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29 November 2003 @ 11:04 pm
Curiouser and curiouser.  
So, here's the thing. The past few days I've really, really *wanted* to write and yet haven't been able to, which has been making me think about the whole writing process in general. And while thinking about it I've been answering the questions I've run across for myself, but it's made me curious. *points at subject line* So I'm going to pose a few questions at you all.

What makes you start writing? Is it a line of dialogue, or an image, or an idea? When you start typing, what's pushing you to do it? Do you always know where you're going? Is it a journey? Do you feel like your prose reflects your personality, or not? What about writing interests you the most, and what do you feel like you need to work on?

Usually for me, what makes me start writing is a line. Sometimes it's dialogue, more often than not it's description, and then the rest of the fic will kind of form around that. I never *really* know where I'm going -- sometimes I have a vague idea, but it always changes a time or five before I get there. I'm not sure if my prose reflects my personality, because unfortunately, I'm not really able to be objective about my own writing. It's a thing. So, I guess I'll pose another question here -- do you feel, when reading my writing, that you have a sense of my personality?

When it comes to writing, I think what interests me most is the psychology of it -- learning characters (original or otherwise) from the inside out and trying to find out what someone *would do* in any given situation. That's what keeps me writing. That's what keeps me interested.
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Melissa Etheridge - Come to My Window
the basketcase: porndammitcarl on November 30th, 2003 04:44 am (UTC)
image (clark in a white t-shirt!) or dialogue. i almost never know the situation or where i'm going. i think kind of writing leads more to style than substance or plot.

i think i internalise a lot of my writing. where i build up the story so much in my head that by the time it comes out, i've forgotten all the important bits for people who are not me. so i have to keep chipping away at it. i haven't written anything self-contained in a really long time.
peeps wanna see peeps boink: writingmusesfool on November 30th, 2003 04:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, for me it's usually a line, mostly conversation, but sometimes a phrase or an image will do it.

I rarely know where I'm going or how I'll get there, other than the very basic, "I want X and Y to end up together."

I don't think my prose reflects my personality (though perhaps my dialogue does), because my personality is rather loud and belligerent, and my prose is restrained and spare.

I think it's a mistake to look for the author in the story in any obvious way (once an author has progressed beyond Mary Sueing), because a good author puts herself in all the characters in different ways, and unless you know her really well, it's hard to see it.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from doing psych profiles of writers whose work I've followed over time, and I'm sure others have done it with me. *g*
dolimir_k on November 30th, 2003 04:47 am (UTC)
What makes you start writing? Is it a line of dialogue, or an image, or an idea?

Yes. At least usually. LOL! That isn't much help, is it? All of the above. Mostly, a character will come talk to me. Mercy, for instance, has an incredibly strong voice. My problem with her is trying to get her to shut the hell up.

When you start typing, what's pushing you to do it? Do you always know where you're going? Is it a journey?

Sometimes I think I know where I'm going, but like you, the destination often changes once I'm on the road. Writing is definitely a journey. I rarely know where I'm going. I usually know what direction I'm headed, but I like the process to be liquid, to go where the characters take me. Sometimes I explore a path that doesn't work and it's okay to go back and delete it. The process itself is usually a learning experience.

What motivates me to write? I'm not sure I can name it. It's almost like a compulsion. I have to word smith or die. Drama queen, me? Why do you ask?

But seriously, it's an urge. I can't explain it.

What's even weirder is that it doesn't always affect me. For instance, writing this email...no burning urge to get everything just right. Sort of like the difference between sketching and painting with oils.

Do you feel like your prose reflects your personality, or not?

Yes. Even the dark side. I think prose gives me a safe way to explore the darkness.

With regard to my personality, I definitely feel like my writing reflects that.

What about writing interests you the most

A combination of things. The storytelling for sure. Can I tell a story that will capture a reader's interest? Can I move them? Make them laugh? Make them cry?

Playing with language. I love finding the perfect word for a sentence, or twisting a phrase so that it's new. Playing with words is like painting. Each word shades the one before it, creates the overall painting, evokes a mood.

and what do you feel like you need to work on?

Descriptions. Lord, do I need to work on descriptions. I feel like I do pretty well with dialogue, but putting the reader in the place...not so good.

Regarding writers block, I find giving myself a goofy topic helps. I tell myself I'm only going to write a drabble. Sometimes I just write the drabble. Sometimes it grows into something more. But I find that by writing a drabble, I focus on the mechanics, the imagery. And somehow that opens up other pathways.
celli on November 30th, 2003 08:24 am (UTC)
*opens mouth*

*closes mouth*

I have no idea.

Damn, this is going to bug me now.
Yavanna: Come inside - archwayyavannauk on November 30th, 2003 09:36 am (UTC)
Oooh, interesting questions... Most often I'll start writing because I get a line of dialogue in my head, then another and another. It tends to be just the bare bones of the conversation with no description, that comes later. Frequently I have no idea where I'm going with it. I think that's why I like challenges so much, they give me some kind of framework for the story.

