1. Slippery
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    Slippery Contributing Member

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    An interesting observation

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Slippery, Jun 29, 2008.

    This might be the way it is for everyone else, don't ask me. But the stories that I write, or might right, first come together in my head. Maybe not every detail, but they exist first in my head. Making stuff up as I go rarely works for me. So the story forms in the head, and then sort of bounces around like a piece of popcorn, begging to be let out.

    Recently though, I realized something. Once I write it, it doesn't really haunt me anymore. As though in writing it, the story has been released. What if that is really the case? If it's true, then maybe sometimes the reason one has trouble writing is that they are trying to write something in particular, when there is another story that needs to be let out first.

    That doesn't mean it's easy to find out which story to write if you have several, though.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I have that same think, Slippery. Elements haunt me and bug me til I write the story. Like, for the last few years my imagination has been haunted by one character and one image periodically. I know the story is there, I just can't grasp it yet. And I know as soon as I do right it, the character will cease to be a constant presence in my imagination. It's a little creepy, when you look at it...
     
  3. Slippery
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    Slippery Contributing Member

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    I could use a lil creepy in my life :)
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    That's what stalkers are for :D
     
  5. JanesLife
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    JanesLife Member

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    Teehee. I know what you mean, though; I cannot just pick up a pen and start writing. Well, I suppose I could, but it would probably be a bit awful. I think I need to visualize every bit of what I want to write. This is not to say that I don't branch out a few ideas along the way, but that I begin with a plan. Then, like you said, it bounces around a lot, and the writing bit starts to eat away at my brain. So, I get antsy and pick up a pen and sketch out lines of plots and characters and symbols... I guess then, if it passes the tests and is still pop-corning (or whatever :)), then I have to sit down and write it.

    I do find that once I've written a piece that it stops poking my skull. Usually. Other times, mostly if it isn't written correctly, I have to rewrite it. Oooerrr. I'm italicizing a lot.

    The idea about having to have certain stories written is really interesting. I think maybe this is true (at least partially). Sometimes one needs to tell a story just to work a bit of their life out in writing, to understand something, maybe. I'm not sure about this one; I'll think about it. Very intriguing. *strokes non-existent beard*
     
  6. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    It's like this for me with roughly half of what I write. I can usually just pick up my laptop and come up with a plot as I write. But these stories usually aren't my best work. I plan out much of what I write in my head, so that it's sort of fighting to be written.
    Quite freaky...it makes stories sound like living things.
     
  7. InkDancer
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    InkDancer Senior Member

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    And what's more, if I explain a story to someone before I finish it, that compulsion to put it on paper goes away. That's why I have a hard time sharing a story in progress until it's done.
     
  8. garza33
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    garza33 Active Member

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    The short story 'Ralph', which has rapidly turned itself into a short novel, started with me thinking of the first sentence. I know a fellow who is a crackhead, pothead, and alcoholic, what I call a multiple choice, all of the above, substance abuser. Whenever he's around, people start to lock away anything small and valuable. That gave me the first sentence, and the main character, and from there on it was easy.

    'A Lost Cowboy' started the same way with the play on words in the first sentence. I had to think of who might say such a thing, and in what context, and I instantly had the four main characters in my mind, along with the symbol of the shadow of the Confederate memorial. The major weakness of 'A Lost Cowboy', I believe, is the rapid compression of ten years of time, and the dropping out of two characters who should have played a part in the development of the story. I have set 'A Lost Cowboy' aside to finish properly after I have 'Ralph' under control.

    I haven't forgotten Henry. I have some ideas, but nothing on paper yet.

    What Faulkner said makes sense. He said he created his characters, then followed them around and wrote down what they did.

    A digital voice recorder is in my pocket all the time now. It looks like a cell 'phone, so I can record whenever and wherever ideas strike and no one notices. They are all too busy talking on real cell 'phones.

    I'm beginning to like writing fiction. It's such a change from what I've done the last 50 years.
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    It amazes me that more aspiring writers do not do this. I carried a small note book in my pocket for many years until they came out with those "micro" cassette recorders. (Okay, okay...I've never tried to hide my age!) Now, with digital recorders, and even voice recognition programs that will turn your audio notes into hard copy, there is no excuse for writers to "lose" any "moment of brilliance". After all your years of writing Garza, you are a role model for the aspiring...if only they will listen! LOL!

