ljlee: (jz_glasses)
[personal profile] ljlee posting in [community profile] go_write
I am heartily sorry for skipping the public post last week, I was writing a story under a deadline and the weekend has been a blur. To make up for it I'll write two public posts this week.

So, to turn my excuse into an actual discussion subject, do you do well with deadlines and other types of pressure when you write fiction? How does it help you? How does it hurt? Do different kinds of pressure work differently on your writing?

Date: 2016-07-21 07:47 pm (UTC)
warqueenfuriosa: princess leia (Default)
From: [personal profile] warqueenfuriosa
It sort of depends. Sometimes I do better with a deadline. Other times, I don't like the pressure, especially when a piece of writing just isn't working and I really need to spend time outlining/editing rather than forcing out whatever.

For rough drafts, I definitely need a deadline, like NaNoWriMo. With rough drafts, I will keep restarting or going back to fix little things and I won't get very far very fast so I need that constant push to keep going forward.

For more detailed writing, I don't like deadlines. I want to be able to take my time with it and get it just right.

Date: 2016-07-23 11:32 am (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
I agree about deadlines being really helpful for rough drafts. That's the only time I self-impose a daily wordcount. It feels so good every day I hit that target. It's really motivating.

After the first draft is done, I find deadlines or quotas really unhelpful. It's a pity. I wish I could find something similar for the editing/polishing stage of writing, as deadlines are so effective at that first draft stage.

Date: 2016-07-25 02:18 am (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
That's exactly how I feel. Daily word counts worked great for my initial novel draft, but once I got into the editing stages I've struggled to find a concrete marker. I hold out hope that eventually I'll work something out.

Date: 2016-07-21 09:58 pm (UTC)
lizbee: (SW: Sabine)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
I find deadlines very useful -- they force me to stop procrastinating, get out of bed and just write.

On the other hand, I've never had an externally-imposed deadline for a novel -- only short stories and essays. So I don't know how I'd cope with something like that. I'm on a writers retreat right now, and one of my friends is saying, "Oh yes, I need to write four chapters of this book today, and then I have until next Wednesday to finish the edits on that other book..." It's a full-time job for her. But she's the first to admit she's an outlier.

Date: 2016-07-23 11:27 am (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
I do well with deadlines for shorter pieces of writing, up to about 6 weeks and 15,000 words. For longer work, it doesn't help me at all and any deadline makes things a lot worse. But without deadlines, I tend to never finish anything, so I obviously need something.

I'm trying to cut my longer pieces of writing down to smaller chunks, so I can self-impose deadlines on these smaller pieces and then stitch them together later. But I haven't yet properly got the hang of how to do that.

Date: 2016-07-24 11:59 pm (UTC)
warqueenfuriosa: princess leia (Default)
From: [personal profile] warqueenfuriosa
I hear you on handling those longer pieces. I got started writing with short stories and fanfiction one shots so the transition to writing novels has been hellish.
I've been struggling with a novel for several years, never making it past the first couple of chapters, because I lose motivation or I want to change something or I just keep kicking myself back to rewrite the first chapter or two. I have absolutely no idea how people write 1,000 page novels.

Date: 2016-07-27 02:24 pm (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
Rewriting the first few chapters over and over again is my huge weakness. The number of times I've done that is incredible. I can never seem to move on, even when I have my direction clear in my head.

I think my problem is that I see a novel as whole entity. When you read one, you relate to it like that. Writing one can take years. So it has to be a different task.

With a short story, it's possible to re-read the start quickly before settling down again to that day's writing, just to get my place again. With a novel, that's impossible. Yet I can't break myself from the habit. And so the tinkering.

Making notes for what happens in each chapter would probably be a much better idea, and then forbidding myself from re-reading the start at all... which will probably be a lot easier said than done. It's so hard to break the habit.

I know at least writers who sends their books chapter by chapter to their editors (Maeve Binchy, according to her editor), so she's forced to continually move on and not re-write previous chapters. Apparently Binchy also has the most appalling spelling according to her editor, which is an amusing side-fact. Of course, once all the chapters are done the whole thing still has to be edited. It's the editing that gets me stuck.

Date: 2016-07-27 02:36 pm (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
the story seems to change every time I return to it

This is my big problem too. Sometimes that can be fantastic and a small change can make a story a lot better. Other times (unfortunately most times) it just depresses me that changing it is going to mean a lot of work, I know I won't be happy unless I do it, and I'll probably ditch the whole thing if I don't because then the whole story will be stupid.

There's also the problem of feature creep.

At the moment, I'm going by a star system where each part of a small writing task gains me so many stars (planning, writing that day, getting advice or feedback, acting on the feedback, etc) and I have to hit so many stars per week. I try to keep the star tasks themselves really easy because the sole purpose of it is motivation.

I do need some kind of framework. If I don't, I know from experience that I'll be super excited about that particular project and do a lot of writing for a couple of weeks on it, perhaps a couple of months. And then one day I'll just stop dead on it, no reason.

I have some first drafting to do coming up, so I'll go back to my daily wordcount targets when I get to those. They're really effective for rough drafts.

Date: 2016-08-08 05:40 pm (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
Rewards are the most important part of the process. :)

The reward that works the best for me is comics. I've used them for about three years now as a motivation tool. The first year I used them as rewards, I wrote the most I ever had in one year.

Comics are a complete indulgence for me, not too expensive, and if I meet my writing quota then I get to read another chapter that week. I'm reading Saga right now, and it's incredible, but I didn't make my writing goal last week, so I don't get to read the next chapter yet.

The hardest part for me is setting my weekly goal target. It can take a lot of tweaking to get right.

If I make my writing goal on just over half the weeks, I figure I've set it about right. It has to be easy enough to encourage me, but not easy enough to take no effort at all.


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