Shooting the Engineers (and the difficulties involved):

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I have, and, to the best of my knowledge, always had, an annoying tendency which relates to planning stories. When I plan stories out in my head, they have a tendency to warp and twist and mutate, absorbing every possible interesting thing I can think of until what was going to be a 5-page short story has somehow become a plan for a million-word novel trilogy. This is not only really frustrating for me, but it also prevents me from getting almost any work done on the story at all, because the story's never 'fully planned out'.

To give you an example, take my current project. What was originally going to be a short Urban Fantasy story about how a bunch of teenagers use high-school chemistry and physics knowledge to kill a werewolf in a beachside town in Australia has somehow managed to transform itself into a sprawling epic in which a hermaphroditic Humanoid Abomination Psychopomp with the ability of weaponised fourth-wall breakage who works for a shadowy consortium of Buddhist-Marxist immortals and supernatural entities (who aim on initiating a hard-takeoff technological singularity, which they see as both the embodiment of the sixth stage of Marx's theory of social development, and the ultimate expression of bodhicitta, the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings) assembles a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits* in order to fight in a massive four-way conflict between them, a group of esoteric Islamic werewolf hunters who employ a form of weaponised reincarnation and are led by Harun al-Rashid, a wildly popular boy band who are actually the shoggot'im familiars of two of the most insanely powerful magic-users on Earth, and a loose association of the world's oldest werewolves who are named after and derive abilities from various figures in Maori mythology, all of whom have different ideas on what direction the world should be taken.

I think you see the problem.*

This story has been in the planning stage for months now, and it's infuriating how I can't seem to sit down and actually write the damn thing. Does anyone else find the ceaseless tweaking and addition to stories when they're in the planning stage to be a problem, and if so, what should I do to circumvent it?

edited 19th Oct '11 5:48:44 AM by RiotousRascal

2 RalphCrown19th Oct 2011 06:20:20 AM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
A serious case of mission creep. You have to compartmentalize. At some point you have to establish a border of sorts—old ideas stay inside it, new ones go outside and spin off into other stories. If you keep piling new stuff into a story, you'll never finish it.

I can't tell you where or how to establish those borders. That's one of the choices that defines you as a writer.

You might ask yourself, and I mean this in a helpful way, if writing is really what you want to do. You say you spend all your time plotting and none of it writing. You'll have to do some writing eventually if you want to have a product you can show to someone else, whether it be your friends, your teachers, or your agent. Plot lines and pitches and spitballing don't mean anything if you don't follow through and bring them to life.

edited 19th Oct '11 6:27:45 AM by RalphCrown

Under World. It rocks!
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