writing

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
for those that write , does the writing you have to do for work or school inflict on the writing you do for other reasons ?

anthonyeaston, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

No.

Pete, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Unfortunately, yes.

felicity, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Yes, THATS the reason whatever I write is crap.

I think it does yes, I have assignments to write all the time, so I'm not going to come home after writing 3000 words on What Is News and write something for fun. Even if I wanted to I wouldn't be able to.

Still now I have my first 2 weeks off without anything due in months I plan on writing some stuff. be warned.

Ronan, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

umm, the writing i do for work looks like this

ena
conf t
int e0
ip add 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0
no shut

int bri0
ip add 165.27.33.9 255.255.0.0
encap ppp
ppp auth chap

etc etc, so, um, not really i guess!

gareth, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The writing I do for work pays my way but corrodes my soul, eg. "A MILLION NEW VISITORS BUILD AMAZON'S PATH TO PROFIT" and other such PR- wank.

Tom, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

My work writing still involves capitals as acronymns so that vaguely placates me. However civil service speak is becoming ingrained in me. Need a new job. Happy to discuss, responses by COP please. Apologies for tight deadline.

YEAH RIGHT!

Sarah, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Tom's writing for work consists of woefully misused phrases e.g. ONE HORSE TOWN ha ha ha whereas of course all his other writing is faultless.

Emma, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

That was SPOKEN grrrr. AND a misquote my dears.

Tom, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

In my current job I find myself writing things like:

"Disposable income is calculated by adding together the client’s income from benefits (not Housing and Council Tax Benefits or Disability Living Allowance), earnings, maintenance, student grants and loans etc and then deducting allowances for each dependant child. This is £31.45 per week for each child aged 15 and under and £32.25 for each dependant aged 16 or over."

In my last job, I found myself writing things like:

'If modern art aspires to the condition of physics, then Rimbaud's prescient declaration of 1871, "je est un autre", may well be its e=mc2. In which case, Pessoa was the father of literary fission, exploding the coherent lyrical self into boundless possibilities. The authentic "I" is replaced with "a sinister well, full of faint echoes, inhabited by ignoble lives, slimy non-beings, lifeless slugs, the snot of subjectivity". He was to recount his discovery of the heteronyms with all the sobriety of Virginia Woolf remarking on the change in human character "on or around December 1910".'

Neither of these have helped me finish the novel that has been in my drawer since 1992.

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Actually, when Pessoa wrote "a sinister well, full of faint echoes, inhabited by ignoble lives, slimy non-beings, lifeless slugs, the snot of subjectivity" he may well have invented ILx.

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

"Neither of these have helped me finish the novel that has been in my drawer since 1992."

Or so you think. Frustrated by your failure to update the Schlegel / Wilcox conundrum in time for the millennium, I actually nicked it in June 2000 and have been steadily adding to the MS since. The action now - surely this will crush you - takes place in Hemel Hempstead. Some of the names have been changed. The epigraph is still taken from 'Passing Through'.

That bulky tome occupying your drawer, through which you've evidently not flicked since, now comprises 9 spare copies of my own classic discussion of Hugh Kenner, hastily bound.

Horlicks Terrace, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Nah, no impact. Most of my work writing is actually the record reviews anyway, and that's just easily done fun.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

My wife's novel 'project' was referred to as 'my novel of the eighties' when she started it in uh, 1987 or sometime. I occasionally see what I think is *it* when I hunt for guitar pedals and stuff in the cupboard under the stairs.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Philosophy infects everything.

Josh, Wednesday, 23 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Though I have it under controll now I was having problems ending my sentences with ;s instead of periods. That and multiple calls at once have me nesting thoughts in paragraphs way too often.

Mr Noodles, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

five years pass...

"When the boys were promptly shoehorned into their sleeping bags, most stayed awake for upwards of an hour. While the counselors drank beers around the dying hearth and congratulated one another on their performances, Stephen itched under the standard issue wool blanket. Unlike the rest of his bunkmates, he had neglected to pack a sleeping bag. He had been given a military green cot and a terribly thin wool covering to last him through the night. It would be the first night of an insomnia that would follow him for the rest of his life. Hours later, deep into the night and long after the cruel storytellers had succumbed to the effects of their drinks, a flashlight muted by a small hand sluiced a dim arc through the darkness."

y/n guys

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 07:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Y

C J, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 08:16 (sixteen years ago) link

