Apr 152008
 

You have your plot laid out. You have your characters fleshed out and they are chattering non stop in your head. Now all you have to do is write the long story. That is so much easier said then done.

This is the breaking point for most writers. Stories die in infancy with barely a chapter written. Grand designs slow down until all is left is bitterness and e-mails from readers asking for the next part. This is where your story has the greatest chance of failure because odds are it will never be finished.

Now, I don’t have a cure for writer’s block. If I did, I would have marketed it and bought my own island by now. Instead of a gimmicky cure, I want to teach you what I beleive is the fundamentals necessary for a long story to be written.

Enthusiasm

You have to be excited. You have to love your story. You have to be obsessed with it. Your friends need to be jealous of your story because you rather spend time with it then them. You have to fucking love what you are writing.

A lot of my friends have created stories they knew were good and original but in the end they never finished them. Why? Because once the charm of the novelty faded, they realized they needed to crank out even more pages. They fell out of love with their story and that is the kiss of death.

Writing is work. Figuring out plot problems and writing difficult chapters can be a pain in the ass. Writing takes up time could be spending in City of Heroes or fucking people. If you don’t love your story then you don’t prioritize your story which means you will do other things rather than finish your story.

You have to love your story like a girlfriend because it is so much more demanding.

Environment

Your creative mind is a machine. It wants to work but sometimes it needs to be tricked. It needs to be put in writing mode. If you do certain thing every time you write, then your mind will respond when those certain things happen. Much like your body remembers dance moves from years ago, your creative mind will do the task of writing.

How you craft your environment depends on the individual. For some people, it’s the music they play while writing. For other people, it’s the special set up they have for their word processing program. Pay attention to the things around you when you get the most writing done and recreate those situations. Over time, your mind won’t be able to stop writing if those stimuli are present.

Time to write is often the most difficult thing to achieve. You need to figure out how to carve writing time out of your day. It is not a matter of knowing a secret to making time, as much as it comes down to you making time to write out of sheer force of will. Get up early before every one else, stay up later or just sacrifice what time you have for entertainment to write instead. No long story was written during five minute breaks. You have to have a good amount of time to let your creativity go.

There are other tricks I use to keep me thinking about a story even when I am not writing. I usually pick a wallpaper for my computer that reminds me of the subject I am writing about. For our kinky school concept, I would use images of sexy school girls or bondage. I rent movies with a school theme. I keep myself submerged in the subject which helps keep my enthusiasm up as well as keeping my mind on the task. Sometimes when I am out and about, I ask myself how one of my characters would handle whatever I am doing. What would a kinky schoolgirl buy for groceries? What movie would she want to see?

You go to a gym to workout. You go to an office to process work. You need a creative space to do creative things.

Exclusion

You know this. You really do. You know that if you want to get a big project done, you don’t have time to do other little projects. This is a little different from enthusiasm, because you can be excited by something and yet still spend your time doing something else.

If you really want a long story done in your lifetime, then you need to work on it at the exclusion of other things. That means no stopping to write short little stories. No stopping to “get this idea down on paper.” This means no writing other commitments while working on the big story.

Of course there can be exceptions but you learn these in time. I still create role-playing game adventures while working on long stories. I don’t write short stories though. I am good writing about writing, but if I start entertaining, then I start taking away from my long story energy.

Some people take breaks when they are stuck in a long story. I personally think it is okay to take a break from writing, but I don’t think you should write something else on your break. A long story requires a very high level of mindfulness. You need to know where you are going and where you have been. Writing something else altogether takes you out of that long story head space. Again, for some people it works but for me it is fatal.

A long story requires your best focused work. Be faithful to the story. Your other stories can wait.

Now you have written your story. Congratulations. You are almost done. There is another step to take and we will cover it next lesson.

Your homework is to apply the three E’s to yourself. Plan out your writing environment. Plan out what projects and commitments you will delay during this long story. Build up your passion for your long story and really make yourself want to read it.

This assignment counts towards 15% of your grade.

  5 Responses to “The Three E’s of Writing.”

  1. 35+30+15.. we’re up to 80% now!

    How much is ‘extra credit’ worth?

  2. That would be telling :)

  3. …any chance I could boost my grade by staying after class and “pleading” with the instructor? Don’t say no til you’ve seen me beg…

  4. Roxy- Although begging often gives you perks, Extra Credit will be covered later :)

  5. All the essays till now have been helpful, but this gave me things that should have bee obvious but which I would never have thought of.

    Immersing yourself in the environment of the story. Very cool. Like with acting… creating the back story and keeping the character with you. Or when I used to get to travel, we’d rent movies from that country (especially if in a foreign language) to get the language back in our heads and get in the mood of the country. (Or, as I originally typed, cuntry.)

    As for avoiding writing distractions, the sadist’s attempt to impose organization and discipline includes a ban against contacting him or writing for him for 4 days except for working on his schedule and other writings with a deadline. I did realize tonight that it helped not having the tempting distraction of writing the little morsels him with.

    So thanks. You’re helping me come to terms with his method. I’m starting to see a glimmer of hope.

    On to the last class!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.