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?
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.
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?
*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.
*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.
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?
Have you ever had a story so vivid play out in your mind only to disappear once you start thinking about it? The story was so clear and masterful that I wanted to write it down, but in that instance, it’s gone… All I remember is that there was a dragon involved, and sort of a eureka feeling, other than that, it might as well never existed.
It wasn’t a dream, however, because I was awake. I had my eyes close, sure, but I was never unconscious, I’m pretty sure. Perhaps I simply touched dreamland rather delw deep into it?
I believe stories are brought to us from another realm, how else do you explain the things we come up with? Why does words appear when I write and how do they somehow become a story, as if it wanted to come into existence from another place? I just simply have to let go and let it exist, use me as a vessel of its creation.
Which I don’t mind, really, but perhaps some of them doesn’t want to be revealed yet, perhaps I saw into something I wasn’t supposed to? I was thrown out because I revealed myself, I made a noise, or in this instance, I had a rational thought, which doesn’t belong in this realm, in dreamland.
I’m writing a novel – maybe a novella – and I decided that the premise would be a kind of ‘Boy Meets Girl’ kind of story with a twist. It’s not a love story, it’s a story about overcoming weakness, which could be said about all stories really where the characters grow and learn – however, mine doesn’t have a happy ending. In any case, because the important bits of the story happen on an island where the main character is sent to on military service, I want to glance over the things that happened before, meaning I want it to be short but comprehensive but this might prove to be a bit boring because the reader should fully understand, care, and relate to the main characters struggles, if I don’t display what lead him reach that point when the he meets the girl, will the readers care?
At the same time, it’s very dangerous for me to spend too much time on backstory because I’ll just go deeper and deeper, finding more and more characters until I’m so far from the original premise that it might as well be a completely different story! And as I have many unfinished novels under my belt, I cannot afford to let that happen, I need to decide what the story is going to be or else it’s going to be everything and nothing, because it will never be finished.
Or perhaps the reason why I haven’t finished anything is because I don’t let go. it’s my process to start with an original purpose and it’s supposed to transform as I write…? I seriously don’t know, and I suppose I won’t until I try. With this one, I’ll keep my mind on a leash, on the next, it will run freely; perhaps it will result in a complete story in the end after all?
“You can destroy our society, kill a great many of us, even most of us. But when most of us are gone,and only a few are alive, we will rise, because humanity never gives up. Survival is in our blood; desire is our moto. There will be no hiding once we rise and take revenge on those that destroyed us.”
Have you ever come across the notion that writing in first person is bad? Of course, people can like whatever they want but I suspect they don’t like it because they were told to. Somebody told them that adverbs are bad, that cliches are bad while they themselves have never encountered these cliches themselves. Writing in first person was very common at the turn of the 20th century, which is why I believe they think it is bad because it is old, or maybe it is the industry that suddenly decided that this form of writing is bad, arbitrarily telling the readers that this is not what you want, like short stories and novellas, people don’t want that, they say. There’s no money in those and I suspect that first person stories tend to be shorter as well… But I’m not here to investigate this but tell you that I love writing in first person.
When I write stories, they tend to concern one character, the story has to start somewhere and that means the protagonist is the only thing that matters, at first. I tend to write without reason, there’s no logic at play, no plan, but it ends up coherent anyways. As if I’m not making a story but rather finding one which I’m trying to convey.
There is merit, however, to listen to industry visdom, because you do want people to read your stories, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon yourself, because if you are not true to yourself you are not true to your stories. Such stories are dull and they will chip away at your heart until you hate writing. I want to enjoy the process of writing, that’s my goal, and if nobody likes what I write, that’s a shame, but there are limits to how much I’ll change to please others.