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  1. #1
    Gregory White

    do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    Do you ever start a novel, get pretty far into then completely start over from scratch?

    I feel like the 70 pages I've written so have been like attending a party with my characters. Now that I know them so well, I'm wondering if I should have sent them down different paths and given them different motivations and things to say.

    I'm trying to decide whether it is self-sabotage (the act of not finishing until the end)


    if it is being a smart writer, thinking, "hey, I have a much better idea." (which would completely change the course of the end, anyway.

    any thoughts?


  2. #2
    Sail Away

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    Hi Gregory,

    70 pages is not a huge investment. Think of it as an extended character sketch.

    I think you owe it to yourself to try out your "much better idea". Otherwise, you will never be satisfied with your story and will constantly second guess yourself which will ultimately show up in your writing.


  3. #3
    A.L. Sirois

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    As I said in another thread, I have a novel that I just can't kick into life. It certainly is not the first or only one I've written, but for some reason I cannot figure out how to make the frigging thing live. I've re-written the entire thing twice and started out on an entirely new path once (about a hundred pages), yet there it lies, mooning me. So to hell with it.

    At other times, what seems like a good story-opener peters out after a page or so. *shrug* Ain't nothing to it. False starts happen. Own it, mine the good stuff out of it, and move on.

  4. #4
    Elena Solodow

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    Just go with your gut. I used to get obsessed with finishing every draft, but sometimes it's just not worth it if you're going to be changing things so drastically in the next version.

  5. #5
    brittney voyles

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    I've started all over before too. If you come up with an even better idea, go for it. But keep a hard copy of what you've already written just to look back on if you need to.

  6. #6
    d. Leroy

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    I don't typically like to start something over again from scratch - in fact, I hate to do that and will generally try to figure a way to make it work out.

    That said, I've certainly done it. Twice. The first time wasn't bad - I only got about 40 or so pages into it and then completely started over again. The second one, I actually got to page 281 and realized I was forcing it. I haven't started that story again - I'm still too pissed about it.

  7. #7
    L Bea

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    Go for it. Write 70 pages of the new idea and see if it really flows out of you and inspires you to continue that way. Then decide. Make backups of what you have now though. It would be a shame to lose the original idea if it turns out that's the way to go.


  8. #8
    David Mivshek

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    This viewpoint might benefit you...

    Take the characters and start a new story.

    But keep the 70 page story and replace the character's names with new names.

    You might be writing 2 stories at once. Basically, you've tricked yourself into writing the first story while using the characters of the second story to manipulate you to realize they don't fit with the first story so you have to start writing a second one.

    I do this when writing music. I'll write a few riffs and put them together. I'll later realize a riff or two don't actually fit, but they incite me to start writing a second song which uses them. This creates an artist's style; the reoccuring patterns that span an artist's works.

  9. #9
    Vaughan P

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    I say get roaring drunk and then start writing some pages until you pass out.

    When you wake up the next morning and read what you have written and if after seventeen shots of tequila and twelve pints of amber gold the new material is better than the original, go with the alcohol fueled pages and start from there.

    If on the other hand, the original is still better than the liquored literature, refer to David's post.

  10. #10
    Gregory White

    Re: do you ever just START ALL OVER?

    LOL...reminds me of an episode of GOLDEN GIRLS when Blanche stayed up for 2 or 3 days writing a book and when Rose went to read it, it was all unreadable gibberish (from her sleep deprivation).

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