The Creative Writer's Guild

Discuss about books other than Animorphs (written/not written by K.A. Applegate)
Forum rules
Please read the forum rules carefully before you post.

If you like AnimorphsFanForum.com, please consider making a donation. Any donation will go towards the cost of the hosting, the domain and any other running costs.
User avatar
The_Brigadier
Captain
Captain
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:16 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Favourite Animorph: Marco
Location: United States

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by The_Brigadier » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:07 am

Like all arts, creative writing is something that's very personal. However (please pardon me if I am insulting you and your process), I think you should try a different appraoch to writing down stories.

I've been using this technique, capn has talked about it, and told someone about it and he's doing some good stuff with it. Here's the technique:

DON'T.DO. ANYTHING.

I think the reason why you have so many stories on hiatus is because you are "forcing" them to come out. Even if you have the greatest idea the universe has ever seen, don't write it down, don't mention it to anyone, just relax and let the story handle itself. I often start stories out in the middle: a single scene where the protagonist(s) are interacting with one another and perhaps the antagonist(s). I let the characters have fun with themselves and if the scene gradually tranistions into the end of the story, that is when I lay down the basic frame work for the character designs and (more rarely) a few scene and plot designs.

Think of a story as a calf.
Image

When the arbitrary scene comes along, that is the calf being born.
most of them tend to be
a) insufficiently detailed (I might have a single scene I play out or a single character I explore, that don't lend themselves to expanding into a full-fledged story)
or b) just plain bad.
That is saying that most of the "calves" you have are born with abnormalities and you butcher them because they can do nothing for themselves or you.

Image
My problem with endings usually shows up in the first kind of stories, those that originate in my mental games as a scene in the middle. I know I want to develop them, I can usually write a beginning that leads to the middle, but I can get stuck once I get to the one original scene.
So you have your "calf" and you go through all the steps to have it reach the phase you want it to. However, you are that phase and now you don't know what to do with your "calf". Should it be trained to give milk, pull a plow, pull carts into cities, should it be castrated, should it keep it testicles, etc.
Sometimes, though, a complete idea bursts into my head and doesn't require extensive expansion or it can be incorporated into an existing work, so I simply go with it... To date, it's still one of the stories I'm happiest with.
On occasion, you get an awesome "calf" that just doesn't need you tell it what to do. It just knows what needs to be done.

But usually, you're rushing and confusing the "calf" by getting the "training equipment" too early (writing the story down). Instead, just sit back on watch your "calf" grow and flourish. Eventually the "job" (ending) it needs to do will become apparent to you and you will "train" (write) your full grown "cow" or "bull" to do what comes the most natural to it (have a complete story).

Image

This analogy is so silly XD, and a part of me gets the feeling that I didn't really accomplish anything with this. :lol2:
♫When playin' Jazz you always has a welcome mat, cuz everybody digs a swingin' kat!♫

User avatar
Blueberry Chicken
Admiral
Admiral
Posts: 603
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:09 pm
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Favourite Animorph: Marco
Location: A place in the universe. Or maybe not...

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by Blueberry Chicken » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:47 pm

Starting with genres? All right. I primarily write science fiction, although I did try to write fantasy for NaNoWriMo last year. It's not going to happen again.

I think my weakest points are shortness (an average chapter is about three pages of size 12 font), and losing track of stuff.

My approach is to find myself a spot to get started (after having thought of many scenes I want to include at some point), and get going. The story mostly leads itself around from point A to B.

So, what's everyone's favorite part of writing? Plot, characters, action scenes, romance?

I personally like characters the most. I like seeing how they develop, how their personality and past influence each other.
"Sass, back before you, me, Blu, Vulf and BB used to roll together.We were tighter than emo jeans."
-Dest

User avatar
Current
Eldritch Abomination
Eldritch Abomination
Posts: 1780
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Favourite Animorph: Rachel
Location: Southwestern quartersphere

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by Current » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:54 pm

Hmm. I appreciate the advice (really, I do. I know my writing process is far from ideal), but I suspect it won't work for me. Because not doing anything with stories that aren't ready is exactly what I did for 6 years. 9 years, depending on how you count.

