1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Living is the Writer's best medicine

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Apr 2, 2013.

    For two years in high school and two years ago (4 total), I have been working on a science fiction/romance story. Looking back at my writings from high school and now I see a drastic difference in the structure of the story as well as my writing style. I could not believe the ideas I came up with then that do not make sense now.

    I write little by little everyday until my mind says to stop. I see now that everyday I am living, pieces and pieces of the story come together. Especially when I am stuck in a hole where I feel that I should scrap one idea, the next morning I find the solution.

    I apologize if I do not many any sense. I am writing from the top of my head.

    Whether it is a fiction story or a mock-autobiography, living is the inspiration to writers. I found that many conflicts I have had in my life with personal issues, friends, family, work, school etc. really become a part of my story.

    What are your feelings about this?
     
  2. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    I think you're right. The experiences we live have a direct impact on our writing, and I think writers would benefit from getting out of their comfort zones as often as possible to broaden their horizons. In particular meeting new people and developing friendships can help us creating believable social interactions.
     
  3. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Especially when I read books like "Perks of being a WallFlower" I can see that being inspired by a real story. Things like that happened in my high school and scary to read in while I was in high school.
     
  4. ANightDude
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    ANightDude New Member

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    Completely agree. I've often found myself inserting my own memories (with a little tweaking, of course) and experiences in different characters and different situations. I've found that it drastically improves my writing when I can simply remember good or bad times in my life and sort of roll with that. I'm actually stunned, now that I think about it, how it makes writing so much simpler and easier to put out. The words simply flow to the screen. Memories to the writer is like paint to the painter - you simply cannot do it (well) without the other.

    However, it does take a bit of work with that. There's a difference between letting a story flow on its own with your input and simply writing down nostalgia. The latter can really hurt your writing if you forget you're writing it from the characters perspective, not your own.

    Perks of Being a Wallflower does this brilliantly, in my humble opinion.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes... the more life experience one has, the more grist there is for the writer's mill...

    at 74, i've been on welfare and been a jet-setter, been married/divorced twice and had an eclectic mix of lovers, been a stay-at-home mom and run a business, owned a million-dollar home and been homeless, been to and lived in all parts of the world [and that's just for starters]... so, whoever and whatever i write about, my writings are provided with authenticity born of personal experience and i don't have to make much up...

    and, when editing/critiquing, i can tell when a writer hasn't researched his/her subjects well enough...
     
  6. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    I think that most important are computer games and then writer's living... both kind of together. Its like machine provide me with rational kind of thinking I would never experienced otherwise and really need for that
     
  7. summerrain
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    summerrain Member

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    living la vida loca

    mammamia--I can relate only too well, of what you have been through, regarding your life, sans few of your experiences.
    So much of what you said, I too have been there. Exactly.
    I smiled and cringed at your autobiographical paragraph.
    I agree whole heartedly that you have to "lived some life" in order to write, or write well.
    Exposing my personal stories and lifes nakedness to readers, in the retelling of them, is scary, and I don't know that I am ready to do that- yet.
    Not here for sure. Memory lane can be as beautiful, as it is ugly and painful to drive down. Also quite embarrassing, horrifying even.
    It was surely not an elemental life for either of us.
    We must stand naked in a crowd to write, in many ways. And be fearless.
    But it is excellent advice you give. I applaude you.
     
  8. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd probably love to read your stories :D

    I have this (annoying) habit of checking what the author is made of and that may affect my opinion on the novel. I usually read about the author when I'm like halfway through the story, especially if it feels particularly "real" (or vice versa, incredibly has-the-author-ever-heard-of-research -like).

    Writers definitely shouldn't forget to "live". Not healthy for anyone I guess, to be buried in books day in day out (of course if one is very sick, injured, disabled, that kind of "excuses" them). It's not that you have to live so that you can write e.g. more realistically, but rich, colorful life experiences certainly inspire and feed the writing.
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I can definitely agree. I experienced a wide variety of things and have been on both sides of many things from having a chronic illness. While I would have loved not to have had to go through all that I can say with certainty that it has done wonders for my writing. Having been on some of the lowest lows and highest highs I feel my writing has an authenticity it really lacked prior to all of that. It also doesn't hurt that I have an insatiable sense of curiosity about anything and everything. I research all sorts of random things just to satisfy my questions. :)
     
  10. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Living is the best I agree

    Many of my tales generally come from experiences and personal beliefs. Every scenario I write in some way is always from something I lived at one point
     
  11. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Amen brother....Amen.
     
  12. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Amen to that. It can be, as you said, meeting new people, or even something like starting a new hobby: if you're writing a story with guns in it, visit the local shooting range and get familiar with how guns work, how it feels to shoot them etc. to gain more insight. If you're writing a medieval fantasy story with lots of horseback archery, go ride a horse and take a few archery lessons. None of the above cost much and can give you priceless little details that add authenticity to your writing. I know from personal experience doing something like joining a boxing club to help write a fist fight can be intimidating, but the rewards (more know-how, a new skill, a fun experience you'll always remember, better health etc. etc) just overshadow the negatives so vastly, it's well worth the money, time, and discomfort caused by fear of pain (and at times physical pain). Can't think of other negatives to such an endeavor, but I could go on listing more and more positives.

    And, of course, when we develop as writers and humans, our skills grow, and when we revisit our old stories (or even just the previous chapter), more often than not (in my case anyway), you may find things to fix. Often even big things that may affect the entire story. I know it sucks to rewrite 200 pages, but if you go through with it, you'll be glad you did.

    I generally prefer to read stories where I know the author knows what they're talking about. This is one of the reasons why I can't stand the Sandman Slim series: it's painfully obvious the author knows jack about guns and fighting so it's just embarrassing to read his stuff which is written in this man-of-the-world -tone that just drives me nuts when it's faked. Be real and live and learn.
     
  13. summerrain
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    summerrain Member

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    Mammamia, I think, was expressing beautifully of what personal travel, adversity, poverty, wealth, loss, etc can add to a writers cache, as you already know. But there is a huge story in illness, boredom and banality also. I always found Auntie Em in Oz to be an integral part of the whole story, and she was no Vegas dancer. So really nothing is off limits, ever, if written well. I'd better start getting a move on.
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've worked out who mammamaia is - Charlene! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZgIk2b68gQ
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't know the artist, or the song, but i did finally get to 'me' at age 57, when i divested myself of 'self' and all i owned, becoming 'maia'--the 'me' i was meant to be...

    thanks for the thought, erebh!

    hugs, maia
     

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