1. Logan67
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    Logan67 New Member

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    Bad with words, good with ideas

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Logan67, Dec 10, 2011.

    Hi all,

    I have just joined this forum, and this is my first post.

    I would like to seek your advice with regard to an idea that has been swirling in my mind for quite some time: writing a novel. The funny thing is that I have never been interested in writing before and, to be blunt, I don't even like writing. This may appear as an unsurmountable obstacle, and indeed it might be so, but there are some other considerations that are insistently pushing me in that direction. I hope you can help me evaluate my prospects as a writer in a dispassionate manner.

    The issue is quite simple: I like creating stories (in my mind), but I don't like writing them.
    Or, I can also put it this way: I am not so good with words -- not so fluent, not good with descriptions (I find them boring), dialogs, etc..
    On the other hand, I am quite good with ideas, and I am confident I can successfully devise plots, situations, events, connections....

    In other words, I can easily create the story of a novel, and I have no problem visualizing it in my mind, but I am not good at putting it down into words. I feel 'bogged down'.
    By contrast, devising the plot is something that I really like fantasizing about, and I believe I am quite creative at that. Moreover, my real life experiences (I lived in many different environments, with quite different kinds of people) provide me with a large reservoir of ideas, with which I like to play.

    The obstacle, as I said, is that I dread writing. It's not that I lack confidence: I simply don't like doing the actual writing. I hope you will forgive my impertinence, but I will share with you my personal perception about writing: to me writing the actual story (words, words, words...) looks like a menial job, which I would like to shirk. I am sure that this consideration may come across as arrogant and snobbish, but I assure that this is not the way I feel. In my case, it has more to do with laziness, I believe.

    So, to sum it up, do you think that I may be able put my creative imagination to good use even if I lack the fluency in writing? That is, supposing that my story is really good, well spun, well researched, etc., how serious a limitation would it be if the actual wording is stale and oafish?

    As a last resort, I was also mulling over this crazy thought: are there cases of novels written by two authors (one creates the story, spelling out the characters' details, the events and the meat of the novel, while the other does most of the actual writing, with the dialogs, the descriptive parts...)? Since I am a newcomer to the world of writing, I know that this might just be a silly question, or an obvious one, but it just occurred to me that this might be a possible solution to my predicament.

    I thank you all in advance.

    Logan
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It happens a lot more than you might expect. There are plenty of ghostwriters and editors who make a living out of taking poorly-written yet interesting manuscripts and rewriting them into publishable works. Good luck finding people to talk about it though, most are sworn to secrecy, and I doubt many publishers would be particularly forthcoming about the idea.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You may not like writing, but, judging from your post, you're pretty good at it (if a bit formal). Give it a try! Maybe, when you actually finish a story, you might find that the labor of writing wasn't that bad after all.
     
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  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think you should try writing something. Sure it's hard work, but it can be very rewarding, especially after completing a longer piece of work. Find something you're really interested in writing about (or reading about) and work from there.
     
  5. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    If the ideas push hard enough, you'll eventually want to get them out. Try some short stories first perhaps. If you don't like that, maybe there is another creative medium that you would enjoy more.
     
  6. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    Logan67, thank you for this thread. That is very similar to my dilemma as well.

    I really enjoy working with ideas and fleshing them out, but I dread doing anything with them. This can relate to writing or game design in my case. Really big dampener on my life when the one thing I enjoy doing, that I believe I am good at, has no purpose to anyone other than myself.
     
  7. YoungCreature
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    YoungCreature Member

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    This is probably the first real legitimate question/dilemma that I have seen posted on here for ages. Writing sucks. It is boring, time-consuming, unrewarding most of the time, and it can really be just goddam annoying. You don’t write badly though. Actually, to tell you the truth, you write pretty well. I mean, you’re a little boring, or stiff, or formal. Loosen your writing up a bit. If you have a good story, just get started on it. And, for your other question, people co-author books all the time.
     
  8. YoungCreature
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    YoungCreature Member

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    This is probably the first real legitimate question/dilemma that I have seen posted on here for ages. Writing sucks. It is boring, time-consuming, unrewarding most of the time, and it can really be just goddam annoying. You don’t write badly though. Actually, to tell you the truth, you write pretty well. I mean, you’re a little boring, or stiff, or formal. Loosen your writing up a bit. If you have a good story, just get started on it. And, for your other question, people co-author books all the time.
     
  9. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    Instead of a novel, write a screenplay. :)
     
  10. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    Just force yourself to write something. A few short stories, maybe?
    When it comes to writing I think the worst thing to do is thinking about how you are going to write - putting words down one after another. Don't think about that at all, simply start writing. Once you start thinking your brain freezes and words won't come at all. Just let go of the worries and write.
    The more you write the better you'll become at it.
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Write a script for a movie or television show (much less words). Novels do not seem like your cup of tea.

    Edit: Comic books/graphic novels also might be a good idea.
     
