Struggling with Returning to Stories

Discussion in 'Authors' Hangout' started by hammerhead1004, Apr 2, 2024.

  1. Hello everyone! This has been an issue I've been thinking about and I just wanted to get the perspective of other authors who have had or overcome this issue.

    Due to the nature of my job, I only really have the free time to write a few months out of the year. Due to this, I usually write in bursts, starting a story when I have time and petering off as work gets prohibitively busy again. However, I usually do not totally finish these stories. Like, I have more ideas to explore, more I want to do with the characters, and more smutty situations drafted.

    I just struggle to get back into the flow of an already established story. There are usually enough branches that its hard to prioritize one. I'm unsure if the interest is still there. The kinks I am interested in have shifted. With especially old stories, my writing style and tone has changed a bit since I stopped writing, and I'm worried the disconnect is noticeable.

    I don't know, these are just my thoughts on the subject. As I type them out, none of them seem that bad. The solution seems kind of clear, which is "don't worry about it, just relax and write". However, together they really inhibit me from returning to my older stories, which I really do want to finish.

    Anyway, thank you for listening and I'm curious to see if anyone else has thought about this!
    Dansak, TheLowKing and Sthaana like this.
  2. Sthaana

    Sthaana Really Experienced

    I have the same problem.
    My problem, weirdly enough, is all the sex scenes. I tend towards very long, indulgent, multi-branching sex scenes
    that allow for different positions, acts and outcomes, so I have to chop my way through a snarl of fucking to get to any of the
    plot advancements I have in mind. On top of that, I find it kind of difficult to start writing a sex scene from the middle.
    If I have a run-up plot bit, I can, if I try, write a scene from start to finish, but picking back up mid-bone feels awkward...
    All my stories have this problem. It's like I've got about eight different pickup trucks stuck in eight different swamps lol
    Dansak and TheLowKing like this.
  3. TheLowKing

    TheLowKing Really Really Experienced

    A lot of the issues you've mentioned are things that stem from you as writer. If your kinks have changed, going back to an old story might just be a bother, and that's fair enough.

    The above quote is the only one in the list that's not about you but about other people. And I'd say this is something you don't have to worry about. I can think of 3 reasons. One, if your story has a decent length, your readers probably also won't read your story in one sitting. Two, it's implicitly understood on sites like these that stories are not published in one go, so there's less pressure on perfect consistency throughout, whether in the language, writing style, etc. And three, remember, many stories on CHYOA are not written by 1 person but feature contributions by multiple writers, makes (this kind of) consistency even less important.
    hammerhead1004 and Dansak like this.
  4. Dansak

    Dansak Really Really Experienced

    I have several stories that are still ongoing. I get bored easily so after I've written a bunch of chapters for one of them I'll move onto another. When I go back to try and write on one that I've not written for a while I find three things help me to get back in the flow;
    1) I re-read them, or a at least a good portion of them so I can get my head back in the swing of the story.
    2) when I'm getting close to wanting to move on to another story, I don't publish the last chapter I've written, I save it for when I return. That way I've got something to kick start my efforts when I return to that story.
    3) I write all my stories on a word doc and copy them over. On the bottom of that word doc, just under where I'm currently writing, I've got a section called 'remember' written in big red capitals. In this section I drop bullet points as I think of them, like little ideas that don't fit that scene but could be helpful later on. Some are like 'have them fuck in the garden and nearly get caught by neighbours' or 'she comes to his workplace and seduces him'. Others are more plot based, from reminders for continuity (like if she said she's got a hair dressers appointment, remember to give her a new hair style at some point) or more major things like 'she catches him cheating with her best friend- Q- is she turned on or does she hate him for it, or both?'. When I go back to a story that's been left idle for ages, these little bullet point help me a great deal.

    I think the main reason I return to these stories though is that I've created characters I enjoy writing, it feels like visiting old friends when I continue a story I've not written in ages.
    Sthaana likes this.
  5. Thanks for the advice! Yes, I know most of the issues stem from me as a writer. I do tend to get in my head too much.

    Also, what you said about readers makes sense. They probably are not as concerned with "perfect consistency" as I am. Especially given how prevalent stories with multiple authors are. So thanks for that too!
    Zingiber and TheLowKing like this.
  6. Oh yeah, half finished sex scenes are the worst!

    And this is a perfect metaphor lol!
  7. Great tips, thank you! I'll have to try them out, especially the "remember" section. It's definitely a way to future proof against this problem.

    And yes, many of these characters and stories are like old friends. That's why I have the pull to return to these stories in the first place, I think!
    Dansak likes this.
  8. Hvast

    Hvast Really Really Experienced

    Reread the story as a reader. If it doesn't engage you - don't bother. If you are not in the mood to enjoy reading it, you aren't in the mood to continue it.

    If it does engage you - you should get a new idea before you finish it. Note that you need new ideas - do not try to reignite the old ones. You are a different person each day, follow this person.

    Chyoa is great for burst writing, you can always start a different branch, add to another story, or start an entirely new one. You are under no obligation to complete anything.
    Zingiber, Sthaana, Dansak and 2 others like this.