1. Kate Sen
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    Kate Sen Member

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    Inspired versus crafted writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kate Sen, Apr 26, 2016.

    I was reading a bit in the thread on how do we decide the gender of characters, and that got me to ruminating about my writing process.

    When I am uninspired and am trying to write something anyway, I am aware of actually making choices: that's when I choose a topic, choose how the story starts and eventually how it ends, and I may change my mind and question my choices. I craft those stories with effort.

    There are other times though when the story just seems to come out on its own accord, fully formed, almost effortless, and I feel like I have not consciously made any choices at all. It's almost like the story was already there, and I just wrote it down, and sometimes I wonder in awe where those ideas came from. And that's how the stories that I am usually most pleased with emerge.

    Do any of you have similar experience? What do you think: is writing more about decision making or more inspiration ideas that come as insights from who knows where? If you too have the experience of some stories being crafted through decisions while others came to you just like that, do you think that the crafted stories can be as good or even better than the inspired ones, or is there something to those stories that originate within and just tell themselves that makes them more powerful?
     
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  2. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    To me it feels like inspiration. The inspiration comes from the part of your mind that you have trained, through practice, to generate story material: plots, concept, dialogue, narrative, descriptions, and all the other viscera that comprise a story.

    When it is time for me to write, I direct this part of my mind toward the task of progressing my story, focus it through concentration, and begin to write what comes out. I do have to step back from time to time to cognitively manage the big picture side of things: deciding what scene to do next and what elements I need to include in particular passages. I think this is more a feature of my imperfectly developed story-mind. I think that with practice, I won't have to step back and do this as much, it will happen organically as I write the story out.

    The more synapses you lay down in your grey-matter story factory, the more of a story you will be able to see at once.

    I've always been a dreamer, though. Got me into heaps of trouble at school, but it is very useful for writing. I just focus my daydreams toward the story and write what comes out.

    I guess that would be inspiration guided by practice.
     
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  3. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I've described it before as mathematical: I input the characters and the situation, and the scene that results is whatever output makes the most sense. My outline is a rough estimate, but writing scenes out in full requires me to fill in more details that can potentially change the outcome. My least cliched and most unpredictable stories tend to be ones that deviated from the outline after an added element changed the direction. I'm still consciously thinking about what the characters are doing and why, but they've effectively "surprised me" by naturally leading into things I didn't intend.
     
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  4. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    Either way Kate, everything you write comes out deep and thoughtful. Me, I just sprinkle words on a page and see where they take me.
     
  5. Kate Sen
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    Kate Sen Member

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    Everything I write comes out deep and thoughtful?? Thank you, but most definitely not. My secret is that when I see something that I have written that is complete crap and drivel, I try not to share it with anyone else. Actually I often wish I did not have to see some of the crap I write myself. I know that it is good practice to write every day, and I have been practicing it now, but some days it's like all i can pit on paper is disjointed cliches that i had to sow together with brittle thread that kept breaking, and the end result looks like something my cat would refuse to spit out because she knows better. Some days I question whether I will ever write something good again. Today is one of those days. All I could come up with that pleased me was one phrase, but no matter what I tried the phrase refused to become part of a story or poem, so the phrase stands alone.
     
  6. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    Okay, have it your way but I think your crap and drivel is the most deep and thoughtful crap and drivel I've ever seen. *Smile*
     
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  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've been there. There's been a few stories that I haven't been able to get off the ground because they come out too foggy mentally and every decision I've made to outline them felt like a chore. I think I was drawing from a creative dry well which is why I stalled out writing both stories on the first pages.
    But everything is a decision whether it comes naturally or forced.
    I think the difference though is that by forcing you're relying on creative scraps - stereotypes, clichés, worn out tropes. Naturally is when you have something that perfectly fits your story.
    Take the two stories I'm working on now. One I've got close to 100,000 words, the other I've got 30,000 words. Both ideas I came up with spur of the moment - one triggered by a picture, the other I'm not sure. I just visualized things and started writing. My WIP Falling Child Star I'm pretty conscious of the decisions I've made for the character and the story. In order to make him unusual I made him a dumpster diver - partly the idea was already there because I'd been looking at upcycle ideas for my other WIP In the Pit. I didn't have to strain my brain because I'd taken in something creatively and could draw from it.

    But my other stalled stories ... I feel like I haven't lived or experienced something or even just taken notice of something yet that will bring them to life. When I do I'll know it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
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  8. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've sat down and typed for weeks at a time, finally wrote 'THE END' and called that a story. But going back to read it over later, I've always found that my inspiration didn't shape itself as a gripping tale. Sure, it was a story, but a gripping tale?

    That's when I pull out pencils and recipe cards or markers and whiteboard and come up with a plan to shape the mess (story) into a gripping tale.

    I go for walks to let my mind wander so I can find new ideas.

    I make decisions about whether or not to include those ideas in the final gripping tale.

    Insights most often come when I'm not even thinking about the story/tale.

    And in the end, without all these things—the walks, the rough pantser draft, the input of beta readers, the ideas, insights and decisions—I don't think I can come up with a gripping tale. Stories, maybe, but not gripping tales.

    Of course, whether or not they are gripping tales, I won't know for a while yet. But that's what I aim for. :)
     
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  9. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Good thread. :)
     

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