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I love writing, but I can never truly get past the first few pages of a story that I am attempting. Even if it is well planned out. I always get stuck on what should happen next or I get bored with it. Its been like this for years, never been able to get past the beginning of any story. If not that, then I always get stuck. How can I get past this? Or how do I keep myself interested in the story?

7 Answers 7

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Try Freytag's Pyramid. It sort of a plot diagram. Begin with the exposition (characters, setting, nature of the conflict,) then, list a series of causally related events. This is how you can know in advance what is to happen next. It will become more interesting as you take your character through this chain of events. As you build action, your story will get more exciting. Take your story from the rising action developed by your list of causally related events to the climax, then to the denouement (unraveling to stable action.)

1) Develop the exposition necessary to our understanding of the story's initial situation. The exposition should name the main character(s) and the setting in which the story occurs.

2) In detailing the initial situation, be sure to reveal the main conflict that will drive the story.

3) Name those complicating (or causally related) events that lead to the story's climax. These events should serve two purposes: 1) to act as a link between the conflict and a plausible resolution, and 2) to maintain suspense or tension throughout the story.

4) Provide a resolution to the story for the reader (rather than for a particular character.) This resolution will be revealed as you describe the story's climax and denouement.

Writers have been using Freytag's Pyramid since 1863.

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Maybe you're bored because you know the story. If you plan it beforehand, you know how it will go. Some writers need to know how the story will go. Others get bored if they know how the story will go.

Try writing a story without planning it. Start with a character. Give them a problem. When they try to solve the problem, arrange for it to fail, and to make things worse instead of better.

Write a bunch of those try/fail cycles, without knowing ahead of time what the character will try or how it will fail.

Whenever you're trying to figure out what the character will try next, or how you can make it worse, try to think of at least four possibilities. Pick the one that will be the most fun to write, or the most surprising to you, or the scariest, or whatever, and write it.

Play.

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  • I was about to give this exact answer. I never know what will happen in a story or who the characters are until they appear as I write. That's where the excitement is. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 17:54
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There could be 1001 reasons why you can't commit to writing a single piece of work, some of which are mentioned here by other people. I think the important thing to do is to identify what it is that is causing you to struggle getting the words onto the page, especially considering you normally love writing. Obviously asking for reasons on here is a great first step to identifying your own personal reason, but no one here may be able to get it right.

For me, I realized my struggle with getting past chapter 2 of my book was because whilst I felt I had an excellent story in me, I actually had no experience with writing, and my writing skills were not great. This meant that I was lacking the ability to translate my great story idea into a great book.

When I looked for advice on how to motivate myself to write more than I had already, many things I initially read gave me the advice to 'push through' my hesitation and just get stuff down on the page. However, if I had done that I would now have a completed novel that would be pretty awfully written.

Whilst this would have given me the experience to write that I needed, simply writing some short pieces on Reddit's Writing Prompts also gave me some experience and insight into my own technique, and allowed me to grow and become a better writer by writing stuff that was outside of my comfort zone.

So my advice would be to ignore advice that tells you to just push through the problem, because usually there's an underlying issue that needs to be tackled before you will be able to happily complete a piece of work, particularly if it's happening so early on.

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My best advice to you is to keep your stories interesting. Sometimes a writer may get bored with a story they're writing simply because the idea of the story doesn't motivate them to keep writing; it's just boring. If that's your problem, the solution is to come up with a better idea.

Other times it could be because you have no idea where the story is going, so it helps to already have a plot chart out for the story before you start writing it. Not to say, of course, that it's impossible to write a book without a plot chart, the first four I wrote I didn't use one.

Another thing that helps is encouragement from friends. If you want to write a book, let your friends know. I wouldn't have even started half as many as I did if it wasn't for my friends pushing me. They've been asking me when my current works-in-progress will be done for years.

So, to summarize: 1. Keep your plot and characters interesting. 2. Know where the book is going, before you get invested in it. 3. Let your friends help you

Helpful links:

http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2011/12/8-ways-to-stay-focused-on-your-novel.html (This one is geared towards teen writers, but it gives some good advice for all novices, I believe.)

http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/stay-motivated-with-writing.html

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I have done quite a lot of reading on the question of talent, and apparently what we perceive as talent is a combination of

  • an inborn potential to be good at a certain task (for writing: creativity, verbal intelligence);
  • a liking for that task (that is, enjoying the writing, not just the idea of being a writer); and
  • perseverance (a need to pursue the task and overcome difficulties).

As I see it, you lack the second prerequisite, joy. You get bored. Writers do not get bored by their stories, they need to tell them in the same way that you need to eat or sleep. If writing bores you, then maybe what you love is the daydreaming and you don't actually want to approach this as a task. You want to invent, but you do not want it to become work.

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Two ideas for you.

  1. Go for a much shorter work, plan it out, and then pick a day when you've got plenty of time to focus on your project, so you can write the whole thing in one sitting.

  2. Join a writers group. Write to a very specific imaginary audience (your groupmates).

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I've overcome this problem by writing chapters out of sequence. When writing my first novel, I wrote chapters 1, 2, 3 quickly, because I knew how the story began. Then I was "blocked" by a relatively boring middle section. I skipped Chapters 4 and 5, and went to a "favorite" scene in Chapter 6 (Christmas at Rockefeller Center). Then I wrote the end chapters "backward," that is 12, 11, 10 and 9, because I liked how the story ended. Finally, I could tackle Chapters 4 and 5, then 7 and 8, which I had skipped over earlier, to make a "complete" novel.

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  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes out of order (though I don't think she outlines). I can't imagine working that way. But her books are awesome. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 19:35

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