Story Hour Fatigue




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  1. #1
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    Story Hour Fatigue

    Who else suffers from it, and what do you do about it?

    I'm a year behind in updates now, and the backlog is growing. There was a time when I would post - enthusiastically - twice every week. Now, once per quarter seems about average. Sure, my schedule has changed, and I have more responsibilities and time constraints, but I could still make time, if I chose, to update maybe fortnightly.

    It's just so damn daunting. I sit down with the best of intentions, and think 'Oh God. This again.' I've tried putting it out of my mind, but it nags at me. I've tried avoiding my own thread, because it depresses me to read it, but still, I look back in.

    The thing is, I love sharing it with people. I love the feedback that it elicits. I'm so excited about detailing the story. Until I actually sit down to write.

    Suggestions, anyone?

 

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    I am over ayear behind myself, and to think at one poitn I was updating the story hour as it happened, but two sessions behind became five, which became twelve which became twenty.

    There have definitely been times where maintaining it has seemed daunting, and I put it off for as long as I can, or I'll start to write up a section and think "Damn! I am still all the way back here?!!"

    But usually I find it to be inertia that needs to get pushed past and after the first page or so of struggling I get into it again and remember the fun of the encounters and how this stuff links to what is going on the current game reminding me of details to bring up again. etc. . and the next thing I know I will have written two or three updates in a month's time, and more. . .at least until life becomes to busy to maintain that and I slow down again and have to push past the "fatigue" again a month or three down the line.

    I guess, my only suggestion is to decide to stop and be done with it, putting aside any guilt about that, or just accept that you will update whenever it feels right and happen to wan to and put aside any artificial timetable you may have made for yourself or that your readers may have put on you.

    Hmmm, looking back, that doesn't seem very helpful.
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  • #3
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    I'm with you. There's pressure to make the updates worth reading, especially when it's been a little while between them, and that's intimidating. It's countered by how much fun I'm having while I'm actually writing; I get lost in the story then, and hours seem like minutes. It's just been taking me some effort to get myself into that frame of mind.

    A few suggestions:

    - worry less about quality, and just write for fun. Your fun.

    - skip a whole year by posting a brief summary, and skip to the present. Let what has happened in that year come across as backstory during the writeup of your current adventure.

    - Find a way to motivate yourself. I'm just posted an art contest for my game in order to help keep me focused.

    - Write about something totally different for a while.

    - Read Steven King's On Writing; there's some good advice in there, in my opinion.
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now writing TimeWatch, an investigative time travel game.

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    My SH is no where near as long or as popular as any of the three from you...but I think PKitty's got some seriously good advice. Especially in worrying less about the quality.

    I honestly am writing my SH more for myself than anyone else. The fact that people like it is a wonderful byproduct of posting it here, and while I do love feedback and such...I'll still continue to update it without it.

    I'd say getting behind could be something that wears down on you. It'll make you feel like you're just trying to catch up instead of telling the story. If you can focus on the fun parts and what made it great isntead of just trying to catch up, it should be fine. If not...well, take PKitty's advice and try writing something completely different.

  • #5
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    I don't know if story hour fatigue is anything like thesis fatigue, but if it is, I might have some advice:

    Write what you can, not what comes next.

    I have trouble beginning chapters, and making transitions between sections. So what I started to do is think, "Ok, I have to explain X in here somewhere. What will I say when I come to that point?"

    And then I write down X. I might not ever use it, I might find I have to change it, expand on it, or cut it down to size, but it is a lot easier to work with something when it already exists.

    How might this work for you? Well, suppose the battle in Afqithan is causing you trouble. Write something else! A scene, a dialog, some background material. And put it aside until you want to use it. Doing such things will allow your creativity to express itself, and this will make it easier to be creative. After a while you'll be eager to write, and (with a lot of material pre-written) you'll be fantastically productive.

    Anyway, that's what I've been doing with my MA thesis, and it seems to be working.

    Good luck!

  • #6
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    Notice, you're by no means alone.

    You, PC, Destan, Wulf, and many others who have massively popular stories - seem to put pressure on yourself to deliver something equally great. Your absence is even more noted with forlorn bumps because of your previous great efforts. I remember when I was up in Chicago talking to Wulf, before I had even read his work on here, he was commenting about his monster hanging over his head.

    The solution I suggest may not be popular, but here it is:

    Sell the updates at RPGnow. The reward of getting paid may be enough to push you over the edge. I know you are perfectionist and may respond - it will take me even more time to prepare something for sale. Instead, I suggest you say to folks right up front in your "for sale" blurb - this is exactly the same quality and approximately the same quantity of my story hour.

    I think you would make a little coin to spend on yourself and the wife and the pressure of updates would at least be tempered by the knowledge it just meant money in the bank.

    I guarantee you lots of publishers of pdfs would step up to format and sell your stuff for a percentage to save you that hassle.

    Just something to think about...

