1. cieeciee
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    cieeciee Member

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    The choices you make when you are writing.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cieeciee, Aug 30, 2008.

    I was listening to a writing podcast and the author made a comment that it isn't always good to stay with your first choice, or the first thing that comes into your head when you're writing. This could apply to all the myriad of choices you make as you write regarding plot, character, decisions the character makes, etc.

    So I had a question... How do you know that the choices that you make feel authentic? How do you know they ring true? Do you sometimes go with the first thing that pops into your head when you ask yourself a question about "What happens next?" or "What would the character say?" or "What would the character wear?" etc.

    How do you know that the choice you made feels like the right one? Is it instinct? Gut feel? Do you get feedback from others to confirm your choices?

    Thoughts?
    cieeciee
     
  2. Tinja
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    Tinja Member

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    not an easy question...
    I usually go with the thing I came up first. usually. It rings bells in a sec if the plot sounds bad and isn't natural. I start to hesitate and the writer inside me screams; "NO".
    And the most important thing I've learned during this year is not censor too much. And slipping with that rule once, lets you slip again and again... And with computers, it's so easy to remove something and add later.
    Trusting the writer inside you is SO IMPORTANT.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I go with the first thing I can think of. That way I can just move on with what I'm writing. When reading over it or editing, I change it if necessary.
     
  4. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I believe that writing is like life. Have a destination in mind and see what happens to get you there. Enjoy the ride along the way.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all the writing choices i make, whether big or little, are mine alone, cc... and to tell the truth, i'm never really aware of making any... i just write whatever comes to me...

    of course, one might consider proofing and editing to be making a series of 'choices' but i don't think that's what you're referring to here...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  6. Michael Davis
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    Michael Davis Member

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    Frankly, most of my scenes are based on things I've done or seen in live. If not, I do a smell test. If I were a reader would I say, "This smells like BS", if not, I use it if I think the reader will be moved, stimulated to continue, ask "where is this going, "I never thought about it like that", etc.


    Michael Davis
    Davisstories.com
     
  7. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I make my choices on instinct. I know that the story will evolve differently than I was planning, and I make changes, based on whatever simply feels right for my characters.
     
  8. mistressoftheflies
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    mistressoftheflies Member

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    If you know your characters, you know what choices are right for them. :)
     
  9. ciavyn
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    ciavyn Senior Member

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    I tend to agree - not that your first choice is ALWAYS correct, but have you ever written something and then walked away from it? Later, when you go back, you are like, I wrote that?! That's fantastic! ;) So frequently, I think your best ideas are your initial ideas. However, that is not to say that they won't require lots of rewriting and polishing. :p
     
  10. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    I... just prefer the "right" one :p

    I call it 'done' when I've built the combination of choices that I most prefer.
    Feedback sometimes helps build it, or instinct/intuition/inspiration whatever you want to call it, or it might even be a calculated choice (what course of action will tie up the most loose ends with the least amount of effort?)
    I can't even say it's the right one or the best one (in fact I've heard it's a mathematical certainty that a hundred monkeys at typewriters if given an infinite amount of time will come up with one better,) but I'm sure I like it. You know?

    Fairy tales, for example, already have several generations of choices, of people having added or changed things as they prefer.
    Yet people continue to modify Cinderella-- she's really a spunky rebel only made obedient because of a spell, she's German, she's French, she's Chinese, she's a Maid in Manhattan (as my media studies teacher pointed out), she has the voice of Sarah Michelle Gellar and ends up with the dishwashing boy, the voice of Ilene Woods and is helped by mice (instead of birds or fish or a tree that used to be her mother,) the voice of Kim Crosby who ends up baby-sitting the Baker's baby and divorcing the prince... the story could even be the Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.
    I've even recently read a Philippine version that mainly explores Cinderella's father's adulterous but weak-willed tendencies. The actual Cinderella Story is just patchwork (keep the glass slipper... combine the mother, the animal, and the tree... have the kindly fairy just randomly pass by...)

    That doesn't mean every detail of the original made the wrong choice, or that the story is always lacking. It just demonstrates, I suppose, how I don't believe there's any "destiny" to a story. Not only fables like Cinderella, that you can excuse as being a skeleton of a story, but every story that you could possibly make fanfiction from (if only in the imagination): What if this happened? What if that happened? What if he wore this, what if she was like that? Another point of view, another set of choices... never confirmed.
     
  11. Tinja
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    Tinja Member

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    Absolutely true!
     
  12. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It's not really something I can answer I guess. I just write it as it comes to me. If it wasn't meant to be then I don't think I'd be able to write it. It doesn't seem to be a matter of choice, just a matter of putting words down. *shrug*

    I often feel like I'm not so much making this stuff up as just sitting here and writing it down, like an observer. Sure, I make choices, but for the most part I don't sit and wonder, "Was that the right one...?" That feeling only strikes me BEFORE I've written something, not after.

    See the above. I don't really get feedback from others that much to be able to tell otherwise. :(
     
  13. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I disagree with the idea of following your first instinct. In writing, like in any other area of life, first instincts can be terrible.
     
  14. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I can instinctively tell if something will work within the plot. If not, I'll question it immediately and just know that it isn't going to work. Just out of curiosity, what podcast was it?
     
  15. cieeciee
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    cieeciee Member

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    Thanks everyone for your responses! It was very interesting reading everyone's thoughts on this!

    Scarecrow28, the podcast, I believe was "The Writing Show" with Paula B. It is on iTunes. I have listened to several lately, so I don't remember which author said this. I recommend this podcast and "Writers on Writing" also on iTunes. Very interesting and I think inspiring.
     
  16. smithyJ
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    smithyJ Banned

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    I would agree with mammamaia on this one. Write what you feel. If you feel that the characters need editing, or that the plot has to be changed somehow to make it stronger the do the necessary changes.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This question is one reason for the oft-quoted advice, "Write what you know." The more you know about the situation you are portraying, and how real people react in those and similar circumstances, the more believeable the writing choices will be.
     
  18. ZionsRodeVos
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    ZionsRodeVos New Member

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    I just write what comes to mind and only change it if something better comes to me at a later date.

    I do find myself incorporating my personality or some of my children's personalities into some of my characters.

    I haven't really gotten feed back from anyone except some friends from school and my family.
     
  19. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    This is where I disagree with some people. If you have a well realized character then the direction the story takes should make sense and should be easy to come up with.

    Characters are like children. I know what my kids are going to do a lot of time before they do it. They suprise me at times but i realize that it is there in there personality. I just make a note of that and add that to what i know about the dynamicaly growing personality.
     
  20. rumplestiltzkin
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    rumplestiltzkin Member

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    I often have a general idea of what's going to happen when I write, but usually my characters surprise the crap out of me when they say whatever they say. When I'm writing, it's kind of like I see what's happening in my mind, and I'm trying to write that down. I think of it like reporting the lives of people that live their lives in my head. When I write it wrong, it feels like my brain is going to sizzle, fry, and die as it screams nonononononononono. And then there are the times when it's relaxed and saying contentedly, yes. Sorta hard to explain, but...there it is. That's how it works for me.
     

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