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  #1    
Old June 29th, 2010 (02:17 AM).
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One thing I know for sure is that I definitely want to get back to writing. What I don't know is exactly how.

I would be willing to bet money that my dilemma is not a new one. Namely, I had a fic, then left for a bit (well, a lot), and now can't really bring myself to pick it up mid-way. So, I can either revamp and restart it, or write something completely fresh.

I still feel enormously attached to my old story. So attached that I don't know how well I could write a fresh story without wanting to bring in elements from my previous one. I also feel that I've learned a lot about my own failings as a writer and could improve it by a revamp. The thought of a story that I had become quite involved with, sitting in the back of my mind as an unfinished piece of work, kind of bugs me. If I recall correctly, I had pumped out 70000 or so words, which is not something that is easy to let go of.

At the same time, I also want to expand my horizons. I have a few plot bunnies running in my head, all potentially things I could develop and then work with. But I keep coming back to the problem of: how can I write a fresh piece honestly and freely with an old one sitting at the back of my mind, begging to be rewritten?

Mainly, I'm looking for a bit of insight. Obviously this is a personal decision, but people constantly amaze me with their ability to provide feedback that can affect such choices. Perhaps I'm just looking for a rational reason to justify the unfinished fire in my belly and affection I have for my first novel. An excuse to go back to familiar territory. In any case, I ask: what would you do, or what have you previously done, in a situation like this?
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Old June 29th, 2010 (02:52 AM).
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I've had a similar feeling before. Perhaps not to the extent you are as I hadn't written seventy thousand words, but I had written a bit and I had plans for the plot and the characters. Then things got in the way and I came back and I saw my old work but it seemed so amateur, as if I was noticing things that I passed over before. I still had ideas for the story but it wouldn't feel right continuing from where I had left off. I had a fear of losing my ideas for further into the story if I decided I rewrite from scratch, and at the same time I had an alternate story forming in my head that, like what happened to you, had elements from my previous story. What I mean is I didn't want to throw the old story away, but I wanted to write this new story, and they had too much in common and it was irritating to say the least.

Either way, how to get over it... I didn't. I ended up getting preoccupied with something else (probably assignments or gigs, I can't remember) and then a few months later I returned to writing and realised that I had lost all urge to write either of the old stories/ideas completely and started fresh with a new idea, which was very, very loosely drawing from past ideas. But at this point I had no urge to finish my old story, it was like time had just washed it away.

But before getting preoccupied, during that time which was similar to what you might be feeling now, it was difficult. I didn't fix it myself, it was on the back of my mind for most of every day until I got preoccupied with something other than writing, then about five months or so later I just remembered "whatever happened to writing?" and went straight back into it. But yeah. I'm really sorry I can't help but I think I feel your pain. Good luck anyway. I hope you can get back to writing soon because I enjoy what you write.
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Old June 29th, 2010 (03:09 AM).
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Hi, Eliminator Jr. Good to see you again. ^_^ Good to know that you enjoyed my writing; I immensely enjoyed reading your reviews. :3

Thanks for the insight. I guess it's sort of difficult to know, huh? But I really don't want to fall out of writing: I do know that, which is a start. And, to be honest, I think I can satisfy my desire for freshness in a revamp; in order to keep both myself and old reviewers interested, I'd have to change enough to keep the story twisting.

I guess a big concern is - would I be returning for the comfort? The comfort of a universe that I spent hours crafting; the comfort of characters with whom I had grown to empathise with; perhaps even the comfort of knowing I have several people I can count on to provide me a steady source of feedback, criticism, and encouragement which a new story risks not having. And, if it is about comfort, is that necessarily a bad thing?
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Old June 29th, 2010 (08:57 AM).
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Have you thought about working on multiple fics at the same time? While not everyone can (I know I have trouble doing so, despite trying numerous times anyway. Giratina, however, has absolutely no problem with doing this and has been known to churn out over 9000 fics at the same time.), it's still a challenge that allows you to have the best of both worlds. Not to mention it allows you to take a break from one project and work on another to avoid getting burned out.

