Don’t assume that things will work out as you write your script. Plot demands serious thought and you will just end up wasting time if you skip it.

For me, it boils down to having to learn early in the writing process what works and what’s not and not jump at every idea you have, especially if you have a lot of them, which I have all the time… Endlessly…

Basically; don’t start on something when you got nothing.

 

I can make any story seem good to a point, polish it and whatnot, but when the plot, the theme, and the whole existence of the story doesn’t work, it will never work.

I dug too deep and came out with nothing.

The worst part about editing is when you realize you like both versions equally as much and you try to incorporate the best bits of both versions into one. It never becomes pretty but you do it anyway, until you destroy both and start anew.

LoTR and Info Dumps

The biggest problem with writing fantasy stories is that we have to present a whole new world organically without overwhelming readers with names and places. Tolkien has an interesting way of presenting his world which I don’t think many have tried to emulate since. He does something that is generally frowned upon in the writer’s world today and that is he stops the plot by giving context to his places. This might seem like a bad idea but I think this is extremely vital to do in a fantasy setting. It usually goes like this: The heroes reaches a new place and then Tolkien gives some context to the history of that place and what the people living there are like through narration. One example is his introduction to the people of Bree, why there are both Humans and Hobbits living there and that it once was a an important crossroad town.

What’s so genius about this is that Tolkien can show a world and tell about organically because he makes us care about his world as we explore it. Many writers dumps a lot of information about places that the reader, and often the heroes, have never been to.

Why should we care?

Another important thing that most fantasy authors don’t do, I think, is that they fail to give context, or history, to small places, places that does not necessarily involve the main plot. Often the heroes just visits a town, something happens there, and then they move on. It’s just a nameless town with nameless people, a plot device. This makes the world hollow and forgettable, I believe.

Is there other ways one can convey the same information? You could use dialogue but I find it highly unlikely that the history of the places the heroes visits would come up in conversation very often if they are on a quest to save the world.

I don’t know about you guys, but if I would journey across the land, I would like to know a thing or two about the places I visit. Today we have the internet, but decades ago, people would have to pick up a history book, and that’s how LoTRs sometimes feel like, a very entertaining history book.

Writing Simply is for Children?

Finding a style that works for you and for the readers is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I dream of a future where I can write something smoothly, meaning my style is set, I know what I can do and I’m good at it. But to reach this goal you need to know what you want and to read a lot of different kinds of books. I had a hard time reading children’s stories before because I thought they were very slow, but once I slowed down myself, and didn’t try to finish the story as quickly as possible, I find the story much more enjoyable. Also, I learned something:

In children’s stories, they really write simply, yet I can see exactly what they imagine. perhaps not exactly but they give me enough information to imagine for myself. In most other fiction, especially fantasy, everything is described in minute detail and doesn’t give much room for my own imagination. Why is that? Is it because adults don’t have imagination? Is it because adults expect books to be hard and children’s books to be simple because children are simple?

Who knows, I often think that books on the fantasy genre is a slug to read but never children’s stories, they are boring for other reasons, sometimes… Maybe one can use the best of both worlds, somehow?

 

Show or Tell, Both.

There is no doubt that you have to write down everything that happens to a character, whether it’s in the past or the present, because you, the writer need to have a clear idea what lead the character from point A to point B. But that doesn’t mean what you write will end up in the story at all! All those scenes that you have worked so hard on will sometimes never be shown, it will be shown implicitly through your writing. You will hint that they have happened, these scenes will appear in a conversation, never fully explained, but it doesn’t need to be. The reader only need to know the consequences of those scenes and will create new scenes with more depth, because you know more than the reader.

On the other hand, this does not have to be true at all! It all depends on the story you are making. A children’s tale, for instance, can have layers of depths, but that doesn’t mean everything is shown, but rather told, in a concise manner. It’s neither boring or superfluous because the charm of the writer bleeds through a narrative. People that read such stories know what they get into. Others will be put off by it, but that doesn’t matter. You write what you like to read, what you find fun writing and other people will find your style appealing because you like what you do.

Let me Indulge!

I have so many ideas it’s crazy… I’m super excited when I have them but I feel like I cannot start on a new project before I finish the first. But exploration is what I love about writing… And I’m wondering if maybe I could allow myself to indulge in these new ideas a bit before I continue on the main project – you know, to see where it takes me…

I feel like I need to do something with them, in any case, at least to find out if I should discard them or not. There’s not reason for me to work on stories with vague ideas or stories that I have difficulty to move forward with when I have so many to choose from.

If I explore ideas while I have them, I might be able to make a call which ones I want to go back to on a later date.

What do you do with your ideas? Do you get them everyday or just occasionally?

 

Earnest Improvment

*This is another old post I made; June 2016 in fact. But it still rings true and I think it deserves to be shared ^^

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men; true nobility lies in being superior to your former self – Earnest Hemingway

I love this quote so much; self-improvement is to be better than you once were. To always challenge yourself, to try new things, to never do what’s easy, that is my creed.

You will never get anywhere if you’re content with your current skills or trying to measure yourself to others success. It is only what you can accomplish that matters because you are different from the person you look up to.

I hear sometimes people ask who you wish to be and they usually pick a celebrity. But that means you as a person is dead. You become this other person because you’d never had this person’s experiences while still retaining your own identity.

You can never emulate another person’s journey to success.

To the End, from the Beginning, and Back Again.

*I wrote this a while back but it still holds true. I’m glad that I’m getting closer to understand my own process.

When I write a fantasy story, I start with a concept and go by instinct. Everything unfolds as I put words on paper, but while I work on the first draft, I have to ignore contradictions (that may arise along the way) because I don’t have a clear grasp what the story is about yet. Just plow through it until the draft is finished.

When that’s done, I go back to the beginning, and I mean from the very beginning, a creation story. From there I did what I did before and let the story unfold itself and fill in the blanks of the first draft.

But, often it’s not as simple as that. I’ll find more contradictions that I need correcting and I find that I have to go back again and correct it from the start.

That’s how the process is: I write until something need correcting and I start all over again, polishing it until it all makes sense.

This makes it very difficult to write fantasy as I need to go back to the beginning of time for each story, unless I make several stories from the same universe. I understand why people borrow heavily from Ronald Tolkien when they make their own fantasy story and why people write urban fantasy.

I haven’t tried yet, but it feels like I could finish and polish a story set in the real world in a fraction of the time than if it was set in a fantasy world.

Who Carries the Plot?

Is it the characters that carry the plot or is it the plot carries the characters? I’m not sure. Perhaps there isn’t a simple answer to that, at least not for me.

For me, stories never start with a character. My mind is so deep in the gutter I imagine entire worlds before I move down into a single character’s perspective. Sometimes it feels like the purpose of my stories are to give a satisfying conclusion to a tale that will never be published, that only exist in my head. Kinda like the first three Star Wars movies, a lot had happened before then and the prequels didn’t really need to be made.

Not that I’m a very big Star Wars fan but I just saw the Rise of Skywalker and Star Wars was on my head… In any case, this means that the characters are not in control of the plot, right? They have a destiny to fulfill and that is to finish what the past started.

Yeah, now that I think about it, it’s not the characters that make me excited, it is the concepts and ideas that I love to explore; the characters just helps me do it.

For instance, lets say there’s a boy who finds a magic item in a world where magic shouldn’t exist. He has to come to terms with magic existing and what he should do with that power. Do I then need to know the character before I start writing or will the character reveal himself through his actions?

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