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Writer's Block

 
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Kaze
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Joined: 31 Dec 1969
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Location: Richmond, VA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject: Writer's Block Reply with quote

Ever since forever ago i've wanted to write an original fiction. Not a little one-shot, or 'episode' of some random whim, but an idea that i could branch out into a series. I've tried soooo much to think of something that would last as indefienitly as i wished it too, but nothing is working... And i've been going at it for well over two years now...

I must bust this brain block of mine! If anyone has any suggestions please please please share!
Even if someone has their own plot-line that they want written, which is original (I can't do fanfiction because I don't know any series well enough to write one), I'll write it in exchange for the sake of something to write!

If you really want, i will draw a picture for you in exchange for an idea too.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME!!! Any advice or suggestions what-so-ever will be incomprehensibly appritiated!

If, for whatever reasons, you don't want to reply where other's can read your respose, the feel free to e-mail me at:

caelestisangelum@aol.com
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find music helps a good deal. Music has inspired a lot of the things I've written; just ask theWriter.
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theWriter
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed, just ask me.

Music is a great booster, no doubt. But here is another thing... I wrote this guide on another site I grace (and it is a fabulous site--I am just always absent DSmile, but I hope this helps you.

Megan's Prime-Time Guide To:

~Brain Farts (i.e. Writer's Block)
~Character Development
~Story Development
~The Bitter and Painful Process of Editing


WRITER'S BLOCK

1: Let your mind fall free. Often, we get so wrapped up in one basic plot that when we get the block, we fail to see that it could be our brain telling us to try a different approach.

2: Don't give up. Don't edit it the first time. Don't even touch the damn editing button until you've finished it...That way half-way through you don't stop and start rewriting it again because you think it sucks.

3: Move on. If you're having a big block, take a break. That doesn't mean abandon it...nessesarily, but do take a breath. Come back a little while later and see what you can do.

4: Be a sponge. Be one with the sponginess. Often I get my best ideas when I'm in the car, or at school...and sometimes they are pretty weird. Soak up anything that looks observant to you. Be observant. A good writer keeps an eye around them.

5: If you really think it sucks, it either: a: seriously does, b: you're too harsh on yourself, or c: you need to take a breather. Don't give up unless even yo' momma's telling you to kill it.

6: Never, ever, ever let someone read your story until your finished with it. This sounds weird and completely...not right, but if you consider what outside influence does to writing, then you'll understand. When you start a story, you are going full steam. You have everything planned out and laid out to the point where it plays like a movie in your head. Great. Cool. You're twenty pages in--and then suddenly you get the idea to let your friend read it. BAD IDEA. Though they mean well, outside influence, whether it be negative or positive, slows you down. You start thinking too deeply into how to please the ones around you. Screw that. For now, all you want to do it get everything on paper. Once everything is on paper and done, then the editing process can truly begin.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Oh, what evah should they be?

Obviously, you can't really have a story without a character or, in most cases, characters. Sometimes you'll think deeply into what you're developing, will question if it's truly original or not.

...Other times, you'll just throw up something from the intestine of your brain and use that puke idea as a lackey-character--not something you're intending to go far with. It works for a while. And then you get bored.

But if you really want a character that you can grow attached to, my advice is to keep on reading.

1: Being that we are all very human, we all have an ego. In some it's smaller, and in others...To put simply, if you popped their ego with a needle an explosion akin to Nagasaki would occur.

But why am I discussing egos?

Because often how we write our characters is how we view our best--and worst--traits.

Becky-Sue is cynical...She is also a redhead. Her characters, believe it or not, are often like her, or possess the characteristics that Becky wishes so badly she could be. Becky-Sue is short. Her characters are often tall, and willowy. Becky-Sue is about as graceful as a platypus. Her characters would look like they meant to fall if they ever did. Becky projects all of her life onto her characters in hope that maybe someday the beauty and grace she's given them comes back to her.

The flaw with creating characters that resemble you or what you wish you were is that after a while they get rather boring. Sure, we all want to be beautiful, we all want to be tall or fast or athletic...but after a while these characters get old.

Granted, I know that no one here creates Mary-Sue characters, and, granted, I know that we all try to add some flaws to the creatures we created, and yet....They still seem too...Perfect.

