This is an article on why I find it hard to write long articles. (I just used hard and long in the same sentence. I have to snicker. Hehe.) For me, long articles are articles that you cannot type in one sitting. So, yeah. I’m going to write this in the form of a How-to step-by-step piece. Alright, here I go.
1. Have idea for story
2. Mull over idea in your mind
3. Come up with characters
4. Come up with rough draft of plot
*Rough drafts of plots are the least concrete of the steps because most stories have a way of getting away from you. For example, a typical story would go like “Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy. Boy falls for girl. There is conflict due to busybodies and lack of communication. Conflict is resolved. Boy and girl end up together”. That’s the story you had in mind, but then it somehow ends up as “Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy. Boy falls into black hole. Girl has to embark on interplanetary mission to save Boy. There is conflict due to meteors and aliens. Conflict is resolved. Girl defies laws of physics and brings Boy out of black hole. Everything seems okay. But wait! It turns out black hole actually transported them into alternate dimension type universe where everyone is the exact polar opposite of the people they used to know (Example, Boy’s mom used to be very busy business type lady but is now laid-back ‘cool’ mom). And so it continues.”
5. Mull over idea some more with thoughts such as “Wow, this is a really good idea.” and “I should probably write this down.”
6. Have brainstorms of ideas at inopportune moments such as in the middle of the night or during a test.
7. Finally decide to write it down.
8. Wait a long amount of time because life will keep getting in the way.
9. Finally decide to write it down. For real this time.
10. Make time for writing.
11. Realize time is not enough.
12. Make more time.
13. Realize time will never be enough.
14. Wait until you have something really important to do
*Homework, class projects and chores are good examples of easily postponed duties
15. Forgo important thing and use that time to write
16. Set up medium of writing
*For this case in point we are going to use a laptop.
17. Set up laptop.
18. Arrange yourself into a comfortable position.
19. Open word processing application.
20. Play music for inspiration.
21. Arrange yourself into another position.
22. Leave word processing application open and watch a movie or read a multi-chaptered fanfic of preferably 300k or more words.
23. Scene from movie or book reminds you of story you ought to be writing.
24. Feel guilty.
25. Close movie or book and go back to word processing application.
26. Arrange yourself into another comfortable position as first position has now become uncomfortable.
27. Come up with witty title for story.
28. Delight in your own wit.
29. Spend hours on end debating on opening sentence.
*The opening sentence is a very important part of your story as it’s what hooks your reader. Picture this; you’re in a bookstore and you’re browsing through books (What else does one do in a bookshop?Shut up.) Which of the following opening sentences would make you more likely to buy a book? “My name is Tracy Coleman and I am 15 years old.” Or “My name is Tracy Coleman and I have been 15 years old for a century and a half.” The second seems far more intriguing (although I would give the first a chance too.)
30. Go with what you had in mind the first time.
31. Think of follow-up sentences.
*Follow up sentences should be a follow up from the opening sentence (Gee, you don’t say). It should compel your reader to go on. It should also, obvy, complement the opening sentence. Going with our first opening sentence, “I wasn’t born fifteen. Aside from the impossibility of that, I did have a childhood. But it was such a long time ago, I’m pretty sure I made most of it up. At least, I don’t think I had a pet dinosaur and I probably didn’t take care of animals on Noah’s Ark either.”
32. Read over what you’ve written so far and applaud yourself for your exemplary writing skills.
33. Write a few more paragraphs
*Beginning a story is kind of like turning on a tap. The turning on is the hardest part (and ain’t that the truth) but after that the words just flow out. Unless you have a very small tap (don’t worry; size doesn’t matter), in which case your words would trickle out.
34. Go do something with your life
35. Go back to story
36. Repeats steps 34 & 35 continuously
37. Suffer horrible case of writer’s block
38. Feel slightly depressed
39. Try to alleviate depression by writing something else until you get more ideas for first story
40. Repeats steps 1 to 37
41. Forget about both stories for a very long time (about 3 months should do it.)
42. On nights when you cannot sleep, go back to either story and make very subtle changes (a punctuation mark here, delete a few words there)
43. Be inflicted with a horrible case of Writer’s Fever
44. Go on writing binge
45. Forget about story once more
46. After a while, go back to story and read through it
47. Realize you’ve forgotten about story so thoroughly it seems like a new story
48. Realize you hate story
49. Feel depressed by your horrible writing and corny dialogues
50. Abandon story forever.
Congratulations! You now have two new unfinished stories to add to your litany of failures and mishaps. Will you ever go back to your story? Who knows? Most likely though, probably not.
I think I’ll go try to revive one of my old stories now. Or maybe follow up that Forever Fifteen (and wouldn’t that be a kickass title) story. Maybe.
Bye for now.
What struggles do you face when you’re writing? How do you overcome them?
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