Writers: Is there anything wrong with losing interest in a story after creating...


I’ve realized that the best part to writing for me is creating the characters; their appearance, histories, personalities, families etc.

I tend to lose interest in writing after that happens. It’s almost as if I prefer acting out their stories in my head rather than on paper.
Does this mean that I need to work on my writing? Perhaps it’s due to lack of skill which leads to lack of interest in writing? Or am I just not the writing type?

Thoughts and advice?

No. There’s nothing wrong! I do the exact same thing, and I know a lot of other people do too, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. Creating characters is a snap decision; creating a story takes much, much longer. And whether or not you can get the words to flow has nothing to do with your ability - sometimes the most avid writer has not much skill but writes for themselves anyways, and vice versa.

[name]Don[/name]'t worry - it does pass. Continue making those characters, and when you finish one, just tuck them into the back of your mind and sit on it for a while. You never know what wonderful idea could pop out at you at any given time, and when one does, you’ll be ready :slight_smile:

Aw, thanks you make a good point. :slight_smile:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to look at the story I’ve written and suddenly realize I don’t like it anymore, whether it be the characters or the plot or anything else.

Going back and changing your mind over and over again is something writers do all the time. Characters are a crucial part of the story. Their actions, mistakes, triumphs, developments, etc., move the story along as well as keeps the reader interested. The Hunger Games would not be The Hunger Games without a character like [name]Katniss[/name] Everdeen. If the plot changes, so must the characters and vice versa.

So, no, losing interest in a story is not a bad thing. But you should always keep your old story ideas in a file on your computer or tucked away inside a box. Someday, you might find it again, realize it was a good idea, and go back to it and build on it more.

Characters are a fun part of new stories! If that’s what you love doing, there’s nothing wrong with it. The problem is if you want to write the stories, you do need to figure out how you push through.

I love when I have the time to sit with my characters for awhile first, but it’s so important however to just start writing and see what happens. I think my biggest hangup in the past was that I would write and rewrite and rewrite again until I had some scene completely perfect, but I’d take forever to plow forward and figure my story out. Now, it’s all about getting everything down on paper and then going back and fine tuning. It’s letting go of that fear of not getting everything right the first time. That’s why cut and paste and delete exist.

You might also think about those character histories a little more. I can’t tell you how many times I realized it was something in a characters past that became the story I was telling. Adjust your time table and you might find your story. :slight_smile:

Exactly what the previous posters said. I have so many unfinished stories, where I created these interesting, complex characters, and then left them with only a few pages of story. Or maybe more than that, but in any case, I tend to get stuck once the exposition phase is finished. Then I just drop them until I revisit them and maybe get some interest back, but usually that’s the end of things. And it’s sad that I do so much work on these characters and still have nothing to show for it except the character descriptions of epic proportions (seriously, they get long).
So I’m currently in the rehash-the-beginning-a-million-times phase, but with some work, I hope I’ll be able to plow through stories instead of sitting on the first few scenes forever, like I usually do. But I tend to make characters, and tell their whole story and emotional journey, before I get anywhere near the real writing. Like, I’ll write a summary of what will happen, create the necessary characters, flesh out those characters until they’re practically real, and THEN start writing. And usually I get pretty much nowhere. If you really want to get a story done, practice trying to push through the initial draft, and you can always go back and edit later. Now if only I could take my own advice…

I do that SO often- you’re definitely not alone! I think with me, I just keep remembering that not every idea or fun character I come up with has the strength or complexity to carry an entire story. Sometimes it helps me to go back and figure out how to make the conflict bigger, or more complicated, so that the story needs to be written so that I can figure it out! Other times, I’m stuck giving idea after idea a test run and keep going back to square one…like I am right now!

I think that’s just part of the creative process. Writing is very time-consuming and requires so much mental energy. I was completely committed to a story a couple days ago, but yesterday & today, I’ve been too burned out to even think about it. I have a bunch of unfinished stories for a variety of reasons. It happens. [name]Don[/name]'t be discouraged. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all your input and advice, much appreciated!

This totally sounds like me. I have numerous characters developed for numerous storires and often it feels like I never get anywhere in the writing department. I come up with an idea…I write it down then the next day I hate my idea and think of something different. My lifestyle holds me back from writing too. I’m one that needs a quiet clear head to write and often that enviroment just doesn’t exsist. Work is on my mind, I’m tired, my husband watches the t.v. too loud. I often wish I could develope the characters and get someone else to write. LOL

Absolutely not; the writing process is muddled and foggy and difficult even for writers to understand (though you understand a little more how YOU work as time goes on.) For you, I’d suggest holding off the temptation to create characters until after you’ve begun your story. Start with a CONCEPT and a single, main character, and then go from there – I often find that characters create themselves once a plot has got going, and then I can deepen them and develop them WHILE being immersed in my plot. I’d also suggest doing something like National Novel Writing Month in [name]November[/name], just so you can prove to yourself that you can finish something. (It’s a lot easier than it sounds!)

