1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Write your experience

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by doggiedude, Apr 17, 2016.

    So the other day I was reading someone's blog and he was talking about how if you sit in your house all day trying to find things to write about you're never going to find anything. You need to go out and experience the world in order to write about it. I didn't agree with everything he had to say but that part stuck with me.
    Today I ran across the following post on another site. Reading it filled me with emotion. The sort of emotion most of us would like to invoke in our readers. The person who wrote it isn't a writer (as far as I know) but she was able to write her experience in a way that I would love to do.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I think a lot of it comes down to recognizing what you've seen. The example I like to give is that I live near Colma, a perpetually foggy town that's three-fourths covered in graveyards. Before I read Alive in Necropolis, I never considered that other people might consider Colma a place worth writing about--I was so used to it that I hadn't realized how strange and interesting it was. I think everyone's got something like that, something they've lived with and take as natural that other people wouldn't expect and would love to read about.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    There have been great novels written by shut-ins. There have been authors who seemed determined to live as many of the adventures they wrote about as possible. Yet another case where generalizations don't seem to work!

    I agree that writers often take something from their environment and use it as fuel for their imaginations, but watching an ant struggle to carry a too-large crumb of bread could be enough to inspire an entire novel. (And the cynic in me says that the touching Denny's story could easily have been made up by anyone, no actual experience required).

    ETA: Although Colma sounds totally fascinating!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
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  4. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    I'm inclined to agree with @BayView, and I think the something from their environment is often and understanding of the human condition, which often translates as being self aware enough to recognize why you react in certain ways to certain things and then dramatizing that in words. In that instance, it's unlikely you'll be so unique that others won't empathize with what you write.

    As for the Denny's story — I see it was published on April 1. The cynic in me is on the outside.
     
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  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I must be a hard-hearted fiend because that story made me roll my eyes.

    Isn't it somewhere in the definition of our jobs, as writers, that we successfully portray situations we haven't personally been in? Otherwise we'd all be writing memoir...
     
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  6. Shattered Shields
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    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    It's truly a weight on my mind that I might not be able to make a decent book until I'm fifty. What if I can't write a book until I go around the world without knowing of a method to do so? It's a thought that kinda scares me.

    I mean, hell, my personal idol Tolkien went through most of his life and a world war before he made his masterpiece. Never mind, that's not quite true, he gradually built it over the years, but still.

    Maybe I should join the Army.
     
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  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to sit indoors, sit at a screen, and write about dragons, wolves, wizards and me. Then I get the frustrations, get itching on my features. I get on my bike, ride down the beach and swim. Later, back home I writes about bikes, beaches, sunsets and the loveliness of fresh air. Now I go to work, and I work and work. Back home I write about work and work. I need to get those dragons into work, answer the questions.
     
  8. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Wolf slunk into the henhouse, belly flat, ribs catching on the seed-hard ground. Hunger screamed, set her jaws to gnash, saliva dripped. Memory plagued her, how it was before, up on two legs, not like this. Before she had used words, spells. One word above all. Wizard.

    Now wolf.

    The hens were silent. Not usual. Wolf sniffed, shivered. Scared.

    An egg lay at the centre of the house, propped on straw, too big for the hens. They made a ring about it, beaks raised and pointing. Still the silence.

    Wolf approached the egg. It quivered, cracked and split. Wolf had questions, so many questions, but no more language to make them. She missed her language.

    The baby dragon emerged, fire, onyx, leather, magic. Its jewelled eyes lifted, pinned wolf to herself. She stood in wonder.

    The dragon smiled, flicked its tongue, spoke a word older than time itself:

    'Mummy?'
     
  9. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Heck, I have never been in a civil war and I write about one!

    Writing is not only about things that you know about, it is so much more. It gifts dreams and nightmares, and even inspires entire nations (now I am not saying if good or bad..).
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think though the fact that you probably assumed this story was true rather than fiction was a huge factor. Just imagine reading this in a novel, written in exactly that same way - you'd roll your eyes because someone made up something pretty obvious and cliche to pull on our emotions. On the other hand, if this was a true story, then it's different because there was someone real who had actually lost all his family. It's not a clever plan to manipulate your emotions - it's just the facts.

    I think if your own writing doesn't seem to conjure emotion in your readers, usually that's got a lot more to do with set up and how well your readers know and like your characters rather than the quality of the writing. So it's more about structure, basically.
     
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  11. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    In the same way, a robot can never write an emotional piece, a writer without life's emotional experience will have serious issues with strongly conveying emotional angles to subjects. We hear stories like this one from time to time. What struck me when I read the reason behind it all was a flip side that I'm afraid takes the wind out of sails. Where He said he lost all of his family, and then later it's mentioned how the single mother prayed and then God sent that man. I'm sure that man was happy about God taking his family to make that happen. There's an angle of emotion to struggle through for a story piece. That man dealing with people thankful their prayers / his family loss came true.
     
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  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's a rather cynical view. I don't think it's like that at all. The single mother is thankful for the kind of man he became that brought him to help and give the way he does - that doesn't necessarily say anything about being glad or not glad about just HOW that came to be. Celebrating one kind act doesn't mean you must rejoice about all the suffering that came before it.

    As for God, a different way of looking at it is this: tragedy happened and rather than letting all that resulted of that be pure pain, God stepped in and brought something good out of what would have been otherwise pure evil. It was not God striking down the man's family in order that he might be kind and an encouragement to others, but rather that God turned a bad situation into something good.
     