    .....NaCl
     
  10. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    My phone has this feature...I may now start using it. *picks up phone* *smiles*
     
  11. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    My stories almost always come together in my head. Sometimes I take out a piece of paper and I write what I want without the story at least partially formed in my head, but when I do that, I know my risk of failure is way up. I don't want to make statistics up on the spot, I just have to say I'm fifty percent more likely to fail if the story doesn't pop up in my head first.

    Writing a story down--whether in outline, synopsis, etc--dispels some of its "magic". This magic is inspiration and inspiration is overrated.

    I also sometimes find it difficult to write one story if another is ready to get out. I may not even complete that story. Until it's had its chance to shine, however, it haunts me. It won't let me write anything else. But I disagree that it's not easy to find out which story is the best one to write. Sometimes the best story to write is not the one that needs to be written first, though. If you go off feel, if you listen to yourself and your characters and the worlds that spin within your brain, you'll know. The voices that tell you are so quiet about it!

    Writing has its own mysticism to it, doesn't it? I think a lot of writers are a superstitious bunch, and with things like this, can you blame them?

    Which reminds me. I used to record story ideas on my cellphone, then on a tape recorder. Those stories never got written. Once I spoke them aloud, they went away. Now I try not to talk about story ideas out loud. Writing them seems to be okay. Weird. . .
     
  12. JimT.
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    JimT. New Member

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    I've often experienced this. If I start daydreaming (mindwriting) a story, at some point my subconscious pokes its periscope above the waters and tells me it's time to start writing. The story then bubbles up from the deep, and all I have to do, for the most part, is type.

    This is the most enjoyable way to write, but just because the story comes from the subconscious is no guarantee anyone will want to read it. Garbage in, garbage out. For one thing, the right-brain source doesn't seem to target the market very well. For another, personality really dominates things. The subconscious really does have a mind of its own. (groan)

    I suspect access to the right brain is what makes the difference between a natural writer and a taught writer. The right brain has already absorbed hundreds or thousands of stories by the time the individual has cleared adolescence, and can draw on them, not just for content but for method. That's why the natural writer's first story often hangs together as a story, regardless of word-handling skills. The writer who must be taught, on the other hand, often seems to be at a complete loss until he or she has struggled through lots of classes.

    In the end, it's what gets put down on paper. Or into a stream of electrons.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    So similar for me. Just my opinion, but I think that the act of giving voice to the idea, the plot, the character, whatever, solidifies it. In my mind, it remains amorphous and malleable; explained, it becomes concrete and set. I try not to show or speak about a scene or an item until I am sure that the thread has run out in my head.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I usually have some notion of where a story is going before I first tap any keys, but not to crystalline clarity. My characters start out as clay, the story is shapes in the mist, with the occasional sharply focused scene. As I write, I become closer to the scenes and they resolve into clearer images, and I see details that are worth special note. I begin to shape and sculpt the characters, and they too become increasingly real.

    When I finally reach the end, then I have to go back and travel the path a few more times in revision. That requires some pretty big changes most of the time, too, so it's just as well I didn't have too great an attachment to my first fuzzy snapshot.
     
  15. Slippery
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    Slippery Contributing Member

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    The attachment is something I have to work on. I really love my scenes. :)
     
  16. Shizai Ko
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    Shizai Ko New Member

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    I thought I was the only one. Sometimes a good fight scene would be in my head. Then a few days later, factors that lead up to and inspires the fight scene.
     
  17. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    Exactly. Sometimes I find myself staring at a beautiful sheaf of paper and wanting so badly to put something on it, but there's nothing...other times I find myself scrambling for scraps of post-it notes to jot down ideas. I find that I do best with a good medium (lined paper and pen, or high-quality mechanical pencil) and the seeds of a scene in mind. Though I tend to give my characters a little leeway to see what they might do once I start writing.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Seemed apropos...
     
  19. Adelaide
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    Adelaide Member

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    My process is similar to Cogito's, but I do get a little too attached to my original ideas. I need to learn to be less one-minded.
     

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