1. Tobias Preener
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    Tobias Preener New Member

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    My Thoughts On Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tobias Preener, Sep 28, 2008.

    (If this belongs in the "Why do you write" thread, I apologize. I read the first post, and I don't think this post quite fits in).

    People write for a lot of different reasons. Mainly, what I have seen is that people write to express their feelings and to get their ideas onto paper. I started out this way as well. But I have moved away from "getting feelings on paper" and am on solely on getting ideas onto paper.


    Ironic as it seems, I feel that a writer putting his/her own emotions and experiences onto paper can tarnish a piece of writing. That person's experience may appeal to the writer, but seem boring or "sappy" to a reader. As a writer, I try to create emotions and experiences that are not my own out of thin air. I write off of "ideas" rather than emotion and experience. This, in my opinion, makes writing more appealing.

    Writing should be as original as it can. You cannot imagine how much cliches annoy me. Here is what I consider to be cliche (hence, an instant turnoff for me):
    -Dragons, or other mystical creatures
    -Vampires
    -Typical romance novels
    -Chosen ones/Prophecies
    -Fantasy novels that are too serious when they really shouldn't be.

    As a writer, I avoid all the cliches I can and try to create a fresh, original piece of writing.

    There are many different styles of writing. Some people may not understand an author's particular style, and criticize things the author thinks are perfectly fine. For example, I wrote a short story that was roughly a page long; the main character was nameless, faceless, genderless, and had no backstory at all. A reviewer criticized me for this. However, this seemed perfectly fine for me, because the story was more about the lone action of this character in the story, the tone, and the message, not the character him/herself. I like to think of my styke of writing as rather unique (although, I could be quite wrong about that): the most important thing in the story is the story itself; I usually write in first person, and occasionally do not have an oppurtunity to describe the character, since this would distract from the flow and progression of the story. If I do not believe the name/gender of the character is important to the story, I will leave them out. Only things that are important to the story, tone, atmosphere, etc. should be included.

    These are my thoughts on writing; if anyone agrees, disagrees, or wants me to explain something in more detail, feel free to post. Thanks!
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I would disagree with the cliche part. There are ways for cliche's not to be cliche. For example, evil vampire wants to suck everyone's blood = absolute cliche. Now, evil vampire bound to a human to do their biding (Ala Hellsing) = not cliche and quite entertaining (yeah, Alucard rockz XD).

    Though the things you listed are common victims of cliche, that doesn't mean we don't want them around (and some people like cliche). If that were how we were to organize what is and is not cliche there'd be nothing to write about. Everything has been done before at this point and the only original way of doing things is to put twists and new lights on it (Pimp your story with aftermarket ideas :p).

    As far as I'm concerned Cliche's are just a idea used n a certain way that is bad and boring. There's always a cool new way to write about a dragon (the Pern books were a nice change) and Prophecies if done well can be quite exciting and provide great plot twists if well organized and worded for the story (Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars is particularly interesting in that aspect).

    And what's wrong with putting your own emotions and experiences in writing? Without that was is there? The ideas of self, existence, human nature, and freedom/free will have always been important to me and I choose to include them in my stories. I include the thinking and logic processes I use when expressing them through characters. You're saying I shouldn't? One time I feel and broke my leg. Guess my character can't share my pain :(. Sorry that's just absurd. Write what you know I hear people say. If you choose not to write about your life and experiences or incorporate them into a story thats fine but it hardly tarnishes story. It's not a novel, but Legend of Zelda is one of the most beloved bits of story telling in gaming and the entire game is built off the creators childhood (there's a reason they all start in the woods and with a cave of some sort :p).
     
  3. Tobias Preener
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    Tobias Preener New Member

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    Sorry, I suppose I should elaborate a bit more.

    Cliches CAN be done well. The dragon trilogy "The Fire Within" (the first novel in the series) comes to mind. But if I know I am going to read a book with a cliche in it, I want it presented in a non-cliche way.

    Writing should appeal to everyone. Sometimes an author's personal emotions and experiences can make a book seem "sappy." When I am writing, I try to think "Would I want to read this if I wasn't the one who wrote it?" The ideas of human nature, free wil, etc don't really count as "emotions" in my opinion; rather, I consider them beliefs and ideas of the author. One of the things I like to write about are the terrible things man is capable of doing. I think stories should come from ideas more often than emotions and experiences. However, as I said earlier, stories should be appealing. If an author can write with his own experiences and emotion while still making a story appealing, that's fine.

