1. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    How do you write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kablooblab, Jan 5, 2012.

    Ever since I was little I would come up with huge imaginary stories and worlds in my head and I love thinking of characters and stories but the problem is I don't know how to write it down. The only way I could really see getting the story out is through a movie because there it clearly shows what it is going on. I just don't know how to "show" I think the word is. The story. Its great in my head, but whenever I try to write it it seems bland and I can't get out what I'm trying to show. Its hard to explain I hope I'm making sense. Whenever I read which I hardly ever do I can clearly understand everything that is going on and I'm usually interested. But when I try to read my written stories I quickly get bored and frustrated because it isn't telling my story right and delete everything. Right now I don't have anything I've written because I just delete it all out of frustration. So how do I get around this and write like a writer? Should I read more? If so, what books?
     
  2. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    Reading more is always a good thing because there were enough people that saw something in those books in order to get them in your hands. I really couldn't pinpoint any specific books because one person's trash is another person's treasure (so to speak).

    Practicing is always a good thing. Most people aren't born great writers, they just did a lot of it over and over again. If your having trouble writing the actual story down, why not just start with outlines, plot details, and character biographies? That way, you're still fleshing out your story and keeping a notebook of your ideas which will make a good reference when you get down and dirty.

    I'd definitely read more but instead of just reading line to line, try slowing down a little bit and reading "how" the author writes instead of "what" the author writes. This exercise worked for me: Try picking up a random book, pick a random page/paragraph, and then try to rewrite the paragraph in your own words without leaving any important details (this can become increasingly difficult with dialogue). It's a nice technique that can be both simple and challenging at times.

    And if that doesn't work, you can always come back here for some more sound advice from actual writers instead of some dude in a mask.
     
  3. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    Wow, literally word for word, that is me. I want to delve into directing just so I can really get my point across. I see it so perfectly, with rich backdrops and complex situations, and I just find it hard sometimes to write it down the way I see it so it's not boring. And then I either give up, or don't want anyone to read it, and I end up deleting my stuff. Even though now I would have enjoyed rereading and redoing some of my old stuff.

    I also play a game with myself in the car: when I hear a song and I'm bored I will 'daydream' up a crazy scene to go along with it.

    The best advice I can give you is to just keep writing. DON'T DELETE. Just find a private file and store them. If it's just not coming to you, let it sit and stir in your mind, come back, edit, repeat.

    Also, I haven't the time in my life right now to devote the appropriate time to reading and writing, but taking the time to read a few lines or listen to talk radio about books, it helps give a new perspective on some vocab.

    Oh yeah, and I feel like sometimes my problem is the fact that I can't express myself correctly. So I think working on my vocab and expanding that would help me get my point across.
     
  4. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    That's the main thing keeping you from being able to write well. Hardly ever reading. It would be like someone who never listens to music, deciding that they want to be a songwriter. It's just not likely to go well.

    I would advise reading more. A good place to start is stories that you already find entertaining (thrillers, mysteries, fantasy, whatever really) and then branch out from there. After you're more familiar with what a good story is from a reader's perspective, work on trying to replicate that with your own voice/style. That's easier said than done, and takes a lot of practice, but it all starts out with being an avid reader in my opinion.
     
  5. seije
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    seije Member

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    as someone who had the exact same problem when i began, my advice is to start where you want to start. begin writing in the middle of your book if you have to, and backtrack to fill in how the characters got there. You can also begin your story with an event you wanted to write, even if the reader doesn't know quite what's going on yet. It can actually work in your favor if you write it well, because now your reader wants to know what's going on, and will continue reading to find out.
     
  6. Mystique23
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    Mystique23 Member

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    I have always been a heavy reader. The trick is to read so many books that writing "styles" and conventions, as well as simple grammar and syntax, become instinctive. It's like riding a bike; hard at first, but eventually your muscle memory takes over and you do it without thinking.

    A thesaurus is also really, Really, REALLY handy.
     
  7. Immy
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    Immy Member

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    I read all the time - I'm a serious bookworm - but I have exactly the same problem as you do. I imagine my stories as more of a film, with music playing now and again. I have a really hard time getting this down onto paper, the way I want it to be and I'll end up deleting it because it doesn't read as I imagined it would. I've been told I'm a good writer but I just can't get the exact story from my head to paper. I'm hoping more experience and practice will help, so all I can do is continue trying! I wonder if any Author writes exactly what they thought they would, and if they're ever completely satisfied with it?
     
