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have you ever failed to come up with a story?

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ChristiLB View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: have you ever failed to come up with a story?
    Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 3:16pm
Has anyone ever suffered such severe writer's block in this competition that you were unable to write and submit a story?

Sadly that happened to me, for the first time, in this first challenge for flash fiction. I got completely stuck with the genre of thriller. I read about all the tropes online like needing high stakes, what does the character stand to lose or gain by succeeding or failing, needing a ticking clock, fast paced, etc. But everything I came up with felt too complicated for a 1000 words. I tried to have my character being blackmailed but then I thought that he wouldn't be a likable character if he was doing something bad enough to be blackmailed for it. I was a complete wreck all weekend and finally had to make the decision to just let it go because I was pulling my hair out and driving myself crazy over it and it's supposed to be fun. I'm so disappointed that I couldn't pull it off but hopefully I'll still be able to try challenge 2 of this first round in August.

Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? Anyway, I'm off to read what you all wrote - Can't wait. I always enjoy them. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote chrissie0707 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 3:51pm
Happened to me in the first round of SSC this year. I was assigned Spy, and spent the first couple of days plotting a really, probably TOO complicated story with a sci-fi twist. With two days to go in the comp, I had about 400 rough words written, and a writer friend pointed out all the little things that would need explaining, or didn’t make sense, and questioned my MC’s entire motivation. It completely killed my creativity. I bowed out instead of stressing myself out (even more than I already had) to force a story by the deadline. 

Try not to be too disappointed in yourself, and knock it out of the park in challenge #2!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 4:01pm
Originally posted by chrissie0707 chrissie0707 wrote:

Happened to me in the first round of SSC this year. I was assigned Spy, and spent the first couple of days plotting a really, probably TOO complicated story with a sci-fi twist. With two days to go in the comp, I had about 400 rough words written, and a writer friend pointed out all the little things that would need explaining, or didn’t make sense, and questioned my MC’s entire motivation. It completely killed my creativity. I bowed out instead of stressing myself out (even more than I already had) to force a story by the deadline. 

Try not to be too disappointed in yourself, and knock it out of the park in challenge #2!

Aww, thanks so much for the kind and encouraging words. Sounds like I did to myself what your writer friend did to you - questioning too much and finding too many holes in the story. Spy and thriller both seem like tough genres to write in short stories in because they really do require lots of intricacies. Oh well, glad to know I'm not the only one it's happened to. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote KelsNotChels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 4:47pm
Originally posted by ChristiLB ChristiLB wrote:

Has anyone ever suffered such severe writer's block in this competition that you were unable to write and submit a story?

Sadly that happened to me, for the first time, in this first challenge for flash fiction. I got completely stuck with the genre of thriller. I read about all the tropes online like needing high stakes, what does the character stand to lose or gain by succeeding or failing, needing a ticking clock, fast paced, etc. But everything I came up with felt too complicated for a 1000 words. I tried to have my character being blackmailed but then I thought that he wouldn't be a likable character if he was doing something bad enough to be blackmailed for it. I was a complete wreck all weekend and finally had to make the decision to just let it go because I was pulling my hair out and driving myself crazy over it and it's supposed to be fun. I'm so disappointed that I couldn't pull it off but hopefully I'll still be able to try challenge 2 of this first round in August.

Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? Anyway, I'm off to read what you all wrote - Can't wait. I always enjoy them. Smile

Oh, I’m so sorry writers block got a hold of you last weekend. I think anyone who’s been writing a while can definitely empathize with you. Next round, you’ve got this! And just in case part of the problem was not having a writing buddy to bounce ideas off of, feel free to message me for challenge #2. Sometimes we just have to commiserate together and have someone say our ideas aren’t crap! :D 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote DonInAZ2020 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 4:54pm
I thought that was me last weekend, for the Flash Fiction contest. I got suspense (never written it before), sauna (really??), and pamphlet (in a sauna, for real?) and by Sunday morning I had nothing. I was resigned to not submitting anything. Then, miraculously, an idea developed. Happily, I was able to write it and edit it in time.

But I can definitely relate. I'm sorry you had that experience. I hope you'll continue to enter and try. Basically, my reason for entering the FF contest was to force myself to write, and it actually worked out that way this time. Hang in there and keep trying!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BarbaraFL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 5:15pm
Yup, it happened to me for short story this year - also with thriller. Tried and tried and started a bunch of things, but it just wasn't happening. Bummed to lose the entrance fee, but not the end of the world - hope you get something great for Challenge 2!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote sidle_by Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 5:21pm
Happened to me this time, too! Had spy, which I'd never got before and was super excited about. Came up with a steampunk sort of vibe, had a great opening line, knew the plot, has my characters, and then... nothing. It just would't flow. 

I've written in a number of these comps. For a handful of rounds, I worked absolutely hideous weekend shifts where I slept single digits over the entire weekend period, but I always somehow managed to cobble something together right before deadline. I sort of just assumed I'd manage it again. But midnight rolled around (deadline my time is 5am) and I didn't even have the first paragraph, so I decided to pull the pin and get some rest instead. Slept really well, as it turns out LOL

The thing is, I've forgiven myself for it. There was a number of reasons I didn't manage to write, and that's the way it is sometimes. I'm lucky that I'll get to write in round 2, so the comp isn't over for me yet. Realistically, the only downside is that I'm very unlikely to make round 3 - but hey, I've done this comp twice before and only progressed once despite writing both stories both times, so it's not like missing one round has made a huge difference to my overall success.

I'm here in solidarity. Forgive yourself for not writing, enjoying snooping on the talent of your heatmates, and see if it all goes better in round 2 - i figure that's the best we can do, anyway!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote dcontarato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 6:30pm
Hasn't happened to me yet but I've realized that when I'm not interested in the assigned genre I get really stuck because, to quote the original poster:

Originally posted by ChristiLB ChristiLB wrote:

it's supposed to be fun.

... and there are a few genres in the roster here that I'm not interested in and don't find fun to write. So the temptation of giving up hangs around all weekend when I'm not enjoying the process, and I might fall prey to it eventually.


Edited by dcontarato - 16 Jul 2020 at 6:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote readerum2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 6:40pm
This happened to me in the first round of the SSC earlier this year. It wasn't so much that I was struggling with writer's block, but that the whole thing was ill-timed with the birth of my daughter only a month before. 

There just wasn't time and I was too exhausted every night to try and bang something out (if I recall correctly, I wasn't loving the genre I pulled either), so I took a forfeit (and stayed in my wife's good graces).

That said, my daughter is 7 months old now and I did manage to submit something for FF R1 last weekend, so maybe this is do-able now. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 6:45pm
It's never happened to me, but I've had times where I was force-writing the story and wasn't pleased with what I came up with. It seems to have less to do with the prompts and more to do with my mental game. One weekend during last year's flash fiction, I attended a bad tap-dancing class and couldn't get my mind in the game afterward. My story was less than stellar, and I've realized how important it is for me to clear the decks and not do anything extracurricular during these contests (the exception being round 1 of short story, since it lasts eight days). But next time this happens, come and find me and we can brainstorm for story ideas!! That's part of what makes it fun!! I wish you wouldn't put all the pressure on yourself to overcome difficult prompts!! I guess it's not the same thing, but I had to ask a lot of people to describe food co-ops to me this round. Apparently, we don't have them in Louisville. I'm sad that you struggled so much!! Maybe you had something on your mind that you didn't even realize was bugging you, or something like that, and you couldn't get in the game. It certainly happens!! Please, don't pull your hair out! Yikes! 
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