Running into the hurdles of writing

One of the most difficult parts about writing, for me, is storyline.
I’ll get a concept going, albeit a small one, and try to form it into something coherent. Sometimes that works, most of the time the idea ends up in a folder in the corner of my closet, buried underneath plastic bags of clothes I haven’t touched for years. On the rare occasion that it actually works, I’ll be at the keyboard for hours at a time, hammering out the details and making characters and situations follow the melody of that storyline.
A storyline is really quite easily compared to a song, one where the rhythm is persistent and purposeful with every action the characters are made to take.
The challenge of making a coherent storyline is the reason why I stuck to writing short stories for a while. (That is, when I actually made the effort to write them.) For years, I let my professional writing intrude on the personal writing. Instead of creating stories about a young man discovering the true story behind a box of items willed to him by his grandfather, I focused on making sure my newspaper article was properly structured.
Instead of writing that spinoff to “The Office”, I stuck to ensuring I didn’t have more than three or four sentences in the paragraph of a news article.
And, instead of bolstering my creative writing, I made excuses and told myself “I’ve done enough writing this week. There just isn’t any left in the tank.”
You see, writing isn’t easy, and I’m not trying to boost my ego or make further excuses here. For some, crafting a story with various subplots and making everything flow smoothly in line with the storyline’s drum beat is easy. For others, writing a 20-plus word lead and filling in the rest of the details in an article just over 500 words is easy.
For myself? I can write a traditional news article simply enough. It’s merely churning out a simplistic storyline and tossing some quotes in to balance the article’s objectivity.
But ask me to create a world from the chaos of my imagination and turn it into a coherent work? That’s not easy. Add in the challenge of making it marketable to a mass audience, and that’s a pretty tall order.
That is precisely why I’ve strayed from creative writing over the last few years. It isn’t due to a lack of ideas or a lack of ability. Creating a cohesive plot that works for several hundred pages is enough of a challenge on its own, and one that I haven’t ever successfully accomplished.
I would, however, like to add that to the ever-growing list of goals for this year.
A couple of good friends have already published their own novels. It’s time I join their ranks.

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10 comments

  1. Storyline is always the hardest part of writing for me as well! I totally relate to this post, and thanks for the helpful hints. I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing on my own literary blog.

  2. That’s one of my major problems. I get great ideas but I can’t figure out storylines where the ideas would make sense. One things that helps though is outlining my ideas. When I first start out with an idea I’ll write a loose outline using the headings from “the plot triangle” (exposition, rising action, etc.) and then I’ll write out the entire plot. Now that first outline is by no means final. If I find something doesn’t work, or get a new idea I’ll change it, but the outline is just a nice way to organize my ideas. Great post!

  3. Most people don’t realize how hard writing really is. Storyline is important. You have to choose a story to tell, and then you have to forget about everyone else. Who cares if it’s marketable? Who cares if it’s silly? YOU have a story to tell, so tell it! All that other stuff gets ironed out once you have a draft. And here’s another secret: your first draft is going to suck. It’s going to be crap, but it’s also going to be there to edit, and polish, and fix. You can’t edit a blank page, so pick a path, sit down, and crank out some words. You have to write for you, not others.

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