1. Alejandro89
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    Alejandro89 Member

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    Lines that make you stop.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alejandro89, Apr 8, 2016.

    Does this happen to anyone else. You know, you are writing and you finish a line and, in just a dozen words, it expresses so much about you that it is strange, as if you were pouring your innermost feelings and it makes you uncomfortable because you feel that if anyone reads it they will know to much about you? A moment of perfect honesty only you know about in a single sentence. I think that sometimes makes writing scary.
     
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  2. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I think pain calls to pain. If you're writing about something very painful to yourself, the readers who will best understand it will be those who have similar trauma and can relate to where you're coming from. The same probably goes for dreams and ideals, though I don't have as much experience with them.
     
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  3. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    To me, 'innermost feelings' is too vague; it doesn't quite encapsulate what's given over, especially if you write and cover a lot of emotional ground with your 'fiction'. Yes, to go deep (as someone here coined) you're surrendering the workings of your mind, your thought trains, your opinions, your biases, your insecurities, your prejudices, your sexual preferences... Of course all these come out dressed as the characters you create and their behaviour mightn't be yours—but readers are quite canny at picking the persona of the writer out of these clothes. You're putting yourself up for judgement by family, friend, acquaintance and stranger alike.

    I've had it from the mouth of a well respected author that 'it ain't no casual undertaking' — and I agree.
     
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  4. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Um, not that kind of reaction to it, but I do write lines that express myself quite strongly sometimes. It doesn't faze me.
     
  5. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Fair play for the unfazedness; can you speak also for the OscarLeigh of 2036?—my take I figure is borne from my generation and a sense of preserving the outward semblance of oneself. For younger people nowadays, there appears to be less of a reservation about sharing. I notice they are far more ready to post their innnermosts (as themselves with photo attached sometimes) where'er they see fit. A new sorta social Glasnost...each to their own. I do worry though for the lack of foresight employed in doing so; once things have been put out there, it's very hard to reel them back in. Future spouses, employers can know you without knowing you. The advent of the net has facilitated this, it's untrodden ground for humanity—I'd be interested to see the effects 20yrs down the line.
     
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  6. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    First of; that wasn't in response to you.
    But if the expressions are contained in writing how are they supposed to know which bits are me? And if it's 20 years down I'll probably already have a spouse so they'll already know me. And what's to be afraid of? If it's worrying, I can just not say it. I do keep secrets. Although here with an assumed name the secrets are less, but even then they still exist. Besides, if someone doesn't like me, then I'm not going to like them, am I? I'm not entering a long-term relationship with a guy if he can't handle the fact I have ADHD or whatever. I thought you're supposed to tell them things. And if it's before they know me chances are they're not going to find out about me for the same reason I know nothing about Levi the prolific instagramer in Russia or whatever.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think you might be very open about revealing yourself and quite fearless about the consequences. I suspect many authors are like that. And many more become less worried about revealing themselves as they test the waters.

    However, if a person has a 'truth' about themselves that they aren't ready to reveal to the world ...then suddenly it comes out in a piece of writing? That can be scary, just like @Alejandro89 pointed out.

    I don't know. I suppose you can go in several directions after that. Either retract what you've said and remove it from what you've written. Or go into 'what the hell' mode and leave it out there, and see what happens. Or you can disguise it by pretending it's a character not you. Which, as @SethLoki pointed out, won't necessarily screen you forever.

    I know what it feels like, actually. I had several moments like that when I was writing. I took the 'what the hell' route, and so far, so good. You do have to build a thick skin though, and truly not care what others think of you. For example, if you're worried about shocking your mother ...stuff like that.
     
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  8. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Oh, my mother knows most of my shit and what she doesn't know is kept secret out of awkwardness not any sense of guilt or whatever. And yeah, I was never saying it can't be different for other people. I know I have a shy side. Heck, a lot of my audacity here is because it's anonymously and without being in person. It removes a lot of the awkward. Though I have generally gotten more balance between my two sides in the last year or two. I used to be afraid of saying certain things about myself. Although I was also more oblivious to the awkwardness of habits and behaviours. My whole life is a story of weirdness. Oops, I'm expressing again. It just comes so naturally to me you see? I like being honest. Especially since I'm a shit liar. :D
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. I think the problem comes when you get published, and people read you who don't know you, and might not approve of what you've written. Maybe an employer, or something like that. I can see where people might hesitate to commit certain things about themselves to widely-distributed print.

    It's interesting how many people assumed that certain things about my novel (and these are mostly people who do know me personally) were 'true.' What was funny was the fact that the stuff they picked out was not true at all, but simply a result of me creating a character. These readers have (thus far) missed the 'real' stuff I revealed about myself.

    Nothing all that major. But it's interesting interacting with readers, and seeing what they do and don't assume about what you've written.
     
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  10. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    If the expressions are contained in writing, yes, there's at least a bit of a mask @Oscar Leigh . The other part of my post was an offshoot of the thread's theme and merely my observation that younger folk (in general) are more readily forthcoming through the avenues of social media with things us oldies would be reluctant share. Discretion, valour + all that. I agree you're supposed to tell your nearest and dearest things but when they're neither near nor dear I'd like a modicum of control. And for any potential new nears and dears—feed any foibles or news of embarrassing rashes to them at my own pace.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
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  11. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    What the heck.

    Not sorry at all. But I don't think that when the writer writes something that that necessarily reflects who this writer is. I am not going down the road of my characters, I just write them. During writing I can quite clearly understand why these do what they do, but this is not all of me and whoever judges me based on my writing will not know me at all. A part is never the whole.

    Returning to the original OP question, of course there are these sentences or even single words, at the right place down the line and time. These are what I am living for, but they don't make me uncomfortable. The reader is quite welcome to pick them out, they are the lifeline to a different reality. And that's what a writer should be - a conduit to this other place and time.
     
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  12. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I once saw a post by the author of an account of several decades in the life of the dictator of a fictional African country. One of his readers asked him if it was autobiographical.
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ha ha! Hilarious! Seriously? That's my laugh of the day, for sure.
     
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  14. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    In a word, no. I don't worry about that.

    There's a lot of my life in my books but the whole point of what I write is that it's dark and weird and real so when I drop a nice phrase that shows the author is a bit nuts it just fits perfectly. The hard part is figuring out which things are autobiographical and which aren't. There's weird sex and drugs and existential angst in everything I write; it'd take someone who knows me extremely well to pull apart which of those are uniquely mine and which are just me imagining fucked up things.

    Some of this I guess is that it's very much in my personality to say "...what of it?". I don't feel ashamed about any of the weird screwed up stuff I've done and I certainly don't feel ashamed of being an addict or liking weird sex and I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about people who think I should be. I don't think any of that stuff (or my hopeless romanticism come to that) defines me as a person and I will happily disabuse by headbutt people who think otherwise. From that perspective I don't mind if people know (or figure out) one more thing about me; it's not the whole of me.

    It helps that I write books making that point too; these broken, messed up people (one of whom is quite tightly autobiographical) are just people and there's more to them than the broken parts. Even when I'm not explicitly writing that into the narrative, you're always reading from the perspective of a fairly terrible person and sympathizing with their life and problems. If you get deep enough into my work to figure anything out then you can probably also figure out that for my plethora of failings I'm just a person.
     
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