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Writing about Writing...

posted 10/11/2013 12:23:57 AM |
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  soft_touch938

As I sit here with my feet next to a little heater trying to thaw out, I've been thinking about the Halloween story I'm working on...well I was working on earlier today until I had to quit to do other things.

My way of writing is very unconventional. I had to chuckle as I thought of WoW and his instructions to me on how I needed to lay it all out...make an outline of the story and other things I can't remember anymore. It's my understanding that THAT is the way a REAL author of stories does their work.

So...I'm not a real author I guess 'cause I tried that and it just didn't work for me. I'd rather do it the FUN way! Let me tell ya what that is....

First of all, I pick a genre...romance, drama, mystery, ect...I have a list 'cause sometimes I forget some categories. (That's age yanno...wahhhhh but lookout, it's headin' your way!)

So once a genre strikes my fancy (or more aptly, my MOOD), then I need a starting point. Usually that is influenced by something in my past...a place, an event, anything that I'm familiar with so I'm reasonably knowledgeable about the subject. All I need is a hint, my imagination does the rest.

Then there's the characters...now don't laugh...k? For ever so long, I just used the local phone book. Find a name that I deemed would fit my character. Then awhile back, with hand bumping forehead like the I-can't-believe-I-coulda-had-a-V8 commercial, the lightbulb switched on and I thought...GOOGLE!!! WOW! Well, it only took about 20 sites before I found what I wanted, a whole list of men and women's names. Awesome!

Then there's surnames...

Not so lucky there...try finding a Victorian surname and you get Real Estate (victorian, of course) and tons of ancestry sites...looking up your 4x great grandpa??? Well, for a reasonable fee, we'll help you....

I found what I was looking for but trust me...the phone book woulda been a hellava lot easier and less time consuming! I'd have had half the story done TODAY if I hadn't been surfing for suitable Victorian names so I would REALLY look knowledgeable...sigh....

Ok, so I'll admit, those Victorian Real Estate sites did help me to describe a Victorian house...thanks Google...

Anyway...

I don't work out a plot. Hell, how can I plan a whole story for some imaginary people when I can't even plan what I'm gonna have for dinner tonight for cripesake! My brain plans (what's so hard about an egg sandwich and a bowl of peaches?) it's my imagination that plots!

An important thing for me is the title...it's like setting the stage. So once I have a genre, the title is next, then usually the setting, then comes the main character. Other characters are developed as needed. (back to the phone book..lol)

Sometimes the title gets changed and sometimes more than once...after all, I never know where my imagination is going and sometimes I swerve in a different direction.

I don't much enjoy trying to figure out what to write about. That's why I like holiday stories...seems half my work is already done. But I do enjoy choosing character names, they are important. In my story, 'Selling Point', Sally is an aging nightclub dancer...a sleezy nightclub. She has seen it all and she knows her dancing days are probably numbered. To me, Sally couldn't be a Becky or an Allison...nah. Sally has it going and life for her is a lesson in survival. Becky an Allison belong in the Sunnybrook Farms storybooks. (FYI...Selling Point was never posted here. It is far too long for here.)

Sometimes as I begin writing a story, I do have an inkling of where it's going then suddenly it develops in a whole different direction. The motorcycle story I wrote for Hog was a real surprise to me! I hadn't a clue a motorcycle was parked anywhere near my brain!

That's what's so wonderful and beautiful about imaginations. It's almost like another person resides inside of me. Softie does the hard work of gettin' a story started then I hand it off to that wonderfully creative person inside of me. My fingers tapping on the keyboard doesn't belong to me, they belong to my alter ego, those multitude of personalities that do the work of creating. Multiple personalities??? So just call me Sybil...lol

So anyway, that's how I write. It isn't lucrative but yanno what? What I get out of writing is worth more than money. It's who I am. It's what I do. It brings me such pleasure to spin a yarn just to see where it goes. It relieves stress. It takes me wherever I wanna go and fills me with a sense of peace and tranquility. The world around me fades away and I am living my story and it's exciting. Maybe only another writer could understand...shrugs...

I'm going to a garage sale in the morning but the rest of my weekend is free, free, free! I should make a lot of progress with the Halloween story and inbetween times, I will do...NOTHING! YEA!

Now sleep beckons...

Ya'll have a wonderful weekend, be safe, be happy 'n keep smilin'...

Hugs!
Softie

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Blogs by soft_touch938:
Dead of Night...Halloween story (conclusion)
Dead of Night...Halloween story (ch. 9)
Dead of Night...Halloween story...(ch. 8)
Dead of Night...a Halloween story (ch.6 & 7
Dead of Night...A Halloween Story (ch.4 & 5)
Dead of Night...Halloween story (ch.3)
Dead of Night...Halloween Story (ch.2)
Dead of Night (Halloween story)
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Sunday playin' hookey day...
Snow 'n other tidbits...
Just a chilly Friday morning blog
Writing about Writing...
A quiet evening...a good time to blog
Sunday, Sunday...
To those of you who give a shit...
Geeeeeez....
I saw it coming..........
Clickety click...
Just a quickie...
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Me 'n Zelda
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It's Summertime!
Rambling....