Human flaw is ultimately what makes humans gravitated towards each other. Why do some chicks go to the tough guy? Because there's something so screwed up about him they can't help but be curious.

So what I'm trying to say is this:

  • DO create someone who is not beautiful, smart, athletic, amazing, god-like--and make them your hero/heroine.
  • DON'T project yourself onto your characters.
  • DO create a character that you hate. And make that character your main playah. The experience will probably be one of the more interesting in your life.
  • DON'T project what you wish you were onto your characters.
  • DO create someone who is not handsome.
  • DO create a character that has a lot of baggage. Something that makes them literally an "untouchable"--even in your eyes.

2: Really know your character. Know them like the back of your hand. And make it difficult, like making a friend. You don't know everything about someone you meet in seconds. Often it takes years to really understand the person who you call every day for advice or just someone to chat to. Your characters should be the same, in the sense that you DON'T know their life story off the bat. But you learn very quickly that it is a long one. You DON'T really understand why Joe-Schmoe always scratches his ear when he's lying. You DON'T know why Sally can't stand a dirty countertop. These all seem like little things, but the more and more you stack little things on top one another, the more complex and interesting a character is. And the more interesting a character is, the more likely you are to continue with that brainchild and have interested readers.

When I talk about "knowing" your character, I mean, most literally, that you should analyze your character down to the number of zits they have on their nose. Gross? Yes, but hey, when you're a writer, you can't afford to be lazy if you want people to really appreciate your work.

Things to keep in mind when writing:

For physical traits...
    Tone of voice, octave and pitch. Small thing? Yah, but try it.
  • Posture
  • Way of walking
  • Gesticulation--is your person figety or calm when they're put in a chair and told to be still?
  • Physical reaction to surprising events
  • Health problems
  • Nervous tics
  • Strange physical habits (extends pinky finger when drinking from a glass, sneezes three times and never four, etc)
  • Scarring, whether it be small or large--what's the story behind it? How did Billy-Bob get that dime sized mark on his kneecap?

For emotional traits...

  • Obsessive traits. Lizzy has the filthiest room in the entire house and yet she cannot stand a dirty bathroom. Why?
  • Social Problems--People that your character is either terrified, enraged or indifferent of. WHY is that? WHY do they struggle with these people? What is the backstory?
  • Mental Roadblocks--Something that your character just can't seem to get past. Something they are so firmly stuck on as either being right or wrong (when the reality is the exact opposite) that they will go to great lengths to prove their point of disprove anyone else's point. Why is that?
  • Tolerance level--whether it be of anger or of sadness. How much crap can your character take before they snap? Why?

The main thing you must ask yourself when creating a character is why. Why do they do the things they do? What has compelled them to their current status? Questions, questions, questions, and more questions.

3: Personal background and your character's "life story".

Like said before, get into the head of your character. Obviously you'll do a little background check--but it won't be nearly as in-depth as you might (or might not) like it to be. And in case of such a disaster, pretend that you are interviewing your character. (Dorky, I know, but trust me, sometimes it works.)

  • Who is your role model? Why? How do you two know each other?
  • What are your goals in life? What were goals previously that now you don't believe in or acheieved? Do you truly believe your goal is possible? Why do you want to go there?
  • What are you most terrified of? Why?
  • What was the toughest thing you ever had to deal with? Did you ever get past it, and how?
  • Your parents--why did they name you what they did?
  • Did you truly love your parents?
  • What status were you in the social circles as a teenager and child?
  • What was the worst thing you ever did to someone and what compelled you to do that?
  • Dream vacation--where is it and why?
  • Worst nightmare--what happened and why?

These are all the stupid type of questions you can find in a questionaire sheet. And yet, heed them. You know yourself. You know that questionaire things off MySpace are stupid. But you don't know your character, and these are the type of questions that will help you get to know Mr. or Mrs. Johnson even better.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STORY DEVELOPMENT
Like a writer's block except it generally starts halfway through your story.

The plot. What ever shall your plot be?

Hmm...Well first, let's cover generally what a plot IS.

The plot is the story. While your character represents the heart and the soul of the story, the plot represents the body, and the space in which that body inhabits. They coexist, see? Have a good plot and character, you have a good body. (Gasp! It all makes sense Surprised)

There are nine major types, and almost always they overlap each other.

