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  1. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Please write my story for me!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Islander, Jul 18, 2010.

    I'm a little puzzled by how many threads there are that start with "I have this idea with this theme and these characters, can you please help me come up with a plot?" or "I have this plot which requires these actors, can you help me come up with characters?"

    I'm puzzled, not annoyed, because I don't understand why anyone would want others to write their plot or characters. To me, coming up with ideas is the easy and fun part - those are what inspires me to write a story - and doing the writing which makes it all come together is the laborious part. Is it the other way around for some people?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am very precious about my characters and my world etc its mine I came up with it. But I have just had a wobble reading the fantasy fans thread, as I don't know much about the genre I like reading it but I am not a massive fan, but I want to know if my story is a cliche. It was just my way of telling my storyt. Also i think there maybe nerves about things, I didn't have the chance for nerves until i joined the forum and posted my work, my writing had come out of my doodling:)

    Maybe also a desire to get it just right, and wondering if I am capable. Its only now my first novel is half way through its second draft publishing it has become a consideration, I didn't start off with that as an intention, so now other people's opinions are important. I guess if you start out with the intention of publishing they are important from the start
     
  3. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Well.
    Sometimes I ask for help because I'm still brainstorming. Sometimes I even go against what others say and even what I said in the beginning.
    All stories begin somewhere and all stories have a rough draft. They a blue print you may or may not follow.
    I ask people for help because, I like to brainstorm that way.

    The way I brainstorm is to talk through with some people. Especially if it's a rough idea that can't come to me quickly.
    But if it's an idea that I really really feel I can write it without needing to have a conversation with people.

    Don't just assume why people ask for help.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Crutches.

    We live in a modern society ready to give us a crutch for every little thing that we find inconvenient. It is the basic mode of existence for those fortunate enough to live in that tiny slice of the industrialized, technologically affluent human paradigm. I won't go into individual examples because I am bound to offend someone or everyone.

    The fact remains that there are some who have become dependent on this dynamic, who cannot move or walk or think without this support system. It is a sadness, truly, because it marks a threshold where more is taken than what is put into the system.

    I would feel offended if anyone tried to write my work for me. And the wish to have one's work written by another denotes a lassitude that is shameful.
     
  5. Perdondaris
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    Perdondaris Member

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    You think that's bad? Wait till you hear about Shakespeare.
     
  6. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    There are those who ask for specific help when they have a genuine problem... like a thread I read few weeks ago where the poster wanted how his character can steal something from a store/mall without triggering the alarm or, a poster asking how a lesbian might react in some situations. I think they did the right thing posting here and I think they did get help here saving a lot of time in research.

    Most of the other thread posters seem like they are totally unsure of what they are writing. It seems like they prematurely worry (no matter what they say) about the commercial success of their stories. Some worry even before they start writing and some just don't have faith in the idea they come up with. Hence the need to know if people will like the plot, the characters etc. I believe if a writer comes up with a story idea, he/she should have no problem developing the characters, the storyline and the plot at least. Have some faith WRITERS and remember nobody (no matter how big a writer they are) doesn't have the insight to the story as you do. I think asking for opinion prematurely will only corrupt the idea. My advice to them will be to complete one or two drafts and then seek for opinion.

    Edit: Totally agree with Wreybies.
     
  7. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Personally I am new to this site and new to writing in general. I was only 2 minutes on this website to see this isn't a place people are spoonfed and I'm glad to see it's like that. This is a place for talking specifics.

    Which is the best narrative tone, is this image a good way of representing the conflict here etc etc. We newer writers are encouraged to go away, make a mistake and let better people point them out. Its a great system and it encourages actual writing instead of sitting about with a lot of chewed pencils and a worried expression.
     
  8. Elvis
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    Elvis Member

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    You got it with your last sentence in this paragraph. That's research. That's very different than what the OP is talking about, IMO. Asking for constructive criticism on a piece you've already written to improve your style is also different. So is asking for help about the technical aspects of writing (grammar, punctuation, mauscript format, etc.), IMO.

    But I tend to agree with the OP. To me, part of the fun of writing is to create my own little world. The vast majority of the stuff I write is based in this "real" world, as opposed to a sci-fi/fantasy type world, but still the characters and events therein are my own creation. I can make anything I want happen. That's the fun of it to me.