    I know I would pay a buck or two for an update.

  • #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogre
    Sell the updates at RPGnow. The reward of getting paid may be enough to push you over the edge. I know you are perfectionist and may respond - it will take me even more time to prepare something for sale. Instead, I suggest you say to folks right up front in your "for sale" blurb - this is exactly the same quality and approximately the same quantity of my story hour.
    While I would likely spend a few bucks on Sep's content, the problem with all SHs on this site is that they rely heavily upon copyrighted content and trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast , ne Hasbro. Sep's creation is heavily homebrewed/unique, but all of the spells and monsters are from the various sourcebooks. It's my understanding that fiction is not covered under OGL, but of course IANAL. WotC might not have a problem with this, but I'd be shocked if Sep didn't get a call from a lawyer if he started selling his content for profit.

    As for the original question: I can totally understand where you're coming from, Sep. Fact is, if I had the expectations attached to my SH that you have on yours, I don't know if I'd be able to produce anything more. Piratecat took my specific points, but I can say that my muse comes and goes. She's a flighty wench, but I find that I can force her sometimes. The longer I stay away from my keyboard, the harder it is to get back (and strangely, my mood dips over those long stretches... I think what they say about writers having to write has some truth to it). So I often have to make a conscious effort to sit down and pound something out... a character introduction scene, a minor combat, sometimes even a few lines of dialogue. At the time I'm thinking, "This is utter crap, I'll never use this," but oddly enough more often than not a lot of it ends up sending me in a new direction and relighting the fire of inspiration. There have been only a few times when I've had to ditch entire chapters and start fresh; yes, that'll happen, and for me at least it's hard to let go of anything I've written.

    The suggestion to take a break and write something else is also a good one. I have a very short attention span, and often am 2-3 stories ahead in terms of creating plots. Obviously most of those plots never get written, and it's easy to lose interest in what I'm currently doing. Go ahead and scribble out a few chapters of something; that is often enough to work out the creative impulse, and you'll often come back to your original project with a new perspective.

    Finally, if I were you I'd write a few chapters without even looking at ENWorld or your threads. Write for yourself; worry about what people want later.
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    Visit the Shackled City, from the pages of Dungeon magazine. Characters here.
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    Books I and II, Book III (the Isle of Dread), Book IV, and the final thread, Books V-VIII. Characters here.
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  • #8
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    I have a huge advantage these days of the most posted is a Play-by-post game, which still takes time to reorganize into chapter format but most of the typing is already done. Still, I'm way behind on it due to our group's rapid post rate. I'm now up to logging our 9th PBP thread while we are currently wrapping up the first module with our 25th thread. Since I've decided I'll never catch up at this point I've started a new thread for our second module rather than waiting. So I'll be posting both simultaneoulsy for a while.

    What I'm behind on now is my weekly gaming group's Story Hours. Our D&D campaign just played our 11th game night in the current module and the Story Hour only has the first 4 games so far. Before that we had done a 3-night module in our western campaign which I just started to log the Story Hour of this weekend.

    I'm also behind in logging a one-shot game from last summer that I am still planning to turn into a PBP. I still have a chapter or two to go with the final hour of that game.

  • #9
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    First I remind myself that I write for several reasons, but like D&D the act of writing should be fun.

    If something about the next post makes me want to avoid writing, then I dither for awhile and then eventually start writing about something else for awhile. I'll go visit a different part of the world and talk about how events were affected, or whatever.

    Finally, I remind myself that posts can be of any size. I don't have to write 5 pages to a post if all I have in me is a single page for the day.

    If none of that works, my girlfriend starts to cheerfully nag after about three weeks of delaying. I don't recommend it personally.
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  • #10
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    It's countered by how much fun I'm having while I'm actually writing; I get lost in the story then, and hours seem like minutes. It's just been taking me some effort to get myself into that frame of mind.
    I hear you, PC. One of my main problems is that I no longer have those long, unbroken periods of time like I used to. And it takes me a while to get into the right headspace.

    - skip a whole year by posting a brief summary, and skip to the present. Let what has happened in that year come across as backstory during the writeup of your current adventure.
    Oddly enough, I've been giving this some serious thought. I do need to wrap up a certain plotline first, however. I'm thinking that this is the way to go.

    I don't know if story hour fatigue is anything like thesis fatigue, but if it is, I might have some advice:

    Write what you can, not what comes next.
    Cheiro, Story Hour fatigue is nowhere near as bad as thesis fatigue. Trust me on that one. In fact, if your MA is getting you down, I'd highly recommend writing a SH as a distraction...

    Finally, if I were you I'd write a few chapters without even looking at ENWorld or....
    Blasphemy! Impossible! I've been addicted to ENWorld for four years. Not paying a regular visit is unthinkable

    Seriously, though, it's the 'fun' part that I miss. How do I rediscover that? I must admit though, that even with this disclosure, things just got a little better.

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