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have you ever failed to come up with a story?

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justmel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote justmel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 7:44pm
Yes. I've been doing these since 2015, and it's happened to me several times (four, I think: both rounds in Flash 2018, then again in Short Story this year, then again in Short Screenplay this year). I won't bore you with long-winded details--I'll just say there were legitimate reasons (there always are, whether it's a nasty set of prompts or something awry in your personal world), and you know what, sometimes it just happens. It's OK. Like falling off a horse or a bike or whatever, just get back on in Challenge 2. And if Challenge 2 defies you (it probably won't, but it did happen to me that one year), then you just shake it off and try again in the next comp. It's OK. Really. You are not alone!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 9:47pm
Not yet, but I have come very, very close. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote td333777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2020 at 11:45pm
Don’t beat yourself up—every year there’s at least one heat (usually in the second challenge) where less than HALF the writers bother to submit something.  Be it writer’s block, or a belief they won’t score high enough to advance, or real life getting in the way...sh*t happens.  Just don’t use it as an excuse to give up entirely—keep writing, keep struggling to create new characters and new stories.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MissMoosie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 7:26am
It's happened to me three or four times! Or I've just cobbled something together at the last minute.

In the last SSC, my script was so rushed I forgot what my main character was called halfway through! Oops!

I had another challenge when I had crime caper and I didn't know where to start. So I just didn't start...

But on the two-part challenges, I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing as it can free your mind up more for round two - and you can definitely still get through to round three!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Crystal Highlands Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 9:46am
I got thriller too and I also had an idea that was too big for 1000 words. 

I got wise advice that thrillers should be in the moment, to focus on the present and what is happening right now. That advice helped me pare down my idea, though I still struggled with amp'ing up the action.

I don't read thriller books or watch thriller movies and focusing on action isn't my interest, but giving it a go was a good assignment, and I think I could handle a thriller better next time. So, I'm kind of proud of that progress.

My initial instinct was to go with a humorous thriller (thinking of a character Melissa McCartney would play), but I backed off. I regret holding back as I think my story would be much better if it were funny.




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Originally posted by ChristiLB ChristiLB wrote:

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. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote fioOxf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 12:18pm
Yeah, last year Challenge 2. I was travelling the whole weekend - minibus for 9 hours, two planes, bus... I'd expected to be able to at least plan in the minibus, but I sat in the middle of a huge argument between two people behind me and two in front, which was just the wrong kind of white noise. Plus I'd hated challenge 1 (horror in a cake shop) and drew sci-fi in a pet shop, so was grumbly about the prompts anyway. I came up with an idea that turned my bickering travel companions into clone animals (in tune with their personalities)....... and then thought "seriously?!" and settled down to enjoy the scenery. Life, innit. Sometimes it happens, sometimes sh*t does. Frustrating at the time, but then you just do the next one. 
Hugs, anyway. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Helou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 12:37pm
I would say it happened to me this time for Flash. I moved house last Saturday, which included about 18 hours of travel and un/packing. I *tried* to think about my prompts, but I just couldn't. I ended up getting so time crunched that - without having thought of a story - I started cramming words into my gdoc 2ish hours before the deadline and ended up submitting something 1 minute late. 

The result doesn't really adhere to the genre, there's almost no actual story, and there's no intended meaning behind anything I wrote. Its words for the sake of getting something 'done' in time. A genuinely pointless piece of writing, which is especially problematic given that my genre was polsat. 

I don't really feel too bad about it given how hectic and stressful a weekend it was, but I doubt I'll post it to the forums. Is there any point asking for feedback on something that I put so little thought into? I think its a product of my grasp on the English language, as opposed to my creativity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ReaderWriterRagan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 2:25pm
I feel for you! We came *so* close this round, Suspense was our genre and it just felt impossible. I think it's because, you know, with other genres, you have the ability to shape what *kind* of story it will be, like, say it's "Sci-Fi", you can make it a Romantic sci-fi, or a thriller Sci-fi, or a Crime Caper sci-fi, or with Historical, same thing, you can spin it however you want, suspenseful, funny, etc. But with Suspense (and Thriller too, I think) it's like there is less flexibility. Whatever you write it HAS to be suspenseful. I don't know if I'm explaining it right but we for sure were beating our heads against the brick wall!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 6:59pm
Originally posted by KelsNotChels KelsNotChels wrote:

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 


Aaaw, thanks so much for your kind words and generous offer. I'll definitely take you up on it if I am struggling during the second challenge. I usually do make a post on here when I'm having trouble and get some great feedback but I just felt the time slipping away this weekend and didn't think I had any time left. I won't make that mistake again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 7:05pm
Originally posted by sidle_by sidle_by wrote:

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!!

WOW, your experience sounds exactly like mine, right down to having a great opening line. I had such a funny opening scene between two characters discussing their costumes (It probably would've been the first thing my betas suggested I cut HAHA) but yah, I had nothing after that. I've been in that situation with these competitions before, like you, and have always managed to pull something out at the last minute but I was just getting too frustrated this time and I could feel my blood pressure going through the roof so I just had to pull the plug. I felt so much calmer after that. Hopefully we'll both have better luck with round 2.
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