Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Unfinished Stories

LoneEagle19582

It is getting to the point at times, that it isn't worth it to start reading a story. So many authors will start a story and it winds up being "Incomplete and Inactive". I myself do not write stories, but it is very bad when you get into a story to never see it finished. Something unforeseen happening to the author is understandable. But to get several chapters into a story and never see it finished (ARRGH). Why start a story and stop writing it just to start another and probably not finish it either.

Replies:   Wheezer  sejintenej
Wheezer

@LoneEagle19582

Why start a story and stop writing it just to start another and probably not finish it either.


ADHD?

Crumbly Writer

That's why you hear many of us insist that we finish the entire story, and have them fully edited before we begin posting. An author can never tell what will work out and what won't until they complete the story, and there's always the possibility that you can't finish any given story you start. I've abandoned several over the years, but they never see the light of day.

This is especially problematic with series (mega-chapter stories), because it might take 40 of 50 chapters to realize you've written yourself into a corner, and after you've written that much, you're not going to want to change the entire story. However, if no one has seen the story yet, it's easier to jettison the parts which don't work.

I abandoned my first story, "Catalyst", because it didn't work. I wrote it and it still didn't work (the story was decent, but it went in a new direction and I couldn't use any of the 'good bits' from the original story). It was only the third revision, when I went back and revised the original story to fix the plot holes, when the story actually came together.

QM

Have to admit I haven't finished Magician as yet, but like all my work, it will be completed if I post a part of it. I know how it ends, I'm just constructing the pathway atm.
It is frustrating to say the least to see an incomplete story with a very high mark, but often enough the author has their reasons and they are the ones who decide, not the reader.

jr88
Updated:

There are a lot of incomplete and inactive stories that I really like, but what drives me nuts is when authors have incomplete and inactive stories and then start posting new stories. I get that sometimes a story can't be finished for whatever reason, but there are several authors, like cmsix, who have several really good stories that are stuck as incomplete and inactive.

oyster50

okayyyy. I'm still alive. Still writing. And I have one story marked Incomplete and Inactive and you people have thrown a guilt trip on me so I guess I'll go finish it.

Crumbly Writer

Your best bet with authors like CMSix is to view it as a personal glimpse into the creative process. He struggled to write a single story, ran into a roadblock, and instead of deleting the earlier story, left it up as he tried, again and again, to rewrite the same story.

Although each story was eminently readable, he often never finished any given story.

Granted, that approach isn't for everyone, but it shows how each other struggles with stories over time.

Replies:   ustourist  docholladay
ustourist

@Crumbly Writer

Not strictly true.
With John and Argent, and possibly with others, he completed the story THEN took the completed story out and tried to re-write it.
So the completed story was removed and apart from those lucky enough to have read it, it appears to have never been completed. The changes made were pretty minor that I can recall, and the original ending was satisfactory.
It is a great pity that he didn't rewrite it and then replace with the newer version, as at least then John and Argent - which I consider to be his most original story - would have been available still.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Your best bet with authors like CMSix is to view it as a personal glimpse into the creative process. He struggled to write a single story, ran into a roadblock, and instead of deleting the earlier story, left it up as he tried, again and again, to rewrite the same story.


In many ways you are right about him and his stories. For me one reason I enjoy his work is that very ongoing struggle he has with his gift. He has or had (not sure which at this point) a strong storytelling gift. But in his case that gift became a curse. One major problem was his mule headed streak. Its going to be done my way or not at all. Sometimes that works other times its a recipe for failure.

docholladay
Updated:

@ustourist


With John and Argent, and possibly with others, he completed the story


Correct its mostly the same story although the last few added chapters are new. They should have been done as a sequel. Key failures were the rewrite of "Nanovirus" and "I Feel Lucky". He was trying to force them to merge into one story.

