chapter project

11 writing problems and solutions

Writing is a craft. It takes time for anyone to learn and improve. But there are some shortcuts you can try, maybe adapt to your own needs. Here are 11 writing problems and their solutions, or hacks.

Too many ideas syndrome

Problem: You have too many equally good story ideas and can’t pick just one to write.

Solution: Select your top 3 favorite stories and write the first scene of all three. If you can’t decide, write the first chapter. The right project will be easier to work with, you’ll have fun writing it, you will be daydreaming about the story, you will love the characters. So, give away three chances instead of one.

Originally posted by gypsyastronaut

Outline spoiling the fun

Problem: Whenever you outline a story idea, it completely spoils your will to write it. The mystery is gone.

Solution: Instead of outlining the whole story, just make a clear goal on how your characters should end. Will they succeed? Will they fail? Will they be happy? Will they find redemption? Will they be wronged? Decide how your story should end and explore the plot as you go. Remember, no one will read your first draft, so just write.

Lost midway

Problem: If you are a pantser, you might get lost in the middle of the story, especially after the first plot point.

Solution: Give your story an ending. If you know where your characters will end up, you’ll have a better understanding of which routes to take. Always keep in mind how the story will end. Use it as the beacon of a lighthouse to guide you through stormy waters.

Creative block

Problem: You don’t have story ideas. Or nothing you have so far excites you enough for a novel.

Solution: Read a book or watch a movie completely out of your genre. This works like magic, I promise. I’m not a sci-fi person, but Akira has given me more story ideas than any movie and book from my own genre.

Originally posted by sunio

Writing anxiety

Problem: You are scared of writing, scared of starting a new story, or just scared of not doing a good job.

Solution: Write a fanfic. No one expects a fanfic to be a masterpiece (although many are). Fanfics are done for fun and for passion. So, write your book in fanfic format. You can even use fandom characters and aus in the process. When the story is completed, change back to original characters.

Editing as you write

Problem: You keep going back to previous paragraphs and editing instead of moving forward with your writing.

Solution: Write your novel by hand. This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s quite the opposite. The white screen of the computer urges you to review, to make it perfect, academic like perfect. The paper however, brings you back to the craft, to the urge of filling lines and pages. Handwriting also gives you the opportunity of sketching and doodling. 

Originally posted by kyoka-sui-get-su

Procrastination

Problem: Tumblr. Youtube. Email. Netflix. Bathroom. Fridge. Bed.

Solution: Go offline. Turn off your wi-fi. Use a device without internet connection. Or, if you keep fooling yourself and turning the internet back on, write your novel by hand. Give yourself a daily hour of internet, but live offline. And if you take unnecessary trips to the fridge or the bathroom, try the pomodoro technique.

Lack of plots

Problem: Nothing relevant is happening, your story looks kind of boring. Or the main plot is too weak for a whole novel.

Solution: Take a few days off. Just relax. When you are ready to go back, read what you have written so far. Maybe you were just tired. But, if the story really sucks, go back to basics. Ask yourself two questions. What type of story am I writing? How will this story end? Follow the answer like a map. Change what needs to be changed, even if you have to delete the whole progress. If you lack plots, don’t add fillers, just go back to basics.  

Weak main character

Problem: Your character lacks personality, voice and/or visuals.

Solution: Give your main character three things. An external battle. An internal battle. And an unique feature. The external battle is their goal, what they want to achieve, what they dream about. An internal battle is their fears, traumas, doubts, mental issues, prejudices and triggers to overcome. An unique feature is what sets them apart from other characters, maybe they have piercings, or tattoos, or pink hair, or lilac eyes, maybe they wear neon boots, or a mask, or mittens, maybe they are left-handed, or blind, maybe they have a scar, or a birthmark. Every amazing main character has external battles, internal battles and unique features.  

Originally posted by takeruandcaterpillars

Depression

Problem: You have no will to write. The passion is gone. You feel empty.

Solution: If you don’t have access to medical help, reading is a good way to reevaluate your career and regain your passion for the words. Read lots of books. Don’t worry about writing, just read. Lose yourself in fictional adventures. Read sci-fi, romance, horror, fantasy, crime, family saga, classics, foreigner fictions, fanfics, shorts, poetry. Immerse in literature. Literature can save lives.  

Strange dialogues

Problem: Dialogues seem too formal, or too much like the narration, or characters lack individuality.

Solution: Read your dialogues out loud while acting as your characters. You can find a quiet empty room for that. Be an actor. Go for the emotions. Record your acting sections, after all, you might improvise at some point.    

Originally posted by gmt1999

4

It’s time for FORESHADOWING and GIFS. As soon as I knew this chapter was coming up I wanted to draw all the boys. I’m sure Min doesn’t have her viewings as pictograms but I like to imagine what if. I remember loving this sequence when I first read it, getting goosebumps at all these future hints, but in retrospect I wish some scenes weren’t foreshadowed. When you build up something for so long it can make it feel perfunctory when it actually happens.

There’s so much journey and heartache ahead for all these characters. I was flipping through A Memory of Light the other day and for all my waxing and waning interest in the series it was still emotional to see it all come to an end.

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2

In which Moiraine has a history lesson for angry villagers. Had some lighting fun in this, also hit the Procreate layer cap but it’s good to know I can get decent comic pages out of my iPad. There’s no text tool so y’all get my suspect handwriting though.

The lore-building in the early books was always some of my favourite content. I love that you could just feel the weight of the past and how the world had changed. Also heraldic eagles are pretty cool looking, you should go check ‘em out.

10

Shitty Horoscopes is the brainchild of Toronto-based Amrit Brar, also known as ‘Musterni.’ Unfolding on Tumblr since 2015 and culminating in the recent release of a Kickstarter-funded 13-chapter book, the project turns the shortcomings and darker sides of each zodiac sign into brief but poignant poems, accompanied by delightfully creepy drawings of decorated skeletal remains. Brutally honest, yet instantly relatable, Brar’s astrological messages read like a wine-induced 3AM conversation with your best friend, which is probably why her Tumblr fans just keep demanding more and more.

2

Still here doing the chapter project, just took a break for a bit. This page languished on my iPad for a while because I hated it after I started inking it so I redrew the first two panels and liked it a lot more. Also trying out some different rendering styles.

I love Moiraine’s stone cold intimidation of the Whitecloaks in this chapter, it’s beautiful.