  8. Immy
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    Immy Member

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    I'm sorry - I must have skipped over this thread - but that's a great idea :) and I think that I might try that because, truthfully, the ideas in my head are mostly the exciting and most important scenes. When I start to write, I start from the beginning, and usually, I get bored with it. I think that it's a great idea to start with an event I actually want to write and then fill in the rest as it comes to me. Thanks for that :)
     
  9. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    Radical thought here... but if you "imagine your stories as a film", why don't you try writing a script/story board for a film?

    As for having trouble articulating your thoughts into prose, I agree with what everyone else is saying, read more.

    Also DO NOT delete anything you have written. Print that sucker out, dictate it into a recording device and play it back. Identify what is wrong with it, find your mistakes, and don't make them again.
     
  10. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    If I ever find my stories getting bland, I simply recall what other authors wrote in roughly the same scene and steal their phrases. Often, my stories include sections that are simply amalgamations of slightly altered stolen phrases. Also, sorry to advertise, but I've written a guide right here in this forum,"Writing Unique Descriptions", that gives tips on how to spice up your descriptions.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes!... read constantly, the works of the best writers of the genre you want to write in... one can't become a good writer if one is not first a good and constant reader...

    3 words come to mind: cheap, cheating, lazy
     
  12. pinkgiraffe
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    pinkgiraffe Member

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    I have exactly this problem. Two things are helping, slowly:

    1. Read more, and keep notes on what you write. If you think an author has a neat way of describing something, jot it down. Later, you can use those trinkets as inspiration for your own descriptions.

    2. Practice describing settings. Start with the place you're sitting. What can you see? hear? smell? Write and write and write all the detail you can about the scene without worrying about grammar. You can edit out anything unnecessary later, but you NEED to have a setting fixed in your mind and have some idea of what it 'looks like' in words before you can start using it as a backdrop to action. And you do need that backdrop in order for your reader to get a mental picture of the scene you're describing.
     
  13. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    The type of books I like are fantasy but sci-fi is ok. But I'm a really really picky reader. I can't read/watch anything where there is an invincible character. For example when someone is shooting at a character while he is running and every bullet lands behind him. Also when the good guys always win even when there is no reason that they should have, huge pet peeve. And when characters don't ever kill anyone. Like when the villain is hanging off a ledge for his life and the good guy grabs his hand and pulls him up. Another huge pet peeve. So do you guys know any books that don't do any of that?^ I read your suggestions so I bought wheel of time because that got such great reviews. But it is just so unbelievably descriptive that I can't stand reading it. It seems to be describing every single detail down the the spec of dust on his shoulder. I really like dialogue both when I read and write. I'm the polar opposite of the guy in the other thread about hating writing dialogue. I will write pages of dialogue before I notice that I should probably describe the area more. And I'm the same with reading. If it isn't mostly dialogue, I can't read it. I just really don't care about the setting at all.
     
  14. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    This could be the key. Read loads of stuff that's similar in style to what you're trying to create, because from that you will be inspired. It's not copying. Think of it as though you're designing a product to be sold, you would probably start by researching an analysing existing products to find out what works and what doesn't, and what can be improved. As far as I'm concerned, more than half of being an author is reading.
     
  15. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    It might be best, if you're serious about being an author, to try and open up a bit more. Narratives nearly always require a setting, and to say you're not interested in that is to cut out a large and often important part of writing. As far as I can tell, you might be best trying to write screenplays, because then, even though setting does need to be considered, the main body of it is dialogue.
     
  16. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    That's a great idea, I might try it. I like a story for a story and its dialogue. I don't think settings should really go any further then telling where they are. Unless if it actually has a reason. For example if there is a river, say so. But not just for the sake of saying there is a river. Have the character escape through that river. it feels like such a drag reading and writing settings and its hard to imagine that anyone really enjoys or cares knowing how the cold wind feels against his skin or how the tree across the field reminds him of home.
     
  17. tprice93
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    tprice93 New Member

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    http://whatsthepricebrotherlyblog.blogspot.com/

    I'd ask you to please check out my blog from the link above and let me know what you think of my writing. I posted a few of my stories under B#2's Portfolio (I'm Brother #2). Check them out, hit me with some critical feedback and I'd appreciate if you would follow me and keep it up. Feel free to leave your commentary right on the blog. Thanks:)

    -tprice93
     
  18. cari_za
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    cari_za Member

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    What you're looking for is mainstream fiction as apposed to literary fiction.

    I've copied a short excerpt from the wikipedia page:

    "Literary fiction is a term that came into common usage during the early 1960s. The term is principally used to distinguish "serious fiction" which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction (i.e., paraliterature). In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more upon style, psychological depth, and character. This is in contrast to Mainstream commercial fiction, which focuses more on narrative and plot."

