1. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway

    Experimental Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by spklvr, Apr 22, 2011.

    I used to take a writing course back in the day. I have always liked trying new things when it comes to perspective, characters and genres. Something I thought was a good thing in a writer, but I got criticized for it by my writing teacher. Guess he meant I had found my niche. Third person limited horror/fantasy stories... that's also what I prefer to write, but I still enjoy experimenting.

    Some examples of things I've tried are writing from a fly's perspective, had a main character that doesn't speak, but eagerly narrates the story in first person, and I switch genres constantly.

    So my question is:
    Should you experiment or stick to what you're good at, and improve on that?
    And do you experiment a lot while writing?
     
  2. Pea
    Offline

    Pea super pea!

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    in the garden
    Experimenting is always good, and I've done some interesting pieces that way... but if you want to get published? I think it would hurt your chances, especially since less people would understand and be willing to read it.
     
  3. dnsralg
    Offline

    dnsralg Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    New York
    How do you find something you're good at if you don't experiment? I worry what I might miss out on if I don't learn new techniques. Then, you practice practice practice!!
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Experimenting is good. But sometimes you should keep the experiments to yourself. In a classroom situation, the teacher may be providing guided experiments. In that case, you should probably use your best "tried and true" techniques on the assignment.

    A good experiment is one with a strong likelihood of failure. Our failures are often far more instructive than our successes, but they aren't always great for our grades. :)
     
  5. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Pea has a good point. I guess it depends on if your goal at the moment is to get published and make a name for yourself or to get better at your craft.
     
  6. KillianRussell
    Offline

    KillianRussell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Glasshouse
    thumbs up for having the courage to expand your horizons, however do not except it to fly in a classroom setting
     
  7. dnsralg
    Offline

    dnsralg Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    New York
    I had very positive experiences with trying new things in writing classes, so I think it depends on where you are. I think a classroom setting is one of the best places to experiment. You'll be able to get feedback from both peers and professionals.
     
  8. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    Experimenting isn't experimenting when you're good enough at whatever was once an experiment for it to be worth trying to publish. So, experiment to learn new things and improve your craft, and then when the results of the experiment are in, use the data in your writing.

    Or, perhaps all fiction writing is an experiment.

    I've learned a ton by basically writing whatever I've heard people say couldn't or shouldn't be done. Third person present tense, perspectives of opposite sex teenage girls, whatever, it's all a learning experience.
     
  9. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I am not taking a writing course. With any degree course or other college course I would say pander to the professor/lecturer/teacher then do your own thing off their time. Get the grades you need to go on your CV.

    I don't personally feel a desire to stick to one genre/POV/narrative except for historicals I do stick to present tense but part of that is a habit because I have written so much I keep forgetting I am supposed to be writing past tense with things lol

    Only thing I have done is split my writing into over and under 18ish - didn't think innuendo and illustrated under eight children's stories belonged under the same name.
     
  10. adamsadvice
    Offline

    adamsadvice Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    Anytime I write, it is an experiment. You cannot predict how your words will flow once on the page, all we can do is move them or swap them. Life is an experiment in itself, so never hold yourself back. You will begin to realize strengths you didn't know were there before and will better understand your unique voice.

    While trying on different shoes, we can only feel what we know. Keep that in mind, because in all reality, you will only experiment as far as your minds limitations will take you. :)
    And as for publishing, if you are writing from a place of passion for it, people will understand, so long as you are writing with that fire.
     
  11. Infinitytruth
    Offline

    Infinitytruth Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    In a house!
    Experimenting is how you find your strengths in anything. How can you truly know yourself otherwise.Your teacher is a quack. Conform! Conform!

    You'll be far richer with experience if you experiment at least initially. Maybe that's just my opinion though.
     
  12. martial_wolf
    Offline

    martial_wolf Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, Wa
    Just keep experimenting. It's probably one of the most fun aspects of writing and one of the most challenging.
     
  13. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I'd say if you feel confident enough in your genre a little experimenting can never be wrong, and it will only make you improve your writing.
     
  14. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Just remember - an experiment is intended to test a single idea. In order to be an effective test, you should keep everything else as "normal" or "standard" as possible, so you can effectively evaluate the effect of the variable you are testing.

    For example, I wrote a short story, or rather an extended scene, without explicitly stating what the character was thinking or feeling. Basically, it was an exercise in showing without telling. Writing it gave me an appreciation both of the power and of the limitations of showing vs. telling, and how to balance the two for optimum effect.
     
  15. dnsralg
    Offline

    dnsralg Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    New York
    Which can be a completely differently style or form. Sometimes an exercise will result in a piece that bears no resemblance to the author's "normal" writing. In such, the only thing that could remain the same is the writer's outside environment. Further experimentation may occur if the writer chooses to combine elements from both styles.
     
  16. KillianRussell
    Offline

    KillianRussell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Glasshouse
    I just wrote the story of the writing professor, the 1st person fly and the student, thanks so much for the prompt
     
  17. Eunoia
    Offline

    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    England
    I think it's good to experiment. It's boring sticking to just what you know and are good at. I regularly experiment with other styles and genres, you can learn things from doing them and it's nice to give yourself a different kind of challenge. One piece of experimental writing I'm intending on doing over the summer (when I have plenty of time) is going to be writing a story all beginning with the same letter, or writing a flash fiction with every word beginning with one letter of the alphabet (so first word begins with A, second with B and so on). I think you mean more in different genres though, and that's good too because I've found that sometimes a strength in one style, is a weakness in another. You can experiment writing sci-fi, historical, crime etc. and non fiction as well as improving what you know you're good at.
     

Share This Page