1. Leech
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    Leech New Member

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    Looking for Ideas

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Leech, Sep 17, 2009.

    As far back as I can remember Ive always loved to write but never got very serious about it. I certainly dont have the experience Id like to. Some time ago I became very passionate about writing and since then I've been jotting down almost anything I can think of. Some days my brain is on creative overdrive and every thought I have is something I want to develop and put onto paper. As it becomes a more and more important part of my life, the desire to actively improve my writing skill grows. It is for that reason that I joined this site and why Im posting this thread now.

    Basically, Im very curious about what exercises other writers use and what you might recommend to me. I have no specific areas of need at the moment. Just different ideas on what little practice projects everyone might do or implement throughout the day, how they help and why. Im open to all kinds of suggestions. Even methods of thought that might affect ones writing in a positive way. Thanks in advance for the help :)
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I don't have any practice exercises or anything like that. The only way to improve is to read a lot, and to write a lot. Reading is, in my opinion, just as important as writing. Being aware of the textual world into which you hope to enter is essential, as is producing something good to contribute to it. So basically, write write write, read read read.
     
  3. Dean_Mehrkens
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    Dean_Mehrkens Banned

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    You can have other people read your work and help to identify areas of weakness in your writing. Then write scenes specifically to help with those areas. For instance, if you're not so great at character introductions, write a scene with 5 different characters with the goal of giving a clear and concise picture of all five. If you're terrible with dialog, write a scene where two people sit at a restaurant and all you have to work with is dialog.

    With that said, I don't actually do much of that. In general, I write. When I write and a particular scene is difficult, I analyze why it was difficult for me to write and use that as the basis for an unrelated scene. It may at first seem like "wasted words" to write scenes that don't fit into a story, but I've actually had some of these single scenes develop into full stories of their own.

    Hopefully you found that somewhat helpful.
     
  4. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    In terms of being a writer still working to become good, I have a more relaxed learning style.

    I'm not one to do specific learning activities, so instead I incorporate it into my stories. I write short stories by default. I always have interesting ideas for them. Once I have an idea in my head, I then go over what I want to work on. I know dialogue is one of my weaknesses for instance, so I'll put a lot of it in the story. The one important thing I'm careful about is not letting my personal lesson ruin the story.

    After I've written my piece, I put it up here and get feedback. I'll usually say in my OP what I was working on, and I get direct feedback about it.

    Good luck, Nate
     
  5. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I've been working on my book since 2005.

    It's 2009, and I'm years away from being done.

    I have two more ideas. Optimistically, I won't need another idea until 2020.

    I'm good for a while.

    Ideas are easy. Writing is hard.

    (I may even want to learn how... not... to get ideas. One idea I came up with about two years ago, I'm frustrated that I can't get started on, but I really want to finish the first novel first, and do not want to delay it another five years while I work on the second novel.)

    Charlie
     
  6. p.sawyer
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    p.sawyer Member

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    i find specific exercises and practise sessions way too forced and un-natural. in most ways they have worked against me because as soon as i feel i have to write about something specific in a specific time-frame, my mind freezes.

    writing whenever you have the urge is probably all you'll ever need.

    as others have said, read. but don't become an imitator of another's style.

    dream. i daydream constantly. windows taunt me when i'm inside. just sit by a window and let your mind float away.​
     
  7. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, I've recently learned that this is almost impossible. This is why it's important to read the right kind of material. I thought I was well read and I was on a roll reading best sellers (even if they were not my style of novel), but I since learned from a mentor, that I was reading rubbish, in terms of the quality of writing, which was evident in mine.

    The advice given to me was, if I wanted to improve my writing, I was going to have to upgrade my reading tastes. Needless to say, I had a fairly lengthy session at the library the following day and I brought home books of authors I had never even heard of before...which is sad.

    Secondly, you are going to need to make sure your SPAG is up to scratch, which mine is not. No one will take you seriously, in fact, you'll be hard pressed to get anyone to even read your work, if your SPAG is ordinary. I handed my first chapter in to a mentor but they didn't get very far since they couldn't look past all the mistakes. I am back to studying the basics of punctuation.

    And here I was thinking it was all about writing....

    Good luck
     
  8. Leech
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    Leech New Member

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    My feeling is almost completely the opposite. In fact, most things I write are fragments of a full story or spontaneous scenes that pop into my head. I do a lot of the daydreaming that some other people suggested. Im mostly working on being more in depth and descriptive in order to create well rounded pieces of work.

    Punctuation is a weak spot of mine. I guess when I was young and arrogant I felt like I was too good for punctuation. I got lazy about developing it and then stopped using it all together :rolleyes: I noticed there is a category here devoted entirely to spelling, punctuation, and grammar. How helpful!
     
  9. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I stare at a story structure/plotting guide. My sig links to a youtube video that shows my creative process if you're interested.
     
  10. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    Something that helps me with my writing is editing work that I've already written. I have found that it sharpens the quality of a story and improves writing technique, and being able to understand grammar, syntax, plot, etc. through such an editing process is invaluable.
     
  11. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Many of the suggestions that you may receive will be things that tend to come naturally: Inventing new characters after seeing someone that strikes your fancy. Developing new scenarios and worlds when the inspiration takes you.
    Mentally writing entire scenes just to see how it pans out whilst you are doing something that keeps you from actually being able to write.

    Remember: If you get bored with something, then feel free to write what ever else is intriguing you, but beware; you will get very little done that way. ^_~*
     
  12. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    I discovered that most of my good ideas came from, not reading stories so much as reading history or science. While doing research with a question in mind, I read some fact and it becomes a leading inspiration.
     
  13. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    I write short (750-900 words) humorous articles/essays. You may find some of the following techniques useful, or at least of interest:

    1. I write much more than I need. For example, if I'm writing a 750 word article then I'll write 1500 words of material - that is, a concise 1500 words. I can then pick my favourite bits and edit accordingly.

    2. I set a writing quota and "force" myself to hit it. I find that my favourite material often comes on days when I think it's going to be impossible to come up with anything.

    3. Read top notch material written by other writers.

    4. I suppose this is a caveat to the above: don't fixate on just one author. You don't want to sound like an imitator. Although Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" has some interesting thoughts on this.

    Regards,

    Kevin
     
  14. Anthony Will
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    Anthony Will New Member

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    This works for me as well. In fact, most of the ideas I get comes gradually to my head while researching a specific topic that relates to what I want to write about.

    I also like to think of ideas while daydreaming or taking a light nap. I try to think about how to "expand" my story, and suddenly ideas comes right away.
     
  15. SayWhatNow?
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    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

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    A wise man once told me "write from your heart. Re-write from your head."
     

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