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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 (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 7:08pm
Originally posted by readerum2 readerum2 wrote:

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. 

Hey, sounds like you had a great reason for forfeiting your round - Glad your daughter is at an age now that makes it easier to turn something out. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 7:13pm
Originally posted by Zelda Zelda wrote:

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! 

I think a big part of my problem is that I'm a perfectionist (in my own mind at least) so when I got thriller I wanted to really hit all the tropes and do it right and thriller is not a genre I read or watch at all so I had nothing really to go on for inspiration. The closest I could come up with was the movie Double Jeopardy but that, like most thrillers, is so intricate and complicated and it just seemed to require too much detail for a 1000 words. I'll definitely look you up next time if this happens to me again. Thanks so much for your understanding and sympathetic post - It's much appreciated.
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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 7:22pm
Originally posted by Crystal Highlands Crystal Highlands wrote:

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.




Snipped
 

I love your advice on focusing on the present for thrillers - I'll definitely remember that if I get thriller again (God help me if I get it again ShockedShockedShocked
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ChristiLB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 7:30pm
Thank you all so much for your kind, generous and sympathetic responses. I really appreciate all the support that everyone on this forum always offers to one another. I'm so glad I'm not the only one this has happened to, and am sorry for all of you that have struggled as well in previous competitions. I'll be thinking positively that we get some favorable prompts next time. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 9:19pm
Yep. A few times. I've been entering since 2013, and in the past 18 months I've paid for and skipped three times. For me it was some stuff going on behind the scenes that took the energy out of me to be creative. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ShroudedWolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2020 at 9:37pm
I got so depressed after one round, I quit the internet for 3 months and skipped the second challenge, then didn't write for about 2 years. Now, that's not normal me, but I do suffer from severe depression and anxiety and other factors were a part of the decision, but I regret it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote orion323 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2020 at 12:35pm
For some reason, I've been perpetually plagued by the spy genre for years now.  It got to the point where I didn't even look at assignments until the morning cuz it ruined my night.  I just have zero interest in or ability to write spy stuff.  I've always somehow coughed up a word hairball in time for the deadline but that's cuz I'm Aries and refuse to tap out.

This time I got crime caper and kicked shenanigan rocks in my head for a day and a half.  I finally came up with a story that I liked at noon on Sunday and skidded sideways into the 8:59 deadline...only to realize on Tuesday that I uploaded my first draft onto Submittable.  It's a flaming pile of hot hot garbage, run on sentences, and spell check gone awry.  I'm so embarrassed for the judges that have to read it...lol

Oh well.

Fwiw, a couple years ago I was one of the unicorns that got a 0 first round and a 15 the second and was able to move on.  Don't count yourself out just yet!


Edited by orion323 - 18 Jul 2020 at 12:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Crystal Highlands Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2020 at 1:27pm
Snipped
Originally posted by orion323 orion323 wrote:

...only to realize on Tuesday that I uploaded my first draft onto Submittable.  It's a flaming pile of hot hot garbage, run on sentences, and spell check gone awry.  I'm so embarrassed for the judges that have to read it...lol


Oh no! The good news is....this mishap could be a kernel for a future story. 

:)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Frefallr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2020 at 3:14pm
What a bummer! I was totally afraid I would come up blank. This is my first time doing this, and I really struggled with the genre, and the location which was a sauna, and I felt like all the situations I came up with were so clich├ęd at first. I'm nervous about the next assignment because I found it very difficult to write honestly (?) organically (?) -not sure what the right word is- with preassigned genre and location. I found it reassuring to think that so many people around the world were all dealing with the same 48 hours of pressure. It's bee inspiring to read the stories posted. I'm sure you'll be back in the game with the next prompt and I look forward to reading it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote KarenB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2020 at 3:34pm
So sorry you had this experience. It hasn't happened to me yet, but my fall back plan would be to default to a 100 word story and to run with whatever developed -- just to pop something in.  I imagine that might be a sloppy sounding plan to writers of a higher caliber than myself, but that's my plan, should I ever get stuck.  Wishing you only the best of luck in knocking the second round out of the park. Happy Writing!! SmileWinkBig smile
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