  • Revenge: A character loses something dear to them, vows vengeance. The protagonist is passionate about the goal, and always has to face one pesky obstacle one way or another. And always a highlighting moment for the character comes when he/she questions their pursuit of revenge. The climax is generally the moment of the showdown/payback.
  • Betrayal: A trust is established between protagonist/future antagonist, and then is ruined. Often 'Betrayal' bares the same markings of 'Revenge', thus they are almost always closely linked. For the antagonist (or protagonist--hint, hint--), it's always a difficult decision to betray their comrade. There is always a feeling of guilt, and often a love triangle is a good place to find the Benedict Arnold. Political intrigues frequently dabble in this genre as well. Rule of thumb: the deeper and more personal the betrayal, the better the story becomes.
  • Catastrophe: In the beginning of these types of stories, generally life is portrayed as being "all good." Somewhere along the way, however, events escalate out of the protagonist's control and it all goes downhill from there. The main character is almost always dealing with impossible odds all set against him/her, and it's not likely that they'll make it out. Interestingly enough, the climax comes at the character's moment of great, deep loss, and from then on, the resolution and everything else wind down to the protagonist moving forward, and life as they knew it before the catastrophe going back to normal. Life regains its Chi.
  • Pursuit: The insighting incident is the moment when conflict is established, the moment when something goes vastly wrong in this character's life. They must react to this conflict, and thus the rising action for the story is when complications arise for both the pursuer and the pursued. This goes on for a while, and then, finally, the climax is the moment when there is a confrontation or a psuedo-confrontation between the hunter and the hunted. From then on, it follows about the same guidelines as 'Revenge' and 'Betrayal'.
  • Rebellion: Usually the protagonist is a rebel--but not always. Hollywood sometimes likes playing with the stereotypes. Generally, tough, because they ARE wimps, they don't mess with it. The rebellion against whatever can be either personal or political. Generally a good story makes it closer to the character, and thus the rebellion would probably be more of a heart-to-heart type of thing. It starts off simply enough. The character sees or is a victim on an act of injustice. Afterwards, they begin to feel opressed and slowly this creates our tension, or, rising action. Halfway through the pouting phase, however, the character turns. They decide enough is enough, and want to fight back. This continues along until the pinnacle of the plot, where the character's endeavors either fail or triumph.

  • Quest: It's almost always a journey back to the "Mother Land" or "Maw and Paw." Sometimes, it differs, but almost always that is what it is. Generally the characters in the 'quest' archetypal plot are also having an inner journey, an inner struggle their trying to fight their way through (i.e. seeking the truth). This is always parrelled by what's happening in the outer world around them. These characters more than often have a strong sense of destiny, and somewhere in their quest some supernatural or metaphysical elements get involved. The climax should be a simple one--it's when they get home or when they "see the light". Take your pick.
  • Ambition: 'Tis the desire for power, baby. The need for speed. The people involved generally are so low in the food chain it's not funny, but man...they are wanting that power like a fat lady wanting a Krispie Kreme. And generally they're devious enough to find a way to get that glory. However, it turns out to be a double edged sword and, in the end, the protagonist usually fails.
  • Self-Sacrifice: This archetype deals with service to a high authority/cause. Religous undertones are often present, and the moral issue at hand is black and white. Unfortunetely, the protagonist usually ends up thinking they'll get a reward for their service and in the end get squat.
  • Rivalry: Here we have two characters of equal caliber, and who both share the same object of desire. Eventually a competition presents itself, and they fight tooth and nail to win whatever that object of amore is. It all winds down to the "Ambition" type of deal.

Okey-dokey...Now we have our archetypal plots. Now what should we do with them?

Well, there's a number of things. The first of all should be to (obviously) pick a plot. Let's use 'Revenge'--since it's the only one I can think of right now and I'll fit in nicely with what I'm to show you.

Okay. Revenge. Let's give an example of a movie and frame that up next to revenge. What movie?

Hmmm...How about The Bourne Supremacy.

As a sketch, what happens in this movie that makes is the Revenge plot through-and-through?

1: Man loses wife.
2: Man vows revenge.
3: Man goes searching for those that took his wife.
4: Finds them.
5: Finds out more as to who them are, and goes hunting once again.
6: Kills man who killed wife.
7: Goes back to hiding.

