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FFC #80 - So that's why

Posted October 29th, 2021 at 10:39 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #80

Ever since my writing stopped, I've known something which I've never mentioned here. I didn't mention it, because despite all my various proclamations that I was 'back' or I had 'fixed' X, Y, or Z, it was evidence that I was wrong. And I kind of knew that in the back of my mind, but kept talking myself out of it.

So what is that thing which I never mentioned until now? A simple fact: I knew that my writing could never return until I figured out two things. Firstly, why it had stopped, and secondly, how to bring it back. If I didn't know that, nothing would be different. My writing was stopped for a reason; I knew it wouldn't come back until something big had changed.

You already know where I'm going with this.

Throughout all of my various head-banging and wild attempts to figure out where it had all gone wrong, things were happening in the background; things which needed to happen. There was a very good reason my writing stopped, a very good reason for everything that has been happening. And now, I believe I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Here's what was going on: for all my talk about using fan fictions to practice writing, I wasn't really doing that. I was until through Red, but after that point I stopped absorbing data on how to write and just... kept writing. My process didn't really change or update much for a long time. If I was ever going to actually write those novels I knew I was destined to, I had to get out of that rut.

The only way that was going to happen was if my writing was shut off. Some panic ensued, but, unable to write, I finally turned back to the next best thing: learning how to write. Because despite what I might have thought, I had a lot left to learn. In the months that followed, I slowly encountered the information I was lacking. Such as:
  • Character arcs - HUGE dump of information which completely destroyed my writing process, and is to this day still reworking it.
  • The 3-act-structure. Another HUGE thing I had refused to use. Drastically cut down on development time, taking it from months to weeks.
  • Extensive testing of character arcs. This is what finally defeated my '2nd act black hole' syndrome.
  • Stakes - I finally got stakes down, for real this time. Another old enemy I had been dealing with since the beginning.
  • Side characters. Analyzing Poldark helped me realize both a great way to create side characters, and how to best show a main character.
  • Figuring out why I kept losing interest - this is something I haven't mentioned, but I believe I figured out why this kept happening, and how to prevent it.
  • How to prevent weak stories - something else I haven't mentioned, because I'm still in the process of nailing it down. This revolves around the emotional impact of the ending.

These are big things. Along with some non-writing stuff I needed to learn, they are the reason my writing was stopped. Because if my writing hadn't been stopped, I probably wouldn't have realized even half of them. If any. I would have happily just kept writing, and I might have gone on to my novels, thinking I had everything down. That would have been a nightmare. My novels would probably have tanked, and I would have no idea why.

So does this fix everything? It's certainly shown me why my writing was stopped, and from what I've learned, I believe I now have the tools to restart it. However, I've also learned that I cannot, at the present time, return to writing as I used to, to the exclusion of all else.

BUT... with what I've learned, I can return. And I will, once I have learned everything I am supposed to. I obviously don't know if I'm there yet or not, but... it seems like I am.

~TGRF, who will return once he gets a sufficiently good story idea. Because that's the only thing stopping him right now which he can see.
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