I can’t believe I did this again…

Yep, it’s the beginning that was flawed, I see that now. In my Last Post, I talked about my stories never ending neatly and I figured out that if the beginning isn’t good, the ending won’t be either.

So, how can I be certain that the beginning is flawed? Because I cheated again…

Again, check This Post if you want to know more, but, I have done this before, I skipped essential parts of the story because I wanted to finish quickly; meaning I neglected to explore all the characters. There’s one character, for instance, that’s part of the backstory and is a complete mystery to me. His only purpose is to instigate conflict, and because he was a minor character in the backstory I didn’t think he was essential, turns out, every character is essential… In my vision, he was inconsequential, but considering how hard I’m struggling with the ending, perhaps he has a bigger part to play than I first imagined?

He would turn out to be…

But, I couldn’t face reality… going back and changing parts of the backstory would means I would have to make major changes to the main story as well. In fact, I was so deep in denial that I convinced myself that all I had to do to fix things was to make the story longer… It will fix itself, right?

I even went so far as to make an epilogue or a prologue just to make sense; without having to put any effort into working it in organically into the tale. That’s cheating. The job of an author is to convey the necessary information within the format of the story, if I can’t do that, I should quit writing.

I think a good point of measure if something is missing in your story is when the purpose of the main character is simply to reveal the backstory and be the eyes of the reader. My main character had no stakes in what’s happening, he doesn’t change as the story progress. The plot doesn’t affect him and he doesn’t affect the plot. A pointless story.

I have to seriously review how I come up with my tales…

It shouldn’t be this frustrating

I while back, I promised myself to never work on a short story for more than a month and now I’ve broken this promise and I feel awful. Why did it take longer than the other times? I don’t know, but I feel that I need to figure this out. Writing a story shouldn’t be this hard and I refuse to accept that the story itself was flawed from the beginning. Everything can be made into a story, it’s just the author that messes up along the way. All I have to do is swallow my pride and do it over again… Right?

The way I figure out something is wrong is when I’m about to reach the ending of the tale and I start to struggle. Something doesn’t make sense and thing don’t wrap up as neatly as they should and I don’t know why. I can imagine part of the problem is that I rely heavily on intuition, that one decision leads to another and will eventually guide me towards the true ending.

Which leads me to believe it’s not the ending that’s the problem, but the beginning. If the ending sucks it is the beginning that is flawed. Makes sense, if the foundation is flimsy the entire building will be flimsy. The question is, can I identify what makes the foundation flimsy before I reach the ending? So that I don’t have to deal with the frustration and rewrites? I don’t know, I honestly don’t. At least I have located the problem, hopefully…

One Step Closer

When I write a story, the important thing isn’t in what order I place the scenes or to create a structure, the most important thing is to find the characters and their motivations. This means you’ll write very generally at first, for instance: When John came to his foster parents he was very sad.

This is a general sentence which can be explored more deeply, but right now, this is enough. But at a certain point, when you’ve come far enough into your story, you’ll need to know more about your characters to make sense of their actions later. This means you are forced to explore your characters’ feelings, for instance: It was quite in the car. Trees swooshed past them as he stared out the window, trying to make sense of everything that had happened to him. He wondered if his parents had always hated each other, or if it was just when he was born. His teacher had once told him that children came about from parents’ act of love… Did that apply to him?

(Of course this paragraph can be further refined but that is not our purpose at this point. Editing sentence to sound beautiful you should do last.)

With this, you learn so much more about the character which means his motivations become more apparent later on. This is the stage I often fail to go back to, thinking I don’t need to and just want to carry on with my story. But this is cheating, and the only one you cheat is yourself.

Hopefully, I’ll be better at catching those mistakes early and swallow my pride. My aim is to write as many stories as I can in my lifetime, but not at the cost of quality, or rather, the truthfulness of the tale.

I don’t want to lie.


It is comforting when I come to these realisations because it means I’m improving and is one step closer in becoming the writer I want to be.

I Cheated

I feel the need to be a bit more clear after my last post. All the things I said stands but I wrote it more for me so I’m not sure the point I made was clear.

I tried to cheat. I took a shortcut, and my story suffered because of it.

The reason my story “failed” was because I didn’t want to make the effort, the effort to look deeply enough into the story as was necessary. To work on the backstory is the most important thing a writer does. It creates a foundation where the rest is built upon. It also give reason for the story’s existence. What happened in the past that led up to where they are now? This question is essential and without it, the story is shallow and you can feel that something is wrong.

I always look to streamline my process, but I think this is flawed thinking when it comes to writing, at least for my style where I depend a lot on intuition  in directing my stories. I don’t like planning and I rather write in the moment because that is what I find fun doing.

Sometimes you need to dig deep, find the characters, and do more pre-writing than you hoped to do. You cannot skip this, especially when the characters’ motivations are shallow or unclear. A characters’ actions are like dominos and if one domino is missing, the rest won’t fall and the ending will suffer.

About (discontinued 2019)

Don’t mind this, it’s just another archive post. I made a new “About” page.


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I’m Such an Idiot…

Did I just make a blog post telling you to give up when it gets hard? No! Sometimes stories are hard; some are easier than others but they can all be something. I’m just lazy. Buckle down and make it work, you bum!

Do what’s fun. You have nobody to answer for but yourself. You are not obligated to please anyone. Do whatever you feel like, nobody is stopping you but yourself. Take a break, start a new tale, finish an old, whatever. Total freedom!

Don’t forget that emotions are everything. If you don’t feel, the reader won’t feel. Become the character, live the scene. That is how a great story is made.

Time flows differently for writers. The moment is now. You are always writing in the present even if it’s the future or the past in the eyes of the characters and the readers.

