Writing- Making It Up As You Go?

25 Jul

Well after a busy week at work I will be on holiday from Saturday. I’m not going way just not going to work. I thought 12 days off YES let’s do some writing; just one small problem, even my short story ideas have dried up.

I’ve got used to not having an idea for a novel and to be honest I’ve pretty much given up hope of ever writing one but I have been tweaking some short stories. Unfortunately I’m not really happy with any of them and I’ve just decided to abandon one altogether. I was trying to force myself to finish it but I realised it was pointless. I’m not happy with the story itself, the concept so to speak so flogging it wont make it better. I decided it was better to leave it and take the bits I did like and maybe work them into something later.

So now I find myself at my computer with no plot ideas and a nagging feeling of ‘if writing isn’t the answer what is?’ There’s nothing else I want to do and truthfully I settled on writing because I knew I wanted to do something creative but I am rubbish at everything remotely creative. So where do I go from here? My short stories (to me) are drab and feel like they’ve been written by a child pretending to be an adult )I feel that way about myself sometimes so maybe that accounts for it) and I don’t have enough imagination to write a novel.

A while back I read a book called ‘No plot? No problem!’ By Chris Baty one of the guys behind national novel writing month. The idea behind it is you basically sit down and start typing and make it up as you go along and don’t stop until you have 50,000 words, all in the space of 1 month!

The idea of ad-libbing a novel is an interesting one and something I am a little tempted to try, though not as part of the competition. To do it though you have to give yourself permission to write rubbish and I’m not sure I can do that. Plus I suspect not only would the writing be bad but I’d simply run out of plot. I think I’m a pretty limited thinker in regards to plot, easily bored and between us I have a sneaking suspicion that I have below average intelligence.

How do those of you who write go about it? Do you plan every last plot twist? Or do you create a character and make it up as you go along? Has anyone attempted the novel in  a month challenge, either entered in NaNoWriMo or not? Do you think it works to unclog the creative flow? Or do you just find yourself stuck after a few thousand words?

Please add your thoughts in the comments section, thanks.




4 Responses to “Writing- Making It Up As You Go?”

  1. Jake Regier July 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    You have two choices: you can write or you can not write. Personally, symbolism has nearly always been an after-thought, and plot twists have happened when, while writing, I had a sudden urge to take the work in another direction. My best effort has been the attempt to write a novel in order to liberate myself from a lot of negative emotions–I got through 35,000 words. I’m not sure if it’s accessible, or even good, but I do now have this 35,000 word “ad-libbed” novella that I otherwise wouldn’t have. My best advice to you is to think of a name you like, put that person down on paper, and then hope the person goes somewhere interesting. Every action, however boring, as so many possible outcomes that surely you can come up with something, even if you don’t yet have an end in mind.

    Beware the idea that “you have to give yourself permission to write rubbish and I’m not sure I can do that.” In giving yourself permission to write rubbish, you are also giving yourself permission to write brilliant, great fiction. Don’t wait for certainty to take action. Judging by this post, I think you’ll do just fine.


    • daydreaminginwords July 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Hey thanks for the comments 🙂 I do need to let go more when I write and the ad-lib approach might be the way. I used to write late at night because my brain was shutting down for the night and my inner editor was the first to go and I found I was more productive. Maybe it’s a similar effect getting out of the way and just allowing the imagination to flow. Yes I think writing should be liberating, I think I’ve let my fears suck the joy out of it lately. Time to change!


  2. csbarielle July 26, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    The first person was spot on. Write down a character name and go from there. This is why my first book took me 5 years to write. I was a spur of the moment idea that I just added to, and whenever I heard a lyric in a song I liked (as music is my inspiration), then I added a storyline based on that one lyric. It does work! If you plan and plan and plan, then nothing will ever get beyond the planning stage, so just sit down at the laptop and write whatever comes out 🙂


    • daydreaminginwords July 26, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      the book I mentioned in the post makes an interesting point. If you plan everything it can make the actual writing of the story boring because for the writer it’s just going over old ground. I find this when I type up handwritten stories. Perhaps ad-libbing would suit me.


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