1. Michael the Angel
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    Michael the Angel Member

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    Real Life Influence on Content

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Michael the Angel, Jul 28, 2014.

    So I've been having some trouble recently, especially when it comes to keeping my themes in line. From time to time I find myself mid-way through a passage, scribbling furiously, putting the metaphorical pedal to the metal. I re-read what I've just scratched onto paper and notice...All my work sounds bitter or directly influenced by my day-to-day life prior to sitting down to write.

    This mostly comes to a head when my characters engage in dialogue. I live life by the phrase "there, but for the grace of God, go I," and I find it very easy to empathize with my fictional peeps. But recently, given the fact that my lady friend is pregnant with my baby and I'm having trouble getting ends to meet in preparation, I find all my characters' living out my own frustrations. I try to block off an hour every day to write, and when I get finished I read through and see that I've, ultimately, wasted the block venting my frustration through my fiction. My characters are too concerned with their future, or they end up sounding hollow and one-sided.

    Since I don't want my novel to reflect my life, this is a problem. I've tried several exercises to fix this. I journal, I write raps depicting horrible violence on capitalists, and even went as far as finding an old punching bag at a garage sale to beat on in my free time before I start writing. Needless to say, the beating helps a little. ;)

    So, I thought I'd share that with you guys. I know that writing is an extension of ourselves. It is an art form and perhaps it could be argued that I need to embrace these emotions and channel them into productivity themselves. Like E.A. Poe, should my work reflect my own demented ideas, or do you guys find it easy to shed your own feelings when writing and keep things dissociated from your own reality?

    I'd really enjoy your feedback. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I would be skeptical of anyone that claims he or she can completely dissociate writing from his or her personal thoughts and feelings. Even if it is not obvious, one's feelings and personal experiences will always influence one's writing. In your case, it just happens to be more noticeable.

    I think the main thing to watch out for is letting your emotions influence your writing in an obtrusive way. For example, making a normally calm and cool character snap at something that you do not like simply because you are upset about it at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes, life events are so all-consuming, that they colour everything, and there's not much you can do to force them out of your head for the purposes of writing fiction. Some other problems can be made to take a back seat temporarily, so exercise, meditation, sheer willpower, writing exercises etc, can help. The trick is to know which is which, and getting the best out of the situation.

    It sounds like you are having one of those all-consuming issues right now. Concentrate on that, write what you need to write, or even, use energy and time you'd use to write fiction, writing applications for better jobs, or earning money on the side or preparing the house for the new arrival. You might find that actively working to resolve the issue might help you relax, not worry and ultimately, it might clear some space for fiction. If not - read.
     
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  4. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    It helps if you can submerge yourself in the "world" of the novel. Go back a few paragraphs, read what's been happening up to that point and try to put yourself in that situation.
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I agree with Jazz and Nilfiry, but also think that the problem you're having doesn't have to be a 'problem'.

    I've had this problem a few times and what helped me was to put that project down and open up a new page. Write it out in short story form, but from someone else's perspective. For instance, you're stressed and crazy nervous that you're not going to make it. Force yourself to think about all of this from say, your lady friend's perspective. Her nerves, her feelings about the stress you're under and how it's making you react. Or from a friend's pov, the one that's annoyed that you keep blowing him off and that when he does get to hang out with you you're a different person (if there is a friend like that, lol).

    It not only releases the frustration, but makes you see yourself another way, as well as sometimes highlighting new solutions you hadn't considered.
     
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  6. Chad Lutzke
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    Chad Lutzke Member

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    Perhaps try doing some pre-writing ritual that would help you "get in the mood." For example, I recently wrote a story that contained a vampire for an anthology coming out this summer so I watched Bram Stoker's Dracula. I planned on watching more vampire stuff but I finished up the story before I had a chance. I just wrote another story for a contest and much of it took place in the woods so I got on Spotify and listened to the relaxing forest sounds while I wrote. When I was writing scenes at night in the forest I had campfire sounds playing in the background. I do the same during intense or scary scenes; I'll put on something like Tangerine Dream or Goblin. Perhaps you could watch some feel-good movie before you write, or think of all the blessings in your life; having a child is one of them. If you live your life by that saying then hand your baggage over to Him. Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough worry of its own. Hope this helps.
     
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  7. Michael the Angel
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    Michael the Angel Member

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    Awesome advice all around guys I appreciate it.
    I hope some of it helps. @Trish my girl would definitely appreciate it, but I also feel that she could learn from my perspective a bit too ;)
    (And not one "Congratulations" from you guys, thanks so much. It sounds so hollow when I hear people say it that it's refreshing for people to look at baby making as the everyday affair it is.)
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Of course she could, lol. We tend to forget what the other person is dealing with. If this is her first, she's probably afraid of labor, bonding, whether or not she'll be a good mom, etc. (all the things most of us worry about) while you're probably afraid for her, the baby, the bills, getting the car seat (stroller, clothes, diapers....), doctors visits, keeping the lights on, food in the fridge, etc.

    Maybe if you write it and let her read it, she'll feel a little less stressed because she'll know you understand and then (hopefully) she'll try to understand where you're coming from?

    Honestly, I have a teenager at home. I'd be more likely to offer condolences, lol. (JK!)
     
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  9. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    With that situation, you may just need to shelve and write something, even personal, that does reflect it...then come back when it has resolved better.
     

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