On Writing and Other Thoughts

Collie

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In "On Writing" Stephen King discusses his process for writing books. If you're going to learn something new, you might as well learn it from a successful author. "Danse Macabre" deals with the genre of horror novels. Both books have good tips in them. He talks about things like setting aside a time and place to write. One of the things King is adamant about is that those who wish to write must also read. We take inspiration from these sources and, eventually, they can spark ideas of our own.

J.R.R. Tolkien has been called "The Father of Modern Fantasy." He was not the first to write fantasy by any means. However, he helped make it popular.

Writers should make use of all their senses. Too often the concentration is on what the writer sees. The best stories are written by writers that create a dimensional scene in our heads. When a reader is able to get an impression that includes all five senses, it pulls them into the story and awakens the imagination.

Scents are not always associated with story writing. They should be as they are great for evoking mental pictures. A scene done in a kitchen, for instance, is more effective if you have just a bit about the aroma of apple pie baking. It doesn't have to have to be paragraphs of pages long. It just needs to be a hint, a spark. Candles, incense, perfume, wine, and other aromatic things can be used as writing tools.

Music and background sounds, more tools to be used!
 

Collie

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House plans and building models. These, too, are useful. Which reminds me, I have a few of those projects on the drawing board!
 

Val Holt

Personal Text? ::Wonders what it does...::
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You are so right.

I've seen, more than once, that making use of all the sense, can have a much better impact on writing. Adding in the smell of something, just a quick mention of the sharp scent of pine, or freshly cut grass, can really help make a scene solid in a person's mind
 

Collie

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I discovered an incense that smells of leather as well a candle called "Cowboy" made by Tyler candles are very good for writing scenes where leather horse tack is involved. Mix it with grass or hay and you have some of the scents present in a barn.
 

Storm

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When I am in the writing frame of mind (or even artwork, cause the same principles hold true, or serious studying) I tend to run my play list on Spotify. Or drop in a themed album like "The Unforgiving" by Within Temptation (Or chose it on Spotify). The music gives me an audio distraction, almost like white noise that allows me to focus. This was something I did in school to help me focus on homework with my ADD. If I had that noise going on then it was easier to study. This includes turning on a station like Comcast's Music Choice. Visual distractions are just that and I shiny out like you wouldn't believe. Well, maybe you would... ;)

Artists I use:
Enigma
Within Temptation - Symphonic
Mortal Kombat
Queensryche - Rock Opera Operation: Mincrime
Five Finger Death Punch
Emilee Autumn
Breaking Benjamin (Can thank my daughter and Edward Batten for this one seriously)
Luca Turilli
Nightwish
Kamelot

Soundtracks:
Phantom of the Opera
Transformers
Disney
Lilo & Stitch (Elvis and Hula)
The Avengers
Combines with the character theme thread. I want to get into some of my character frame of mind, I pull the music I associate with them. When I was running fights in the Guilds and Dueling, I'd queue up both of my Mortal Kombat albums.
 

Collie

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I haven't posted in this thread for a bit, now. However, I have been writing and brainstorming quite a bit. Been reading a lot, too. I have a to read list via the library as well as one here at home. Some of them have been on there for a couple of years.

One of these days, I'll write an introduction post.

Just getting through one day at a time.
 

Collie

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I try to write something every day. Even it's something small like right now.

My adult characters can often be way too serious or get bogged down in their lifetime baggage supply. I have two child characters, one of which is Maggie Harker. This is not to say that Mairead doesn't have serious moments. Seeing things through the eyes of a seven year old can give a fresh perspectives. Add being magically gifted to that and it's a recipe for some interesting situations. The general philosophy of the family is to teach their children how to control their gifts as opposed to the other way around. Magic controlling anyone is a disaster in the making. They have a similar philosophy regarding children using weapons. As Eowyn said, “The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them.”

My biggest issue with writing is often distractions. There are a lot of backlogged projects around the house that take priority. There is also the need to not feel trapped behind a monitor and desk.
 

Collie

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It's been months since I posted to this thread! It has not, however, been months since I have written anything.

I have been thinking about how often we open books to read a story that takes place in a location that is known to us or that we have visited. How often do readers find themselves thinking, "They got it wrong?" What we might be reading about is a memory frozen in time and not something that has been researched to death. We might be reading about a city we think we know like that back of our hand only to learn that things aren't as we thought them to be or as we've known them to be.

