Does anyone ever lose that spark?

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polymath
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by polymath » November 19th, 2010, 11:12 am

Okay.
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by GeeGee55 » November 29th, 2010, 12:42 am

I don't know if I can really write it.

A mentor once said to me that I was equating having to struggle with doubt about my talent. He assured me that 1)the struggling is the territory in which your best work is done and 2) I do have talent.

Having the realization that something is wrong in the story (as others have mentioned), means that I also realize a great deal of work is involved in fixing what is wrong. To come to love revision as much as you enjoy the original spark that ignited the love affair with your story, that is one of the marks of a true writer.

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Sommer Leigh » November 29th, 2010, 8:31 am

Whenever I feel the spark getting less sparky, it usually means I need a break. I write almost every day for hours and after so many weeks and months with the same characters, struggling with certain chapters or subplots, or turning points or whatever, sometimes I just need a break. I need to go on a mental vacation and create some distance between me and my characters. Sometimes I need only a weekend, maybe a week. One of the reasons I decided to do NaNoWriMo was because I needed a big break from them and spending a whole month away has been amazing for rekindling the spark. I kind of can't wait for tomorrow so I can get back to where I left off.
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Watcher55 » December 4th, 2010, 10:11 pm

I know this thread is a few days old and I hope it doesn't taste like a dry biscuit by now, but I reached the denouement of my WIP - TWO WEEKS AGO - and all I have are scattered pages and half finished paragraphs cluttering up my hard drive and my precious legal pads. Now I'm slipping into this funk that's nearly as miserable as the weather, low temperature, high grey clouds, high humidity and nasty winds with no set direction or velocity, maybe it's SAD (or as 4vida would say, ADS). I'm to the point where I'm afraid to go back and read the 70K words I've already mustered because I'm afraid they're all wrong and the last chapter just doesn't really matter. <sniffle>

I've never been this close to finishing and I'm afraid I'm going to leave one fatal loose end that, when pulled, is going to unravel the whole thing. I've jumped out of airplanes, fought guys twice my size (lost, but I fought 'em), and lopped off a finger, but I've never been this scared. I don't know how much this has to do with spark, but I'm just not feeling it, but after reading what y'all wrote here, I'm with 4vida, great advice.

P.S. Polymath, did you ever start that thread on subplot? - you got me curious.

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polymath
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by polymath » December 4th, 2010, 10:14 pm

Yeah, it went along okay.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2844
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by J. T. SHEA » December 5th, 2010, 4:45 pm

Re-enchantment, people! What we need is re-enchantment. With our WIPS, and other important things like relationships, jobs, and life in general. Reignite the spark and feed it.

Watcher55, you lopped off a finger? Yours or theirs?

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Watcher55 » December 5th, 2010, 5:36 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Re-enchantment, people! What we need is re-enchantment. With our WIPS, and other important things like relationships, jobs, and life in general. Reignite the spark and feed it.

Watcher55, you lopped off a finger? Yours or theirs?
Re-enchantment - damn, it's amazing how relevant a single word can be.

It was my own finger.
Skil-saws - good
Girl watching - gooood
Skil-saws and Girl watching - not so much

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by heyimkt » December 5th, 2010, 8:58 pm

Well this thread has certainly took some turns!

I haven't checked up on it until now, and things are definitely looking better on my end of the "losing the spark" issue. I've used a lot of that advice. Lots of cool stuff about subplots and re-enchantment and skil-saws while girl watching, ha!

To be honest, I haven't been able to jump back into that WIP. I cheated on it instead. And I think that's okay. I think we just need to write what we feel like writing when we feel like writing it! Cheat, take breaks, or non-stop write for hours and hours.

The spark always comes back, and sometimes in something completely new :)

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Fenris » December 5th, 2010, 9:00 pm

heyimkt wrote:The spark always comes back, and sometimes in something completely new :)
Though that can be worrying on occasion...
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Claudie » December 5th, 2010, 11:39 pm

heyimkt wrote:To be honest, I haven't been able to jump back into that WIP. I cheated on it instead. And I think that's okay. I think we just need to write what we feel like writing when we feel like writing it! Cheat, take breaks, or non-stop write for hours and hours.
You remind me, Natalie Whipple did a great blog post on cheating on your WIPs last Friday. You might want to check it out. :)

As for spark losing, I tend to grab a book from a known author when it happens. Yes, a part of me ends up feeling as though I'm not up to the task, but mostly I get an immense thrill from seeing great characters and awesome plot laid out so perfectly on the page, and the determination to do the same with my story.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by J. T. SHEA » December 6th, 2010, 10:19 am

She still wouldn't go with you, Watcher55? The bitch! I hope you gave her the finger figuratively as well as literally. Van Gogh had the same problem. His girl asked him to lend an ear, and he did. I don't think he used a skill-saw, though.

