1. plothog

    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Jul 24, 2013
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    Trying a new form of storytelling.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by plothog, Sep 8, 2013.

    I'm someone who's working on his first novel, after having worked for a number of years as a narrative designer in a computer games company.

    I'm wondering how many people out there have started off in one creative genre and then tried another, be it novels, prose, poetry, plays,screenplays,graphic novels etc. Did you feel you got much benefit from skills being transferred from one form to the other or did it feel like starting from scratch.

    In the computer games industry, I've done plenty of dialogue writing, world building, plot planning, character creation and back story creation. Which is all helpful in giving me the creative skills to know what I want to write, but in terms of knowing how to write it, it feels like I'm very much a novice.

    On the plus side I feel like I've learned a lot over the last six months. Having read around on the internet, it turns out there's so much to know about good writing that just doesn't get taught in school, but it's a slow process to learn apply everything.

    I'm writing in third person limited, because that's what makes me feel most involved in the books that I read, but it's not a point of view I've written in much before. Computer games I guess would mostly be considered second person, because the player is the hero.

    The nature of description has changed a bit for me too. Before it was mostly about describing what I wanted well enough for a graphics artist to understand what I envisioned.
  2. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    I think it's pretty common amongst writers that we're also often artists or singers or photographers or actors, so I think you're in good company with regards to "jumping" between creative fields.

    For myself, I also do beading and wiring of jewellery, polymer clay models as well as origami, and that's not even counting painting and drawing, which I haven't done in a couple of years. I enjoy acting and with training could probably be pretty good. I enjoy singing, but that's not a field I could ever get good enough to be professional in. Regarding jewellery/art though, I have the skills to go pro, but the problem is, I've never invested as much energy into any creative field as I have done in writing. As it is, despite having basic skills and potential in many fields, I'd only really regard my writing to be on par with the pros.

    Between crafts and writing, they're rather too different for me to "transfer" any skills between them - or if I do, then I'm not conscious of it. The energy invested into arts and crafts feels very different to the energy invested in writing. Art is almost more "passive", and it has a calming effect. If I were stressed or tired or just can't think, art is something I could easily and happily do to unwind (although more often I would probably read). I couldn't do the same with writing, even though it is something I thoroughly enjoy and consider relaxing. Writing is relaxing, but also taxing - by the end you're exhausted, your mind spinning out of control to the point of losing sleep because your characters talk and you're making bridges between plot points, or other times it's just spinning in your head with no particular point or purpose really. Writing is an extremely active endeavour for me.

    So... not sure if I've answered your question.

    As for how you can learn best - get writing. It's the best way to learn. That, and read a lot. If you're good at dialogue, you might want to consider writing plays rather than novels. As for improving in descriptions, for me I always like to focus on the atmosphere that I wanna create. Include details and options only as much as you need for the reader to visualise it, get the main idea, but first and foremost you're trying to conjure a feeling. Setting the mood is the ultimate purpose of description, for me, anyway.
  3. xtracker85

    xtracker85 Member

    Jan 20, 2013
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    I was a copywriter for an advertising agency, and after making the transition to a full-time author, I can tell you it's like an entirely different world. I had to learn almost everything from scratch. I guess the only thing that really carried over was my passion for writing, and it shows, since I'm still writing that book for almost two years now, constantly learning as I go and improving it day by day. And even though it's taking this long to finish, I have no regrets. It's shaping up to be one of my most proudest achievement.

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