I write because I have to. I need to get those voices out of my head and down onto paper. I've loved to write since I was a kid and that love of building things with words has never gone away. I have absolutely no idea if my prose reflects my personality. I've honestly never thought about it and I don't think I look for a reflection of an author's personality when I'm reading their stories.

I think what I like most about writing is trying to get inside a character's head. I love to hear their 'voice' come through in what I'm writing. As for what I most need to work on, that's easy, I can't do actual plot to save my life.
happyminion on November 30th, 2003 07:34 pm (UTC)
I usually have some idea of where a story is going, but never have outlines. They're just too constricting and I usually forget that I have even made notes of words or dialogue that I've heard, once I start writing.

The first or pivotal phrases usually come to me in the shower, and I guess that's because it's such a mind-numbingly ritual routine that you don't really use your brain at all, and thought is freed up in there. I don't question my so called shower muse. But then I get to a computer and just start writing.

I like to churn a story out in one sitting, because otherwise when I close it out, it tends to sit for a while. If I do have to stop the story, I try to do so in a place that's a cliffhanger for me, where I know how to pick right back up and where I *want* to do so. Otherwise...yeah. It gathers dust.

I've had stories start off going in one direction and completely change on me, midway. That's unnerving and I usually don't like the ending as much, but that may be me sulking over not feeling like *my* will was done. Thwart not the gods and all that. *g*

Never underestimate the fuel of good music and Coca Cola to get you through a story. That's what works for me, anyway. Interesting questions, hon!
-_-: contemplateechoskeleton on November 30th, 2003 09:44 pm (UTC)
I certainly can't speak as an expert here, since before I got into fandom (where I've only written three things anyway) I hadn't actually written in years.

For the most part, though, I start with an idea. Some abstract concept that I'd really like to play with, and then I try to make it work. Usually I don't even know how I'm going to do that until I actually sit down, and start creating.

Since I don't know what my prose style is yet, I can't say if it's an accurate extension of who I am, but I know that my brainstorming methods definitely are. I'm very much about the abstract, and bad with the specifics. So I guess actually writing is good for me, because I need to get better at dealing with the minutiae, and not just with the 'bigger picture'.
Jerlugonn on November 30th, 2003 09:51 pm (UTC)
What makes you start writing? Is it a line of dialogue, or an image, or an idea?
I get the image in my mind of a single scene, maybe just one image, or a short story arc. And there is some emotional impact (angst, funny, scary, silly, whatever) associated with that scene. The emotional impact is my real attraction. So I ask myself how did that situation occur, and what happened afterwords, and that becomes the story.

When you start typing, what's pushing you to do it?
Hoping for the pleasure I *sometimes* get from writing. The desire to accomplish something that is still challenging for me. I write for me, not for the audience.

Do you always know where you're going? Is it a journey?
Definitely a journey. Before writing, I know where I plan to go with the story. But once I start writing it can change dramatically. The scene I started with might be completely removed and other minor characters start screaming for attention and become the basis of the story that is actually written. I *like* allowing my muse to control the direction. My regret is for the orphaned paragraphs that get pruned. I also jump all over the place when writing. I'll write most of a scene in the middle, then write the ending, jump back to the start, rewrite the middle, etc. I'm constantly reviewing everything I've already written, rewriting it into a coherent whole.

Do you feel like your prose reflects your personality, or not?
In some ways. Of course I try to avoid Mary Sue, but I also try to use knowledge gained from personal experiences to make the story richer and more believable. Also, if I write a story I want it to be a story that *I* would enjoy reading. Even if there are elements of the story that make me uncomfortable, I want to believe that the story as a whole has enough value to suck me in. There are some things that make me sufficiently uncomfortable that I would never want to write them, so you could certainly learn *something* about my personality from my writing, but it will include false paths and incomplete information.

What about writing interests you the most,
In RL I'm rather reserved. Writing allows me to express myself in ways I don't allow myself in RL. I feel more alive when I'm writing. Exploring the motivational psychology of the characters is what makes me write any story. I want to see how they react in interesting situations. I must be convinced that the entire story arc is valid. I dislike hand-waving and ignoring issues when I don't know the answer. Also, crafting a sentence or paragraph that really sings out to me with strong imagery makes me feel great.

and what do you feel like you need to work on?
Improve my imagery. Better follow-through on incomplete stories that no longer entertain me. Become more subtle; I regularly tear up my stuff for becoming melodramatic. Especially for fan fiction: Let the characters speak in their own voice even if that means the story I wanted to write cannot exist. I tend to get bogged down in minutiae (I'm not yet certain this is a bad thing, but it could be, so I'm wary).