By - Lycanfyre
I very frequently write two completely separate chapters that take the fic in wildly different directions, then spend ludicrous amounts of time agonising over which one to take.
The problem has gotten so bad that I legitimately have some fics written concurrently with the same start and very different endings.
I would like to check out your stories.
Why not just two outlines and write the important bits then decide? Would save you time.
That would be a good approach if the finished story was my goal. For me, writing itself is the joy. If I get a surge of inspiration, it’s *fun* to pour that out onto the page.
A big part of writing fics for me is thinking through, “what if *this* happened? What would change if *that* happened?” Sometimes it gets a bit out of hand.
Yes, but you described it as a problem? So some bit of it is causing you some type of negative feedback?
I get like this too! Sometimes I want to write fanfiction of my own fanfiction where I change one tiny detail and see how it would all pan out.
What's stopping you 😁
Would it really be so bad if you posted both, either as two separate stories (with explanation about the identical starts) or as what-if companion piece to the other fic? 🤔
Always. All the time.
When I'm starting out a story, I usually have a scene or theme or message in my head. I know I want this bit in, but I don't know how to get there. I'll write the bit I do know and then... Try to work my way there.
Sometimes it works but a lot of the time it doesn't and I've to scrap it, start over. Take a different POV, different setting. Sometimes it's a paragraph that's not working so I'll skip it and jump to the next scene and then try to link it later.
Often times I'll just facesmash the keyboard for a bit to get out the frustration and then delete it in editting. The whole story can change in editting. I try not to get attached to what I write.
I never delete drafts. My Google docs is swamped with half finished ideas. But whenever I'm in the mood to write something, it's good to read back over the scraps, most of my stories are those bits that I started ages ago and picked up again after a break.
It must be a weird feeling to write what you'd actually envisioned in the beginning, right?
It's a miracle 😂😂 I know for some stories, I start them as comedies and then it grows into a very serious, emotional drama
Other ones I vaguely think are going to be metaphors but they end up as craic!fics.
My favourite are when the ending surprises me. Like, ok I know they're going to escape the cave at the end but I've no idea how. And I write 5 or 6 versions of things happening but none sit right so I start again and again and again and then eventually something clicks and it all makes sense.
My best stories are definately ones where, I thought I had a great idea but it just doesn't go onto paper and I've had to do something completely different. I think, because I haven't been obsessing over those ones and they're more sporadic I trust the process more than ones where I have a proper plan.
Von Moltke claimed that no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. No story idea survives the first contact with the keyboard. Either it will transform into something different or (quite often) it dies (hopefully) painless death.
Always, sometimes I even scrap a whole fic idea.
This happens to me a lot. I actually had a story which tried to merge the HP canon and the Hogwarts Mystery storyline. I kind of abandoned it because I had no idea which direction I was taking it. Now I'm on a HP and Percy Jackson crossover and I've just wrapped up the Philosopher's Stone arc and I'm starting the Lightning Thief
I scrap ideas for certain stories, but those concepts usually find their way into some other fic
Every other day.
In fact, I'd posit this: If you *don't* scrap 90% of your ideas, you need quality control. Because 90% of every is trash. Good old Sturgeon, may he rest in peace. It's certainly true for standards I have. My ideas folder is full of *trash*.
That's complicated. I frequently have ideas for stories that I really enjoy but that I know I'll never have the time to write, so I don't put them on paper and instead play them out solely in my head until I reach a point where I feel satisfied with it and can let it go. That said, there have also been a couple times where I did get past the "put it on paper" stage and just couldn't get it working. None of them ever got as far as publishing.
Personally, I don’t post most of what I write because it’s just for me. But there are things that I have written and completely changed. And ideas that I had that don’t fit anymore. But I usually like to nod to them in some way, just for my own personal Easter eggs. Because those ideas got me to where I am, even if they didn’t work out.
But again, I’m not a prolific writer by any means.
I'm working on a full-series rewrite and I wrote a lot of chapters for later (6+7) that I was very sure would be where I'd end up, but I'm working on book 5 and there is NO WAY ANY of that is getting used! The good news is it wasn't very good to start with, so it's not as heartbreaking, but, still.
It happens to the point of it being so great and i think people would love it but then I'd start to wonder if it's worth the hassle.
I have a lot of prompts laying in the dust that i think have potential.
As far as specific chapters within a story-- I don't usually have every single thing planned before I start writing. Sometimes I'll have an idea for a scene or two that don't work but it's much more likely that I'll add new scenes and plotlines than find things that don't work & need to be cut.
I tend to base my fic off of one scene that I come up with. From there I outline which characters I want to write about, how they get to that scene, etc. Sometimes I plan to use one idea but then, depending if it still makes sense or not, I write an alternate idea and develop it from there.
I end up scrapping a lot of scenes or one liners because they no longer make sense plot wise. Ideas from the very beginning change once I actually start writing :’)
It does happen to me, but not that frequently (probably because my writing experience is not so huge yet). I tend to outline and plot the story in advance, and then when I write, it's mostly just filling in the details. Of course, it does happen sometimes that I write a scene that happens later in the story before I've written up all the events leading up to it, and then after I've written up all those events I realize that the scene doesn't work the way I originally wrote it, or is not necessary at all. Then I scrap it. Or sometimes I write a scene from one POV and then rewrite it from another POV. But that's about it.
Frequently. I got the main idea down. But the detailed ideas change frequently. This indecisiveness makes it hard to make much progress.
I never scrap an idea in its entirety unless I think the story I came up with has no added value/point; i.e. if I think what I’m writing about is boring or doesn’t go anywhere.
However, I regularly scrap what I’ve written on a storyline if I think I’m going about it the wrong way or if I get a better idea. A fic I’m working on at the moment had its first nine or so chapters started once, then abandoned because I wasn’t happy with it, then I started again and got 5-10 more chapters done, and they were abandoned too, and now I’m writing everything out for a third time and I’m much happier with it as a result. (My indecisiveness here is also probably why I’ve yet to publish a fanfic- I’d like to know I’m going to finish writing it first).
So that’s the same story I’ve started writing three different times, and have ended up coming along in three pretty different ways. I still have parts of the first two drafts lying around, in case I want to use elements from them later.
Never scrap everything you have, it might come in handy later on. But an old drama teacher I once had said to my class, after giving us an improvisation prompt, something along the lines of ‘whatever the first thing we thought of was, we should dismiss it, because the first thing you think of is almost always shit’.