I like it. Though "cruel storytellers" sounds a bit too lyrical compared to the rest of the text.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 08:19 (sixteen years ago) link

more pls

C J, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 08:23 (sixteen years ago) link

Y. Like "sluiced a dim arc" a lot. Might quibble over "promptly".

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 08:24 (sixteen years ago) link

thanks for the feedback, all.

it's from a story i'm working on about two boys at a summer camp for disabled kids.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:33 (sixteen years ago) link

'Tis good, though the repetition of 'night' in two of the sentences doesn't sit well with me.

emil.y, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:39 (sixteen years ago) link

Maybe change one for 'until morning'?

emil.y, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Is "to sluice" a verb? If I was your editor I'd make it this. I'm interested in your story already!

"When After the boys were promptly shoehorned into their sleeping bags, most stayed awake for upwards of an hour. While the counselors drank beers around the dying hearth and congratulated one another on their performances, Stephen itched under the his standard-issue wool blanket. Unlike the rest of his bunkmates, he had neglected to pack a sleeping bag. He had been given a military green cot and a terribly thin wool covering to last him through the night. It would be the first night of an insomnia that would follow him for the rest of his life. Hours later, deep into the night and long after the cruel storytellers had succumbed to the effects of their drinks, a flashlight muted by a small hand sluiced sliced a dim arc through the darkness."

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:41 (sixteen years ago) link

"shoehorned"??????

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:42 (sixteen years ago) link

they had very very small sleeping bags

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Apparently "sluice" can be used as a verb. I had to look it up before I let myself use it.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:57 (sixteen years ago) link

tl;dr

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 14:57 (sixteen years ago) link

get rid of sluice

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 15:17 (sixteen years ago) link

he sluiced the reams of subcutaneous lipid from beneath the patient's dermis, occasionally pausing to take a surreptitious, lingering sip

Just got offed, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 15:27 (sixteen years ago) link

I like it and I like Tracer Hand's changes (I wanted to say something about the two really symmetrical When/Where statements and how I thought they should be de-symmetricizored)

Will M., Wednesday, 19 September 2007 15:27 (sixteen years ago) link

xpost LJ my god

...awesome

Will M., Wednesday, 19 September 2007 15:28 (sixteen years ago) link

everything I write for my fiction-writing class is horrible and I hate myself for it

bernard snowy, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 16:21 (sixteen years ago) link

I feel that it's a little unfair to say he had "neglected" to pack his own. Isn't that his parents' responsibility, even if he weren't developmentally disabled?

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 16:31 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm serious!!

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 18:47 (sixteen years ago) link

^ well caught. Thanks. Serious!

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 18:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Ma'am, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. My bartender, myself, and my general manager will not tolerate your hate speech on our property. We have not and will not charge you a cent and you're free to take your business elsewhere. I'd rather not call the police, but if you insist on continuing to disturb our guests I will. Please leave.

and what, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 18:55 (sixteen years ago) link

lazy zing catalog

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 22:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Can I answer with a limited N? Using high / mid-century diction in stories about kids to kind of camp up and ironize the drama is ... you know, it gets done a lot, and the returns have been pretty diminished. I feel like you'd have to actually either go full-on Nabokovian with the whole thing or give up on pulling the prose that way.

nabisco, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 23:23 (sixteen years ago) link

This thread:

It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style.

Jeb, Thursday, 20 September 2007 00:37 (sixteen years ago) link

Tracer's emendations are helpful. Take them to heart. You might also wish to lose the "promptly".

The material has promise. Depending on where it goes, it could make a strong story, since it seems to be either a meaningful personal memory or a well-imagined situation.

Nabisco has a point about the diction, although I would not identify it as a particularly 'high' diction, so much as a bit awkward and overreaching in places (see more under "sluice").

As you develop the story, try a little less to write as you imagine writers are supposed to write (i.e. with fancy scrollwork), and just concentrate on what you want to make clear to the reader. If a detail seems important to understanding the setting or the action, just write it out plainly; don't try to hook it onto a sentence like a sidecar.

Resist adding highly colored words (e.g. "shoehorned"), unless they feel natural for the job you're asking them to do. Otherwise, it seems like you are laboring to bring forth an effect, any effect. It screams that you don't trust the material to hold the reader's interest.

Instead, pretend you're writing a letter to a friend, or dashing something off to post to ILX. Being stylish can wait until you are ready to write your masterpiece, which, of course, is the piece that displays your complete mastery over the language and your chosen form.