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  13. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    It's not a cynical view that I have.
    It's an alternate view (the flipside I mentioned) that I brought forward that can drive a story idea or drive an alternate experience notion. I didn't think it's required to celebrate the total suffering tragedy in this scenario, but I put that idea in there as a direction to go, a deeper direction, that would definitely generate a reaction of the reader. I just might have been successful?
    Devil's advocate of idea generation here.
    The first part of the comment discussed the issues with writing pieces of experience with a lack of experience. I suppose it can be done, but it's hard to delve into minds of others and pull out the real and deeply impressive stuff that can make any article pull an emotion from the reader. My intention in that response was to point out that what we more often see in these types of experience stories never touches on the tragic, it's all feel good in the end and hooray fo the single mother - yet, the tragic man never regains another sort of family, he walks out. Alone again. It might be a direction to take a piece and see where that one goes.
     
  14. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    I heard about this in an article. Supposeably all of the money was counterfeit and the waitress got arrested the next week.

    April Fool's!

    No idea if the story was real or fake. Not sure why you would go to a Denny's to do this act of charity. Pretty sure he would be hassled for sitting there by himself for so long. They want to turn over tables. No offense, but his question comes off creepy.

    "May I sit in the section of a single mother? She needs to be blonde, between 5'4" and 5'6", and have green eyes. I'll pay extra if you have her give me her home address."

    Serial-killeresque.

    Maybe it's true, who knows. If so, nice thing for him to do. I personally don't see it as a tear jerker, but I'm part pessimist. Seven families just got free food from Denny's. Denny has terrible food. It should have a disclaimer on the side saying "you should still be drunk if eating here."

    The only good thing about the story is he got her out of her house. The only sad part is that he lost his family, but I also don't know the circumstances.

    I did think "ah, that's nice of him" when I first read it. Then I saw the post noticing it was on April 1st. Kind of an emotional buzz-kill.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    And here I was going to post about the incredible adventures I've had exploring the world.

    That others are posting about the lack of credibility of the story boggles my mind. It's not like $1000+ tips are unheard of. I'm not one to buy the prayer caused it part. Prayer has been debunked as having an actual effect except for a placebo effect, (sigh, sorry believers but that's what the data shows), but that was a side note.

    So is the April 1st date the issue? If so is this not then a story reminding us of all the people no one pays attention to, no one makes an effort to help?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  16. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Well I thought it was a lovely story, true or not. Maybe i'm just a softie. I'm not a sucker for sob story, if anything i'm more of a 'harden up' type - but I do love a story where someone does something selfless for others (I never watch Ellen, but i'm off work sick at the moment and have watched it two days on the run, and cried both times because she did something nice for nice people). @doggiedude said he (she?) wants to be able to evoke emotion in their writing the way that piece did for him, and I know exactly what he means. Feeling it, getting it down on paper and making someone else feel it is not easy. I have read books that others have read and they have cried at certain parts, whereas I felt nothing. I read a book a while ago that broke my heart, and it was such a simple paragraph describing a young girls heartache when her mother died. Simple writing but so very effective. I want to achieve that. But I guess everyone is different and will react differently to a piece of writing, as this post shows. If there is a self-help book out there on how to portray emotion I would love to hear about it. I'm striving for a real tear jerker moment in my book, but i'm worried i'm not going to hit the mark.
     
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  17. Gerald Bunch
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    Gerald Bunch Member

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    I live right by you in foggy, Daly City.
     
  18. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Look up the book "The things they carried". There is actually a section in there where the author talks about how to tell a story. The rest of the book are stories. And I am not going to describe them.
     
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  19. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    I just looked up the author (Tim O'Brien) - thanks, I will definitely look into this one further.
     
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  20. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I got addicted to this way of telling a story. There are some authors which do similiar things out there, but all writing this specific *genre*.. Ugh and I want to puke using this description.
    I even thought about writing this style but it won't work. Not for my current WIP. Maybe next one.
     
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  21. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    I think that as an author we leave bits and pieces of ourselves in each book. There may be nothing that we have experienced first hand in our books, but we still leave a piece of ourselves. The book I am working on there is absolutely nothing I have done that my characters are doing, but some of these characters show a different facet of my personality that I maybe to nervous to ever let loose. Some of my characters show my distrust due to the circumstances I have found myself in, but not the reason that I am the way I am. My sense of humor and randomness shine in some of the more quiet scenes. So while I may not write my own experiences in my book, my emotional ups and downs, desires, and what if's can and are portrayed though they have a spin on them.
     
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  22. Amy Brahams
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    Amy Brahams Member

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    If u want to write something creative then you must browse on different subjects. Roam around the street meet new people, become interactive. Then only u can write something nice.
     
  23. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    The only time I ever experience writers block is when I've shut myself off from the world for too long. It's nothing a night out with friends or a party can't fix. Drinking and a few bad decisions, I'm on the ball again.
     
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  24. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    This is true , but you also benefit for research - really for me its one or the other (or both) - and the ideas and dreams etc come from the base material of what you've done, what you've been told, or what you've researched
     
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  25. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    Can you believe I did a search for 'sex' in this forum & all I got was a dial tone? lmao

    sorry that's my experience atm :)
     

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