1. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    Are you a Tolkien or a Hunter S?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nobeler Than Lettuce, Jul 13, 2010.

    We're all very different types of writers. Some of us punch out 120,000 words every few months and write several novels, others can't get past the planning phase. Others think, some do, what about you?

    During WW1 it was said of Tolkien that he spent a lot of free time "escaping" to the world he had created for LOTR. He had his own languages, maps, battles, history. He created a whole world of lore that was left in his wake. It's surprising to find, as you will if you read "Tolkien and the Great War" by John Garth, that he developed such a rich world whilst simultaniously fighting a horrid war in the trenches.

    On the other hand, Hunter S Thompson was a brutal realist. When he wanted to write about the Hells Angels, he joined them. His books were based off a few scraps of note and were mostly written during long strides of time where Hunter would do nothing but. It is said he had completed a few of his books in as little as two weeks. Of course he was a journalist, and most would assume they'd check facts, have piles of paper scattered around. Not with Hunter, he remembered things, gave his experiences with all the details his fully automatic brain spat out, but he never bothered with written outlines or anything of that nature.

    So, how do you write? Are you obsessed with outlines in fiction? Do you spend a lot of time drawing maps and inventing races of people, or do you just write what comes to mind?

    What type of writer are you and why has it worked? What if it isn't working? How do you deal?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, about all I can say is that one of Tolkien's motives for LotR is that he felt in his heart of hearts that England, being one of the northern countries was missing the great epic tale which the rest of the northern countries all seemed to have. He was sure that England's continual and sometimes repetitive conquest by foreign peoples has erased and robbed England of its great classic epic of ancient origin.

    But to answer your question....

    I am a 10,000 word at a slap and then a loooooooong period of NOTHING.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm neither... and to be honest, don't like what either of those two wrote... i'm a writer, period!

    and over the more than half a century i've been one, i've written just about anything that takes words... from columns and ad copy, to creative dunning letters, to long and short fiction, poetry, song lyrics, plays, screenplays, you name it...

    i'm always puzzled by how most who frequent writing sites seem to think writing novels is all that all writers do, when novelists are only the most publicized fraction of the whole...

    as to how i write fiction, i just get an idea, sit down and start writing... if it's long and involved, at some point i may do up a time line and/or a skeleton outline, to keep me from getting tangled up in plot twists, subplots and time changes... if it's going to be a historical saga, i may even do up a simple outline of times/events nearer the beginning of the writing process... each work defines its own 'method'...

    your last questions don't apply, since i'm not any 'type' of writer... and whatever i set out to write in whatever way i decide to do it does work...

    sorry i couldn't address the specific questions you wanted answered...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    I'll outline if I can't keep adequate track of the storyline in my head, otherwise I usually write without one. I also like to think about what I'm going to write next when I'm not writing (such as during meals, showers, brushing my teeth, etc.).
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    These slots are too narrow! I don't fit!

    I do whatever it takes to get the story done. I don't start with an outline, generally, but if the going gets tough I might make one, or at least a fragment of one. Usually I'll just push on regardless, and then call my first draft my outline. Then I rewrite, deviating happily from my outline wherever I can.
     
  6. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    He had grand goals, or at least, a grand mind. Hunter was too doing something with his work as well. He believed that the concept of the American dream had been lost in the quagmire of modern civilization. His depiction of it would have been amazing as mock caricatures but the fact that his stories are true makes it all the more surreal.

    Maia, I understand where you're coming from. Perhaps I should of chosen more real people. I regard these two as I regard Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, one was a grand strategist, while the other lived in wordless emotion. That was the question really.

    I've written quite a bit of everything while working for papers. But on here I write poems and fiction. I've been published in magazines and across the internet, but I guess in a sense you could say I'm a journeyman. I'm not doing something with my work, not trying to be Geoffry Monmouth or chasing something which the youth gains and loses every generation. Jokingly I'd say we're all just doing what a monkey and a typewriter would have done eventually. I always remind myself that art is a finite thing in God's eye.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    What kind of writer am I? A regretful one. That is, one who wishes he had thrown himself wholeheartedly and unreservedly into writing early enough in life so that I could have made a go of actually being successful at it. And as a result of not having done so, I am spending the last half of my life desperately trying to catch up, to recover what I unwittingly threw away.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's my story, too. I've spent nearly twenty-five years working in engineering jobs while wishing I was a writer. Now I can't wait any longer - my mortality is staring me in the face and if I don't write NOW I might as well admit that I never will, and let the dream of my life die.
     
  9. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I'm more of a Hunter S. Thompson; he's my favourite author of all time (think I need to join the Marine Corps for my latest project) :)
     
  10. Taylor3
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    Taylor3 Member

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    I regard these two as I regard Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, one was a grand strategist, while the other lived in wordless emotion


    which was which?
     
  11. Jane Beryl
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    Jane Beryl Member

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    My plots are all planned out but I hate writing transition scenes. They make me go from "He he he!" to "I'm doomed."
     