Best of luck!

I hope I’m not too late to help out!

I have the same problem as you- as soon as I get past charactor development (which I’m always indecisive about, just look at my history with the writers corner) I start to lose interest. Part of it is that I now have to start intesnse research and begin to work on plot lines, and another part is that I’m one of those people who can’t make up their minds. It’s an absolute curse.
It’s difficult to really dive in to the depth writing required to stories. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t the writing type, you just need some work. There are some books that are helpful with the writing process- not just character development, but plot development too. Maybe looking through something like that would help.
Previous posters are right, this is also part of the writing process, and it’ll take time to work out. With my current story there are days, almost weeks that go by when I don’t give it much thought, it just mulls in the back of my brain. But when I’m ready to work on it again I have some fresh persepctive.
I hope this has been at a least a little helpful! Good luck with writing!

  • [name]Athena[/name]

This was my early childhood! I made stories up in my head with complex characters and storylines but never wrote them down on paper. I like my ideas to mull around in my head a bit. I give it two weeks and if I’m still thinking about it then I will try to start writing. I also find that some of my past ideas can mingle with my new ideas to create a better storyline.

I find if I overwork the characters the story becomes less important. I know it’s fun to invent all sorts of background info for them but sometimes the best thing to do is just sit down and plan out the whole plot instead, then sit down and force yourself to start writing it and discover things about the characters as you go. A few years ago I spent six months writing 500 words a day until I had a 90,000 word novel.

Some of you may know that I’m a novelist as well as the cocreator of Nameberry. Really interesting discussion. I believe that the creation of a story or novel starts with the characters and so you’re on the right path. The characters determine the story and not vice versa. But I usually start with some kind of idea that contains other elements – I’m pulling this one out of thin air, but a stranger comes to an island and disrupts everyone’s lives – and from there I create characters out from all the players who might populate such a story: the stranger, the person she rents a room from, the person who falls in love with her, the police chief etc. And so while the individual characters I create will shape the particulars of the story, the elements of a story that contains drama and conflict are there from the beginning.

You need not just great characters, but characters in conflict with each other – which doesn’t have to mean yelling and screaming or killing each other, but having different interests and goals. That will keep the writing more interesting for you and the story more compelling for your readers.

I have the same problem. I finish the story in my mind and then well to me it’s finished so I don’t want to finish writing, lol! You just have to plow your way through, so I have tons of unfinished stories, but I managed to finish one, so I guess it was interesting enough for me to plow my way to the end!

No, there’s nothing wrong with it at all. I have several characters that are created, but never used yet. I also keep my old stories and work on a few different ones at one time, which allows me to think about another one when I get stuck on the first. I also write fragments if I’m trying to decide which version of a scene I like best because I can think of several ideas for one particular spot in the story and each one will make it go in a new direction. Try acting things out in your head and writing each on paper (or in a text document) so that you have each of the versions and you can get ideas. Sometimes you can pick one and use another that you like later on by just adjusting the second one a little bit. Or you can flesh out your characters a little less when creating them and have their story come out slowly while you write. Or try roleplaying, it’s writing with one or more people and even if you do have your character fully fleshed out, there’s at least one other character that you don’t know about because someone else plays them and the story progresses because you know nothing about the other character(s). Since you don’t know how the other character will react to a given situation, the story is constantly changing and it gives you time to practice your writing. And keep all of your old stories, you can always go back and work on them should you want to and you can edit them if you want to change something or update the way you write because your skills are better. I’ve been a hobby writer and doing roleplaying for years and I still am improving my writing. If you don’t want write or roleplay with a stranger, try asking a friend to see if they will do so with you. You get the same results as you would with roleplaying and both of you get to work on your writing skills. Good luck!

Thanks so much everyone! I greatly appreciate your advice, it’s great knowing it’s not abnormal or “wrong”. I’m more inspired to trudge through my stories now. :smiley:

I’m the same way with worldbuilding (and characters, too, actually, and plot outlines, and just about everything…). I’ll spend months building up a world or a city or a time or a place, and then I can’t think of a story to fill it. With characters, I’d really recommend just the bare minimum. [name]Every[/name] story–every good story–is at least equally character- to plot-driven, if not more. If you know everything about your characters beforehand, then there’s no fun in writing the story.

And all characters change. If you spend a month prior to the writing of the story figuring out everything about your character before the story, then as soon as the story starts, and as soon as you start writing them, they change. It effectively nullifies all of your work on preparing the character. Instead of detailing everything about them, spend that month planning where each of your characters will be at the end of the story, so that you have something to reach for.

Now I just need to listen to that advice myself.