For instance, in my hometown there's a museum of art and natural sciences. It's not a huge museum by any means, but serves the needs of a city of under 100, 000 people. I have memories of it that many people, even life long citizens, do not. The museum, located in the city's largest public park, has changed exhibits from time to time. I remember one specific piece from my early childhood that was removed from the collection or placed in storage. My earliest memory of it was formed somewhere between ages four and seven. You just don't forget walking around a corner and being face to face with a model of a baby Brontosaurus. I know, they call it Apatosaurus these days, but that is not the point. My memory and baseline for a story location is not the same anyone else's.

On a field trip in the sixth grade, I learned that only ONE classmate shared the memory of that exhibit. Either we had been taken there more than our peers or simply had better memories. Most remembered the beehive in the basement and the small room of florescent minerals, they had been a part of the place for ages. Sadly, the bees in that hive vacated at some point in the 1990s. A fixture in the place that has been treasured since 1951 when it was completed, is a mural by Charles R. Knight depicting the area as it might have been during prehistoric times.

Location description is often a matter of perspective. What was isn't necessarily what is. A location setting adapted by imagination isn't necessarily wrong.
 

Collie

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Lately, I have the desire to write, but not enough energy to write as much as I would like to. So, I have taken a page out of a writing partner's book and started jotting notes and a couple of outlines.

I have come to the conclusion that what some people refer to as writer's block is actually my subconscious mind telling me that other things need to take priority on any given day. Be it laundry, dishes, or what have you, I find that clearing a few tasks out of the way clears my head of some guilt over things undone.

There are times, though, when we need to be a bit selfish and do something for ourselves. There's nothing wrong with that as long as we don't let the necessary things slide back so much that we find ourselves in over our heads or letting guilt seep in.
 

Collie

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Lately, I have been finding it a bit difficult to find the voices of a couple of my characters. I think this is partly due to easily losing focus when dealing with words in print. Too many things that need doing coupled with not enough time and/or physical energy. Hopefully, this is going to be a short term thing.

I have been engaging in other projects to fill the need to be creative while I figure out how to convert the pictures in my head to words. It's not that I don't have storyline ideas, it's more like they're jumbled or in flashes that aren't clear enough to make heads or tails of them.

In the meantime, I have several household projects to do. I rediscovered how much I enjoy cooking. It's the clean up that I've never cared for.

As I child, I enjoyed being read to. I'm not ashamed to say that I enjoy being read to as an adult. Usually, this means via an audio book. Sometimes, I'm the one doing the reading.

I'm very much looking forward to finishing some household projects and being able to settle in with my story ideas and get to writing again. I'm getting closer to that day.
 

Collie

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I finally made a breakthrough and one of the voices rose to the top of the pile. It was one that was a bit unexpected, but it worked out well. I think it's a potential segue to another piece that I've been trying to get out of my head. Sometimes, I feel like my head is a big clearing house for ideas that popped in while I was sleeping. People that write probably understand what that means, but those that don't, well, let them think I am crazy if it makes them happy.

I have done some experimenting with some building techniques for Sims and discovered that changes have apparently been made in the coding to allow things that I can't remember having been able to do before. This is good as I have a large scale RP related project on the drawing board and, now, I can incorporate some of those things into this project.
 

Storm

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I've been trying to use my 3d renders as a way to find the voices for my characters. It's gets hard with everything going on and just feeling drained with trying to deal with RL and then trying to find the motivation to write something.

For Example:



I know the feet are sinking into the ground, but it's the way the character's were speaking visually that was something I wanted to touch on. Why would a Criminal be working with a fallen Jedi?

Or This...


What happens to the 1/2 demon when the demon parts of his soul push to the forefront?
 

Collie

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Storm date=1397173892 said:
Or This...


What happens to the 1/2 demon when the demon parts of his soul push to the forefront?
The question on my mind is if that's how the character sees himself, such as in a mirror, or if that's how others see him as well? That could be a self discovery piece for writing, a bit of Dorian Gray thing, perhaps?
 

Storm

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Collie date=1397372186 said:
Storm date=1397173892 said:
Or This...


What happens to the 1/2 demon when the demon parts of his soul push to the forefront?
The question on my mind is if that's how the character sees himself, such as in a mirror, or if that's how others see him as well? That could be a self discovery piece for writing, a bit of Dorian Gray thing, perhaps?
I was thinking that this is how he's evolving a bit... or how the changes physical manifest when the greater demon is exerting his control... like you said a self-discovery piece.
 