  12. Jane Beryl
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    Jane Beryl Member

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    I'm guessing by the order it was stationed in this is what they meant.

    Tolstoy: A Grand Strategist
    Dostoevsky: Wordless Emotion
     
  13. Saffron
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    Saffron Member

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    I'm definitely a Tolkien. I could easily go on tinkering with my fantasy world for years if I let myself...

    I can't just sit down and write with no supporting information e.g. maps, world info, chapter outlines - I'd feel lost! I like to have at least some planning done before I start so that if I don't feel like writing but still want to immerse myself in the world, I can tinker. :)

    Though I don't think I'd go as far as creating languages or writing out a history as detailed as Tolkien's...
     
  14. Addison
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    Addison Member

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    That's rather a curious reading of Tolstoy, but I suppose there's a lot of Tolstoy to read...
     
  15. PurpleCao
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    PurpleCao Member

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    I'm aiming very much for how Tolkien was described. I've plotted out most of my fantasy world, the races, what motivates them, how their languages work (though i've yet to begin writing those).... I want to leave something behind when I go. It's not easy living in someone's footsteps like that, which is why I intend for my world to be more of a brutal mockery of the one we inhabit.
     
  16. OvershadowedGuy
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    OvershadowedGuy Member

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    I'm more of a cross between Brandon Sanderson and C.S. Lewis.
     
  17. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many of my short stories take place in a common world, which I mostly keep in my head. I have a short reference document listing important characters and places, but rarely use it. I don't need to make timelines or elaborate plans for the kinds of stories I write - I just need to have the general principles of the world clear in my head.
     
  18. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    That's unfair, you can't be two fantasy authors :)

    Though I didn't know him well, C.S. Lewis, JFK and Huxley died on the same day. Conspiracy I say!

    I just thought up two polar opposites to writing, but by all means don't compare yourselves to them if you think it fits.

    I suppose I should of just asked if you're a mental author, or an emotional one.
     
  19. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I wouldn't say I'm a big fan of either Tokien or Thompson I have enjoyed almost everything either of them wrote. And, to be honest, I probably follow both paths on various occasions. Most of the time, when an idea comes to me, it is a complete concept. Of course I have to flesh it out on the electronic page but I have a more or less clear-cut idea of the whole story. I can sit down at a keyboard and knock out 115,000 words without breaking a mental sweat. Other times, though that complete concept is still there, it doesn't speak to me so strongly and it may take months and months to pass the 50,000 word mark.

    Now, mental or emotional? Both. The two concepts are thoroughly integrated and inseparable in me and in everything I write.
     
  20. OvershadowedGuy
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    OvershadowedGuy Member

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    Okay, okay I'll find someone else. I don't even write fantasy but I approach my writing similar to those two. The perfect blend between mental and emotional writing.

    Structured versus Creative writing lol.
     
  21. Nalix
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    Nalix Member

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    I'll have to admit to being more of a Tolkien. I've even created a couple languages for my stories. It's a universe I can escape to and spend a lot of time thinking about. One I've already spent a lot of time thinking about. Though thank goodness I don't have any experience fighting wars to inspire me to write the fantasy epic that defined a genre... hmm... yeah, even if I knew I'd live through it, I'd rather pass on that kind of experience.
     
  22. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    I'm more of a Hunter. I don't write much more than what I know. I know what it feels like to be a little bit out of your mind, so I write about that. I know how it feels to be a young person who doesn't fit anywhere, so I write about that. I write about people and emotions and anything that comes to me when I sit down with a pen and paper. Planning never goes well for me. I don't have a train of thought; I have a line of train cars with no connectors all going at different speeds.
     
  23. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    I write when I have something to write.

    It has never been a case of thousands of words at once, or little and often; it is whatever I do that day, be it much, little or nothing. We all have our own ways of writing, and if it works, it works.
     
  24. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Mental or emotional? Some of both. I infuse a lot of my own emotions into my writing. Most everything in my books are emotions I've experience at one point that have been altered a bit to fit that situation. Which isn't hard when there are so very many situations that cause similar emotions. I'm brutally real about the hurts things in life cause in my books but I'm not bleak either. You see my characters grow and change and finally begin to heal. You go on the journey with them.

    I would say 30% mental because I do my damnedest to get my facts straight and 70% emotional because I don't do a lot of planning. I just sorta go for it. Whatever speaks to my heart is what I write. Also I do it in approx five page spurts every day or every other day. Usually. Not always.
     
  25. OvershadowedGuy
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    OvershadowedGuy Member

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    I have a malfunction when it comes to mental and emotional writing. I guess I get hung up on those definitions.

    I think as a writer you're always going to be leaving a part of yourself in every scene and every character. Whether it is a fantasy of who you wish you were (or weren't), a experience you want to have, or a little tidbit of reality, your story is going to reflect you.

    So yeah I do think it's all mental and emotional.

    The question this thread makes me think of is, am I writing from a structured model where everything is mapped out and created beforehand? Or am I ripping chords from my imagination and splicing them together to see what kind of sparks I can create.

    That's just me though.
     

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