Comments:

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RJ53

Oct 11 @ 2:32AM  
I don't make an outline either, Mine usually consists of me painting in the middle of the night while dictating what I was thinking about on a small tape recorder or pacing back and forth with the recorder at 3 am, Everyone has their own style and their own muse, My old professor used to say there is no wrong way to write as long as you produce, I think Bruce's style is very good for technical papers but if I had to write that way nothing would ever be finished, As for surnames just go down the list of people I have known through the years, one of the many name changes of our family since coming to America (at least the ones without sixteen letters that I can't pronounce), or use the name of some small town I passed through at some point and time,
sugarnspice005

Oct 11 @ 10:19AM  
I remember having a Composition class where we had to write different types of "stories", descriptive, persuasive, and third person. btw...I got an A for my final grade in that class.

I tried the outline idea and found it was too restrictive for me. I did what is called brainstorming/free form...I just started writing whatever it was I was thinking in relation to the topic/subject. Then I went back through tweeking, rearranging, cutting out...and fine tuning. Sometimes I'd do a rewrite a few times before I'd finally settle on something that I liked. Did a lot of term papers that way too.

My descriptive paper was about Steve's death. If anyone remembers that blog, Steve was a childhood friend of mine who died when he was 27 from being shot. I still have that paper, the instructor had written on it that it was very well written and that it brought tears to his eyes reading it...I got an A+ on that paper.

It all boils down to what the author is comfortable in doing.

Wordsofwit

Oct 11 @ 10:57AM  
Well, it all depends on the writing you are doing. In academic writing the structure is rigid: Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them again. In journalism on an op-ed piece you will set the stage, present a problem or situation, expand on why it is important, give examples, present possible solutions and ramifications if dealt with or unresolved. In the latter case you can see even simple TV commercials that use the formula.

What I advised you to do in the past was appropriate for your newspaper submissions

Now with a fiction work or story telling, there is a lot more you can do in not only how it is delivered but in how you approach it. It is whatever works best for you and how your personal style optimally flows. At your best, to me, you are doing the day in the life thing that reminds me of the late Erma Bombeck

I have done some creative writing and one thing I have done in the past is to begin with the ending especially with something like a mystery, then work backwards jumping around.

The hardest thing for me in this genre was remaining constant in my style, flow and pacing from one day to the next. If I did not have an even flow and stream going on I could readily tell what was scribed on Friday and what was done on Tuesday. The only way for me to resolve it was to be in tune and go through it all and homogenize the whole thing in the editing process.
Wordsofwit

Oct 11 @ 11:09AM  
we had to write different types of "stories", descriptive, persuasive, and third person

In college we had to write short stories in a class. Each week's assignment would be like Dawn says but also had to use specific devices like humor, statistics, etc. On one of these I created a character that was an inept repressive boss who had a habit of putting his big feet on his desk when meeting with subordinates. His name was Claude Hopper and it also had a character that squealed on the other employees to him named Jack Cass
sugarnspice005

Oct 11 @ 11:22AM  
His name was Claude Hopper and it also had a character that squealed on the other employees to him named Jack Cass



Good play on names.

I've never had to attempt a writing for an op-ed for journalism...I guess that would be different from writing for term papers or short stories.
RJ53

Oct 11 @ 4:08PM  
The fictional characters I always used were based loosely on some rather colorful family and friends throughout the years, I had enough short stories to fill a book from just my great grandfather on my mom's side of the family and I think the family was always afraid I would write a book, With most of the older generation gone I just might do that one day and just change the names, I find that real life events make damn good fiction,
soft_touch938

Oct 11 @ 10:16PM  
Oh geez, here I am behind again!

I agree with you Rhonda and yes, Bruce's way is good for technical...or all those papers they had to write in college. I've written poems for years but never wrote a story until I joined the AMD blogging community. Never knew I could write a story, never tried before that. I use all the shortcuts...phone books for names and the Atlas for locations but if you notice, I never get detailed much about the location and sometimes I never name it at all.

The reason for that is, I'm writing short stories so the 'meat' of the story has to be in the plot or it would become a long story. I detail what I think is relevant, other than that, any details outside the plot is kept short.

Anytime I've written about my family, it's been more or less a memoir, usually recalling what life was like back in the fifties. There really wasn't much for my family to provide in the way of writing material other than how we lived back then.

Well Sugar...WAY back when I was a kid, I don't ever recall writing a composition. I suppose we did but it wasn't something that caught my interest then so I suppose I didn't do anymore than I had to.

Yanno Bruce, once I get a genre decided on, then I usually become the main character. I usually hate the first 2 or 3 chapters because that's setting the scene. Occasionally, I start my story then weave in the setting. But once the 'meat' of the story is set then my imagination just runs with it, it unfolds within my imagination. I do go back and check for typos or sentences that could be structured better. I read and re-read to tweak it. But the unfolding of the story just flows from my imagination and it comes pretty easy. I've said many times, I haven't a clue how a story is going to end until I get there.
ddcooper1967

Oct 14 @ 4:26PM  
I wrote a paper in school on, Why I thought pot should be sold and taxed like any other commodity...

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