Collie

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I've been attending to what some people might think of as spring cleaning. Unfortunately, this has somehow coincided with the urge to do retail therapy and go on a toy buying binge. The latter tends to happen about every three years. I buy books and other things like I'm stocking up for the next couple of years. Interestingly enough, I think this might be associated with my winter food hording habit that I learned from the women in my family. I grew up in the northeastern part of the United States and learned at a young age that storing canned goods and other non perishable foods in the pantry as well as keeping plenty of extra toilet paper on hand means that you won't need to be rushing out to the store when the weatherman announces, "There's a storm coming your way." I know way too many people that don't take precautions when winter begins that they get caught with their pants down when a really bad one hits.

I found out that Amazon has free Kindle books and have slowly been sifting through the lists and adding to my Kindle for PC listings. My local library also has online loan services. Reading helps to prod the imagination. Sometimes, I see notations on a book blurb that compare one author to another. Things like "If you like the work of Author X, you will like the work of Author Y" or "They write in a style similar to Author B." I've never really cared for them as I find them to be somewhat prejudicial. One person might think that author is as fabulous as Terry Pratchett and the writings as fabulous as his Discworld books. However, that description means that book might be setting the book up for a major fail in the eyes of some readers. It reminds me of those knock off perfume ads (AKA designer impostor perfumes) that say things like, "If you like Chanel No. 5 then you will like Guerlain Shalimar." But no matter how many times those comparisons are made, do we as readers really want to read a book that's described as some sort of knock off?

In the last few years, Hollywood seems to have produced more remakes and more redos than new material. Don't get me wrong, I think Henry Cavill did a bang up job in "Man of Steel," but how many times can one story be revamped and, in some cases, retconned before it completely loses its origin?
 

Collie

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I have been trying to tie up some seemingly unexplainable results that have come about in an story that I have working on. This morning, something just went bang, there's the answer now write it down fast!

Has that kind of thing happened to anyone else?
 

Senna

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Enjoying this thread!

I used to keep a tiny notebook in my back pocket for jotting ideas but as life got busier, I kept forgetting it. Several months ago I added google docs on my phone and now use that to "jot" down ideas because I can access it almost anywhere and rarely misplace my phone. Ahhhh, technology.
 

Collie

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Lately, I have been having some trouble focusing on writing my own stories. I have been doing a lot of reading to help fill that gap. At any given time, I tend to have one paper book, one e-book, and one audio book in progress. Since my taste is eclectic, that could be just about anything. For instance, my Goodreads info currently shows that I have American Legends: The Life of Natalie Wood, Beautiful Darkness, and The Revenge of the Hound in progress at present. So far, this month, I read seven books. Not a lot for some people, but how much I read in any given month is in proportion to how much I write. Yes, I know, I said that, didn't I? That means this month, I wrote a lot less than usual.

I have ideas rolling around and have jotted notes all over, but I have been trying to take care of me lately. When you are readjusting to whatever medical advice and treatments you are having it takes its toll both physically and mentally. I sleep at odd hours. I used to be a night owl, but now, with the medication that's helping me cope with pain my body throws at me more than it used to, that has changed. Without going into the whys, wherefores, and causes of how this all started, the current situation is that I have the beginning stages of arthritis in my hand and have apparently had it my knees for some time. Since I have certain drug allergies, it's been like watching the doctors run a marathon to figure out what to use to treat this. They finally found something. Honestly, if the worst side effect it has is making me sleepy from time to time, I'll take it, it sure beats hives!

I tend not to discuss these things because I'm not looking for sympathy or pity. It is what it is and I have to deal with it as it comes. I figured if I didn't say something at some point, there would be people that were wondering why I'm slower than usual these days or wondering why I haven't acknowledge them in play. I generally just laugh, tell people that I'm old and drive on, but I just can't focus as well as I used to. The people that have known me a very long time know there is more to it than that to the snowball. It's just frustrating to get up, get a few things done, and then be so tired in two hours that you want to crawl back into bed and nap like a toddler.

I started something for Walk a mile in their shoes [Writing Game], got a few lines out and just lost the train of thought. I had the ending in my head, but the middle was giving me fits! Anyway, I still have a Suliss in tutu piece on the drawing board, I'll try to get it done.
 
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