Most of his problem was due to the fact that while his stories tended to be both time and multi-dimensional in nature, all of them had a common point of origin. His "Nanovirus" story line would have killed off that origin point completely. "I Feel Lucky" which was the major blockage for him, refused to merge properly like he wanted it to. I personally still believe it was his gift trying to save that common origin point of his stories by creating a time/dimensional split. But then I am not an expert so what do I know.

edited to add: Both versions of the Nanovirus story are available along with other stories at the following link. However as far as I can tell he has not updated since his admission to the nursing home.
link is: http://www.asstr.org/~cmsix/cmsix.htm

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

"I Feel Lucky" which was the major blockage for him, refused to merge properly like he wanted it to. I personally still believe it was his gift trying to save that common origin point of his stories by creating a time/dimensional split.

I loved the original "I Feel Lucky" story, and hated what he did to it. I felt the original Nanovirus worked, and forcing each of his other stories into that mold diminished them since you knew they'd all end up in the same place, with the main characters becoming voluntarily enslaved. That took all of fun of discovering where the stories go out of his writing for me.

Replies:   docholladay  docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

I loved the original "I Feel Lucky" story, and hated what he did to it.


To the best of my memories. The major cause of his writer's blocks was because that story refused to merge with the "Nanovirus" story like he wanted it to. Then I got to really looking at the majority of his work. The majority is all time or multi-dimensional or both. The starting points for almost all the MC's is from his region of Texas and the current time period of writing the story. The "Nanovirus" story destroyed that dimension's timeline. In order for his gift to try and save itself, of course it fought back.

Its like a building or a bridge, if the foundation is destroyed the building or bridge will collapse.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

"I Feel Lucky" story, and hated what he did to it. I felt the original Nanovirus


If someone takes the time to really compare those two stories. They will find that in both stories the evil conspiracy's have made the exact same mistakes. In the original Nanovirus as well as the rewrite that is what allows Jack to take over the remains of the organization.

In "I Feel Lucky" however after the MC discovers what is going on and his "Mother" begins to advise him. They begin using those same mistakes to take control and work their way both up and down the linkages. Thanks to his mother and others he is gradually attacking the source from the inside.

That difference is the reason cmsix was having so much trouble forcing the two stories to merge which was one of the goals for "I Feel Lucky". He wanted it to merge with "Nanovirus" with Jack in command/control.

Like I said it took me a long time to really spot those connections and ask myself the right questions. Of course cmsix told me many times via email that I was wrong. But we did still communicate halfway regularly. I lost contact after he was placed in the nursing home and my old pc crashed with all email addresses lost in smoke.

sejintenej

@LoneEagle19582

I myself do not write stories, but it is very bad when you get into a story to never see it finished.

Whilst I also dislike unfinished stories there is an age-old saying:
"He laughs at wounds who never felt a lance".

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

"He laughs at wounds who never felt a lance".


I hope you're directing that comment against readers and not writers. I know a lot of writers who have a lots of unfinished stories, but they don't post them until they get them to work and get them finished. Sometimes finishing a story means cutting something out to have the rest work OK, sometimes it means just writing the finish.

richardshagrin

Most of the time there is a difference between "finishing" a story and a satisfactory ending. As a reader, at least. I can take almost any story and type "the end" and it looks, at first glance, like it is finished. But unless the author is experienced and skilled, some of the hooks left for a possible sequel reduce the satisfaction a reader gets reading to the end of the story, when "what happens next" looms over any satisfaction over reading the last chapter.

The lady or the tiger type ending is one example, where the author doesn't decide which door is chosen. Or one of my least favorites, "the last man on earth sat in a room. There was a knock on the door..."

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

The "Nanovirus" story destroyed that dimension's timeline. In order for his gift to try and save itself, of course it fought back.

I've always said, in most cases, writer's block is your stories way of telling you that you've taken a wrong turn. It's your story and you characters telling you that the latest plot twist runs counter to the nature of your characters, and they refuse to play ball any longer.

In that case, it's better to step back, figure out where you went wrong. Once you do, the solution will usually pop into your head largely unbidden. But the biggest key is in NOT ignoring the problem, or in procrastinating for months because the story just won't 'come'.

@docholladay

I lost contact after he was placed in the nursing home and my old pc crashed with all email addresses lost in smoke.