Don't stop now. You're just getting warmed up. Good luck.

Aimless, Thursday, 20 September 2007 00:54 (sixteen years ago) link

Here is some writing advice I posted to the Mindless Prattle forum several years ago. It is as true today as it was then:

How To Write A Good Posting

No one likes to be called "uninteresting", whether or not they know what that means. That's why so many people who might post here on Mindless Prattle don't. If you think about how many people there are, and then you think of how many people post here, I think you'll see what I mean. Fear of being "uninteresting" keeps a lot of people from letting their light shine on Mindless Prattle and that's a shame.

That's why I'm going to tell you how to write a good posting. I want to help all of you write things you can be proud of, things you want to show off to the whole wide world wide web. So, let's get started, ok?

First, use small words. No one likes big words, so use lots and lots of small words. Don't use any words that most folks can't figure out right off. With big words they have to read what you wrote more than once to see what you meant. If you put a lot of big words in there, there is a good chance they'll just get all balled up any way, even if they read it over and over. Then they'll just get mad at you or give up. Short words are easy. Every one likes them. They are good friends. Use them.

Make your sentences short, too. Lots of people run out of breath when a sentence is too long. Then they have to stop right in the middle of it for a while, and that's not a good place to stop. They can lose their place or forget what came before. Using lots of short sentences lets their minds rest a tiny bit while they wait in between. This helps. I don't know about you, but my mind gets tired real quick and maybe yours does, too!

Don't be clever. Most folks like new ideas to be simple, the kind they can get a good grip on right off the bat. But what people really like is to read ideas they have already thought before. That makes it super easy to think them again. Thinking a thought for the first time is always the hardest. So keep those new ideas out of your posting if you can help it. This works out great for Reader's Digest and it will work for you, too.

By now you might be thinking, "Hey! This is easy!" And you'd be right! But if you want to write the best you can, keep reading because there's even more to come!

I bet you never stopped to think how much more exciting it is to read a posting where the writer is real excited about what they're writing. But it's true! Excited writers write exciting stuff. And the best way to let the reader know how excited you are is to use lots of exclamation points! They're cheap, so don't worry!

Here's another smart tip from the writing pros. Write about what you know best. That way you don't get all balled up with looking up new facts about things you don't already know all about. That's just hard work and you might even get mixed up and write it all wrong and not even know it! Why should you risk looking stupid, when you can write about something where you know all there is to know about it? That way you don't even have to think twice about what to say. You can just say it, and that's that.

Write like you talk. Good talkers just grab you by the ears and don't let go. The same goes for good writers, except they grab your eyeballs. If you write like you talk, you'll find the words will just come squirting out of you and onto the page. And right up into your reader's eye, too! That's what you want.

Use colorful words. It's hard to say what words are colorful, but I think you'll know them when you see them. They're the words that zap you and make your teeth hurt, that float as pretty as butterflies, that make your mouth water and your gums tingle. Think of as many colorful words as you can and fling and hurl them all over what you write. Your readers will be hypnotized.

The last thing I have to say is - have fun! Writing doesn't have to be so hard it makes you sweat like a pig. It can be a breeze! So, what are you waiting for? Let your juices flow and you'll write the kind of real good postings that won't be pushed off into the Dunce Corner of Mindless Prattle. So, lick that pencil and get started today! I can guarantee, you won't be sorry.**

**The author of this piece does not actually guarantee that you won't be sorry.

Aimless, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I thought 'shoehorned' worked perfectly well (and that's not just because I really like the word) - it evokes that feeling of uncomfortable tightness that you get from sleeping bags, and the way you have to ease yourself in. Keep the shoehorn!

Also, is this the opening passage? If so, I agree with the removal of 'cruel' in relation to the storytellers. If not, then it may work in context.

I would also say that whilst the advice to keep it simple is important, I wouldn't let it take away all of your style. For example, the stuff above about using short words - yeah, nobody wants to be another LJ, but you don't have to stick to this rule if it feels unnatural. Just check and recheck that you're not too heavy-handed and grandiloquent, and keep asking for input like this.

emil.y, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:12 (sixteen years ago) link

i agree with nabisco, and i think shorehorned is high diction.

