Re: Avoiding "burning out" and orphaning a story

#1
It's a common enough problem when writing. As great as an idea might be, if one doesn't prepare accordingly, you end up not going anywhere with your story and inevitably abandons it. Planning ahead with outlines and story arcs and the like does help, but I'd much prefer to focus on the mental side of things. To me, writing is a joy and I knew I would never stop writing stories and such. That ended up being my weakness, as I start putting off a story because I was afraid it would end and take away the enjoyment I was having with writing the narrative. It's like listening to a song and getting caught up in the chorus so much you never want to hear the rest of it.
And so that'd be the key point of advice #1: Put some distance between your work and yourself. Leave that sort of attachment for when you read works, not when you're writing them. You may draw upon your emotional experiences and perspectives but never mistake that closeness to be important. I say this because you will have to endure harsh criticism and scathing remarks on your works, or absolutely no feedback at all. That is the lot you will have to contend with, no matter how you approach things.
Now we will turn our attention to the matter of plot. For people who plan meticulously and people who plan so-so, this is a straightforward thing in the beginning. There's a status quo that is changed by an inciting event, which leads to (most of the time) to a climax which leads to a descending action and eventual resolution and a new status quo. Mix and match as you please, and you have most of the known literature. Subversions and rejections are plenty and abound, which is why I'm not going to elaborate further. What needs to be discussed more, though, is how do people who plan-in-the-moment achieve a satisfying narrative structure? Where does a story end for them?
Before I go further, I wish to take a slight tangent into the realm of history. Well, in as much a quick Wikipedia search will do me justice. Given how it is usually taught, most people would find history boring. The numerous dates, places, treaties, people, wars, and on the list of things goes in regard to historical records. And yet, with so much information at hand, most of history is an enigma. The present is a state put forward by a coherent whole of the past, but our memory does no justice to how things actually went down. There are lives lived in the past which no one remembers now and that suits us just fine. Life is a story with no end save for that which people deign to remember.
Which segues into advice #2: The story never ends, but the plot does. Your characters are alive in their world, and so is their history. Things have happened and will happen that you might not know intimately, but you do not have to. You need only keep track of what is relevant to the narrative you weave, and of what affects your characters personally. "There was a war" has as much importance to the average layman as a detailed account of that bloodshed, separated only by convenience and personal desire. And if you decide a point in that history as your story's end, then that will be it so far as the readers are concerned. One could even argue that a rushed, summarized writing of such an end is a truer true-to-life depiction than a drawn-out and dramatic one. Personally, I prefer the latter.
I think that'll be it for now. Short and sweet as it is. Suggestions, criticisms, and additions will be greatly appreciated.

Re: Avoiding "burning out" and orphaning a story

#5
This is specifically for avoiding burning out:

Too much worldbuilding, because it's easy to get trapped in endless minutiae and spend hours and days thinking of stuff that isn't useful to actual writing and end up with no creative fuel left over for the actual story.

And over-planning, because planning out every little granular bit of the story can lead to a feeling of writing by rote which often isn't as enjoyable as writing and being creative at the same time, having to think things up on the fly.

These are both kinda counter-intuitive to writing but if you have problems with staying motivated and excited about a project long term I'd say they are helpful, they have been for me anyway.

Re: Avoiding "burning out" and orphaning a story

#6

Oskatat Wrote: For me, it helps to have an end in mind. It scares me to think I would have to write a story forever and ever, always coming up with new and interesting things to entertain the readers. Knowing it will end, I have a goal to work towards, a finite amount of work I can see getting smaller every time I post a chapter. Even if it gets smaller by only the tiniest bit.
But you can't squeeze your patrons forever and ever like that!

It's a joke, take it as is. Well, maybe it's not that much of a joke, is it. I'm looking at you, generic too-long story that keeps going only because of those juicy monei.

Re: Avoiding "burning out" and orphaning a story

#7
I've overwhelmed myself with uncompleted work from time to time and had to step back, take a breath. Sometimes running up a short story or two will give me that sense of perspective and distance I crave.  Halloween  is coming up currently for example, a good excuse to do some of that. I just added a couple of shorts to my own collection today, for instance.  Another Idea might be to just sit back and re-read older work, think about improvements , edits - smaller, less stressful ways to keep your hand in.