That's a pretty simple sketch right there. In fact, it's about as boring as hell. We are so over the "MUST GET GUYS WHO KILLED LUVER!" So what do you do? You expand on that idea. For one, you make the character very screwed up. In this case, our main man suffers from amnesia.

That right there makes it totally a flipper. Not only is it just revenge, now, but can it be...a quest? Maybe so.

So let's redo this sketch, with amnesia involved.

1: Man loses only woman he really knows.
2: Man vows revenge.
3:Man goes searching for those who took wife.
4: Man finds something out about his past.
5: Man finds out WHY wife was killed (think--unremembered past--) and kills man who sent out execution status.
6: Man doesn't go back into hiding, instead continues after he has pursued what he thinks is revenge. So there's more to this story. It's not entirely wrapping up.
7: Man kills other man that did the physical part of the killing (more or less, he had no idea he'd find baddy in destination.
8: Man goes to girl's apartment--who he doesn't know--and apologizes for killing her parents--though he just learned why he did it.
9: Man goes back into hiding.
10: Man plays telephone tag with other woman who gives hints to past, then flies the coop.
11: End.

Wowza. Suddenly there's a lot more in this story. A lot more. And no longer it is just 7 simple panels of plot. It's elevated into 11. That's quite a lot.

I could go on and on, but I don't think I will. I think by this section in this oh-so-very long post, you have an idea where I'm going with this.

The trick is to add more elements. Blend and fuse as many different stories in as you can. You might have one main character, but the supporting characters give linkage to a deeper, more complex story. And when you think you've hit the end of the line with one character's plot, switch to a secondary character and burrow into their lives. Eventually--because we've already covered characters--you'll find a line of memories that ties that secondary character to the main character....And then the whole story gets running again.

WHOA!! Surprised C'est incredible!

Non?


THE PROCESS OF EDITING YOUR PAPER
A painful procedure somewhat akin to giving birth...

*sigh* We hate this part in our story. We absolutely hate it. Here you have been, writing your heart and soul out onto a stupid thing of paper, and you're finished.

...That should be the end. Hell, you'd LIKE it to be the end, but, as it is, it is not. It is only the beginning. Only the prelude to EDITING!

*cues 'Pyscho' theme*

First off, and I want you to repeat this with me:

Just because my writing is bad does not make me a bad person. I am a good soul, but I struggle. When someone edits my paper, it is not a personal attack [b]against me, it is simply a criticism against my brainchild...Which is still not me.

Why am I telling you this?

Because as writers, sometimes we tend to take critiques a little bit...personally. Now, mind you, not all of us do that, but there is the occasional one of two who do. And therein lies the problem: when you are have a paper critiqued, expect the worst. Expect it to be raked into.

...But be GRATEFUL for that. Be very grateful. When someone reviews your paper, more or less it is a sign of respect that they are doing so, a sign that they respect you as a writer and will do everything they can to help you get better.


So! Now that I have that little tidbit done, we shall move on .

Ahem:

EDITING: THE FIRST STEP/S

1:Believe it or not, my first advice to you is that you, in fact, do NOT critique your work. Actually, what I would prefer you do is this: once you have entered that final period, that final sentence, lean back in your chair. Relish the fact you're finished. Say to yourself: thank GAWD and ever other holy being that this goddamn thing is FINISHED. YES!

And then? Well, besides the most obvious act of saving, go away. Get lost. Get out of your room, away from your desk and your stupid computer, and go for a walk. Chiill. Soak in the act that it's done.

After this is through, mosey home and avoid your computer. Stay away from your story for a few days. The main thing here is that when you're done with your story, leave it alone. Let it rest. You sure as hell didn't have a break when you were writing--now it's definetely the time to chill. As the great Snoop Dogg said: Chillax.

2: Whew. A coupla days later. You feel better. Rejuvenated. Now?

I still don't want you to look at your work. What I do want you do to, however, is to print/email/post your story online. And allow it to be victimized.

I know, weird, right? Here you are, thinking, "I probably should get to read my story first, probably should edit it before putting it online."

The answer to this?

No.

Even if the spelling is incorrect, even if there are a few blurbs, post it up and simply tell your readers: "this is a rough draft. I want you to critique this. NOW." They'll understand that it's not your best work. And they'll act accordingly. The good ones will point out flaws, and the bad ones will tell you how good it is. But the fact is that let others read it before letting your self-depreciating eyes get a hold of it. That way, while your cruising through your story in the future, not only can you have other reviewers thoughts in mind, but your own as well. When doing this, you're killing not only two birds with one stone but helping yourself fit together the ideas of your readers with yourself. Wow. Ying and Yang, baby.