    So avoid literary fiction, try stick with mainstream stuff. Possibly also find books form first person perspective as apposed to third. Third person makes it easier to describe settings, where as in first person its harder to get away with describing settings in detail.

    Hopefully over time you'll come to appreciate literary fiction, but there's nothing wrong with preferring mainstream.
     
  19. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    Ok thanks. Do you know of any darkish books I can read? I don't really like stories with happy impossible endings. Or if not just some mainstream fiction books that would be easy for me to read so I can work on learning how to write.
     
  20. cari_za
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    cari_za Member

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    You could try Dean Koontz and possibly Stephen King.

    A lot of people have recommended a book by Dean Koontz called "Intensity". I thought it was pretty dark, and interesting. So you might like it.

    The Thomas Harris' Hannibal books are also pretty cool. I liked the first book the most; "Red Dragon". The rest weren't bad, but he starts getting "wafty" from book 3.

    Books by Tess Gerritsen have been recommended to me. She writes thrillers as well.

    If you haven't read Fight Club yet I recommend that, it's nice and short. Like a little over 200 pages if even. It's not everyone's cup of tea though, it might not be as interesting to read as the above mentioned books.
     
  21. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    Wow I feel stupid I didn't realize fight club was a book. But I don't like stephen king very much. The stories are usually interesting and I like the endings but it just drags on and on. His writing pace is far too slow for me. But I will definately try the others. thanks.
     
  22. Doug Moore
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    Doug Moore New Member

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    How do I write

    These are merely observations that hit me as I read this Thread and the posts therein. There is some good advice amongst the posts. I am new to this site and relatively new to writing. If you wish to get to know me or even if you are interested in becoming an author just Google 'Into the Light/My journey to becoming an eBook author.

    Well.Here goes. Write daily and if you're not feeling it, edit. Read,read and read some more and don't discredit writers like Hemmingway and Twain remember these authors wrote at a time when there was no internet for research and you couldn't walk down a street in New Orleans from say your laptop in Ontario,Canada. And these writers are already part of history. Its like music without the Beatles.:rolleyes:(just dated myself)

    Some writers and readers like dialog driven novels but without the narrative a reader could never really get lost in the story. He wouldn't be able to peel back the layers and see,feel, smell or hear the sounds that suck you in. Without it and the emotional draw you probably won't sell or get picked up by an agent.There has to be some emotional connection besides what you get from the dialog or your character will be flat.

    I love narrative driven stories. For example read some Cormac McCarthy; The Road, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men or Blood Meridian.Even if you are not familiar with the landscape and settings he uses you will be after reading his work.

    This is an exercise I use to help me with my writing.And by no means am I a successful writer, so you can take from this post what you want but,even an idiot comes up with a good idea once in a while. When I'm driving around and I'm bored I look at the scenery and think of adjectives to describe what I'm seeing. I know,sounds gay(not that there's anything wrong with that) but I might see a rice paper sky or lazy plumes of smoke or as the sun rises, a cheerful warmth masks my face but its never just a river.

    And on another note: It's all right to take words from other authors and learn their meaning and how to implement them into a story but to; simply recall what other authors wrote in roughly the same scene and steal their phrases. Often, my stories include sections that are simply amalgamations of slightly altered stolen phrases. You may be setting yourself up for a legal battle if were to get published. That's plagiarism and you just admitted it on a public forum. Do the work. It's not easy but it is rewarding.
     
  23. Becca H
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    Becca H Member

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    I have the same problem... I'm only 13 but i still do... i read alot of mystery books so i try to copy how they write... it doesn't always work... but then i come up with what i want and i imagian that i was there and am telling it in the third person. kinda like i'm sending a really long e-mail to one of my friends telling them what i saw and how i felt. then i try to convay that onto paper and change it just a little bit so that it is more bookish... i know not impressive discription and and a little kid like, but it works for me....
     
  24. Doug Moore
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    Doug Moore New Member

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    Becca H
    To copy a style of writing is not the same as out and out lifting phrases and blending them. We all have favourite authors and can't help but emulate writing like those we admire. By reading many different authors and genres you will likely find your own voice. It might just be a smattering of many different influences.And h*ll you're only thirteen. I was nothing but trouble at that age.Keep on writing.
     
  25. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    What's happening it totally natural, as many writers will tell you, and i'm going through the same thing. I can't tell you what to do because i haven't figured it out yet.

    I love to create characters over a plot so i focus on making really interesting characters i can't stop writing about.
    Instead of writing novels, i started writing short-stories, things i could finish in a day. Then i'd sit and Edit them. I found that hard so i get other peoples opinions, something they help.
     

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