    This isn't to say stories shouldn't have emotion in them; many of my stories have quite a bit of emotion, but that emotion is not mine; it is emotion that I have created for a character through my ideas. I went to a creative writing camp this summer, and one of the things I noticed was how some of the writing seemed sappy, since most of the stories/ poems were just romance. Although this romance and emotion may have appealed to the author, I did not find it very appealing, mainly because they were typical love poems that had been done time and time again.

    I hope my thoughts on writing don't necessarily make people think I am restricing writing too much, but these are guidelines that I tend to follow. Writing is so vast, that it can be easy to get lost.
     
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fortunately, writing is not a monolithic activity limited to the opinions and style of one person. For every writer who draws from life experiences, there are countless readers who thrive on such literature and can identify with the realism that such experience lends to fiction.
     
  5. Tobias Preener
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    Tobias Preener New Member

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    Exactly; writing is so diverse, and different readers/authors like reading/writing different things. My post is merely my thoughts and opinions on writing, and I hope I don't come across as sounding like "my way is best." I respect other people's tastes and styles in writing, and I try to read with an open mind.
     
  6. Louisos
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    Louisos Member

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    I think you have to understand that for a piece of writing to truly function, you must have what are called "stock characters." These characters function on the basis of their cliches, however, it is when you add another dimension to these stock characters, that may in fact contradict their stock characteristics, that great meaning and originality can be conveyed.

    Cheers,
    Louis
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe you are way off on this. Here is a quote from Sandra Kring, a successful writer I interviewed a short time back. (Her third novel with Bantam/Dell is due out in a couple days).
    Here is a link for the entire interview: Interview with Sandra Kring

    While putting your emotions on paper may not work for you, it does work for other writers.

    You make that statement, and then go on to support something else in the same paragraph. This is quite untrue, and even more impossible.

    It all depends on your writing style, goals, novel/story content, and audience--who the writing will appeal to and the type of emotion and feelings and views incorporated.

    Terry
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I think actually here there's a misunderstanding between giving your emotions to your characters, versus writing a thinly veiled memoir. I agree that a lot of the time when beginning writers draw on their own emotional experience to drive a story, it ends up sappy and trite and readers can't identify with it, but it's not because the writer used their own emotions--it's because they used their own emotions without giving thought to fictionalizing them enough so that readers can sympathize--they don't only use their own EMOTIONS but they use their own CIRCUMSTANCES as well. For example, say I write a story about a friendless, depressed, socially avoidant shut-in such as myself. I'm drawing on my own emotion and experience...and I end up creating a story that virtually nobody but other friendless, depressed, socially avoidant shut-ins can identify with. My CIRCUMSTANCES are not universal and for the most part people wouldn't be interested in reading about them. They can't identify with the story.

    But, say I draw on my emotions--fear, depression, loneliness, sadness, frustration, etc.--and fictionalize them by giving them to characters who are NOT friendless, depressed, socially avoidant shut-ins. It's the same emotions I'm using--mine. But I'm fictionalizing the CIRCUMSTANCES related to them to make the characters and story more universally appealing. More readers can identify.

    What I'm saying is that, there's nothing wrong with drawing on one's personal emotions in writing because for the most part, emotions are universal. If one person has felt it, it's likely almost everyone else has felt it at some point too, and it's rather difficult to write an emotion convincingly if one has NOT felt it ("drawing it out of thin air"). Circumstances, however, are NOT universal--if something happened to make somebody feel a certain way, the same thing didn't necessarily happen to another person who feels the same way. Fiction can make personal emotions more universal while keeping them personal at the same time. We can draw on our own emotions and write a story that everybody can identify with, if we just remember not to turn it into some sort of fictionalized personal memoir.

    Well, in truth, a story like that would be a big turnoff for me (reason being it's difficult to identify/sympathize with a complete non-entity), but that's just my opinion. :/

    Again, I guess I disagree. I'd rather read something with next-to-no plot but engaging characters, than something with a basic non-character doing interesting things. But that might just be me. :)
     
  9. destinationless
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    destinationless Member

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    I do the same thing for the same exact reason. If I really want to write about a particular event or emotion in my life, I usually put it into a poem; my prose is all about my originality, at least to a point. Writing about emotions might be an easy way to relate to the reader, and the reader may (or may not) appreciate that, but where is the individuality? If you feel an emotion, surely someone else has too. Besides, writing about an emotion is generally limited; writing about an idea opens up many more doors.

