1. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    What do you write about?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Spencer1990, Jul 31, 2016.

    I'm posting this thread to find out what some of you like to write about.

    Do you write from personal experience? Completely made up scenarios?

    What interests you in terms of subject matter?

    Obviously, these are all very subjective questions but I'm curious as to what people will have to say. I have a bit of a hard time writing about things that I haven't--directly or indirectly--experienced.
     
  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    SciFi/Fantasy/Horror. Pretty much everything I write has to be completely made up :)

    My stories take place in parallel universes, I can almost see in my mind's eye the different universes swirling around each other, and trying to copy too much from the real world into one of my fictional worlds makes me feel like I'm breaking the fabrics of both of them.
     
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  3. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    That's interesting. I am almost exactly the opposite. I have trouble picturing other planes of existence. Usually, I stick to realism. I really enjoy character and plot focus rather than trying to build a new world. Maybe I'm lazy or too scared to try something a bit different.

    That's not entirely true, I have done some stories like that, but I didn't enjoy it as much as writing realistic stories.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I have two things that inspire me.

    One is setting or period. I'm attracted to the late Victorian period in the USA, so that's when my story is set. However, it's not a historical novel, in the sense that it's not about a famous person or situation. It's merely about ordinary people living ordinary lives during that period. I find it fun to pretend to live during a different time period, and I love to read stories set in the past.

    Another thing that inspires me is 'setting something right.' In other words, to turn something that actually happened—or didn't happen—on its head. Imagine what life would have been like if you had taken that step, or hadn't been diverted from what you wanted ...or maybe hadn't landed as lucky as you actually did. If you had a father you didn't like (I loved my own dad to bits, so this is a hypothetical situation!) you can create a father who is the heart and soul of your character's life. OR vice-versa.

    Instead of failing at something, make your character an expert at it. If you're an expert at something, create a character who needs to learn it.

    You don't have to build your whole story around this kind of shift, but you can use the shift to build characters. For example, I am a dreadful dancer (three left feet) and have always wanted to be able to dance. So I gave my main POV characters the ability to dance. It was cathartic and fun.

    It's funny that exploring this sort of thing throws up lots of stuff you don't expect.
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I generally write science fiction. I also write a lot of alternate-history stuff, usually set in versions of North America in which there were no Native versus European conflicts, and the technology hasn't yet developed to the point where guns are available. I jigger the landscape around slightly to suit my purposes, too.

    I always start with characters rather than plots. I create characters, put them in situations they have to deal with, and watch them deal. That's where the plots come from.

    EDIT: I definitely do not like writing about realistic modern times and settings. The here-and-now bores me. I can get enough of the here-and-now by walking out the front door. I write about the future or the past, exotic planets or exotic parts of our planet. Much more interesting to me!
     
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  6. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Really poignant information here. I've hardly thought to take something I always wanted to be good at and make a character good at it. I think I might use that someday. In fact, I've added a story idea to my list as a result.

    Sometimes I struggle with getting an idea off the ground because I'm afraid it might be boring. But that's what brainstorming is for, right?
     
  7. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I can see why it would be more interesting to write about those sorts of things. I suppose it would be labor intensive to get the historical facts correct. But then again, this is fiction we're talking about.

    In my modern fiction, I like to explore the nether of society. The part of life you can only experience on any skid row. But I also like to put that skid row lifestyle into suburbia. I don't know. I'm drawn to disturbing plots and characters.
     
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Again, it's always fun to play around with the first idea that hits you. I love the notion of bringing skid row lifestyle to suburbia. Already I can see a story there.
     
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  9. Spencer1990
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    I've been toying with the notion of writing a longer story about a halfway house that ends up in the middle of an upper-class neighborhood. The kind of halfway house meant to rehabilitate drug addicts.

    It needs some more thought. I've been adding plot points as I think of them.
     
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  10. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    Typically fantasy, though I'm trying to avoid being stuck in the middle ages. One of my works is a world bordering on its renaissance period, and the state its set in has a strong caste system and an electoral monarchy. No elves or anything like that. I'm also keep things small scale at the moment, literally having one city as the setting.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, play around with it. Turn some of it on its head. What if the most active drug dealers in town live in the posh houses in that upper middle class neighbourhood? (Not too far-fetched.) This kind of thing. Instead of just making the story about middle class horror at drug rehab centre in their own backyard.
     