I went back and checked, but the only email address I had was a Yahoo author address. Somehow, I doubt he's using it if he's in a nursing home without wi-fi access.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Somehow, I doubt he's using it if he's in a nursing home without wi-fi access.


I gather you're still speaking of cmsix. Someone I know rolled through his town several months ago and called on him. The wi-fi access in his room is bad most of the day, but what's worse is his health has gotten to the point where he had no interest in writing at all and was just waiting out the day the grim reaper calls by for him. It's possible his attitude has changed since then, but regardless of his attitude I seriously doubt he's up to finishing any of his stories now.

Capt Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

The wi-fi access in his room is bad most of the day, but what's worse is his health has gotten to the point where he had no interest in writing at all and was just waiting out the day the grim reaper calls by for him.


I don't know if it has any bearing on cmsix but I have known people who lose their will to live when they can't do what they love. I had an uncle who loved his work but was told to retire by his doctor. His health rapidly went downhill and he passed a few months later.

Too bad we can't get cmsix a better connection. Maybe if he could get back to what he enjoyed, his health would improve.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

Too bad we can't get cmsix a better connection. Maybe if he could get back to what he enjoyed, his health would improve.


I'm not exactly sure on what the issue was, but he was going downhill after the amputation. Hard to say.

docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

I'm not exactly sure on what the issue was, but he was going downhill after the amputation. Hard to say.


That is one of the reasons I keep saying we have to enjoy what they have shared with us. And its not just cmsix I am thinking of in that respect. How many good stories would we have lost if they never shared them, finished or unfinished.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I'm not exactly sure on what the issue was, but he was going downhill after the amputation. Hard to say.

If his health went downhill following an amputation, I'm guessing he was diabetic. Amputations and the associated gangrene was hell for diabetics, and their health generally rapidly declines afterwards. I'm guessing his health wouldn't allow him to write, whether he has internet access or not. After all, that's why he's in the home in the first place.

It sounds like he's bored out of his mind, in pain and without anything to motivate him to continue. An internet connection so at least we could communicate how much his stories meant to us would be nice, but frankly, nursing homes have never been big on providing communication access to their patients--who they typically drug simply to shut up for most of the time. (Private company nursing home care in the U.S. is horrendous, and families rarely complain as they often park relatives there in order to take over their possessions/bank accounts.)

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


nursing home care in the U.S. is horrendous


Agreed. It will only get worse as the slow-motion train wreck that is the US retirement situation progresses. (What, did anybody think that Corporate America trash-canning all those pension plans would improve folks facing retirement?)

We've two of my wife's elder siblings in north Idaho homes. One is a northern county home, their hometown, and county-owned & operated. Its an extremely rural area. Public involvement is very high. The place is a jewel. Well run, and people very well looked after.

The other is a private 'assisted-care' facility for her brother. He's never been happier. We know the owner and half the staff. It's a clean, bright, family-type place. Survival rate is exceptional. They also have a section for Alzheimer's patients. Care and empathy are just as exceptional.

So... there are two exceptions to the rule. Part of the success is the rural area they're in; part is the quality of the management.

But... in the same area, wife & I checked out all the other facilities and found a huge variation. One place was obviously for very wealthy residents. Mostly women, sitting around like playing 'dress-up' and covered in jewelry. At the other extreme, we walked into a larger facility and turned right around and fled, before the miasma of the drear atmosphere overcame us.

Realize that without Medicaid, and subsidies, most elderly Americans would be rotting at home, a burden to families where both man and wife must work just to meet the mortgage payments. If the current federal social system was stopped, millions of elderly would be thrown out on the street. An entire rest home industry has grown up around those federal subsidies.

Our two went through personal savings of over $150,000 each so fast it was unbelievable; rest home monthly charges are horrible. Then, the Medicaid kicks in, and it goes on at a greatly reduced rate.

WiFi and telephones in a resident's room are not cheap. It's not normally something the facility provides. An 'in-house' wifi system is not likely as it becomes a big security & liability problem. We provided a Tracfone for the brother; as little as he calls, it was a great deal. We'd get one for the sister, but she'd just throw it at the facility cook. She a bitch on wheels. So no phone for her.