    Asking someone else to create your character(s) or to design your plot or to do just about anything else that has to do with your little world or anything therein ruins the fun of it for me.
     
  9. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    Personally I hate seeing these sort of posts and I do avoid most of them like the plague, (In fact I was quite tempted to ignore this one just because of its title).

    I think a lot of people who start a post with this sort of question are either not decisive enough or don't have the confidence to say "Right, this is my idea and this is what I'm going to do with it."

    I also think the commercial success of books like Harry Potter and Twilight have made a lot of people think that they can make a quick buck out writing.
     
  10. Fantasy of You
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    Fantasy of You Banned

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    People have varying degrees of confidence. I don't think it's such a hardship to ensure such threads; people are at differing points, and though some may not have needed the extra support, some do until they become more confident.

    I say we take the threads with a pinch of salt. Instead of saying we aren't writing your book for you, go away, why not try to explain that we appreciate how hard it must be, that it really is up to them & whatever they choose will, at worst, be a learning exercise.
     
  11. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    I have no objection pointing people in the right direction, nor do I with helping someone in a rut. However, it is their story, and their book. If I am going to do that much work to help them, I may as well, write the damn thing myself, no?
     
  12. Fantasy of You
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    Fantasy of You Banned

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    Ha ha, very true! A thread got locked because it basically asked for everything, but those that only ask for the crumbs of your brain's left overs should be obliged, imo
     
  13. Perdondaris
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    Perdondaris Member

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    I don't know, is your writing style the exact same as theirs? A plot concept is hardly a novel (if it were, we'd have far more finished novels).
     
  14. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    Makes no difference, does it?

    I see enough ideas on a thread, and I could come up with something - not saying it would be good, though.
     
  15. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    People are at diffrent points and may not have the confidence or experience to know what to do with thier idea, but the most fundamental thing for any writer is to have an idea.

    With that idea a lot of fledling writers come to sites like these because they have no idea how to write or develop it. They may not have the confidence to progress that idea into something more. I would not say that I am an expert, but I will pass along the experience that I have to these people, but at the end of the day it is thier idea and they are the ones who are going to have to decide what they do with the idea.

    Unfortunatly you also get a lot of people starting posts saying, "I want to be a writer, but I don't know what to write about." From my perspective those are the sort of people who are expecting you to spoonfeed them through the writing process. It's these sort of posts that I hate seeing.
     
  16. Imo
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    Imo Member

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    Like many of the scorned posters mentioned in the opening post I am new to the Writer's Forum. Like them I found the atmosphere both inspiring and intimidating. Not everyone possesses the confidence to simply go out there and review, and then post their own work. Among such talented writers, it is easy to feel lacking in plot, style and whatever else it takes to write a decent piece.

    I agree that a portion of these posters is probably looking to be spoonfed, but I think that another group consists of people who are genuine in their efforts and risk a lot in communicating their hesitation. I would hate to see those people shot down with the bunch of fast gratification seekers and I am glad for the policy here to be at least polite. Even if it is just a simple request asking to narrow the question to a better suited one, I think there's nothing wrong with wording this nicely and making newcomers feel welcome.

    I had the good fortune to receive several friendly replies to my initial self-doubts, which greatly helped in crossing the threshold from lurker to participant. I appreciated their efforts, in the future other new posters may as well.
     
  17. MissBelle
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    MissBelle Member

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    Oh...I was like I cant beleive someone was really that forward about asking that.
     
  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    All but. :rolleyes:

    THe fact of the matter is, there is a huge difference between asking for help on work and asking for work to be done for you. I have read through this thread again and the line seems to be blurring between one and the other when they are in fact quite distinct.
     
  19. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Having been recently accused of this, I'll tell you what I think:

    I consider the premise to be the smallest unit of a story. Basically, it is the initial action, followed by what the hero does, if he succeeds and the end result of his success.

