Writing Struggles

And do word crimes! Have fun writing :slight_smile:


Meowmeows do word crimes. :grin:



I’m not sure if that’s a word crime, it might just be an actual crime…


Not mutually exclusive. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


There are more ways to skin a cat? ILL SHOW THEM HOW TO DO A PROPER SKINNING!


Thank you for all of your replies! Really, I’ve been pretty astounded by the willingness of everyone to help and very thankful for the advice given. Just reading this thread gives me a lot of encouragement to keep writing and trying to write.

I managed to get to 500 words today with one of my drafts. It’s not a lot, and my enthusiasm gradually petered out by the last few sentences, but it’s a start. I’ll try to keep at it and hopefully we might get somewhere, someday.

Thank you once more! :yellow_heart:


It’s actually pretty good! That’s at least a whole page :smiley:
Yesterday, I wrote 50 words :stuck_out_tongue:

Keep up the good work!
And have fun :slight_smile:


Artists often lose track that they are not civilians and have way higher - often ridiculous standards than the norm.

I worked in a dinner theater as a singing waiter

It felt like a semi-artless drudgery job, but it paid. Usually you signed up to work 3-4 months and do two different themed revues in a contract, then the cast would rotate; some people would stay on, so they were always auditioning. One afternoon while we (the current cast) were setting up the dining room, they notified us “Some people are coming in to sing for the music director at the piano onstage, so just be aware no plate juggling or distractions.”

We were all ready to be impressed. “woo, people coming to take our jobs!” and joked that we’d all be fired. Actually how terrifying to audition in a location in front of an existing cast of ten people just casually doing their job in the room with you…

Anyway both the singers they brought in were completely unprepared novices. One sang “Happy Birthday” because she neglected to bring correct sheet music. All of us discussed afterward that we really didn’t understand the moderately professional level we’d attained without realizing, being in that pool all the time. We were unwittingly at a higher level than we knew: Of course you bring music. Of course you learn the words before you go in. All of us had forgotten we were not civilians and it was a reminder that we were not terrible at our jobs and just had different expectations of the art form and competency level based on experience.


There’s a lot of great advice here, but let me see if I can add something useful. First, a bit about me.

I’ve been working on a novel since 2005. So far, 16 people have read all or parts of it. Some enjoyed reading it; others thought it “had potential.” (I’m somewhere in the middle.) Some thought it was finished back in 2012; others think it still needs work. (Obviously, I’m with the latter group.) Sometimes I work on it daily for months at a time; other times I don’t touch it for even longer periods.

So you may wish to take my struggles into account when considering the following advice.

  1. All art is subjective. Nothing is universally loved. As hard as it is for me to get my head around it, there are people who don’t like the Beatles. Once I accepted the fact that not everyone will think my creations are great (or even mediocre), it made it much easier for me to write.

  2. The subject of writing habits has been well covered here. All I’ll add is that when I force myself into some sort of structure, words get written; when I don’t, they don’t.

  3. Nothing I write comes out right the first time. Or even the second or the third. Seriously, probably the 7th or the 8th is more like it. So I view the first draft as just jotting down ideas, knowing I’ll come back and fix things up later. This is a great pressure reliever.

  4. I enjoy reading your posts on this forum. You’re an interesting person (to me, anyway!) with much to say. Translating your thoughts into fiction may be challenging you at the moment, but you have the two necessary basic ingredients - ideas and a desire to express them. With practice and discipline, the rest should follow. Believe in yourself!

  5. My inspiration for writing comes from my own experience. If you’re like me, here’s a suggestion for a story. As you know, conflict is generally an important element of fiction. When I write, I look for conflict in my own life that I can explore in my stories. From your earlier posts, I see (a) you enjoy looking at the night sky; and (b) you love cities - not exactly known for being great places to stargaze - and apparently live in one. This is an unfortunate circumstance, but it’s also a metaphor for all sorts of things. No doubt there’s a story here (interactive or otherwise), perhaps a slice of life, or maybe a psychological horror. But only you would know that - it’s your story. Do you want to write it? If so, I’d be very interested to read it. If not, maybe you have another conflict you’d rather explore instead.

That’s it. Hope I was helpful in some little way. Best of luck!


Thank you for this suggestion! In truth, I’ve always been attracted to (and best understood) writing from my own experience. But due to the whole “self-insert” problem that’s been expounded on in some authoring communities, and the fact that when I look at other writers, especially writers of the sci-fi/fantasy genres, it often seems like they write personas and characters completely different from who they actually are, I’ve internalized a lot of shame and reluctance of writing anything related to myself or my own experiences. It felt like for a very long time that if I did so I would be being “selfish”, “not understanding”, or very “inflexible” about other people’s experiences — of course, theoretically I’ve now realized that you can’t not write from your own experiences. You can’t pull anything from thin air. And you shouldn’t be so overtly ashamed about yourself or the events you’ve gone through as a person, in no way is that a healthy or productive mindset to do anything in.

So thank you a lot for your reminder/ideas! They’ve given me some more interesting morsels for thought.


