And yes, I will absolutely hit that wall, sooner or later, where there are more ideas than can fit into the story, or some piece of the world I came up with on the way will make some plotlines impossible. That's called the first draft, then, or Version 1.0. Ideally, by this point in time I have a clearer idea of what the story's motive should be, who the true main character is, their goal, and all that what other people draft out before they ever start writing.
If I don't, or if the original idea doesn't really capture me anymore, then yes, I'll put a story on hiatus, let it sit for a while.
But if there's still something that drives me to write this - and there usually is - I open a new Word Document, and start over. A teacher on creative writing I took a class with once said: "If you want an okay story, edit. If you want a great story, rewrite." I do often copy in scenes I really liked. Sometimes three quarters of the original draft make it in, sometimes it's only tiny pieces. For my current story, the Morgulon? Well, I guess the biggest piece I kept was the idea that I was going to write a werewolf story. Other than that, I only re-used from the first draft the names of two of characters, and one piece of background the two shared.
I'll admit, it does take me a long time to get a story to a point where it can be shared with anyone but my endlessly patient sister and beta-reader. There is one story, which I still haven't posted anywhere, which I have literally worked a decade on. But I love writing. So that's not a hardship for me.
Some of my best writing comes from burning the planned, the foreshadowed, and the like; it's an interesting challenge to see how you can have Chekhov's Rifle to spin and fire backwards. And I get to that position many times. Most of it revolves around the tone of the story. However, there are two caveats: if you want to go faster, it might be faster to axe the entire chapters that brought you to that point. If you're in that position, you know precisely what is the pivotal point.
And I free write.
I don't really need to look back at any notes.
Only look to find a point in the story where I glance at it, drum my fingers, and wonder how a single word or action can shift the direction entirely. If you can't, axe it. I have an 'unused' document with for my upcoming story that's one-hundred thousand words and counting. Don't be afraid of it. Because if you're inspired to write, a few good writing days can easily catch you up; the difference between a 1/2k day versus a 10, 15, 20k day when you're inspired is massive. Or - or - you can simply take that loose plot-point and destroy it.
Like, you pull a dues ex Machina, like another suggested, and introduce a Mysterious Stranger-type circumstance. Or completely twist a circumstance by unveiling a difference between expectations in the afflicted character for development.
Ie, poor sewer rat is at everyone's mercy (perhaps a setting character or protagonist) - but he snaps and takes charge of the situation by growing furious at the injustice and butchers someone who forced the circumstance. At which point, you can introduce the character as a new focal point, a new plot point, or simply treated as a reflection as someone walks in, sees it, and executes the saviour when the protagonist was at his/her lowest.
Cue profound soliloquy and/or deep reflections that might not change the plot points - but adds depth if you take the interaction into consideration in regards to how a character acts or interacts with the world. Even if you just change verbiage from 'laughs' to 'sighs' or the like, displaying discomfort or more determination.
Or that the character forced into a situation that is pivotal snaps and refuses to do it. Like a guard that helps someone escape, rather than being stereotypically obedient. And, lo!, you can suggest in a grim-dark world that the entire world isn't morally corrupt. Or a character's naivety is justified on occasion. Or that the jaded protagonist/side character isn't as cognizant of the world's inner machinations than they thought.
Another caveat is that you should be prepared to evolve the story, where necessary. Those are usually the inflection points that most often go unnoticed as authors, naturally, ignore them by maintaining their current momentum.
Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to do things in the same way.
If you can try and sit down and wrote check boxes to events that will lead to this end. You may not follow the plan one for one and that's fine. As long as you have a rough outline you can see how far you are from the end scene.
If you really cannot work with an outline then there is nothing wrong with writing the story first just know that basically your outline and your bound to have to work over it more times that somone who outlined first.
Ariana Wrote: As everyone above has said, you can try a re-write. But I have a question of my own. Why don't you actually share with the community HOW exactly you have written yourself into a corner? Why do you think the story can't go on like this? Maybe you just need an idea from a third party to spark the story again. Sometimes we as authors are too involved in the story and are unable to see the way out. If you are willing to tell us the EXACT problem you are facing we might be able to help better than just tell you "scrap months of work and start anew." Even if you end up re-writing anyway, collecting some new ideas might help with inspiration.
I might have been a bit hasty and using the "written into a corner" a tad wrong. What happen was that during writing a part of my story, I felt that I deviated much, much, much too far from my original concept/plot to the point that everything I had hoped to do for the later part completely got thrown out the window. However, after reading alot of the advice, thanks to everyone I have been able to at least get some better idea of what to do.
Basically, one of the character in my story wasn't suppose to...well..."meet a certain fate" but I was unable to write out of it anyway since it did not work, especially after I've already done it. And after establishing as such, I was completely lost on how to salvage the said character's story since they are suppose to be an important part and even driving part of the plot. Although, I also have to say that the whole thing was due to time constraints as well and when I was writing it, I was driving myself insane trying to make everything work to the point where it felt like it would have been better to just scrap everything and restart. It was why I felt like I written myself into a corner cause it didn't feel like it would connect and that it was too...sporadic.
However, after some hard thinking, I was able to work something out. I'm really grateful for all the answers. It really helped alot and gave me somethings to think about when I write.
Thank you everyone.
JTaKeo Wrote: However, after some hard thinking, I was able to work something out. I'm really grateful for all the answers. It really helped alot and gave me somethings to think about when I write.
I am really happy you've managed to find a way to push the story beyond this troubling point. A friend of mine also hates planning his story. He has re-written his characters so many times that he can probably deliver a couple of separate novels. It is difficult indeed.
As for the changed fate of the protagonist, if you really, really want to still put the "old" version into your story, why not go with the "missed fate/alternate fate" trope? What I mean is, depending on the setting, you can always have a wise old witch/magician/prophet/god/all-knowing alien/magic mushrooms encounter where you can show the "what could have been" fate. It is a nice way to depict how the character's choices have shaped his/her fate and the world in general. All this is, of course, on the condition that you can fit such moment into the current story without drawing it too much. If not... well just keep the cool setting for future works ;).