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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there any solution for this? I haven't written a story in a while and even though I studied this genre I am new to writing it. I have read lots of books in this genre while studying for genre tropes, conventions and plot points, but when it comes to prose I never considered that I would have any issues. Surprisingly I have no issues with my outline, I usually deviate from it anyways, but whenever I am showing it still looks robotic to me.

I have followed outlines before while writing so I am not sure what to do.
 

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Keep going. Sometimes, when you haven't written for a while, you just need time to knock the rust off. Also, if you're new to the genre and the characters, it might take you a while to get a feel for both.
Yes ^ keep going. As some wise person once said (was it Hemmingway??? I'm not sure, anyway ...) "write fearlessly; edit rushlessly!"

Forge ahead and don't look back until you've finished your 1st draft. You can then sort out the current issues on your 1st edit.
 

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I think Shayne is on the right idea. A lot of times my first edit is all about taking things that developed later in the story and adding them to the beginning. Little character traits and habits take time for me to get going, but then I just put them back at the start and no one is ever the wiser. But sometimes it just takes a little plowing through to really get into the world, or at least it does for me.
 

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Everyone has their own creative process, but my first draft often feels that way. My first draft isn't 100% a discovery draft or pantsed -- I work from a rough outline of plot points, usually three points per chapter -- but I absolutely need to get the story down before I can work on things like deepening the point of view and adding color, description, and emotion. So, I agree with the others that for now, I would just work on getting the story down.
 

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For me, writing has always required perseverance. Some parts come easy and some don't, and I have to push through the hard parts almost every time I sit down to write.
 

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Occasionally, I write a less engaging storyline, or lose the train of creativity. I generally introduce a new character, maybe an oddball person that might even get trashed later. Puts me in a different mood, as I insert this new character into the story when that character never existed at the beginning.
Works well for me ...

In fact, introduced a hobo living in a homeless camp once for that very reason, and he ended up stealing the show. I had to back-write him in, and he lasted thru that novel and the next novel as a major character. Now he lives permanently in my brain.
 

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stop writing from outlines

there's a lot off discussion of this in Steven James's books on how to write more organically, Story Trumps Structure and Troubleshoot Your Novel

you only get away from the robot when you have the courage to step away from the robot
 

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This may not be welcome and that's okay.

Stop futzing around and write the damn thing. You have posted so many threads on the different ways to approach writing you are now verging into procrastination territory.

Depending on your experience and how many finished books you have under your belt, writing a cleaner first draft may or may not be within your reach. Some authors on here have been writing and publishing for long enough it's certainly a possibility.

Those newer to writing? Your first drafts are going to be a bit of a mess. They are going to sound wooden, they are going to experience good and bad times of ease in getting the words down. It's a process.

You can't fix jack-all-NOTHING if you don't FIRST get the damn words down.

You can fix it when it's finished. And by the time you get back to the beginning to start your editing, you may find that your prose isn't as robotic as it sounds right now.

Stop looking for the magic bullet. Just freakin' write until you're done. Then worry about the rest.
 

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You've probably got outlining syndrome which is usually written as notes and need to get out of that mode.. Just plough on. Have a try at writing your last chapter and see io that gets the creative juices flowing, I've done that on occasions and it helps to drive everything toward that. Whatever, just plough on.
 

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Keep writing it. You may think it's robotic, but a reader might not. Sometimes we authors are our own worst critics. You can always 'liven up' your writing during the edit, or re-write phase. By then, you'll be reading it with fresher eyes, and you will be in a better position to make changes. Good luck.
 

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Keep writing it. You may think it's robotic, but a reader might not. Sometimes we authors are our own worst critics. You can always 'liven up' your writing during the edit, or re-write phase. By then, you'll be reading it with fresher eyes, and you will be in a better position to make changes. Good luck.
This is good advice. The writer's mind is so bizarre that, depending on the mood, our writing is either going to knock people off their feet or cause a chaotic end to fiction because of its ineptitude. You just have to get it on the screen, however mechanical it sounds, and then polish it decide to view it with fresh eyes.
 

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What's the plot/elevator pitch of the story. @marissa_lopez

I'm going through this same fucking thing right now. My third novel, I have a really good outline, and under normal circumstances, the book should have been released by now. But I can't seem to write it, and it feels forced, and it's not doubt, I just know that people aren't going to enjoy reading this. It's just that gut feeling you have. This current predicament the planet is in, should be the perfect time for creative writing, but it's also turning into an awful time for creative writing it seems. I'm sorry. Maybe we can help each other out, and find the joy of writing again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
This may not be welcome and that's okay.

Stop futzing around and write the damn thing. You have posted so many threads on the different ways to approach writing you are now verging into procrastination territory.

Depending on your experience and how many finished books you have under your belt, writing a cleaner first draft may or may not be within your reach. Some authors on here have been writing and publishing for long enough it's certainly a possibility.

Those newer to writing? Your first drafts are going to be a bit of a mess. They are going to sound wooden, they are going to experience good and bad times of ease in getting the words down. It's a process.

You can't fix jack-all-NOTHING if you don't FIRST get the damn words down.

You can fix it when it's finished. And by the time you get back to the beginning to start your editing, you may find that your prose isn't as robotic as it sounds right now.

Stop looking for the magic bullet. Just freakin' write until you're done. Then worry about the rest.
I get what you are saying. I don't have any published books yet but definitely not new to writing, use to be a ghostwriter, I didn't make enough to live off of it but it definitely was more than I expected to get from it even though they weren't novels.