Mr. Que, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:13 (sixteen years ago) link

'Shorehorned' might be, but why is 'shoehorned'? Is this just a gut feeling you have? I have explained why I think it is a valid use of words, but nobody has explained why it is high diction/colored/pretentious/whatever you want to call it. Would you rather he put 'snuggled'?

emil.y, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:23 (sixteen years ago) link

consigned
exiled
crammed
shooed
shoveled

whatever

Aimless, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:27 (sixteen years ago) link

But all of these have different connotations. If they were consigned, this would imply a militaristic, methodological way of putting the kids to bed. Exiled, the loneliness of the individual comes to the fore. Crammed is probably the closest to the way I imagine shoehorned to be, but actually doesn't work for me as a description of entering a sleeping bag. Shooed is a bit more mischievous, as in 'oh, shoo, you scallywag, go to bed', and shovelled again doesn't have a particular ring of truth to me.

emil.y, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:31 (sixteen years ago) link

My issue with shoehorned is that it suggests being pushed in: cos the kids are 'tards, are you suggesting they were manhandled by the drunks, or just that their itchy sleeping sacs were constrictive?

paulhw, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Well, you see, I think it lightly suggests some physicality to their bed entrance, but it's more ambiguous than crammed or shovelled. It's cold, but not necessarily violent or forceful.

emil.y, Thursday, 20 September 2007 01:40 (sixteen years ago) link

add u to the list above of ilxors whose work id steal from the internet lg

xp i can't get joptionpane to work i will not derail this thread in pique

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Sunday, 13 October 2013 13:36 (ten years ago) link

haha I wasn't even joking! the very act of bumping this thread probably the spur you needed to get going

imago, Sunday, 13 October 2013 13:40 (ten years ago) link

I forgot to link this here: Anonymous Writing Group II: submissions thread, deadline 31 October All this talk, let's turn it into some serious wordcount.

Ismael Klata, Sunday, 13 October 2013 17:37 (ten years ago) link

So does my character drive the plot or does the plot drive my character? Like, I keep being unsure as to whether I should make things happen to change him in interesting ways or whether I should have a deep idea of him before I make anything happen to him. If that confusion makes sense... I know there are no rules as such, but interested to hear what people think.

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 18:52 (ten years ago) link

My teacher always said they were the same thing. I think he was quoting F Scott Fitzgerald.

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 18:55 (ten years ago) link

Yeah I guess it's all the one process - I find I start with a loose idea of a story and then it changes a bit along the way. I do reach forks in the road where I wonder about what should happen next, and the indecision can be difficult, like... if I press on with an initial idea what if that is not a good idea, then that's kind of my plot, can I delete that and come back to this junction again without it all falling asunder in my mind?

This is prob a confidence problem, really.

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 18:59 (ten years ago) link

this is for a play btw, i think with a story the two are more easily intertwined, with a play events seem more important, things that are dramatically interesting or whatever. but so far not a lot happens in my play, and it's a monologue, so it's more a dude talking about stuff that happened.

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:03 (ten years ago) link

there is some good prose on ilx imo

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:06 (ten years ago) link

I hope tim at kfc edu contributes to the next anonymous writing thing

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:07 (ten years ago) link

xp

As in life, the totality of events in a plot are beyond the control of any one character. Each character controls only himself or herself. But, depending on the story you want to tell, it may easily happen that most or all of the events in your plot consist of actions or words driven by your characters. There may be some impersonal events, like a tornado or a social movement, which help to drive your plot, but where the actual gears of your plot mesh their teeth together will be driven by your characters, whose words and actions emerge from their individual motives and abilities.

For example, you could ask yourself what drives the plot of Robinson Crusoe?

Aimless, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:09 (ten years ago) link

The fated event I guess - what's interesting and difficult is choosing the event, that's a skill I suppose, what event will show my character in an interesting light, what event will change him or get him to where I want him to go. That's the fork in the road that has me posting on ILX instead of continuing.

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:16 (ten years ago) link

Demanding character change, introducing problem/resolution as a driver to this, is the kind of formulaic grind that turns me off reading, let alone writing.

Have a character interesting or well written enough and contrived plot is unnecessary, whatever light shines on yr character can pass for plot enough.

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:19 (ten years ago) link

tentatively agree

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:20 (ten years ago) link

Yeah that's a fair point. I suppose I'd still like to place him in an unfamiliar situation and spin things out a bit before my ending, I have a decent sense of where I want to end things. Sorry, I realise this is of little interest without knowing the thing I'm doing.

xpost

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:22 (ten years ago) link

Nah my vehemence isnt for your posting nor questioning its for the visible mechanics (or demand for them as necessity)

Obv a good plot can cover for sketchy characterisation but its a lot more difficult to do imo?