3: Okkaay. Now that your friends have edited it, it's YOUR turn. This will be the most painful part of the story for you. This will be the part when you look back at your work and cringe at its mediocrity, it's stupidity and its...ugliness. And my only words to this? Take it easy. Again: you're not perfect, and your writing will not be as well. It takes time and a lot of mistakes to become an excellent writer and, even then, there are some flaws in the system.

Now:

  • Read through your entire story. Now that your buddahs have edited it, it's your turn to read what they critiqued. But that's all. Just read it. Notice the nuances in the tale, notice the good and bads. But that's it. Just notice for now. Observe.
  • Once you have finished that tidbit, now it's time to get out the red pen. But first: don't critique for yourself. Put the ideas of your friends in first. Ignore everything but what they remarked on, and fix that. It's a slow process, I know, but it will all pan out. Trust me.
  • Alrighty: the third step of the third step. Now it's YOUR turn to read and review. *gasp* I know, it's a big deal for you, but I think you're a big kid and can handle it. Now that everyone else's ideas have been put into your story, it's your turn to come in, clean up any other messes you see and fix up your baby to perfection.

    But this will be hard. Don't make it easy...But don't make it hard. Make yourself think, but don't make yourself have anyurisms. It's all about moderation. I've known some writers to completely raze their work and basically start over. Is that a good thing? No. Keep what you originally put forth, but just tweak it a little bit. Obviously if the English is bad, then fix it posthaste, but as to the ideas of your story? Don't kill them. They are but young infants in a harsh world, and need all the nurturing they can get. Play with them a little bit, show them the ropes and teach them 'yes' and 'no', but don't kill your ideas. They're your kids.

    That would be pedocide.

    Bad.

Well, my friends...I think that's it. I think that is the last thing I had to do. I hope that my guide to writing has helped you, and I hope that, in turn, your writing blossoms into a be-au-ti-ful flower. A flower that not only you but the others around you can admire.
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Kaze
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

O.O wow.... CCHHYAA!!!! THANK YOUZZ SOOO MUCCCHHHH!! *glomps, and will never let go* Very Happy
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khangel04
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All right this is what i do when i have writers block.

i start off with a prologue, with someone usually running away from something. they are either saved/caught/get away from the thing theyre running from.
they could be running from a monster, a death, a fire, a person, natural disaster, a terrible sight, etc. my people usually end up being saved by someone or end up in the woods.

now i do this right before i go to bed. y u may ask? well when im going to sleep, i brainstorm in my head what is going to happen next, and then sometimes i even have the story in my dreams.

this may be weird advice, but it works for me.
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SageMaster
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when I'm stuck I just ask my friends what would be some really good scenes, and if I like those scenes, I put them in my story.
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Jtlats
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always know how a story will end before I start writing. I knew how my Harry Potter Book 7 was going to end before I started writing my book 5.(Which I also knew how it was going to end)

This way you have a goal. You know where the story has to go now you just need to get it there.

Or for my Code Lyoko, well, that I do by coin flips sometimes. I just get an idea for an attack then write it out. Several times I've had to decide what would happen by coin flip. But Code Lyoko is done by episodes and I know how I want the series to go. I know who I want in the group when I started writing Episode 53.(I started at end of Season 2, well before the real S3 came out) And I know what I want to happen. I just have to come up with the attacks to cement my storyline around.

So before you start to write make sure you know the ending.
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rego_vampire
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I find music helps a good deal.


I agree but I also reckomend reading a butt load while listening to music and if you can't do that read then listen to music. It help get the newly read info running! That helps me or maybe just sleep a lot and dream. Then bam you got a story or the next chapter.(happens all the time with meXD but I'm just wierd like that. lol good luck with that writers block
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Honjetan
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theWriter wrote:
Music is a great booster, no doubt. But here is another thing... I wrote this guide on another site I grace (and it is a fabulous site--I am just always absent DSmile, but I hope this helps you.


FictionPress?
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theWriter
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Si.
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Ick1
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I get writers block, I clear my mind by writing my thoughts down somewhere and think only about what I want to write.
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