I honestly thought about what the issue was and I think it's the lack of guaranteed income and the investments I have to make just to get my book published. (Cover designer, editor, marketing, ads, etc) With ghostwriting even though it was not enough money to increase my income, it was at least guaranteed. Every thing was cut and dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What's the plot/elevator pitch of the story. @marissa_lopez

I'm going through this same fucking thing right now. My third novel, I have a really good outline, and under normal circumstances, the book should have been released by now. But I can't seem to write it, and it feels forced, and it's not doubt, I just know that people aren't going to enjoy reading this. It's just that gut feeling you have. This current predicament the planet is in, should be the perfect time for creative writing, but it's also turning into an awful time for creative writing it seems. I'm sorry. Maybe we can help each other out, and find the joy of writing again. :)
it's a revenge concept, you would think it would be a perfect time to write but it's actually the opposite for me, I was so use to multitasking that I never considered actually trying to type of drafts and get them edited
 

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The only other thing I'd want to mention is that robotic prose isn't always the worst thing in the world. This may be controversial, but I read the first Harry Potter book as an adult and thought that the prose was very dry. Thing happens, person makes a face, thing happens, magic, thing happens. But it still worked so well because the world was this new and extremely creative fantasy. Having it delivered in a dry way didn't bug me so much because everything else was interesting. And, it might be that the books were meant for a younger audience, and I do think the sequels got more pep in their step, but I'm just saying that the images of the story can be interesting even if the prose is simply describing it.
 

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Writers spend waaaayyyy too much time worrying about craft. 80% of your work is in getting a fantastic cover. There are books out there right now that are absolutely killing it with sales that are chock full of terrible writing. Juvenile, sophomoric, tacky, cliched, grammatically incorrect, vulgar, you name it, the bestsellers lists are full of it.

The point is, you don't have to write well, you just have to write something entertaining "enough". Be bad, just don't be boring. Yes, we writers over-complicate it from there, but that's because we're story nerds, and a lot of us are perfectionists.

Think of writers as mechanics. They obsess over the minutiae and all the tiny components of what makes an engine run, but most readers don't care about that so long as the darned car gets them from A to B.

Tell your story - just get it down on the page as best you can, in a clearly defined genre, and package it super-well, and then get the thing visible - and you're ahead of most authors.
 

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Writers spend waaaayyyy too much time worrying about craft. 80% of your work is in getting a fantastic cover. There are books out there right now that are absolutely killing it with sales that are chock full of terrible writing. Juvenile, sophomoric, tacky, cliched, grammatically incorrect, vulgar, you name it, the bestsellers lists are full of it.

The point is, you don't have to write well, you just have to write something entertaining "enough". Be bad, just don't be boring. Yes, we writers over-complicate it from there, but that's because we're story nerds, and a lot of us are perfectionists.

Think of writers as mechanics. They obsess over the minutiae and all the tiny components of what makes an engine run, but most readers don't care about that so long as the darned car gets them from A to B.

Tell your story - just get it down on the page as best you can, in a clearly defined genre, and package it super-well, and then get the thing visible - and you're ahead of most authors.
Sounds like a good way to ensure you have written a throwaway book.

Packaging and promotion can sell that book. They cannot sell your brand or keep your career going. People have to actually like what you do enough to buy the next book. In other words, you may be able to achieve liftoff for your jet, but it will crash again without a satisfying book to sustain it. “Good enough” does not build a career. There has to be something special about what you do—your competitive advantage.
 

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What are you trying, or hope to achieve with that 1st chapter? What's the genre norm? Just like a whole book 3 act structure, chapters have structure, each with an objective.

Maybe introduce your character in their normal everyday setting. Give somesomthing of an insight that would make them interesting that the reader could identify with to want to follow them, but don't forget to foreshadow something of the story.

Spend a few hours on Amazon, reading first chapters of the genre on the look insides for inspiration. (not to copy) Find a a voice in one of those books that would suit you and see if you could emulate it with your own style. Sometimes robotic, short sentence, or dour narrative can be an interesting voice. You only have to look at Lee Child to know that.

I often write 1st chapters that I have to go back to after Ive finished the book and either rethink or make changes. Even obsessing over the opening and how it finishes for the reader to want to turn the page, but regardless, I have to write something to start with. If I pontificated on that 1st chapter, I'd never write anything.

Of course, there's always the chance that your heart is not really in the story, and yet feel compelled to write it just because you have it outlined. If that's the case, you're on a hiding to nothing. I have a few unfinished works on my hard drive that are testament to that scenario.
 
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Sounds like a good way to ensure you have written a throwaway book.

Packaging and promotion can sell that book. They cannot sell your brand or keep your career going. People have to actually like what you do enough to buy the next book. In other words, you may be able to achieve liftoff for your jet, but it will crash again without a satisfying book to sustain it. “Good enough” does not build a career. There has to be something special about what you do—your competitive advantage.
I respectfully disagree. "Good enough" fuels just about every full-time author's career. There is no "special". That's something writers mention as a means to explaining any given author's success. It's a false notion at best, and gatekeeping at worst. Agents and publishers dine out on the idea of talent and special.

In the end it's about packaging, marketing, and being entertaining enough to hold interest and get someone to read the next one. It doesn't take special-ness to achieve that, and really that limiting belief is what keeps the non-fiction "How to Write" industry flush, and stops a lot of people from even trying.

What's real and what's apparent is that bad writing is rampant. What makes so many badly written books bestsellers, however, is slick packaging and that they're deemed 'not boring' enough to enough readers.
 
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