    I have absolutely no problem having others brain storm a premise with me because I feel it is not really what makes the story. I use the premise as a starting point, then I build a character, and I feel the real creative work is in developing the characters and building the plot around what such a character would do. Story development occurs on many levels. Is an interior designer less of an artist if he doesn't work on the foundation of a house? Was Rembrandt less of a painter because he focused on accurate portraits and never dreamed up an image out of his own mind?

    I find this dogma that every single concept of a story has to dawn on a writer like some light bulb out of the sky more than limiting and a little disturbing. Can't an artist have strengths and weaknesses, like any other professional? Would anyone tell a heart surgeon he should also master knee surgery, otherwise he's not a true surgeon?

    I have no problem taking suggestions at the beginning. Using the analogy above, I like to think I'm an interior designer. I'm perfectly comfortable having others tell me how they would do the plumbing and pour the concrete. I'm good at adding color, mood, texture, highlights, shadows, furnishings, etc. I want to do what I'm good at, and I know my story will be unique on my strengths alone.

    The degree of creativity in something as broad as a story is on a sliding scale; it's not black or white. Can someone go too far to one side and copy someone else; cross the line into plagerism? Absolutely. But brainstorming ideas is a far cry from that.

    Just my opinion.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    All surgeons should know sterile protocols, the location of all major organs (general anatomy), and the nomenclature and proper use of all the instruments on the surgical tray.

    Coming up with your own story is a writer's analog to those surgical competencies.

    It doesn't necessarily "dawn on the writer like some light bulb." It may take time, patience, and even some effort. Get used to it. It may take some practice, but it is an essential part of writing. You want to write your story, not someone else's, and not some mishmash from a group mind.
     
  21. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I guess it depends on what you bring to the table. We shouldn't blindly turn away people who generally want suggestions. Have some faith.
     
  22. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is a fundamental difference between you and me. I want to be the originator of everything in my writing, from the initial idea to every last word of the last draft. That's a large part of the enjoyment of this art - it's all mine, I'm the one in control, and the work lives or dies on whatever qualities I can bring to it. I don't like the idea of collaboration. I would not like to be a filmmaker, who HAS to collaborate with many others to get the work done. There would be too many aspects over which I'd have no control, where the decisions are made by others, and I have to put up with what they do even if I don't like it.

    I just like the idea of the lone craftsman doing his work all by himself, I guess.
     
  23. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    I certainly respect that point of view. I've done it, I still do it, but I see no point to limiting myself.

    The objective should be to put out the best story you can. If a great story comes from more than one mind, do you really think the reader will care?

    Again, do you think any less of Rembrandt or Da Vinci because they painted portraits? They reproduced and enhanced highlights and shadows of subjects sitting in front of them. Yes, they could paint from their imagination - often they did - but they didn't limit themselves and this doesn't detract from their art in the slightest. Ultimately, it comes down to technique.

    You can give a hundred different writers the exact same premise and get back a hundred completely different stories. In the end, no one will care how you dreamed it up. All they will care about is how well you tell it.
     
  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What does the reader have to do with any of this? Anyway, I'm the first reader of my stuff, and it has to satisfy me first.

    The analogy doesn't hold. They made all the artistic decisions; they weren't painting in collaboration with others. They didn't have others hanging around saying "The hair color is too dark" and "The texture on the lapels is all wrong". They painted portraits, sure, but they did it themselves.

    I will care how I dreamed it up. And I will also care how it's told. I want my work to be mine. I'm sure Rembrandt wanted his work to be his. I doubt he would have approved if some other artist showed up after he finished a portrait and starting painting over his work, claiming he was just touching it up here and there to make it better. Da Vinci probably would have objected if he'd finished the Mona Lisa to his satisfaction and some other guy came along and painted over her smile so that her teeth showed. "How could you not paint her teeth, Leonardo? She has great teeth!" Leonardo would probably have beaten that guy with a brick.
     
  25. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    But not everyone writes the same way. I love reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew for example. They come right out of a syndicate. Some of my favourite comedies have been written by a team of writers. And I have enjoyed books that have more than one author.

    My ideas and inspiration has all come from somewhere, it may as well be asking for opinions here. I have just done it with a short story I want to write. I know what I want to write about, but its outside my comfort zone and I feel the particular story deserves to be written better than I can do without asking for help.
     

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