Just another .02 worth.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@graybyrd

One place was obviously for very wealthy residents. Mostly women, sitting around like playing 'dress-up' and covered in jewelry. At the other extreme, we walked into a larger facility and turned right around and fled, before the miasma of the drear atmosphere overcame us.


Sounds like the places my GF worked in CdA.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Capt Zapp

Sounds like the places my GF worked in CdA.


Sandpoint, actually. But here's a true CdA story: elder bro-in-law damn near died of ill-health issues in a CdA hospital. He was transferred to and recovered in a Post Falls intensive care facility separate from the hospital. When it came time to bring him to a Sandpoint facility, they put him in a wheelchair, strapped the wheelchair to the floor of a transport van, and traveled the 50 miles from Post Falls over the two-lane goat path with him rocking and bouncing in his wheel chair.

When we arrived that evening he was complaining of being in pain, half beat to death from the ride. I raised hell with the Post Falls staff, asking why he couldn't ride in one of the more comfortable, padded van seats with proper seat belting. The answer confirmed what is so wrong with our dysfunctional _system_ of health care.

Naturally, the Post Falls administrator went into full-out all-stations defensive mode. A big meeting of facility personnel was called to meet with wife & I in a conference room.

The long & short story is: the driver of the van was not allowed by regulation to 'touch' the patient; there was no ambulance authorized to transport; there was no procedure that allowed 'authorized' personnel to 'load' Benny, or 'unload' Benny _apart_ from his wheelchair. So the only _legal_ option was to strap the wheelchair and its contents down for a 50-mile transport over rough roads.

Insane? Hell, yes! Ever try arguing _sane & sensible_ with a room full of health care professional whose every movement is dictated by reams and volumes of regulations, most of which are totally unknown to the rest of us? Good luck!

Benny survived. He gets three-times a week dialysis courtesy of you, me, and everyone reading this.

Which is another story: compared to the US dialysis system, the European model of daily _at-home_ dialysis has roughly twice the survival rate. But ours is mandated by regulation, insurance policies, and other restraints. And until Medicare and Medicaid came along, only the wealthy could afford it and there were very few facilities to administer it. Now, thanks to Fed$ubsidy $$, every town has at least one dialysis center. Here in Whoville on Misty Isle, one just opened up. To serve an island of 60,000 people. A full-time dialysis center! It's part of a huge franchise, as all of them are.

When does the word "dysfunctional" cease to adequately describe an on-going situation?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@graybyrd

When does the word "dysfunctional" cease to adequately describe an on-going situation?


When it starts to function properly.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Dominions Son

When it starts to function properly.


BZZZZZT!! Wrong answer. When it collapses entirely.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@graybyrd

BZZZZZT!! Wrong answer. When it collapses entirely.


Technically, both are correct. Though I will admit that yours is more likely.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Technically, both are correct. Though I will admit that yours is more likely.

Tell me: how many 'dysfunctional situations' can you list which have ceased to exist (apart from individual dying or being stabbed in the back), as opposed to the thousands which continue in ever decreasing effectiveness?

Effectiveness has never been the issues at stake, instead it's who gains by continuing the dysfunctional relationship. Odds are, it's the major combatants, who'll continue to wage their little wars indefinitely.

LoneEagle19582

@Ernest Bywater

My Sympathies and prayers to cmsix and family. This I can understand, for not finishing a story.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@LoneEagle19582

This I can understand, for not finishing a story.


One thing to keep in mind with cmsix is most of his stories had the dreaded yellow stripe for some years before he needed the surgery. His current situation explains why they're unlikely to get finished in the future, but not why they've been that way for several years before he entered the nursing home.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

One thing to keep in mind with cmsix is most of his stories had the dreaded yellow stripe for some years before he needed the surgery


He definitely had problems ending any story. One major problem for him that I saw, was the fact that every time he came up with something new. He would reopen the previously ended story and begin adding to them instead of making it a sequel. That with other factors led to him having at least 2 stories that I know of with the dreaded incomplete status.

Back to Top