Since everyone else is posting their tricks…

First, a bit about me: I’m more comfortable programming than writing prose, and when it comes to writing, I have a much easier time editing than typing out the text in the first place.

So, one thing that’s been working for me:

  1. Write out a skeletal implementation, with horrible throwaway placeholder text.
  2. Once the very basics are working, play through it with the transcription on until I’ve got a few pages of text.
  3. Dump that text into an ordinary document editor. Edit the transcript, without much concern for how it will be implemented.
  4. Back to the code! Paste bits of the edited transcript back into the source. Figure out if / how you can implement the features that your edited transcript suggested you should have. Expand things a bit.
  5. Back to step 2!

This is probably net-more-work than if I just wrote everything in the same place, but it does seem to help keep things moving when I’m running out of steam, and keeps that painful staring-at-a-blank-page writing experience to a minimum. All very specific to both parser games and my particular shape of brain, of course, but in case someone else on the thread has these in common…


Um… I’m enthusiastically nodding along my agreement to the first part of the sentence, and then everything after the comma doesn’t parse.

“Sure! Fun!”
“Yaay! We’re on a roll here!”
“Woohoo! Ittybitty details!”
“Wait, let’s just get the magnifying glass…”

Although this has become somewhat less prevalent in modern, more narrative-driven games, examining everything is still the core business of parser games. If you get tired of typing X fifteen times in a row in a single room, well… That’s kinda what parser games are for…

(Actually, old and retro parsers also don’t require much examining, since the objects are often described fully in the room description, without further detail in X. So my response is at least partly inspired by my personal preference for games from the late 90s until about 2010.)


Oh! I mean it gets tiring when half of the things I try to X don’t register :smiley: When it’s like “There’s nothing like that in this room” or something to that effect.

I love it when the game does respond. It’s cool to see everything in the in-game world described. Adds to the immersion.


Throne Room
You enter the Throne Room. In the middle of the throne room is a magnificent pearl-inlaid throne. The throne stands on a gold-and-marble pedestal. Behind the throne are thick-woven decorative curtains. On the throne a sceptre and a crown lie abandoned.

You can’t see any such thing.


Hey Juuves,

I’m not a writer, but I’m working on my first game in the IF medium so take this advice with a grain of sand salt. :wink:

There’s a great 3-part series on writing that I encourage you to read. You might fit the profile of the author or you might not… but for me, it hit all the right notes. (The series focuses on clear and concise writing.)

The biggest takeaway for me was… having something to say. (Also, there is a benefit to writing terse, effective IF for some stories so maybe that series of links is more relevant than I had anticipated.)

Writing is so much easier when you actually have something to say. The ideas flow. Every sentence has purpose. You don’t lose focus. You support your claim/story with stronger arguments/direction. So I guess, ask yourself, what am I trying to say with my story?

Being able to write your story’s theme in a succinct sentence is invaluable. A developed theme can really keep you on track. Some themes are tried and true (moral truths and such)… and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with treading over a well worn path.

As a side note, I’ve never liked reading. Actually (let me rephrase that), I don’t like reading books. I never could keep the little picture in my brain going. I always felt like I was studying for a test. I hated books… until I found Isaac Asimov. I enjoy reading his short stories because he has something to say in each of them. I especially like his stories because he doesn’t focus on people and relationships. He writes about ideas that encourage reflection and deep contemplation… and the characters really only exist to support those ideas. Ask yourself, what kind of writer are you?


Bit of a tangent, but upon the recommendation of friend, I’ve recently starting reading The Blindsight by Peter Watts. It really evokes Asimov in a tangible way while still being its own thing. If you enjoy Asimov’s idea-centric writing, I would recommend giving it a try.

Now back to writing advice:


Thank you for the links! They were very helpful. :smiley:


8 posts were split to a new topic: Arguing Syntax

I understand what you mean, and thank you. :slightly_smiling_face: I feel that I’m capable, but I’m just not quite there yet. However, the encouragement is not wasted on me. Thanks!

Something I was thinking about recently, that might help Juuves’ writing struggles (if they haven’t been already conquered), is a philosophy on creativity. For a long time, I’ve seen the effect limitations have had on creative solutions and expression… and I see how it was the constraints that forced the most creative results. I wonder if putting self-imposed limitations on our own projects might elicit more ingenuity and originality.

For example, I’ve always thought that my first IF might be a sci-fi story about a pilot adrift in space within a single cockpit, damaged star-fighter and a depleting life support system… and that’s where the story happens. There’s no other locations, no other characters, just you. I wonder what kind of story I could craft given such a limited environment and time frame. I’d really need to make my intent with the story crystal clear in my mind before I put keyboard to word processor, but I’d like to think that I would be able to say something unique and worthwhile given such a limited story scope.

I think that’s the heart of those IF game jams and such, where they pick a certain criteria (a specific set of limitations to work within) to get people thinking creatively.

Anyway, just something I was thinking about. Self-imposed limitations… cultivating creativity.

Damn, just writing out my idea for the first time is inspiring me. You’re all such good listeners. :wink:

Edit: Oh, I forgot that this post pertains to a great book for developing story plots.


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Arguing Syntax