Monday, April 13, 2009

The Hardest Part About Writing

I spent all four hours of my classes this morning trying to come up with a good topic since I had to start (curses!).  I discovered it's very difficult to brainstorm while taking notes.  Not a good idea, because you fail at both.

So, let me address what are the hardest part(s) about writing for me, and you all can do the same and see if we match or have different problems at the end of the week.

1.  The middle of a story.  This is the absolute worst!  When I come up with ideas, I come up with a beginning and an end.  I write the beginning, and then the struggle comes in trying to reach the end.  I don't plan middles.  I have maybe a skeleton plot in my head, but I usually have a huge problem in fleshing out a story and resolving the central problem.  Sometimes, I'll admit, I don't even come up with a central problem, because characters hit me before plots.  For ATRS, the plot didn't fully materialize until Chapter 9.  Needless to say, everything before that is pretty crappy and needs surgery.  

2.  Deciding whether to use first person or third person.  ATRS is in first person, and it annoys me sometimes, because I severely dislike using the word "I" for whatever reason.  I think using first person is nice if a story is mainly experienced through one person.  "Steam" is third person.  I go through phases which are influenced by what book I am reading at the time.  No, it's true.  I am so weak.  When I read a book that is first person, my brain goes "WEEE!  That was so good, I should do that!"  So I do.  Then I read a book that is third person, and my head explodes in the same way with an urge to use third person.

3.  Ditto with tenses.  Here is my secret that I have never told anyone before.  I secretly really, really love present tense.  I adore authors who use present tense in a good way.  I think it's so...literary.  I know that makes absolutely no sense, but it just sounds lovely to my ears. Like "The Time Traveler's Wife!"  Yes?  Wasn't that good?  (Audrey Niffenegger sold her second book for a $4.8 million advance, if you hadn't heard, and I'm super excited to read it).  I know a lot of people who despise present tense, hence the reason I don't use it.  I also happen to think I muck it up massively when I try.  For fanfiction one-shots though, I go crazy with it.

This is a total throwaway, but:

4.  Staying on task.  I have the shortest attention span on the face of the planet when it comes to writing.  This is why I go to different places to write.  I like coffee shops and the Champaign Public Library (which is the prettiest library ever).  My TV is very guilty.  So is Facebook.  And my blog.  And other people's blogs.  And Youtube, the spawn of Satan, where I end up going on totally irrelevant journeys.

That is all I can think of right now.  Fanfiction is not making me very happy at the moment.  I've written two lengthy one-shots already, and I hate both of them, so they're not going up in public.  Third time's a charm, right?  Can't wait to see the rest of your answers.

Also, can I say Nathan Bransford is amazingly awesome beyond belief?  I'm loving reading these queries.

-------Here are links for the rest of the week----------

Sorry, I forgot earlier!  Go check them out!


  1. Yeah, must be hard to start the blog chain, but you did it ^^ I have similar problems with writing as you do. Look forward to reading other people's responses...

  2. Yes! The middle! I hate the middle! And sometimes I make blunders with the tenses too. =(

    Yes, Nathan is awesome. And really nice.

  3. Nice list. :] yes, distractions are evil. :| ... but oh so much fun.

    The only problem I ever have with choosing tenses or POVs is when I've been writing in one and then I suddenly realize I've started writing in another... but then, I can usually choose which one's right. :]

  4. Oh I know excatly what you mean on the internet being a distraction. The blogging this has been both a blessing and a curse. I know I need to work more on writing my books and less on my blog posts.