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AspiringKnitter comments on Sunk Costs Fallacy Fallacy - Less Wrong

25 [deleted] 24 January 2012 09:09PM

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Comment author: AspiringKnitter 27 January 2012 07:54:23AM 3 points [-]

I was writing a book, hundred pages already finished, hundred more pages waiting to be written. My emotions gradually went from excitement, through "flow", to boredom, progressing to hate.

If all of the writers I know are to be believed, this actually happens with every book-- halfway through, no one wants to finish. They're usually glad they do, though. I wonder what that's all about.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 12 February 2012 11:05:06AM 1 point [-]

The obvious solution that comes to mind is to write along a smooth fitness curve, where at any given point you have a valid book.

This is probably not a good idea, but might be worth trying.

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 12 February 2012 08:59:58PM 1 point [-]

I wonder how one would do that for works of fiction, where half of a work of fiction is not a work of fiction that's half as long.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 12 February 2012 10:12:51PM 1 point [-]

By not writing in chronological order: Start with a brief plot summary, then just start filling in details in random places. When a section grows to long for a single chapter, split it in half, etc.

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 13 February 2012 07:14:02AM 0 points [-]

Ah. That method would be workable for people who write from an outline, assuming they don't end up changing it too much along the way, but very unworkable for many writers.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 13 February 2012 12:11:57PM 4 points [-]

Maybe writing is different from every other form of art I know of, but if it isn't if you want to be a good author you really should learn to write both with and without outline, and both how to stick with it and how to be flexible about it, at will. Not until you have tried all the combination can you really tell which works best for you in the long run, as opposed to which you happened to learn first due to historical accident or the like.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 27 January 2012 09:24:03AM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the information -- now I feel less stupid. :D

When I write, my mood goes through waves. Sometimes I feel skilled and full of energy, sometimes I feel tired and unable to do anything good. I guess everyone starts writing book at their best point,but this will not last long enough. Later it feels like I started something that I am unable to finish, but I must go on anyway, and I feel like I am doing something totally worthless. Also I guess many people underestimate the time it will take them. So in addition to feeling incompetent there is a feeling "this was supposed to be finished already; am I going to write this forever?" Also I gradually change opinion on what is the best way to write; but I cannot start rewriting already finished parts, because then I would really never finish the book.

When I wrote short stories, I always started with a good idea and I thought "this will be my best story ever". I wrote it in one day (when I stopped, I was usually unable to finish the story later). Next day the story seemed completely stupid. So I just put it away, and a week later when I read it again, I concluded that it is actually not bad. With short stories these mood swings don't matter, because when they come, the story is already finished. With book these mood swings relate to the previous chapters. It is like "the first part of the book is great, but this chapter I wrote yesterday is completely horrible, I really should rewrite it, but I can't, because I am already too far behind the schedule, I just hope today I will write something less horrible, but I don't really believe it."

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 27 January 2012 06:33:58PM 1 point [-]

I suggest spending some time in the internetspace inhabited by writers and either asking or just absorbing answers. There are a lot of articles on hollylisle.com, which is geared toward fiction, but if you don't know where to start...