1. Sister Sinister
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    Sister Sinister New Member

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    Fighting Writer's Block

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sister Sinister, Aug 10, 2008.

    Just to make this clear to everyone here, I just joined this website today, and I'm trying to get the jiff of everything.
    Anyway:

    I have a few tips to share on how to fight writer's block.
    Which would be for poetry and stories/novels.

    Short Story:


    Usually when I'm writing short stories (Usually for contests, though.)
    I have to start with the main character's name.
    After I get an interesting name (let's say... Darius.)
    I begin to brainstorm.
    Usually when brainstorming, I tend to think up a brief idea (Like, it's going to be a tragedy type story.)
    Then I move onto brainstorming the end of the short story.
    Let's say, Darius is the narrator of the story, and is talking about a boy who killed himself. (That's kind of depressing, I know. I'm sorry.)
    But then it turns out the boy Darius is talking about is actually him.
    Which puts a ginormous twist in the story, and it's like a huge slap in the face at the end.
    Once you think up an end, it's easier filling in the rest.

    If you can't think of absolutely any ideas for a story, try thinking about the genre you want, and either you know you're good at that genre or want to start someting new and challenge yourself.
    If you can't pick any genre what-so-ever, pick a dream you once had.
    No matter where you left off in that dream, it's easy to keep up that imaginative thought that you had inside of it.
    If you choose dreams to write a story, it's always easier to take out a pen and paper and write down all of the keypoints and quotes from that dream. (So you don't forget as you're writing.)
    But, it's easier to spice up the characters in the story first.

    If you don't even want to choose a dream, just pick a word.
    Any word.
    Like...
    Forgotten.
    Then list off five or seven things that follow with the word "forgotten."
    A list like this:

    Forgotten:
    Alone
    Heartache
    Depression
    Darkness
    Strangling
    Fading
    Hurt


    Then start just making a little "sketch" of a paragraph that has all of those words.
    Don't even think of a character, write in first person if you need to.
    Just include the words and edit it later. Using as much detail as possible is usually good. (Too much is fine, considering it's only just a little practice course.)

    Example:

    I am forgotten within these black sheets of darkness.
    They wrap around my face and throat, like deformed transparent, limp hands, extending their fingers out to my neck, strangling me with a pushed force.
    I can only feel as if I am fading away.
    With a cold mass beating within my chest beneath its rusted, tainted flesh was only found to be my heartache.
    It hurt to breath, it pained me to see, all of the depression that sat inside the pit of my stomache.
    I felt alone, unheard...
    For I am forgotten within this hollow place called Earth.


    I'm aware of all of the mistakes in that, but it's just to set the point through.
    If none of that helps you out...
    Then you're a lost cause. (Haha)
    Or just listen to music, look at artwork.
    Something that inspires you.
    That's all of the tips I have for short stories.


    Novels:
    Starting novels:
    When starting a new novel, you should decide on whether you'll be writing in first, second, or third person.
    (Most people prefer first or third, though.)
    Once you've chosen the format (I suppose you can call it that.)
    you want to use, think about how you want to start.
    The most popular starting scenes are usually when the character is waking up, characters are talking to one another, the weather is explained, or just how the character is feeling.

    Example 1. (Waking Up/First Person)
    I awoke slowly, to a ray of golden sun that was cast through my window.
    I squinted, rubbing my eyes free of the blurry fog that covered my eyes.

    Example 1. (Waking Up/Third Person)
    He awoke slowly, to a ray of golden sun that casted through his window.
    He squinted, rubbing his eyes free of the blurry fog that cover his eyes.

    Example 2. (Characters Talking/First Person)
    "Where will we..." "No..." "I--"
    Muted voices slipped beneath the crack below my door, sinking into my ears like a towel absorbing water.

    Example 2. (Waking Up/Third Person)
    "Where will we go?"
    "Somewhere far away. Unless you don't want to."
    "No! I'll go." A girl shouted at a boy who stood infront of her.

    Example 3. (Weather)
    The rain showered over the city, as if they were the angel's crytal tears.
    They fell upon the crimson leaves that sat on upon the trees' branches peacefully, fluttering down off of them like rage-colored butterflies.

    Example 3. (Weather/ First Person)
    I stared out of the window, glaring at the rain that fell over the city.
    My city.
    The city I lived in.
    They fell down like the tears on my cheeks, innocent and angelic.
    Falling upon the trees' leaves which fluttered down like rage-colored butterflies, spreading their red wings in the drizzling liquid.

    Example 3. (Weather/ Third Person)
    She stared out of the window with solemn eyes.
    Only to see the rain pattering against the ground, and over the rooftops of the city.
    The drops fell like angel's tears, falling upon the crimson leaves that sat upon the tree's branches.
    They fluttered down, like rage-colored butterflies.

    Example 4. (Character's Emotion/ First Person)
    I felt as if there was a hollowness in the pit of my heart.
    Digging a hole, creating a void... But only filling that void with worthless items.
    I felt the need to cry.
    To will away this loneliness.
    To just end it all...

    Example 4. (Charater's Emotion/ Third Person)
    He sat with saddened eyes.
    Feeling only the hollow hole growing larger within the pit of his heart.
    To only stop the empty void with worthless items, and belongings.
    He felt the need to cry.
    To will away his loneliness.
    To end it all...



    Plain Writer's Block:

    The only tips that I honestly give for this, is listen to an inspiring song.
    A favorite band, or song that suits the mood of where your story is at.

    Or, try what I like to do.
    What I do, is no matter what movement I make, in my mind I think in detail, whatever I'm doing.