If that doesn't work, you just need to figure out what's best for you. Unfortunately, this is a decision of preference: we can't really tell you to choose one over the other with a definite sense because it's all about what you want to do. You can question whether or not you're going back to a safe zone all you want, but the fact of the matter is that the issue is very simple. If you feel more compelled to spend as much time with your new ideas as you did your old one, go with the new ones. If you feel more compelled to rewrite your old story after several months (which, incidentally, is not a taboo at all), then go with a rewrite. No one's really going to fault you if you do a revamp (especially since there's a lot of new people here who haven't actually read your fic yet), and it's just as beneficial to your growth as a writer to actually finish something as it is working on a completely different world.

For a personal response (for the hell of it and for the sake of offering an example), I did just about every combination of things with my two main fics. The whole story's been spoiler tagged for people who already get the idea.

Spoiler:
I started off by posting A Midsummer Knight's Dream here, and while I felt familiar with its world and its characters, I just didn't feel like continuing it when a new idea came along. So, I dropped it. (I still think about it, of course, and I'm still considering turning it into original fiction. However, I don't let it bother me that much because I'm working on something else.) Meanwhile, I started posting the first version of Anima Ex Machina on this site two years ago.

About six months ago, I decided to leave PC temporarily because my head was putting a rather large dent in the godforsaken wall over the exact motivations behind Project Max Revive, and I migrated over to Serebii. Rather than offering a new idea (of which I had many, I assure you), I opted for rewriting AEM for the first time. When I came back to PC, I was originally not going to post the fic here for several reasons that are also implied in PMR, but then I caved, rewrote it for a second time, and started again.

Incidentally, I've yet to get burned out from this fic. Why? Because I've been keeping busy with side projects here and there in the meantime.


So, yes. You can go any of those ways. You can drop your old fic if you're really not interested in going back and reworking most of it right now. (Who knows? Maybe you'll eventually go back to it.) You can do a rewrite anyway, and there wouldn't be anything wrong with that. You can do a combination of both and work on your old fic and new ones at the same time. It's all a matter of what you feel like doing.

Of course, as a final piece of advice, don't force yourself to go with any particular direction. Think hard about what you want to do. If you force yourself to sit down and work on a story you don't feel any sort of passion towards, you're going to come out with work that doesn't satisfy you. It's okay to take your time planning, going over your options, and deciding which story you'd have the most fun writing.
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Old June 29th, 2010 (09:11 AM).
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Quote originally posted by JX Valentine:
Giratina, however, has absolutely no problem with doing this and has been known to churn out over 9000 fics at the same time.
Whawhawhawhawha--

I'm only doing three! ; 0; The other 8997 are still in the planning stage!!

Anyway, yeah. There's really no shame in doubling up fanfics, if you make it known to the reader that there might be a longer wait between chapters. Me, I procrastinate far too much anyway, so they're all used to it, but still. Of course, it might also not work for you, and in that case you could try writing one fic and not posting it, just to chip away at while you work on the other one "officially". Or just do what I do - know that every fic will end eventually, and you'll find time to do other stories. Or leave us all in the dark and devoid of your stuff for the next six months. Either one works.
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Old June 29th, 2010 (07:14 PM).
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Quote originally posted by JX Valentine:
Have you thought about working on multiple fics at the same time? While not everyone can (I know I have trouble doing so, despite trying numerous times anyway. Giratina, however, has absolutely no problem with doing this and has been known to churn out over 9000 fics at the same time.), it's still a challenge that allows you to have the best of both worlds. Not to mention it allows you to take a break from one project and work on another to avoid getting burned out.
Yes, I have thought of working on multiple fics at the same time. My main problem with this is that having divided loyalties that make giving up one fic easier if I start having problems with it, as opposed to being motivated to fix it. I guess I don't want to give myself an easier way to dump my own fic.

I also get quite absorbed in my own storylines that make switching between two quite difficult. I have the utmost admiration for people that can successfully maintain two or more fics, but I don't think it's something I'll be able to do.

On the plus side, burnout usually isn't a problem for me, and when it does become one, I can usually distract myself with things other than writing.

Quote originally posted by JX Valentine:
and it's just as beneficial to your growth as a writer to actually finish something as it is working on a completely different world.
This is the kind of unexpected insight I was hoping to get. Even though, like you say (and I readily admit) it ultimately comes down to preference, preference can be swayed. It helps to know, from an immensely experienced writer, that going down one route isn't going to jeopardise my growth as a writer.

