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  1. #1
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    Default A question for any type four novel writers.

    Hi there,

    I believe myself to be one of your number (even though I sometimes strangely type as 5w4) and I'm having trouble writing my novel. It is an unforseen problem (though I foresaw difficulty in expression) and I don't know if its related to its state of infancy and that these issues will dissipate on their own accord as time goes on . Basically I started writing it back in November however I have molded it into a creative vision over the course of a long time. I recall ideas for it as far back as 2010 (I do not remember when they first occurred) but that the original, completely disconnected ideas were more related to me (much more related to my dreams as a person.) Since then it has grown into a gigantic monster inside my mind, although the internal universe of it is consistent the various ideas of it scrape painfully together as if they were large shards of glass rather than jigsaw pieces fitting seamlessly together. Thousands of years of in-universe history, mythology, political intrigue, dreams, ambition, motives and personalities for a number of characters are all swirling around and connected (sometimes tenuously) to each other and they constitute the novel's setting. Many ideas are woven together to become critical in the motives and dynamics of the universe but they make the plot a bit wishy washy and diluted so a central strong plot becomes less likely to achieve. It has become freaking huge which I will somehow have to compress into n number of pages whilst maintaining in my opinion its vast scope so the novel is a story inside the universe rather than a story with a backstory tacked on to it. But this is all a side issue.

    I wanted this novel to become the total expression of my creativity in all its extent (how big or small that may be) however its now become an independent entity of itself, removed from the neck deep river of inner emotion, envy, desire and filth I reside in. It is perhaps comparable to a floating continent above the ocean. However in its time it has become completely impersonal and not an extension of me in any way. It has become a mere tool for me to spew out with the aim that it generates enough money so I can perhaps quit my crappy job and after its completion not care about it again. The problem is that its disconnection means I cannot express myself in the ideas executed and thus cannot write up to the projected standard and quality I expected. It's sad that for my writing to resemble any sort of eloquence requires digging deep into the trenches and putting my heart and soul into what is mined. This isn't just an age old tale of practice falling short of theory; The platform I use to execute my ideas is completely sterile, I feel nothing for what I write when I write it as if it were coming straight out of the butt end of my crappy Te and nowhere else. The end result is a heartless piece of crap I cannot write as I suppose it has become like a child who has now grown into a stroppy teenager and communicates to me now only by showing me their middle finger. I feel it has as much potential as mediocre works out there and can't bring myself to achieve the only purpose it has left. If I cannot do what I can to make it greater than said mediocrity and end up making a flawed screw up version I've wasted the better half of at least 2.5 years of brain cells on what at best was a white elephant.

    Tl;dr version: There is no emotion in my writing and it's making me facepalm. Has any other type 4's encountered this problem and managed to overcome it, producing a respectable piece as a result? My natural issues are being multiplied by my dilemma. Or am I wrong about all this and assume that this isn't about my writing and it's perhaps the case that my emotional inner world is simply dying out at the ripe old age of 25?

    Could anyone advise? Thank you.

  2. #2
    brainheart
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    Hey there,

    I too have wrestled with novel writing and come up empty handed (two not completed, one completed but completely hate). There is nothing more frustrating. I seem to have a different problem than yours. I feel like my writing tends to be emotionally soaked with little else. I could see instincts at play in this. You seem likely either so/sp or sp/so while my writing is definitely a sexual byproduct, all intensity of feeling and imagery but no plot, no character development, etc. I'm more like a poet trying to write a story, probably a dumb plan.

    Your motivation strikes me as something which will not engender heart: to make money. If you want true emotion in your creations it has to come from your depth of feeling, not from the desires of your wallet.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your response. Since posting I've decided to appease my wallet through another means and my problem has shifted slightly towards me not caring enough about my work to actually create it. To clarify, no coherent plot thread exists, its more a series of segments which have not woven together in a fluent fashion. These threads range from conversations between characters to thousands of years of history. The characters have significant backstory but they feel they lack a certain animation. Likewise the universe in the story is conveyed in the same sterile expression as someone reading from a non-fiction history or geography book.

    I am currently questioning my wing and my instinctual stackings (the only sub type description which clicks with me is the dauntless one and perhaps the sexual one) so I can't help you there. I'm trying to thread emotion into it but there is a lot of ground to cover. Do you think a bottom up approach would help, as if I create everything as independent settings which I invest fully in and then let these well crafted elements come together to tell their own story?

  4. #4
    brainheart
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    I'm not sure what would help. It's interesting because we seem to have quite different problems. When I write I essentially method act and 'become' my characters. I become incredibly emotionally connected/invested in them so to try and 'inject' emotion into them is kind of a foreign concept to me. I have a harder time injecting any sort of story or what they look like, etc. It's always incredibly internal for me, like I'm living inside them.

    The fact that you are essentially writing non fiction history and geography seems pretty social to me. I'm not saying that's your type but that seems to be what's going on with your writing. Are you afraid of revealing something emotionally intense that you don't want others to see?

    If you don't care you can't force yourself to care. I have worked incredibly hard on things and then just dropped them. Sometimes I regret it, sometimes I know it's for the best. Maybe it would be better to put your energies into something else. However, if it seems worth it to you, then I guess you just have to go back to it. I don't know how to inject something into something once it's already there, though.

    I do think it's best to work with how you work vs struggling against it. Write how you think and perceive things vs how you think it should be. I know I definitely write things in segments where I find the connections later vs having something long and coherent. I think this has more to do with cognitive functions than enneagram type. What's your MBTI type?

  5. #5
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    I don't think you understand what I mean. How do I explain. Btw, I'm an INFP.

    - I am not writing a piece of non-fiction. What I was trying to express was: imagine a historian or geography teacher who whilst having interest in their particular subject they teach their subject with a passionless element, focusing on the reproduction of facts and speculation in an objective fashion. It's not art in any shape or form. If you have the image of said detached teacher with a vested interest in reciting the past or present then imagine that is the fictional universe of my novel. The world I have created in my head is for the most part a reproduction of facts, for example it may explain that "battle abc happened in the year xyz" there's no emotion present in the work. There was initially a lot of emotion when it was nascent but now there is not. It has grown large and it is perhaps even clinical a little in its nature, its sterile and cold and lacks the vibrance of emotional and personal input on my part which I feel it needs.
    - I do become my characters but like I mentioned above it is a little removed from the personal element. I can create motivations, changing of outlook and backstory etc. but I don't feel for them or their plight so much, it's a series of events leading to bigger events and all which I find myself detached from.
    - Perhaps this isn't the place to try and determine my stacking. I have a thread in the "What's my enneagram" forum if you're interested in a bit of a challenge.

    I'm not giving up on it as I still care a little and have invested too much time reflecting on it over the years to abandon it. Even if you do not think you have helped you pulled this old thread out and may have given me an idea. Thank you for your help.

  6. #6
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    I thought a perpetually in progress novel was, like, a precondition of type 4ness.
    And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
    you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth
    Likes Aurora James liked this post

  7. #7
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    You would be correct. Thats why they invented sequels. I would reach a point where enough was enough for one book but its not anywhere near that point yet. Before I have a second child I want to make sure the first isn't totally a half-starved little runt.

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