I’m stuck.

In direct contrast to my previous post, I have somehow reached a point where my characters are not speaking to me.  This has caused much dismay, as I have tried to make my story character driven.

Do others have this problem?  I think my mistake was that I started writing without having the story properly outlined.  I am a plan type of person.  Now that I am at the end, I am trying to bring it together, but my characters’ motivations are questionable, and they aren’t acting in any particularly focused manner.

I have heard (or read, at least) that it is productive to conduct an interview with the characters to determine what their motivation is.  Although this feels a bit odd, I think I am at that point.  Meanwhile, I would love to hear what others do when they feel like their story has lost focus / gone off track.  How do you recover?



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3 responses to “Stuck

  1. I’m for whatever helps you work it out. I’m not an outliner. I tend to make a very rough draft, then go from there until it’s right. For ART, after the first round of crits, I decided I needed the story to move in a whole new direction, and I’m glad I went with that idea.

    But go ahead and crank out an ending. You might want to start running draft two through the crit line again, and you might see the direction you should go with it. The most valuable help for me so far has been my critters. They’ve pointed out so many places to make the story better, and when I got to the point where I knew I had to change up the ending, I stopped submitting, did the big rewrite, and ran it through again. And voila.

    Other than that, I’m a noob, so can’t tell you any other strategies than that. But I’ll let you know if I stumble on something 🙂

  2. I did do the character interview with Mirian, and it helped. I actually managed to go back and start filling in the part that I skipped. I think I am going to completely toss out Chapter 22 though. The first half of the final battle was turning into a slow motion train wreck, so out it goes.

    I will get something churned out, then start the edit process. I expect to make a complete scene list, specifically declare each a proactive or reactive scene, and list out the MRU’s for each. I have been reading the Writing Fiction for Dummies book, and it has lots of good stuff. Analyzing it is just who I am, so it will be a good thing.

  3. I walk away from the story when this happens, whether it be for a minute or a few hours. If I’m away any longer than that, I get cranky. While I’m away, I think about my bare bones outline and if that outline needs changed. If it needs changed, I change it.

    I whipped out an ending to my story super quick before school started back up, and that ending was not so good. But it was in my outline. So I went back and changed the outline, and then rewrote the entire ending. It’s still far from perfect, but it’s better than it was. In drafts three, four, and five, it’ll get better. I hope.

    I think what you’re doing is a good thing. You stopped writing when you needed to, reevaluated, tossed out some things, and are approaching things from a different angle. Yay to that!

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