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by heyimkt » December 6th, 2010, 2:21 pm

Fenris wrote:Though that can be worrying on occasion...
Yeah, very true. This is just a me thing, but it depends on how much I've put into the draft. If I "cheat" or "find the spark" in something else when I've only written 10,000ish words of the WIP, then I'm okay with it. That's not to say I have 7 WIPs sitting on my computer with only 10,000ish words...
I have to have that strong want to keep writing. I like how you said it can be worrying, though. What if none of these beginnings of novels get finished!? And I really do have snippets all over my computer? Then I would totally be worried. For me, finishing stuff usually happens, as long as I love what I'm writing ;)

All and all, I definitely haven't lost my love for WIP that started this thread. I know I'll go back to it when the timing's right. As long as the cheating or losing the spark lead me to something else I love, I'm not worried. (My main priority now is edits from crit partners) :)
Claudie wrote:You remind me, Natalie Whipple did a great blog post on cheating on your WIPs last Friday. You might want to check it out. :)

As for spark losing, I tend to grab a book from a known author when it happens. Yes, a part of me ends up feeling as though I'm not up to the task, but mostly I get an immense thrill from seeing great characters and awesome plot laid out so perfectly on the page, and the determination to do the same with my story.
I did see that post! Loved it :) Thanks for the reminder. And great advice, I've been trying to do the same!

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Watcher55 » December 6th, 2010, 2:41 pm

I didn't mean to hi-jack your thread but I was at my wit's end (two 36hr days with 6hr sleep in between) when I posted and it sorta took on a life of its own.

ANYWAY - I read Nathan's blog today http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/12 ... iters.html I wonder if he was thinking about this thread when he posted it, and I got to wonderin' if sometimes we spend too much time chasing the story rather than setting the mental environment so the story wants to come back to us - so to speak.

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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by Fenris » December 6th, 2010, 5:03 pm

Watcher55 wrote:ANYWAY - I read Nathan's blog today http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/12 ... iters.html I wonder if he was thinking about this thread when he posted it, and I got to wonderin' if sometimes we spend too much time chasing the story rather than setting the mental environment so the story wants to come back to us - so to speak.
Maybe, but I think you're a bit closer here, Watcher. Nathan says to exercise and get outdoors, but for me inspiration and refreshment can wash over me simply by taking a break and playing piano--still a keyboard, just a different one. That's why I think you're a bit closer with your idea of a mental environment, and it ties in with the idea of re-enchantment. It's different for everyone, and you can find it in something you'd least expect.

Of course, I'm not saying exercise is a bad thing. :)
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Re: Does anyone ever lose that spark?

Post by hooktonfonnix » December 7th, 2010, 4:08 pm

I know EXACTLY what it feels like to lose that mythical spark. When I first thought up the idea for my novel I was completely stoked, and I couldn't wait to put it down on paper. But after several weeks of writing, and 80k words later, I just couldn't make myself finish it. Something was wrong. Way wrong. I was happy with how the novel began, but towards the end every situation my characters ended up in were so forced and contrived I couldn't even read my own words anymore. The worst part was, however, that the narrative (3rd person, 1 POV) didn't match the tone of the story at all, and it depressed me. I put the WIP down for four months without looking at it at all, due to my disgust at my lack of creativity. During that time I realized that the narrative needed an overhaul, and I needed to let my characters tell the story, and not shove them into artificial experiences. Last month I decided it was time to get back to work on it, but this time I used a first person narrative and I couldn't believe how well the story turned out after that. I know my case was probably a little extreme, and most people aren't relegated to rewriting their entire MS as I was, but that's what it took to recapture the spark. My MS is almost finished now, and starting over was the BEST decision I could have made. Hopefully I'll never have to do anything like that again, haha

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