Quote originally posted by JX Valentine:
Of course, as a final piece of advice, don't force yourself to go with any particular direction. Think hard about what you want to do. If you force yourself to sit down and work on a story you don't feel any sort of passion towards, you're going to come out with work that doesn't satisfy you. It's okay to take your time planning, going over your options, and deciding which story you'd have the most fun writing.
I absolutely agree. Writing fanfics has to be an enjoyable endeavour. Ultimately, I feel like I get to choose from several good alternatives here; not from some good ones and some bad ones. I guess I'm just trying to find the best (if there is such a thing) one.

Quote originally posted by Giratina ♀:
Or just do what I do - know that every fic will end eventually, and you'll find time to do other stories.
I realise this, but I suppose it comes down to - "am I willing to let it end before the epilogue?" I'm heavily leaning towards no.
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Old June 30th, 2010 (11:35 AM).
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You could try priming ye olde creative cannon with your old story by doing something completely ludicrous. I use this tactic sometimes when I get stuck: I just come up with the most out-of-left-field thing I can think of and then integrate it into my writing. It actually produces good results more often than you'd think.
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Old June 30th, 2010 (07:44 PM).
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Could that really work outside making a comedy? Humour is not my field. ^_^;
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Old July 1st, 2010 (01:37 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Citrinin:
It helps to know, from an immensely experienced writer, that going down one route isn't going to jeopardise my growth as a writer.
Not to be blunt, but it would be rather silly if it did. If you finish your first fic, you're instilling in yourself the discipline that you'll need if you want to go on to become a published author; you're pushing yourself to actually finish something, rather than abandon it halfway through. In other words, if you can't finish your work, you won't have something to publish (obviously), and this kind of thing teaches you how to motivate yourself to stick with a project you start.

That and this is fanfiction. One of the main points of writing fanfiction, other than to express your fan-dedication through writing, is to use it as a medium through which to learn. Nothing can jeopardize your growth because every direction you take is just another learning experience. In other words, nothing can really hurt you as a writer unless you're adamantly against listening to advice. So, yeah. Even if you think it's not as good an idea as any of your alternatives, it's probably better than you think, so don't worry too much about whether or not it's hindering you.

Quote:
Ultimately, I feel like I get to choose from several good alternatives here; not from some good ones and some bad ones. I guess I'm just trying to find the best (if there is such a thing) one.
*nods* Yeah, this in a nutshell is why it's ultimately up to preference. In this case, there's only two terrible ideas:

1. Stop writing.
2. Force yourself to write something you don't want to.

The rest are equally good, with no real "best" possibility. On the surface, anyway. Because we all have different experiences and different types of skills when it comes to writing, what works for you probably won't work for us and vice-versa. (Of course, nothing's stopping us from offering advice anyway because, hey, that's what you want.) As a result, we can't really tell you which one is the best path to take.

If you don't know yourself, it might help to try the simultaneous idea anyway, since it's really the best of every world. As in, do a rewrite alongside developing your new ideas. Get a surface-level feel for both (or however many) stories and see which one interests you the most. Then, narrow your focus down to that idea and put the others on the back burner. Feel free to attach a note to the beginning of your story to state that this is your intention. You can always go back to the other idea after you finish or decide you're done with the one you choose, and your readers won't mind because, hey, they're your readers.

In other words, you don't exactly have to say the word "abandoned." Just "on hiatus until further notice" while you work on whatever idea you decide to pursue. (This is another thing I've done. It's also helped me break away with a fic I put out forever ago because I decided that I had more fun working on the next idea than I did the last one.)
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Old July 1st, 2010 (03:15 PM).
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Delurking to emphasize. This has happened to me a lot, so I can definitely relate to you there. Personally, I’ve dumped two or three long fics that were unfinished, but that was mostly because I felt they were irredeemable plot-wise (though I admittedly went back to gank characters/scenes from them later on, heh). If you’re still strongly attached to your work, however, then the revamp is definitely a possibility. Alternatively, you could take a break from your main fic and come back to it later. If working on something completely different isn’t an option (which sounds like it may be the case), you could try developing the aspects of your old fic you liked most (or, as a challenge, didn’t like) via shorter, lower-commitment projects.

