjam that you had previously.

I write modern mysteries and getting all the ducks in a row, ensuring that there are zero plot errors or inconsistencies is a tough job. Same for any polished and well-written book. Comes with the territory.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 15 Apr 2015, 18:50

moderntimes wrote:
I write modern mysteries and getting all the ducks in a row, ensuring that there are zero plot errors or inconsistencies is a tough job. Same for any polished and well-written book. Comes with the territory.
Word to your mother.

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Post by moderntimes » 15 Apr 2015, 18:54

Huh? That one went right over my head. Sorry.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 15 Apr 2015, 19:31

It just means I agree. I guess the kids aren't using that expression anymore these days? HA HA.

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Post by moderntimes » 15 Apr 2015, 21:07

Ha -- never heard that one.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 15 Apr 2015, 21:22

HA HA HA HA. It's pretty old school. Put it this way, if my little sister knew I used that expression on an internet forum, she'd be horrified by my uncoolness.

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Post by smartmomways1 » 18 Apr 2015, 14:49

Depends what it means...
i have always ideas but jump here and there. Cant stay focus on single thing (may be in this case it could be considered as the time when i don't have any ideas). Keep open several project, when stag in 1 project generally we have a slash on the other one.

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Post by Brandi Noelle » 27 Oct 2017, 00:26

I usually find a writing prompt and write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes, it surprises me and becomes something worthwhile. The last time I felt stumped, I came across a writing prompt that asked for writers to tell a story based on a historical photo. It was a photo of American suffragists standing outside one of their offices and holding protest signs regarding the 19th Amendment. I began writing and the next thing I knew, I had an entire novella.

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Post by Rebeccaej » 21 Nov 2017, 23:48

I'll sometimes use tarot cards as random idea generators. It seems to work best for coming up with characters, rather than events.

I'll do things like, card 1 represents the character's deep, underlying motive or problem, card 2 is how the appear to other people.

When I need to populate a crowd, I'll have maybe 2 cards represent the leader and a bunch representing followers. Then I'll have to sit for a while and think about why people like that would follow that type of leader, and why that leader would want them around. By the end, I have a bunch of little mini stories to add in the background of a larger plot.
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