Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner May 18, 2016 - 2:05pm

Yes, tis I! Long time, no post. 


So I have started like half a dozen books. Some I have gotten one hundred fifty pages written, or more and for some reason I cannot finish any of them. I'll just write and write and then it'll just fade and then they get all dusty and whatnot. 


What do you do when you find such an issue? 

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami May 18, 2016 - 2:15pm

I resolve this by having each chapter a self contained story.

That way it is just a matter of writing a new short with same MC later.

I'm going to get a copy of On The Way To A Smile FF7 to study this concept further.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel May 18, 2016 - 7:42pm

Welcome back. And I have no clue. I just kind of end my stories and walk away. 

Maybe think how you want it to end. Who lives, who dies, who gets what, tragedy or comedy kind of thing, then write to that conclusion. Best guess.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 19, 2016 - 1:52pm

Outline, yes. But also, and this goes for non-writing life in general as well, try giving yourself something to look forward to each day. For me, that's a combination of 1) stopping at a point where I still want to continue, as opposed to a block, so it's easier to fire up the engine tomorrow (seems a bit tantric, yeah), and 2) editing as I go. That way I'm not delaying my gratification from quality writing for some unknown time way in the future; I know that each day, that was the best I could possible write (even if only a page or two). But mostly outlining and putting months of thought, research, and planning into the book before ever writing word one. Then again, some people are just wired for restlessness, and long-form storytelling may not be their forte.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 19, 2016 - 10:24pm

Me? I get on late at night...

I totally sympathize, I have the same issue. I'm trying right now to work backwards on my WIP because I have the very end decided on and I just don't know how to get there. And I'm just... so... close... So at times I literally write a snippet, then what happens before, then before that...

It's... kinda working.

Also, Gordon's thing of editing as you go is golden for me, very invigorating to watch shit become quality.

DrWood's picture
DrWood from Milwaukee, WI, living in Louisiana is reading A different book every 2-5 days. Currently Infinite Jest May 20, 2016 - 6:57pm

I do have three unfinished novels, but I also have four that I've at least finished the first draft.

If you find yourself not finishing them, I think you have to force yourself to finish one, just to know you can do it.


JeffreyGrantBarr's picture
JeffreyGrantBarr from Oregon is reading May 21, 2016 - 10:42am

Just blue-skying it here, but what about this approach: write three 'tentpole' scenes (say, beginning, middle, and end), and then fill in the middles with some free-flow glue scenes to stick them together. It will be ugly, and a godamned mess, but it will be a complete story. After that, it's polish, spackle, polish, and you're done.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 22, 2016 - 8:21am

Make yourself do it?

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel May 31, 2016 - 7:03am

Read to him every night, and have him follow along. When he starts to recognize the words, or phrases, or sentences, ask him to read them out loud. Do this until you achieve the desired results.

But don't stagnate on the same book over and over. Use variety.

Or, if you're really concerned, take him to a speech pathologist so he can receive medical assistance.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann June 2, 2016 - 10:01am

I don't really have any practical advice, unfortunately. My advice is quite abstract and impractical. I would just say, write characters that you fall in love with. Easier said than done. I've been working on one story for about 3-4 years, and it's all I think about because I'm in love with the characters. I can't imagine leaving them, can't imagine not finishing the story. It's like the thought of being left by a significant other, but worse. Even when I listen to music on my bus to and from school and work, my mind seems to be permanently stuck on, how does this relate to my story? This song fits for that character, this one sounds just like this character. I'm obsessed.

If you're not feeling it, if there's no lasting spark there with your characters, that may be part of the problem. Like in a relationship, you need to be happy with who you're spending all that time with. But that's just one writer's experience and opinion. I'd say, delve deeper with the initial stages of planning a given story. Spend some more time figuring out who the characters are. There are dozens of exercises and worksheets out there to help with that. I'm also happy to recommend a few.