For example, if it was your characters you were particularly attached to, maybe try a character introspection piece, a short story about an important event in their pasts/futures, or a oneshot placing them in an interesting situation that wouldn’t normally occur in the fic (humorous or not ^^). If it was the setting you liked, you could try a story focusing on your more minor characters or a completely different cast within the same world. You could also tie in some brief experimental pieces to play around with different writing styles/voices. The potential advantage here is that you can indirectly work on your old fic by further developing the cast/universe/etc. while continuing to try new things, but don’t have the stress of doing something long and epic.

At any rate, best of luck with your decision! I guess what I’d advocate most is just to keep on writing. If you stop for a while, it can be hard to get back in <-- personal experience -_-
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Old July 1st, 2010 (03:30 PM).
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Quote originally posted by JX Valentine:
Not to be blunt, but it would be rather silly if it did. If you finish your first fic, you're instilling in yourself the discipline that you'll need if you want to go on to become a published author; you're pushing yourself to actually finish something, rather than abandon it halfway through. In other words, if you can't finish your work, you won't have something to publish (obviously), and this kind of thing teaches you how to motivate yourself to stick with a project you start.
Nothing wrong with bluntness at all. :D I suppose I saw it as a question of depth vs. breadth, more than perseverance vs. ADD. This perspective... well, puts it into perspective.

Quote originally posted by JX Valentine:
If you don't know yourself, it might help to try the simultaneous idea anyway, since it's really the best of every world. As in, do a rewrite alongside developing your new ideas. Get a surface-level feel for both (or however many) stories and see which one interests you the most. Then, narrow your focus down to that idea and put the others on the back burner. Feel free to attach a note to the beginning of your story to state that this is your intention. You can always go back to the other idea after you finish or decide you're done with the one you choose, and your readers won't mind because, hey, they're your readers.

In other words, you don't exactly have to say the word "abandoned." Just "on hiatus until further notice" while you work on whatever idea you decide to pursue. (This is another thing I've done. It's also helped me break away with a fic I put out forever ago because I decided that I had more fun working on the next idea than I did the last one.)
The more I think about it, the more I feel like revamping my old fic as opposed to starting a new one. I've just written a trial prologue and am really feeling the story flow through me again. I suppose I am going to include my desire to try new things, as many details (although not the big picture) of the plot, I plan to change.

Quote originally posted by Hitoshizuku:
Delurking to emphasize. This has happened to me a lot, so I can definitely relate to you there. Personally, I’ve dumped two or three long fics that were unfinished, but that was mostly because I felt they were irredeemable plot-wise (though I admittedly went back to gank characters/scenes from them later on, heh). If you’re still strongly attached to your work, however, then the revamp is definitely a possibility. Alternatively, you could take a break from your main fic and come back to it later. If working on something completely different isn’t an option (which sounds like it may be the case), you could try developing the aspects of your old fic you liked most (or, as a challenge, didn’t like) via shorter, lower-commitment projects.

For example, if it was your characters you were particularly attached to, maybe try a character introspection piece, a short story about an important event in their pasts/futures, or a oneshot placing them in an interesting situation that wouldn’t normally occur in the fic (humorous or not ^^). If it was the setting you liked, you could try a story focusing on your more minor characters or a completely different cast within the same world. You could also tie in some brief experimental pieces to play around with different writing styles/voices. The potential advantage here is that you can indirectly work on your old fic by further developing the cast/universe/etc. while continuing to try new things, but don’t have the stress of doing something long and epic.
Hi there, Hitoshizuku. :) It's long been a technique of mine to do private one-shots and put the characters in totally different situations. :P I guess, though, my public authorship is solely limited to the concept of something long and epic. XD; I feel I need to pursue something that can be a continual source of interest, whereas I know with every oneshot I did, I'd have the urge to make it into a novel. ^^;
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Old July 4th, 2010 (11:02 AM).
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I think you sould pickup where you left off. After searching through the fanfiction database and finding He Who Is merely a Rumor, I thoroughly enjoyed, and i am absolutely itchin to find out what happens in the end.

However, if you're not up to carrying on with your old fanfic, why not re-vamp it?

You could, however, start a total new fanfic from scratch, whilst using old plots and characters in your new story I.E: Beven and his Larvitar.

the possibilities are endless. Personally, I still think you should carry on with your old fanfic, but, as you said, your deecision..
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