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  12. Kerilum
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    Kerilum Member

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    My dreams. I record my dreams (I haven't done that in the past month or so) in a small journal and create scenes that can tie into my plot. I find that dreams can create such beautiful and touching scenes for my work.
     
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  13. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I like that. It could work as a series of connected short stories. That might be how I start it, just to get the juices flowing.

    And no, that's not too far fetched at all. From what I know, it happens all of the time.
     
  14. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I've always been envious of people who remember vivid dreams. 98% of the time I haven't a clue what I dreamt about when I wake up. The times I do remember, they are completely nonsensical.
     
  15. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    As far as genre goes I like sci-fi and horror. Cosmic horror and body horror are my favorites and they go quite well with sf, so that works out. Thematically, I find myself writing about family a lot - mostly found families, but also siblings in particular. Different types of platonic relationships are what interest me the most, whether it's blood family or found or just groups of friends. A nice mixture of optimism and realism, I think. I used to be more into tragedy and cynicism but I guess I'm growing out of it, hahah. Overcoming obstacles even when it seems impossible is a big thing in my writing, I think - dogged tenacity, continuing on when you absolutely do not want to.

    Also, robots. Robots and cool aliens/monsters. That's what I'm really in this for, let's be honest.
     
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  16. Spencer1990
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    I've always been interested in the horror genre but haven't written anything in that regard. I guess I haven't read enough of it to be comfortable writing in that style.

    Also, I haven't attempted the aliens/monsters. Again, probably haven't read enough to feel comfortable.
     
  17. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Honestly, on both those fronts, I've taken a lot of pointers from movies. Alien and Pan's Labyrinth come to mind as fairly formative things. Horror is a tricky one for me because I'm not prone to being scared by things I read/watch myself, so I never know what to emulate. I have bizarre, senseless personal fears and turning them into stories has never seemed like it would be particularly relatable, so trying to figure out how to make seemingly innocuous things horrifying has been my shtick.
     
  18. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I'm in the same boat in that things that are supposed to be 'scary' don't have that effect on me. What I find scary are people. Donald Trump comes to mind. But scary in a much different sense.
     
  19. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Character-based contemporary military sci-fi. A mouthful, isn't it?

    But it lets me learn of a whole world (and people) I've never known before, and I wouldn't miss it for worlds! Guess I write about things I have no idea about, but it sure is a learning experience :)
     
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  20. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    That is quite the mouthful. I've always been intimidated by the notion of writing that far out of my feeble scope.
     
  21. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    *whispers* I am intimitated, even now. But don't you dare tell anyone!
    However, I care about the story and there is no other way than to write - inadequacy is a moot point when no one else has an inkling about how it plays out in my head ;)
     
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  22. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    inadequacy is the killer of creativity. I'm learning to set my own hoo-hockey aside and just write. It can be quite the challenge to silence the editor monkey who makes a comfortable home on my shoulder.
     
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  23. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    A piece of good advice (I have never found one better): Go one step, or word, at a time. You can walk around the world, I promise :)
     
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  24. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Solid advice.

    I think my editor is broken, anyway. o_O
     
  25. Sack-a-Doo!
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    I write humorous science fiction and use various events (and characters) from my life as a springboard.

    For instance, Aliens Don't Bend at the Knees, my WIP, is based on a UFO that interrupted a baseball game in our backyard in about 1966. Soon after that, my mother met my stepfather who turned out to be, well, rather alien. And I'm being generous here because the actual details are too horrific to go into. Making the connection was pretty easy. Everything else is based on what I remember of living in a small town in western Nova Scotia, although I moved away before I got to be the age of the MC.

    Other story ideas I've got on the back burner are based on:
    • a series of arguments/discussions about science as a belief system I witnessed on Facebook,
    • speculations about a desperate film industry turning to some pretty weird stuff to maintain the bottom line in the future,
    • post-apocalyptic something-something but with puppies and baby deer instead of all that Mad Max stuff, and (of course)
    • time and inter-dimensional travel done with a big fat ole tongue in the cheek.
     
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