1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    In my head...not on paper

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Jul 6, 2014.

    I have a problem. I have ideas in my head and I have a story in my head. I successfully created one story (at least 200) pages long, however it was one for sheer enjoyment that I have no intended purposes of publishing. One that is too personal for the public.

    However, I am getting back into just simple "write what you feel" exercises to get me back into writing again. I cannot take the ideas and put them into words on paper. I admit I am self conscious with my writing because I want it to sound perfect on paper. I don't know if I am nit picking it a lot. It was also a problem with my first long completed story. It took me 2 years to get it the way I want.

    What should I do? What do you do? How do you get your thoughts onto paper?

    HELP!
     
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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Write, get some critique on it, rewrite. :)
     
  3. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    Just try to write it down. It's better to have something terrible that you can edit than nothing on paper at all.
     
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  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Yeap, being a writer is all about putting down stories down as well as you can into a readable format (Black words on white paper)
    Only wanna-bes spend their times wanting to write and having so many great ideas but never do anything about it.
    So, what are you?
    (This is meant to be encouraging)
     
  5. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Get slightly drunk and write.
     
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  6. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    Few people write the perfect story the in the first draft. Start writing, then make little improvements as you go until you're satisfied with it.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would guess that this is the problem. How soon do you want it to sound perfect? On the fifth draft, or do you want the words to come out perfect in the first draft, and do you keep them from coming out if they don't start out perfect?

    I've used the analogy of ingredients versus the final product. Refusing to write down words that aren't perfect the first time is a little like refusing to take the flour out of the cupboard because it isn't already a cupcake.

    Just to break the perfectionism habit, I would suggest that for a while--a few weeks or months--you require yourself to write a certain number of new words before you're allowed to edit any of the old ones. For example, five hundred new words earns one hour of editing old words.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, what a great and very workable suggestion. I totally second this 'plan.' Furthermore, it's ongoing. After your hour is up, you need to write 500 MORE new words to earn another hour of editing. This should certainly help break any habit of endlessly re-writing before your story is completed.

    I also love @ChickenFreak's point that flour isn't a cupcake yet.
     
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  9. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    This might be why I've been writing the same story for the last 6 years or so and I'm only about 2/3 of the way through.
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Tried that once. It didn't work. :[

    Think of it like this, OP, when the statue of David was being constructed, he was probably this grotesque blob of misshapen marble, something even Venus de Milo would despise. If Michelangelo gave up then and there and let that statue only be a dream in his head, well, we wouldn't have a statue of David, now would we? :D
     
  11. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    Don't try to be perfect - that's what rewrites and editing are for. Nobody will see the first draft unless you show them.
     
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  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I remember an old movie about an aging writer (played by Sean Connery) teaching a young beginner how to write. His advice? "Don't think. You write with your heart, thinking comes later." Also, "PUNCH THE KEYS, FOR GOD'S SAKE!!"

    Sorry, sorry, had to do the latter quote. :p Funny, yet meaningful at the same time. :D
     
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  13. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see this same complaint or problem told over and over by so many. The point of writing is to get a complete story set down in words, not to produce perfect sentences or paragraphs. The soul of a book is the complete tale from start to finish. Until it is finished, the author had not breathed life its his or her creation.

    It is the complete work that gives it significance, not its individual parts. You completely cut a diamond before you polish it, not polish each facet to perfection before going on to cut the next.
     
  14. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Lol I did try writing when drinking, doesn't really work well cause I get tired.

    I have moments where I do have to multitask when writing, or keep a voice recorder with me and then transcript the ideas. But the problem is the will to write it down. Somehow in my head it sounds great but I can't find the words to describe it. I have tried just typing down the thoughts and then bullet point underneath how to describe the scene with words.
     
  15. jannert
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    I find that if I write down the bare bones of a scene and let it 'cook' inside my head for a while ...sometimes a long while ...the right words will come to flesh it out. Of course when that happens I'm probably standing in front of the fresh fish display at Morrison's, or sitting down to a grand dinner party at Great Aunt Snookie's, but if I can surreptitiously scribble down the pertinent words for later, it really helps.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My analogy for this part is learning to drive a car. When you first drive a car, you have to be taught things like "when you've almost finished the turn, let the wheel side back to straight..." It feels awkward. You have to be aware of every step, and there's no sense of flow.

    I don't remember when I learned to write nonfiction--decades ago--but I do remember trying to write fiction, in the first NaNoWriMo that I participated in, and finding it awkward and unnatural, like not really knowing how to use a steering wheel. I expected there to be some process by which the ideas in my mind were transformed to words that flowed to my fingers and came out on the screen. I expected at least some sort of flow, but it wasn't there. So I just forced the awkward, unnatural, inadequate words out. I twenty thousand words into that NaNoWriMo before it even started to feel even a little bit better, and it hadn't improved all that much more by the end of the fifty thousand words, or by the of the rest of the fiction writing I did that year, or the next fifty thousand words the next year.

    Last night I was coming up with a bit of my theoretical novel Shuteye, in a situation where I was unable to sit down and write. I realized that I no longer start with scenes and transform them into words--even without access to word tools, I mostly start with words and let them paint scenes in my mind. I'm not saying that you'll end up writing that way, just that it's the complete opposite of the way that I tried to start, and I had to write a couple of hundred thousand words to start getting a feel for my method.

    So what all this means is: Write. Write a good-sized chunk of fiction, probably really, really lousy fiction, in order to learn how you write fiction.
     
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  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Love Chickenfreak's post.
    I sort of do the same thing when I'm stuck. I take a moment to brainstorm - I learned it in fourth grade and would say it's still one of the easiest best tips ever. I just take a pen and paper ( it doesn't work as well on the computer I find but you could try it everyone is different. ) You put an idea in the middle of the page and start jotting phrases, words ideas until they get grow in flavor and get more complicated and interesting. It's a good way to jumpstart a scene because you can then assemble the words or take a few really good phrases and spin them off into something.
     
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  18. Bryan Romer
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    Too many would be writers (not necessarily the OP) expect words to "flow" once properly inspired and complain of "writer's block" when it doesn't.

    In truth, writing is like any other creative skill, 90% hard work and practise. Like Chickenfreak said, the more you do it, the easier the basic process becomes. There is simply no way around it, just as there is no shortcut to standing over a hot forge and pounding the steel in order to make a good sword.
     
  19. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I punch the keys, but because I peck when I type. Tolkien used to do the same, which is kind of cool and kind of disadvantaging for me. That's partly why it took him 14 years to write The Lord of The Rings.
     
  20. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    To provide a response OP, I also find it hard to get certain thoughts on paper. I have a 312 page project that still needs a lot of important factors to it to clear a path for a complete story- which is the reason why I haven't had a full complete story yet. I think it'll hit 800 to a 1,000 before I'll know. Building lore and backstory isn't easy, but it's super fun. Writers commonly protest this way of writing, but that's how I write. I even work on other projects to make sure I stay productive in my writing career. Poetry helps too, but I think I've always had somewhat of a skill at rhyming at certain times. (I'm not the best however, but I have improved nonetheless.) I also write an essay or two from time to time. Going to new formats might help you a bit- it did for me.
     
  21. Chad Lutzke
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    Regardless of what you're anticipating will happen, I think you should just write. Write knowing that you can always come back and change things, but eventually after fixing your drafts you're going to have to let it go and sacrifice some of the nitpickiness. Da Vinci said "Art is never finished, only abandoned." You'll have to eventually get to the point of a healthy and happy abandonment so you can share your stories with others.


    ~Chad Lutzke
     

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