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:24 (ten years ago) link

xp
I'd say the character has to have a problem of some sort or he won't be very interesting. He doesn't need to solve it by the end of the piece. He may not even be aware he has a problem, or he may know it but not be able to articulate it. But he has to have a problem.

Aimless, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:33 (ten years ago) link

It's kind of interesting though, the idea of it as trickery or as you say, visible mechanics. Like, is it an organic process or are you really just thinking "what would be most fun"...

xpost he has a problem alright!

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:34 (ten years ago) link

I know lots of interesting ppl without a rubik cube irl. If you claim that this cant translate to written or performed creativity then ill stay irl and enjoy that instead. But i disagree.

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:40 (ten years ago) link

imagine if people "developed" as much as characters are expected to while going about their business

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:42 (ten years ago) link

Itd be cuntish, theyd be cunts, cunts can be good characters but less so if they must develop imo

ime too i think

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:45 (ten years ago) link

^undeveloped cunt

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:46 (ten years ago) link

(joeks)

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:47 (ten years ago) link

Unrepentant cunt, but i reveal a shocking backstory over time that changes the audience perspective tbph

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:49 (ten years ago) link

imagine if people "developed" as much as characters are expected to while going about their business

i guess being realistic is not really a necessity for drama though? maybe to be avoided even.

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:50 (ten years ago) link

sure, sure. It's the programmatic insistence on one way of doing things I'd object to

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:53 (ten years ago) link

like I'm always reluctant to nail my colours to any partic mask in these convos but I find just taking the opposite position feels p comfy

treesh humpers (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:55 (ten years ago) link

Cunt

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:55 (ten years ago) link

mask mast?

Aimless, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:56 (ten years ago) link

no I'm not imo xp

starting to reconsider "treesh humpers" (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:56 (ten years ago) link

haha why did I write mask

starting to reconsider "treesh humpers" (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:57 (ten years ago) link

imagine if people "developed" as much as characters are expected to while going about their business

cf http://www.theonion.com/articles/completely-unrealistic-tv-character-has-complex-mu,33855/

my technique for getting writing done is spending all day worrying about not getting writing done then shitting out a couple of hundred words of shite at 3am. i highly recommend it.

opie dead eyed piece of shit (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:59 (ten years ago) link

shitting out shite.

opie dead eyed piece of shit (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 19:59 (ten years ago) link

To avoid my pirate joke xp

unblog your plug (darraghmac), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:01 (ten years ago) link

do you think it's good to just go with your gut and write every idea as you have it - and then go back and delete stuff later? like it seems weird to me that one might have the plot going one way on a tuesday evening and then chop it back and make it go another way having read over that work on wednesday. so i sort of am trying to be sure before i put things down... and to use lots of pen and paper before adding to my actual draft. again, i know there's no right answer here.

xpost

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:01 (ten years ago) link

har de harr d

starting to reconsider "treesh humpers" (wins), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:04 (ten years ago) link

well for me it's generally not fiction i'm writing so i'm not sure to what extent useful techniques would cross over, but i find having a pretty clearly defined and tiered structure - e.g. within the one big idea there'll be five main smaller ideas, each of which will again break down to a few smaller ideas, etc - is useful, and then i'll choose a section and start filling it with whatever i have and whatever comes to mind. the big structure will almost always mutate and it means things can start to seem wildly fragmented and stuff that seemed good will eventually have to be deleted, but it helps me to be able to pull things together in that bricolage kind of way rather than having that daunting feeling of 30 pages being in your head just waiting to be typed.

opie dead eyed piece of shit (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:14 (ten years ago) link

do you think it's good to just go with your gut and write every idea as you have it - and then go back and delete stuff later? like it seems weird to me that one might have the plot going one way on a tuesday evening and then chop it back and make it go another way having read over that work on wednesday.

When I write fiction I begin with a scene: an exchange, an observation, or a character in action. I'll usually jot it down beside bits of song titles, observations about relatives or friends, and other bric a brac. I'll write a couple pages. Eventually plot starts to cohere. I can think of only a handful of times when I've thought through the whole plot. Learning in college how Flannery O'Connor and Carver worked this way helped.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:18 (ten years ago) link

I'll usually jot it down beside bits of song titles, observations about relatives or friends, and other bric a brac

do you mean about the character?

