1. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    Word flow question

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ged, Jun 11, 2011.

    How do you write?

    Do words quickly flow from you, or do you find yourself stopping every now and then, pondering on the proper word for a specific sentence?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Both. Every once in a while, I'll stop and tell myself, That didn't come out quite right.

    I'll try to come up with something better then and there, and if it doesn't immediately come, I'll mentally bookmark it and move on. But the whole time, that bookmarked passage is churning in the back of my head. Evenyually I come up with something that works the way I intended, and I'll go fix it, and I'll be free to move ahead without the distraction of the sour note.
     
  3. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Bit of an open ended question, eh?

    How I write depends on any given idea, story, character, temperature outside, hunger level, whether there's a ball game tonight, etc.

    Anything to get the job done, basically. If you're struggling on a sentence level and never finish a story, well, then you probably need to do something differently. If you let words pour from your soul and get to 'the end' but the stories never get polished to the point their any good, well, then you probably need to do something differently.

    Great writers don't become great by what they typically do, but how they manage to respond when they find they need to do something different.

    The writers who claim brilliance just flows from their arse are full of something relevant, but it isn't brilliance.
     
  4. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Likewise.
     
  5. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first priority is to get the job done, so that's what I aim at. Once the first draft is finished, I start editing it and trying my best to make it perfect. I don't see a point in perfecting a few chapters in a book I'll never finish. ;)
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually everything, even the smallest thing - like this post - is word flow and then editing. The pauses are generally for thought about the topic for the next sentence or paragraph or page, not for thought about the actual specific words that I'll use. Then once a body of words are down, I'll tear them up, move sentences and paragraphs around, insert new sentences and paragraphs, sometimes just delete the whole thing and start the word flow over. The first words are ingredients, raw material - I have zero expectation that they will be good.

    A "body of words" depends on what I'm writing. For an itty bitty thing like this post, it's a sentence. For something that will end up being several hundred words, it's a few paragraphs. For something that will be a few thousand or many thousand words, I actively restrain myself from editing until I've "flowed" a few hundred to a couple of thousand words. This is because the editing is generally based on the context of the surrounding text - there's no point in creating, for example, a perfect transition between paragraphs if one of those paragraphs is going to end up being moved two pages away.

    (Hmm. As an example, I re-read this and noticed that I'd added the 'raw material' sentence between the first use of the phrase "body of words" and my definition of that concept. And I really should reshuffle so that those two are closer together again, so the reader doesn't have a brief, 'body of what? oh, yeah' stumble. But I'm going to leave this post in an incompletely edited state, and see if it makes my brain explode. :))

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's a good day I can sit and pound out 5k in a few hours without difficulty (although I force myself to take a break every twenty minutes when writing fast so I don't risk hurting my wrists. Fast writing for me = 1k+ in 20 minutes.)

    Other times I struggle to even get a hundred words in a day. Those days I plough through it anyway and often it'll get better after a couple of hundred. When that happens I tend to go back and rewrite the few slow paragraphs to find out why I struggled with them.
     
  8. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I check each sentence as I go. Make sure it's something I really want to write. Doesn't stop the editing afterwards, but makes sure the sentences don't need up revising when they do.

    I never read though the stuff I post online. I just hope for the best. Shouldn't really on here what with the prevalence of grammar nazi's. I wonder if that's a frowned upon term here?
     
  9. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Nah, we have a fondness for grammarians... err wait, did you mean the Nazi part?!
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    my writing tends to flow quickly and easily most of the time, though occasionally i'll pause briefly to come up with the best word...
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually write in stops and starts because I have a rubbish attention span, but if you removed all the visits to farmville, staring at the fish/out the window/at the cute guy opposite me on the train, then I'd probably write in a reasonably unbroken way in that once I'm using my pen nothing much stops me in terms of difficulty getting to the next word. It's only once a plot weakness comes to mind that I'll pause and try and think of the next reasonable set of actions.
     
  12. Glimpse
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    Glimpse Member

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    My ideas flow quite freely while writing because I rarely plan the story in detail beforehand. Word usage, on the other hand, does not, so I need to go back and vigorously edit the whole piece after finishing the barebones of the plot to make it sound readable. That's hard to do on a paper, so I write slower when writing on paper.
     
  13. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Once I get a hold of a good idea, I'm usually off and running. OTOH, if I'm on a roll and I get interrupted, I sometimes come back hoping to pick up where I left off and...nothing.
     
  14. Deleth
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    Deleth Member

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    Pretty much this.

    I opened up my Manuscript today and went through the last three paragraphs -- which I had written the night before -- and changed the grammar and adjectives in every paragraph so it better fit what I envisioned in my mind.
    However, the point is to do your best every time you write you will write and keep in mind that it is going to come out a little differently depending on mood, how your day was, experiences, and so on even though the overall voice will remain the same.

    Just stay true to who you are as you write, and you will be fine.
     
  15. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    It depends. Mostly, the words just flow and I edit later (as many people have said).

    But when I'm writing dialogue I tend to pause more so I can consider the right voice for the speaking character.

    Also, I "think with my hands", which basically means that when I'm really inspired my fingers go mental and start waggling (stimming), so that I can imagine the next part of my scene. I can't really help it. I pause for that, because I can't write and waggle at the same time.
     
  16. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    While that might sound like a good idea, it might be the worst thing you can do. I have an ex-girlfriend who spent three years writing the first draft of her book, then nearly scrapped it all because "it wasn't good enough". I asked if I could read some of it, but at first she kept saying it was really bad and didn't want anyone to read it. But she eventually let me read a few pages, and I thought it was pretty good. She decided to edit it to make it perfect, but her version of "perfect" doesn't exist. She just kept editing and editing the first paragraph for months before she finally moved on to the second paragraph, but she returned to the first one after a few days. As far as I know, she's still editing it. The point is you can edit all you want, but you are either happy with it, or you are not. It's better to publish a story you are 90% satisfied with than having it unpublished because you can't reach 100%. At some point you need to be able to tell yourself "enough is enough" and let go.
     
  17. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^This!
     
  18. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I'm in the right mood and know where I'm going, the words normally flow well.

    If I get stuck or think I may need to look something up, I will sometimes 'bold' that sentence or just leave a gap and come to it later. Example, I wanted someone to make a reference to a a very expensive restaurant she'd eaten at in NYC, but couldn't think of one off hand. So I just put 'xxxxxx' and carried on.
     
  19. ReasonOne
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    ReasonOne New Member

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    I try to take down what whatever comes to mind at the moment, then I walk away from it for a period of time and let it digest for a period of time. I can fine tune the details and structure down the road.

    To me, getting the raw idea down is of monumental importance. You could lose it forever if you don't jot it down.... and you may never get that thought back again. Who knows what may come to you the next time you approach your initial draft?

    Bearing in mind that I'm relatively new to this myself.
     
  20. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Whenever I lose momentum, I mark what I want to change, and move on.

    In other words,

     
  21. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    If I sit down and just try to write and force the words onto the paper, they usually don't come out very well. Throughout my day, however, I'm always thinking about writing, so if a word or phrase comes to mind that I like, I write it down on a scrap piece of paper, shove it in my pocket, and hope that I remember to take it out before I wash my pants...

    When I'm really feeling inspired, I can sit down and just write and write and write in a nonstop, four- or five-hour spurt, never bothering to edit anything along the way. (Then I read it the next day and cringe.)
     

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