    -D
     
  10. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Since I'm not a fantasy writer, I have to be realistic. I have never written something directly connected to me, but my characters and situations are derived from articles and real life observations. I tend to go to parties sometimes to observe how people act, and to construct different kinds of human behaviors in my mind. I never have put my story on paper, mainly because I don't find it fun, but I have use different fact and figures, and sociological observations to my use. Especially since my stories are about spirituality and the like.
     
  11. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Well you won't like any fantasies I write then since they contain a phoenix in some form/way. :(

    Anyway, as you stated in your first sentence, "people write for alot of different reasons," and your reasoning is err...your reason.
     
  12. Tobias Preener
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    Tobias Preener New Member

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    Actually, phoenixes are pretty cool.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Au contraire! They run from warm to blazing hot! :)
     
  14. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    haha, you cheeky thing!
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    ummm...if there are advocates for "cold fusion", then why not "cold" phoenix? Maybe it would rise again from a pile of countless fragments after being frozen by a liquid nitrogen spray and seemingly pummeled into dissociated smithereens. Yeah, that's it...the famous "Blob" in the 1958 horror movie was ultimately "killed" by freezing. Maybe it will come back as a cold phoenix!

    (yes, I'm bored today. LOL)
     
  16. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Well aren't we cute today? ;)
    Lets make a water phoenix next.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm. Cold Phoenix would make an interesting title in search of a story...
     
  18. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    Cold Phoenix:

    A group finds that their resurrection ability has has mysteriously dried out. They're being killed one by one---and the MC sets out to discover the mystery.


    If anyone makes money off that, please look me up.
     
  19. Scarlett_156
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    Scarlett_156 Active Member

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    Fortunately, some of us--like me, for example--are so heavily flawed and cliche-ridden in our very thoughts and habits, not to mention writing, that we at least serve as an example to others of what should NOT or NEVER be done, and give others a reason to feel a sense of superiority that otherwise they would never have--or that they would have to do something illegal or terribly antisocial to gain.

    And what a terrible person he sounds like, too, that reviewer! But hey: Many great writers (such as yourself) often struggle in ignomy for years, even decades, before their contribution to the craft is recognized. So don't get discouraged. Yes, us cliche-spouting hacks will always have our little day in the sun, but then the sands of time will run out for us, and leave us high and dry.

    yours in Chaos, Scarlett

    NOTE: Er... this is like a joke, right? If this is supposed to be serious, I beg everyone's pardon. xoxo
     
  20. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Honestly I must say that emotion for me is a huge part of writting. Writters should convey emotion in everything they write. If I have never experienced an emotion how can I write it honestly.

    It is possible but dificult and you would have to find those that have experienced it. For me if I am describing the sadness of a chracter using my emotions to help me find the words is the best thing I can do.

    As for cliches, what can you do. Your entire lists is cliched in the cliches that it uses. What about werewolfs, and magic swords, or ancient relics in the hand of the inexperienced or unworthy.

    Those are cliches as well and you did not mention them. There is always something in a story that might seem cliche as long as it is well written then I do not care. If you story is about a tap dancing vampire then make it interesting.

    I believe cliches are just a way of saying "hey we know how this works. I might tweak it a little but I should not have to explain too much to you." This way a writer can get on with the story.

    Just my two cents
     
  21. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    All this talk about who hates dragons, magic swords, vampires, and what-not... you guys are gonna hate my story. But I honestly don't care because if someone puts a novel down because one little thing they saw, I don't think I want that kind of person reading my work anyway. You'll miss out on a lot of things in life if you pass them up because you think you've seen it before.
     
  22. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Whaaaaaaaat? That was only the op. I love dragons, vampires, vampire dragons, and magic swords.
     
  23. Tobias Preener
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    Tobias Preener New Member

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    I'd read if you'd ask me (I'm not that close minded) but I wouldn't go out of my way to read a story like that.
     
  24. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Just because its a genre I wouldn't read, doesn't mean I hate it, so don't get in a tizzy about someone's opinion! If you allow yourself to get all worked up every time someone gives a bad opinion on your writing, you'll go nuts! Always remember, for good or bad, that opinions are like a certain part of the human anatomy, everyone's got one...
     
  25. myonebadhabit
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    myonebadhabit Member

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    When I was younger, like my teens, I wanted to write about ideas. I never really put my guts out on the paper, so to say. A new perspective would form though as I got older because the grief that one encounters when forced to deal with death, loss, and maturity I couldn't help but start to spill my guts out on paper; or actually out onto the keyboard. So I want to say "no you are wrong" but I know better than that. What I am starting to think is that it just takes balance. See you on the forums more as I start to post.
     

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