A Writing Future?

This is a modified version of a post I wrote and submitted to two writing communities, where I asked for help. I never intended to include in here, but as I’m at a important crossroads in my writing, I feel it should be documented on my own website.

I have a dilemma and wish to ask your advice/opinions.

I read fantasy novels (young adult and adult). I rarely read other genres, but I am trying to force myself to in order to broaden my horizons.

I write fantasy – young adult and adult in the past, but more recently my target audience has been children (8 to 12 year olds).

Now for my dilemma: Lately, over the last couple of months, I’ve been feeling as if I’m actually writing in the wrong genre. I love fantasy. I love reading it. But that doesn’t mean I’m good at writing it. I hate fight scenes; always have. I’m not imaginative enough for the insertion of magic into my work and often avoid it. I feel pressured because of this and often find I don’t write because my stories should have these elements in them.

That made me start thinking that I’m writing in the wrong genre, but, many years ago I started writing a romance (not the Mills and Boon type, more general romance). The first ten chapters flew onto the page with no effort on my part, but as soon as I reached the part where the major conflict came into play…I stopped writing. I knew exactly what had to happen. I knew exactly how the story would end. But I stopped writing. So maybe it’s nothing to do with genre. I have several other unfinished manuscript because of this too; all of them have stopped where the conflict begins.

Now, I’m rewriting a fantasy short story. I know exactly what happens from beginning to end. I’ve even written the closing scene, with is where the planning actually started. The story was built on the ending. I have written the beginning, but now I’m at the climax and I’ve stopped writing. For heavens sake, I have probably two or three pages to write and the story is finished, but I simply don’t want to write it. I feel as if I can’t write it. I feel as if this is going to make me stop writing. I’m serious.

Someone suggested that I have “empty nest syndrome”, but I disagree with that. I want my stories to be finished. I crave for it. I just don’t like conflict scenes…and I often skip over them when I read books too. I don’t like them and I don’t want to write them. But all stories have them!

I’ve been borrowing and buying writing books and reading them through (partially, anyway). I’ve been writing posts that are meant to inspire (me more so than visitors to the site). I used to see the scenes in my mind, but I simply couldn’t write them. Now my mind gets to that section and skips over the top of it leaving me with a vague impression. I know I’m not interested in that section of the story. I keep telling myself just write the damn thing in point form if I have to and build on it later, but I can’t do it. I had intended to make it a public goal, but I can’t even force myself to do that. I spent all day (on and off) Sunday writing. I don’t have writer’s block. I just don’t want to write the scene. I really want to use a swear word about now. I feel so angry with myself.

Writers write; everyone else just talks about it. I wrote that on this blog. It was meant to be a guilt trip aimed at me, but even that didn’t work. I’m “everyone else” and that is not good enough.

The whole thing is starting to upset me. I love writing. I hate writing the major conflict. This is the section that most writers can’t wait to get to and love to write the most. Why am I shunning it? What can I do to get over this? Am I writing the wrong genre? Is there a place to learn to write these scenes and feel comfortable doing so? If I don’t do something soon, I think I’ll back away from writing altogether…or maybe just go back to writing excessively long manuscripts just for me. At least there was no pressure then.

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4 thoughts on “A Writing Future?

  1. I feel a bit better knowing that I’m not the only one facing serious writing problems.

    Maybe it’s the fact that you keep thinking the conflict has to be ‘bad.’ That confronting something is nasty and unwanted.

    Try to think that the character is getting involved in the conflict for the better, or if they don’t want to get involved, maybe you know it’s for the better will help.

    I’m not sure if this fits your situation, but just throwing something out there.

  2. Hi Karen,
    How about trying a little exercise. Come up with a conflict. Write one paragraph that is the actual conflict. Just 4 or 5 sentences. The conflict. Then go back and write a paragraph before it. 4 or 5 sentences of what happened before that conflict. Now jump over and write a paragraph after the conflict.
    Come back later and read it. I bet if you let yourself, you’ll start thinking ‘well, actually, this happened also, and this also happened before. And now I need to show how that happened afterwards.’ Before you know it, you might have yourself a chunk of text that is now your conflict.
    Good luck!

  3. I don’t think that this is a genera issue for you. As you point out there is conflict in everything and you have even had issues in writing conflict in non-fantasy. I think the issue might be the type of conflict that you are writing. Have you considered looking at what you have written and enjoyed writing and finding the types of conflicts that are in there. Maybe it is the physical conflicts that you have an issue with. I know my wife has issues with violence. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having mental or emotional conflicts the character has to deal with. I think if you find the right type of conflict for you, it will shine and people will not notice that the good guys didn’t beat up the bad guys.

    Also you mentioned writing for yourself. For me this is a key point. You need to write for yourself first, to tell the story.

    I hope this helps, feel free to e-mail me if you want to.

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