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:51 (ten years ago) link

Yep. The observations about my own relatives, friends, colleagues often form part of the fabric, even if all it means is a character listens to Van Halen in the car or something.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 21:06 (ten years ago) link

Interesting.

I kinda come at character from my acting training, thinking about how they move and where they lead with, how they breathe and their physicality, but also lists of traits and characteristics. I find this is good even when not writing drama, but the current thing I'm working on is a monologue I intend to act in myself, so there is that extra tactic of doing little improvs or playing a piece of music and being the guy live (and hoping my flatmates don't hear and think I'm insane.)

Evil Juice Box Man (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 21:10 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

I think I finally have something to share. Can someone recommend a workshop in New York?

Gotta take it slow in your fast ride (calstars), Sunday, 8 December 2013 21:24 (ten years ago) link

four years pass...

i think i'd like to start writing because it scratches an itch. it would be cool to write something i thought was really good. i can only write about myself though because i'm too lazy to research what other people are like and i have a poor imagination.

you bet, nancy (map), Friday, 8 June 2018 23:29 (six years ago) link

so, it's jumping onto the poetry train for you then

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 9 June 2018 00:24 (six years ago) link

Ha, ha. Poets are so self-absorbed, am I right? Always waxing lyrical about the smell of their own farts. Not like there's a whole strand of poetry that plays upon the impersonal or anything.

pomenitul, Saturday, 9 June 2018 00:31 (six years ago) link

epic and narrative poetry are deeply out of style, but lyric poetry can go a lot of directions other than self-absorbed fartistry. in map's case, it also wouldn't require creating characters or plots, or the kind of imagination involved in creating fictional settings and events, so that his professed weaknesses would be far less relevant to his results.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 9 June 2018 01:08 (six years ago) link

six years pass...

For something I do every day, I don't actually think about writing very much. The actual activity of it, what it takes to do it. I feel like everyone who writes regularly probably has their own patterns and routines and rituals. Just thinking about it now because I realized it's been two hours since I finished the second of three parts of something I'm writing for tomorrow. Each part's about 800 words. And after finishing the second part I took a break, did some other things, got some food, and now I'm circling back to finish the last part. Which makes me think that two hours is about what it takes to recharge from writing 800 words (or at least from writing the second 800 words of the day). Like, my mind needs time to drift and wander and not work so hard for a little while.

Anyway, it's a curious activity.

Blitz Primary (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 10 July 2024 01:08 (one week ago) link

I work best in the morning, no set pattern though except that I limit myself to a couple pages a day to have reserves left for the next day.

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 July 2024 01:12 (one week ago) link

I would like to write more in the morning, a lot of my work ends up requiring later-day writing. Which can exacerbate the fatigue, for sure.

I remember reading about Ian Fleming's schedule, which struck me as ideal. He would get up in his Caribbean manse and have coffee and cigarettes and write for 2-3 hours in the morning, then retire to the pool and spend the rest of the day eating, drinking and socializing.

Blitz Primary (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 10 July 2024 01:15 (one week ago) link

when i've had a regular practice, i usually choose a time of day AND a writing medium in which i'm working in order to get me into the proper headspace. otherwise i can't write consistently...so for example, i will write from 9-10 or so most nights for a month or two, but only on my phone in bed. or i'll write from 3-5p in blue books i stole from a former employer, etc etc.

right now i am trying to find the best time, and i am afraid it might be the morning, which means i need to wake up earlier and/or give up my morning reading practice.

butt dumb tight my boners got boners (the table is the table), Wednesday, 10 July 2024 02:20 (one week ago) link

Nights are best for me lately. When I'm doing something strictly formatted like my Stereogum column (10 album blurbs, 9 of which are 150 words and one of which is 500, plus an intro features of 2000 words or so) I can bang out, say, 2 blurbs in the morning before starting my day job. I do the big feature part the weekend before turning in the column. But when I'm writing a magazine feature, or a book, I like to work on it from 9 to 11 or midnight, bleary-eyed and tired, and then revise the next day. I usually write my Substack newsletter on the weekend before it runs, though I'll toss a couple of sentences in anytime they occur to me during the week.

Instead of create and send out, it pull back and consume (unperson), Wednesday, 10 July 2024 02:25 (one week ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.