1. Fluffy
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    Fluffy New Member

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    What Drives A Fiction Writer?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fluffy, Jun 15, 2013.

    I ask this because, after some experimentation, I have encountered difficulties writing my own fiction.

    This is strange to me. I love to read, am well versed in written word, and possess (what I hope is) a creative mind. In fact, what I have written is good. (Or so I believe.)

    That said, I find that I am only writing when I make myself write. To a certain point this is to be expected. Writing is hard, writing is work, and more than anything writing is nerve wracking, like stripping yourself naked, and while sometimes I am caught in the joy of creation, it is seldom enough to make me write past my prescribed amount. The fact that I never want to keep writing, that I never feel a sense of excitement as I approach my keyboard (it's usually trepidation), suggests to me that while I may love the product of others' labors, it may not be a good career path for myself. I have only written short stories, thus far, and will write a novel over the next few months before I make a decision.

    What I'm really interested in talking about isn't the pieces required to be an author. I have them all--or most of them--and I can tell you they don't fit. I want to know what it is about a fiction writer's psyche that drives them to the creation of story lines, what it is that can keep them glued to their chairs for hours on end, with the same fascination that I get from reading another's work. I would love to hear some of your opinions on this.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're looking way too deep into this.

    If you actually want to write, if there is actually a great story bursting out of you, if you really want to share this with the world or even your friends, you'll sit down and do it. If you don't really believe in this story with all your heart, you won't.

    Maybe you need to take a break, find "your" story. The one the world is waiting for - then dive straight in, keep the number of Dominoes beside you and you only get up from your machine for periodic toilet breaks, and to answer the door to the pizza boy.

    By the way - good luck with writing a novel in a few months!
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    double post
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all of that!

    plus...

    while some writers' motivation is only to make money with their fiction, i suspect the vast majority do it because they can't NOT do it... they have a passion for telling stories to people who love to read/see them...

    if, as you say, you have all the 'pieces' in place, but must force yourself to write, then i seriously doubt you have what it takes to be successful at it...
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Only you know for certain, but to me this sounds a lot more like someone who thinks (s)he is supposed to write, rather than like someone who wants to write (or, as maia says, needs to write). I try never to discourage anyone who wants to write, but your next statement...
    ...tells me that you may have already reached your conclusion.

    Unless you are writing all day, every day, with the kind of passion and single-mindedness you have already told us you don't possess, the very idea that you will write a novel (on a subject that you apparently have not chosen, with characters not yet conceived or developed, with a plot as yet undetermined?) "over the next few months" suggests that you have a very inaccurate conception of what writing a novel entails. In fact, I wonder if you have begun with a misconception of what writing is, how hard and demanding it can be, and hence your lack of ability to write other than when you force yourself.

    Frankly, while I have engaged in self-examination on many issues over the course of my life, this hasn't been one of them. My desire to write began early, around age 10. In truth, I knew I wanted to write before I realized the joy of reading, which didn't really kick in until I was 13, living in a new neighborhood with no friends and read Tom Sawyer in a single day. I can remember being seated in front of my mother's Remington manual typewriter and pecking away with two fingers, slowly, tortuously, mesmerized by the formation of letters into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, every one neat and orderly (I had serious penmanship issues). I kept journals in high school, worked on my high school and college papers. When my children were born with disabilities, I turned my writing to advocacy efforts on their behalf. The desire to write novels formed about the time I graduated from college.

    Tom Boswell once wrote, "there is no more compelling sentence in the English language than 'Tell me your story'." A writer doesn't need to hear that sentence to feel the compulsion. But if you don't feel it, you cannot make yourself feel it.

    There is no magic elixir, no 12 Step program, no 7 Habits of Highly Motivated Writers you can take, participate in or read that will get you where your heart doesn't want to go.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    There will always be times when you don't want to write - a scene you haven't quite got a handle on, a corner you've written yourself into and haven't found a way out of, RL has been pounding you over the head with a sledge hammer. But those should be the exceptions. Moments of frustration that you move past because you can't quit writing. If you never want to sit down and write, if you only look forward to the finished product, then yeah, writing is probably not something you'll stick with in the long run.
     
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    The tool belt does not make the carpenter. It is the ability and desire to use all of those tools to make art.

    Look at a food critic. Discerning palate, extensive food knowledge, probably cooks pretty good at home. Most wouldn't last a day in a professional kitchen.
     
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  8. Somnus
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    Somnus Member

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    Speaking personally, I'm partially writing because I backed myself into that corner (saying it when asked about my hobbies, for example) and because I want to get my story written. That, getting Sorya/Aurelon/etc. out of my head and onto paper, the 'prestige' of having something published the old-fashioned way, as a pastime, and I guess as a 'competition' against every other author who's ever been published. I may not be as good as J. K. Rowling (heck, I may not be good at all), but that's not going to stop me from trying.
    Those are part of my motivations, but really, the essential is to want to write. If you don't have that, I guess the following options open up: write non-professionally; write a blog and/or personal journal; write a novel, but take as long as you need to succesfully motivate yourself to finish it; ditch writing completely. You're the one who knows the best which would 'save' you.
     
  9. musicjess2
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    musicjess2 Member

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    I find that my motivation to write comes from my life experiences. A message or story that I experience, I want to share with people. I find that if I want to talk about myself though, or I try to journal it doesn't work as a story because I would have to write about my entire life to fill in all of the correct holes I want to talk about. In that way, fiction gives an outlet to write about overall messages I want to write about while writing about characters that aren't in my own life, and allow myself to have the creative outlet of creating my own characters and taking situations in my own life and ask myself "what if this happened instead?" to add different twists to things I have witnessed or experienced in my daily life.
     
  10. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    The story wants to come out, and does. If it feels like work, then I don't do it. It hasn't ever felt like work.
     
  11. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    And ditto to that. Except I'd have to write even if I knew for sure nobody would ever read my stories. It's like a fun compulsion that takes up a lot of your free time and regularly has you pacing about, frustrated and annoyed.
     

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