    Example:
    I extended my fingers to reach the slender, silver phone.
    My fingers wrapping around it as if it were some type of holy sword.


    Haha.
    That's about as good as tips as I can give for you guys, there.
    Sorry.


    Poetry
    :

    Choose a subject, or word.
    Like...
    Love.
    Sure.
    List off five words that follow along the lines of "love".

    Heart
    Kind
    Warm
    Smiles
    Sun

    Whether writing a rhyming poem or not, just try to fit in all of these five words somewhere inside your poem, and edit later on.
    (Like for the Short Stories.)
    Or, if you have a gifted friend, write out a piece of poetry that you believe is horrible, and get them to edit it for you.
    It'll show you where you should improve and get them to explain why they edited it.

    That's all of my tips.
    I hope it helped you. ^^

     
  2. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Wonderful post!

    and

    Welcome to the Forums.

    Glad to have you.
     
  3. Sister Sinister
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    Sister Sinister New Member

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    Thank you. :)
    I figured if it's going to be my first thread and post, I should make it a good one.
     
  4. missupernatural
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    missupernatural Member

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    That's great. =)

    Just one thing though - it's all too common for people to start their stories with the weather. I know I do it too much, but honestly, it should be avoided.
     
  5. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Oh hush you :p ... it matters not HOW you start it... as long AS you start it...
     
  6. tnme22
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    tnme22 Member

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    I learned last year in my English class that the first sentence is one of the most important sentences in the book and that you should try to have a really strong opening sentence that makes the reader want to read your story.
    My English teacher last year (and I know a lot of other people probably do this too) goes to Barnes and Noble, randomly picks a book, reads the first sentence and if he likes it he buys it.
    Typically books or stories that start with conversation kind of bug me, because nine times out of ten it's a really boring conversation. I think that when you start with your character's thoughts or emotions it makes it more grabbing. Like in the book Brooklyn Follies (sorry, I don't remember who it's by), it starts by saying "I was looking for a quiet place to die." That sentence makes you want to at least read the rest of the page.
     
  7. Sister Sinister
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    Sister Sinister New Member

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    Well, Tnme22, I feel the same way about the conversation bit, but sometimes they turn out to be really great stories.
    I honestly like books with a good prologue.
    It makes you want to read the whole book, all at once.
    But, yes, most novels that start out with conversations are rather-- bland. x]

    Somehow--I've never learned that in English-- But I do do that at times.
    =]
    One of my favourite books, The Exraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
    by Rick Yancey starts out very interestingly... "I never I thought I'd save the world-- or die doing so." Something to that effect.
    ^^
     
  8. Sister Sinister
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    Sister Sinister New Member

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    Well, I honestly think if you start out with a good, detailed rain scene, it makes it much more fun to write.
    But, also, sometimes people don't like detail, which authors should keep in mind.

    Anyway, to be honest, I find it common for people to start out with weather scenes-- but they're usually all about a bright, happy, sunshine-y day.
    Which is way too overused in novels.

    In your opinion it should be avoided, probably because you used it so much it got old to you?
    But, I don't know.
    If the book's worth reading, read it. No matter how it starts off.
     
  9. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    What an interesting thread. :) I agree that the first sentence in the story is the most important. It determines whether or not the reader is interested enough in continuing. I also agree that, initially, it doesn't matter how you start the story so long as you do. You can always backtrack and fix things later.
     
  10. wackerob
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    wackerob Banned

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    I always find that when you start of a story with the weather, you tend to complicate things somewhere down the road. When I am trying to fight writers block, I use my imagination. In my mind I create a scene where I am sitting in a flower garden, surrounded by beautiful pink yellow and red roses. Then I imagine there is this girl I am crazy about,who keeps rejecting my advances. With all these beautiful roses around me I try to use them to my advantage. I pick up a wide selection of these roses, hand them to her and ask her will she be my friend.

    I then decide to create tension where this young lady is feeling creeped out by my continual advances. It gets to the stage where she enlists the help of her best friends brother. He acts the part of her jealous boyfriend telling me in no misunderstanding language that he is not happy with me moving in on his girlfriend. If he catches me anywhere near her again he will beat me to a pulp. Giving me a lesson I will never forget in my lifetime.

    This can then be worked into fear for ones self. I who am not a fighter become frightened by the threat of violence to myself, pledge to leave her alone and not to go near her again. Later on though, I think back to what has been said to me. I ask myself am I a man or a mouse? If I were her boyfriend and someone kept annoying her for her phone number, would I leave him to it or would I be a man and do something about it, like threatening violence against him.

    Although violence is never the answer, in some circumstances it is justified. Especially if that person is stalking your girlfriend and he will not heed your polite warnings to leave her be.

    Moving on from this scene you focus on the girlfriend smiling lovingly at her "hero" of a boyfriend, for getting rid of this annoying pest. At the same time, you could have this spurned lover glowering at them from a distance vowing to get even with the two of them for treating him this way. While he is going his seperate way, he is trying to devise a plan where he can sort out the boyfriend and win her heart at the same time. This is going to be difficult, as he will have to make him look like a jerk in front of her and their friends. For the plan to succeed, he would have to come along at the right time, save her from further embarressment but allow him to be ridiculed by his piers for his behaviour.

    You do not have to pick this type of scenario, it is only an example of what your mind can create. You are the author, use your imagination to create whatever you feel comfortable with. Remember it's your mind creating these images so use them to their strengths and abilities. Let the story flow from your mind, just as if you are reading it from a book. The more creative your mind is the better the story will be.
     

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