Have fun.

I Made a Failure Today

Sometimes, when you write, you’ll come across failures, at least, if you are willing to explore. The plot will drive you forward, and as you go on, you will make up reasons to why things are happening, but sometimes, there’s will be a nagging feeling that something isn’t right; that no matter how much you try, you can’t salvage this story.

Yet, you continue on, hoping, that the solution will present itself eventually. But stories aren’t problems to be solved, they simply are, or aren’t. If there’s nothing of substance from the beginning, there won’t be any further down the line. When that happens, you’ll have to let go. I set a deadline on myself for my short stories, no more than a month. It has now been a month and I’m back where I started. The first chapter doesn’t make sense and the first chapter is everything. It is the foundation of your story; it is the one that will hold you on the right course throughout the rest of the tale. If the first chapter is solid, the ending will be too.

To reach a good foundation the backstory needs to make sense, but you cannot always find the backstory without doing a bit of drafting, and this is where the problem lay. You’ll fall in love with what you have written and you will be reluctant to let go and you’ll try everything to make it part of your tale, but it isn’t happening. You are corrupting your story, Frankensteining it with bit and pieces that shouldn’t be there, that isn’t true to the tale, and after while, it’s none redeemable and you’ll have to let go.

When the story has left your mind, it’s shackles broken, perhaps, you’ll recall a particularly good part of this tale and it will inspire you to make a brand new one! – someday… A better one, and do things right.


© Christopher Stamfors

Tell the Truth!

I’ve read many sorts of books and I’ve come to realise that in the English speaking world, it is very common to have stories with themes. A red line that ties the story together. I’ve read a couple of the classics from my own country and I find that we have a very different tradition. Most stories are very “mundane” for the lack of a better word. There is drama, but the characters don’t act as if something of significance has happened. It doesn’t have an epic scale or world shattering consequences, it’s just real life, and in real life, everything doesn’t tie up as neatly or matter that much.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on literature, this is my own interpretation, but I find this way of writing very appealing. What do I care if the ending might be unsatisfying to the reader? All I can do is to find the truth of the story. The most important thing a writer can do is to make sure that the motivations of the characters make sense, just like a real person.

Don’t make the story into something it’s not.

As Hemingway would say, you can write about any subject matter as long as you write truthfully. He also said that you should write living people, not characters, so…

I write from the gut, meaning I plan little ahead, preferably not at all. This might backfire and I write myself into a corner, but this is only true if you try to manage your story, instead of letting it lead you; find the truth. I don’t want to fight the story because of a preconceived notion of what a good story is.

My first story was a 400-page fantasy which I wrote in 6 months. That was 3 years ago and I have not finished a book since. I believe that because I knew so little about writing it allowed me to finish the book. There were no perfectionism or expectations that stood in my way. I’m not saying don’t learn the craft, but don’t take other’s successes as your roadmap – find your own.

Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. Have fun!


© Christopher Stamfors

The True Story

Considering what I wrote in my last post, you might find it strange that I think plot is the hardest part of writing. Not because I cannot come up with anything but because I tend to get ahead of myself. The plot is always subject to changes, this is inevitable, but you can make it much easier for yourself if you do it right.

A plot doesn’t come out fully formed, it is discovered as you write it, at least that’s how it is for me. But that doesn’t mean you should go diving into the details right away. There’s a difference between working on the overall structure of the story and what the motivations of the characters are. Motivation is the driving force behind the plot, not what you think the story should be. As long as the motivations are true, the conclusion will be satisfying – and everything else is just details.

Don’t make it harder on yourself.

Of course, writing isn’t as straightforward as that and there will be complications along the way. But I have found a personal solution to this, when I write a new story, I treat it like a fairy tale. You write it as simply as you can because small children doesn’t have the patience to work themselves through a long novel. This forces you to omit scenes and dialogue and only add them when they are structurally necessary.

Finding your process is the hardest, and most time consuming, part of a writer’s early career and I hope I’ll find mine soon and I sincerely hope that you’ll find yours too.


© Christopher Stamfors

Organized Mess

Ideas, ideas, ideas… Why, they are everywhere, constantly bombarding my mind?! Why is everything so inspiring? I can’t watch a movie, read, or take a walk before something interesting pops up. What am I suppose to do with all of them?

I try to organize them.

It took time to come up with this system, and still it’s not perfect, but this is the best I can come up with, so bare with me. I separate them into three categories: ideas that are concepts, ideas with narration and ideas with plot.

Guess which category most of my ideas end up as?

Concepts are easy, so little is required of you to have them. The definition I use for a concept idea is that it has neither characters nor any sort of narrative, meaning they are the “what if” stories. These types of stories can turn into anything, if you let them, and require the most work. They are also the most fun because the plot hasn’t materialized yet.

Then there’s ideas with narration; they are the next step after the concept. These types of ideas are still very open to change, but there have events that tie it together. The characters are nameless and faceless, at this stage. Things has little consequence because we do not care about the world yet. You might have noticed with my ambiguous talk that this stage is difficult to define because where do you draw the line between concept and plot and is there something in between?

Maybe after further study, I’ll figure it out…

Then there’s those few ideas where, at least, some of the characters have been materialized. They have faces and personalities and there’s an urgency that drives the story forward. Ideas with plot is what every writer strive towards, because without characters we care for, we don’t care about the story overall. Even if the world building is excellent, the scenes vividly expressed, or an interesting topic is brought up, if we don’t care about the characters, the story is without meaning.

So this is how I organize my ideas. Obviously when I pick my next story I should choose the one with a plot already in the works, but sometimes it is liberating to choose an concept and see where it will lead.


© Christopher Stamfors

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