Sunday, July 27, 2014

Story Hangover

I've done everything by the book. I put my first draft aside to let it rest and I haven't opened the file since. I brainstormed and I came up with a new story idea, that I love. But still, it doesn't work. Every time I try to concentrate on my new story I fall back into the old story that should rest. Every thought of my new protagonist sounds like the old protagonist. 

Don't get me wrong, it's not writers block. I have the story in my head and I am excited about it. I write, but the outcome doesn't sound like it should.

My diagnosis: I have a story hangover.

So what can I do, to get rid of it. Well, I've got several ideas, but as this is the first time for me I don't really know which of the measures does work. 

A) First a don't
Let me start with what you should not to: Stop writing. You should continue to write every day, even if it is as little as 250 words. 

B) Experiment
Try out techniques. Try something you haven't done before, for example try to write in a different POV or try to write a different genre. You could also try to write a screenplay, just for the fun.

C) Focus on your weaknesses
Other examples you could try include things you know you are weak in, for example dialog or description. If you are a discovery writer, try to plot a story, if you are a plotter, try to discovery write.

D) Writing prompts
Take a writing prompt and write the story. Do this every day until you are out of the story. Alternatively, take a scene out of a movie and try to write this scene until it paints exactly the picture the film does. For example the scene from Gladiator, where Russell Crowe comes home and finds his wife and kid killed. Try to provoke the same feelings people had in the cinema.

E) Read a book
Use the time to read a book you always wanted, but did not have time yet (without letting go the every day writing). Diving into a story will help your brain to loose the other one. It's pretty much the same as rushing into a new love after a partnership ended, just not as unfair for the book as it is for the new partner.

F) Rewrite/Translate
Ok, this option is very writer-in-a-foreign-land-specific. I could take a story I wrote in German and rewrite it in english.

Again, I don't know which of above option does work. Maybe I will try to rewrite another story or try to experiment. I'll let you know which one did work. Did you experience story hangover too? How did you got over it?

Looking forward hearing your experience
Your writer in a foreign land

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