  12. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    I agree with Jhunter. I think you'd be more attuned to writing scripts and/or comic books (or other unconventional venues of writing). I think you have to enjoy the craft to create novels/stories though not all writers are big on dialogue or description. You don't need to be a J.R.R Tolkien or a Hemingway to enjoy writing stories.

    You might want to relax and try to come up with a story and see where it goes. It really is a craft and more enjoyable the further you get into it.
     
  13. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    I hate double posting.
     
  14. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    I feel you, very good ideas in my head.
    It doesn't feel the same writing a story in my native.
    Then I need some poor bastard to translate it, so I then can present it for english people.
    Cus I sure don't wanna translate it later.
     
  15. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Another thought - there are other kinds of storytelling besides writing. How well do you draw? If you're a reasonably good visual artist (you sound like you might be, given how you can visualize well) you could do comics (which, contrary to steretypes, don't have to be humorous if you don't want them to be). Or if you're good with animation, you could make cartoons. Or if you're much more comfortable with talking than writing and you can do different voices, you could record audio plays.

    On the other hand, I used to be in your shoes. I have mild motor problems, and for a long time I hated writing and would write only the bare minimum I had to. Meanwhile, I made figures out of twist tyes and acted out stories with them. When I was 12-13 or so, my handwriting was still really slow and laborious, but my typing was getting fast, so I started typing up my stories. Now I'm the most prolific writer I know, of all the writers I've met in writer's groups and such.
     
  16. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    James Patterson. He wrote his first few novels, but now he uses his bestseller status to get less fortunate writers to write his stories.
     
  17. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Seriously? I was wondering how he managed to get a new novel out every couple of months... isn't that cheating though? I mean it's letting unknown authors ride his coat tails while he sits back and lets the royalties roll in, isn't it? Seems a bit dishonest... and I mean that specifically in relation to James Patterson, because he is using his name to sell someone else's work. I don't have a problem with a non-literary celebrity using a ghost writer, because they didn't become famous for being a writer in the first place, so people expect them to have help. But if an author just gets lazy and lets others publish under his name... well, they lose my respect a little.
     
  18. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    The real question might be, "how much of it does he write?" Just because he doesn't do (all of) the actual writing doesn't mean he didn't create the story. And let's face it... are you buying the book for the words on the paper, or the story they tell?

    Not to mention that there are plenty of good writers who have the writing talent, but no ideas of their own to write. Such a writer might be happy to write James Patterson's next novel for him, for the paycheck that comes with that job!
     
  19. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    Double post. :(
     
  20. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Patterson used to be in advertising, he knows the value of his name as a brand. If you check his bibliography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Patterson_bibliography, you'll see that he wrote some books himself, and other books are 'co-written'. From what I gather, Patterson lays down the synopsis of the story, and has the other writer go through the drudgery of writing the novel. But, as he credits the other writer as well, it's not 'cheating'. Just know that if you pick up a book written by 'James Patterson and Andrew Gross/Michael Ledwedge/Maxine Paetro', most of the words will have been written by the latter. As these writers would not be able to reach the millions of readers like Patterson does, they seem to be satisfied with their work in the shadows. And Patterson has succesfully published several books before his name became a brand to be used for other people's writing, so he's the real deal.
     
  21. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I didn't say he couldn't write, I said I would lose respect for an author who got too lazy to 'go through the drudgery of writing the novel' himself and let someone else do it for him, but then just tacks his name on it to make it sell. Whether he credits the co author or not, it's just another way that marketing is used to make people think they are buying one thing when they are really buying something else. yes it's branding, but it's still not entirely honest.

    Luckily I don't go in for all that mass marketed bestseller schlock. The crime thriller genre doesn't really interest me - unless it's historical ;-)
     
  22. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I did not intend to infer that you said he couldn't write - I just pointed out that he used to be in advertising, that he used to write all his novels himself until he got the clout to do away with the drudgery and become a brand name and idea man. People become writers for different reasons - some for fame, some for money, some to entertain others, some to educate, to thrill, to scare... Patterson is an advertising guy, he knows branding, he understand his audience and he caters to them. In my opinion, he is honest, because he doesn't hide the co-writer. But, by calling it a co-writer and not, like in television, saying that the book is 'based on Patterson's ideas' and 'written by XXXX', he just shows his advertising aptitude. His readers trust the Patterson brand. Patterson says that this book, though co-written with XXX, is similar in entertainment value to his solo-written works. And it probably is, so he gets away with it.

    In regards to the OP: Patterson did the work, until he could find someone to do the 'boring bits' for him. I doubt if Patterson could've found someone to do the drudgery if Patterson hadn't made a name for himself. So it's improbable to follow his feat without first making a name for yourself, perhaps in another capacity: editor, publisher, whatever. Having good ideas is just a part of writing. And most writers have plenty ideas. If a writer is willing to forego his own ideas for yours, you'd either have to have better ideas or be able to guarantee inflated sales [as Patterson can].
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i used to read patterson's work... since he franchised himself, i don't!
     
  24. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    Writing does take a lot of time. You could have someone else co-write your story. Personally though, the hard truth is that if your idea is only in your head, no one else will ever know it exists.
     

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