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  • Writer`s block
    by Hannah C at 19:13 on 01 March 2015
    Hi, I have been a member before and re-joined. I have done the first third of my fiction novel and had it assessed by The Literary Consultancy and it was an OK review. The main problem was that I used too much exposition. The problem is that now I feel overwhelmed by the whole novel. Help! Any suggestions? 
  • Re: Writer`s block
    by Catkin at 14:25 on 02 March 2015
    Try not to think of it as one huge enterprise. Think of it as a series of connected tasks.  The Baby Steps approach, in other words.
  • Re: Writer`s block
    by Freebird at 16:21 on 02 March 2015
    Hi Hannah,

     a novel is such a huge undertaking that it's easy to be overwhelmed by it. And, as EmmaD will tell you, loads of people falter at around the 30k mark (I've done it myself - twice! - and abandoned the novels because I got stuck, when I should have ploughed on with it).
    I agree that you need to tackle a small part at a time. Do you have a general plan for what happens? Some people plan a lot and some don't. You could try the fast first draft approach, where you set yourself a target of, say, 1000 words a day, and just write the story down as fast as you can without stopping to critique yourself. It can release a lot o creativity and enjoyment, and help you to discover the story!
    Or you could go back to that first third and have a go at rewriting it with less exposition. You could begin by focusing on your main character and write a few scenes of him/her doing ordinary things. How do they sleep? Where do they work? Who are their friends? What do they do at the weekend? Really get to know them and have fun playing with them for a while.  It might help you to reconnect with the story after a bit of a gap
  • Re: Writer`s block
    by alexhazel at 18:34 on 02 March 2015
    Taking time off from the story seems to work for me. I'm working on a novel now which I first started writing in about 2005. I'd put it on one side a while ago, having reached the stage where I sort of knew where it needed to go but had lost the momentum for writing it. Picking it up a few weeks ago, I suddenly had a lot more ideas for it. I've now finished the first draft, and have gone back to re-draft it with some major differences (e.g. shifting the entire setting to a different town). Somehow, having left it for a long time, I now see how to get to where it needs to be.
  • Re: Writer`s block
    by EmmaD at 10:38 on 03 March 2015
    You're not alone! Yes, about a third of the way in is an incredibly common point to get stuck ... mostly because you've run out of story-telling fuel, I reckon. 25-30k seems to be about as much as any of us can reach on the initial tank, as it were, and then you need to have a pitstop.

    I blogged about this stage here:


    I do think that even though reading-through on hard copy and getting to know it again is hugely useful, there's a risk that you then get lured inot detailed revising, and get caught in a loop of working and re-working what you've already done, rather than moving forwards. So my suggestion would always be to make notes on the script about what you would do if you were revising, pin down any drastic changes of mind about what you've done, or what you intend to happen in the rest of the novel, but don't do them. To keep the momentum up, when you get to the end of the read-through, just write onwards as if you'd actually done those revisions.

    And this is a post for later, about how to tackle the revisions:

  • Re: Writer`s block
    by alexhazel at 18:44 on 03 March 2015
    I can thoroughly recommend Scrivener, as a tool for organising this kind of reviewing and note-making, and for the whole experience of writing a story. It's much better than Word, as it lets you concentrate on the writing and note-making, without distracting you with details about styles, fonts and so on.
  • Re: Writer`s block
    by Hannah C at 11:29 on 07 March 2015
    It is useful to know that others get stuck after the first third too! I will use the weblinks you posted Emma D and will hopefully make some progress. I need to just knuckle down and get on with it smiley