Backstory time! (spoilerised for length)
Spoiler:
I've been creating stories of some sort in my head at least since I was 11, and began plotting my first novel at 14. I never wrote anything down about them, partly because I knew only bits and pieces of them and wanted to figure out more (also partly out of laziness). I came up every now and then with more ideas for this novel, more characters, more world development, but didn't write anything down. Fast forward 6 years later, I'm 20, I've known these characters forever, and I still haven't done anything with them. As for the other characters, the ones not in my novel, every once in a while I remember an idea that could've been good and I'd forgotten instead of writing it down and maybe do something with it eventually. I know I'm not a good writer, I know I won't get better without practice, so I start giving serious thoughts to simply start writing anything at all. It doesn't have to be good, good will come later, I just need to get into the habit of writing (at the time I'd read plenty of writers who said exactly that). Not a day after I'd made the resolution to start writing [i]something[/i], this beautiful idea pops into my head, and I write my first story (not counting school assignments and such). That same week, two more ideas show themselves. The first one is simple and fun and I finish in a day. The second one takes some work, and I'm not happy with the ending, but it's something! Now, this three-in-one-week extravaganza is short-lived. The simple ideas become rarer and I start wanting to write more elaborate plots, so I do. I begin my first series, and the stories are longer and harder to write (but I do manage to finish some of them). At one point, I tried to force myself into a regular schedule of completion (a terrible idea I abandoned soon because forcing the stories to finish when they aren't ready just makes them suck). I then decide on a simpler schedule where I would just make sure to write every week, but I could take as long as I wanted to finish a story and I could leave it and work one something else if I didn't have ideas. Still the schedule I'm on today, dropped occasionally due to vacations and finals. And what did I see? I was actually accomplishing something! My writing wasn't good, per se, but it was better, and it was happening. A lot more than I'd done all those years of simply working with the stories in my head.
Short version: I spent a lot of my teenage years playing around with stories, waiting to write them, and not going anywhere. When I finally told myself I should follow the advice a number of writers were giving me and start at least practising regularly, I realised I could actually turn out stories I was happy with, and I could sometimes fill the gaps when I was stuck. So I decided to start writing stories regularly, even if they aren't very good, because they'll get better eventually. And at least the ideas with some potential are stored somewhere, to be revived later.

Perhaps I'm not understanding the idea properly and you mean something different with the advice not to write the story down too early. But if it means what I think it means, it hasn't worked for me before.
What is not the answer to this question?

User avatar
The_Brigadier
Captain
Captain
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:16 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Favourite Animorph: Marco
Location: United States

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by The_Brigadier » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:26 pm

I'm glad I made this topic. :D We're discovering some things about one another and hopefully, we'll be able to help one another. :)
So, what's everyone's favorite part of writing? Plot, characters, action scenes, romance?
Any way, like you Blueberry, my favorite part of writing is definately characters. Like I said earlier, they are like my imaginary friends and I'm learning not to mind admitting that. I am a very introverted person and I greatly enjoy observing people. My characters, too. It's so strange. I know so much about most of them, yet they don't know all that much about me, except for one (and he is estentially me, only gay, Haitian, a composer, and able to play upright and electric bass). Well, at least they know me better than people in reality.

I deeply enjoy watching the characters' lives, loves, and feelings unfurl (what a pretty word) and recording it down. I remember two or three nights ago, a character who I did not give a passing thought to gave me a very intense experience. I cried in sorrow for her. I was shocked but so thankful that she was willing to bare such an intimate part of her.
Hmm. I appreciate the advice (really, I do. I know my writing process is far from ideal), but I suspect it won't work for me.
I'm sorry I couldn't help. :cray: It was the calf analogy wasn't it?! :x

But seriously, all arts are personal and if someone wants to be an artisit, they have to find a way to translate their personal wonderful ideas into something more tangible that others can enjoy. :) Good luck on finding your own way, Current. :good:
♫When playin' Jazz you always has a welcome mat, cuz everybody digs a swingin' kat!♫

User avatar
darkwriter00
Warrior
Warrior
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:43 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Location: Southern Maryland, USA

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by darkwriter00 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:15 pm

Y'know, I saw this and couldn't resist looking into it. SN's a dead giveaway after all! XDDD

What do I write? Well, aside from freestyle poetry, I've done a lot of fanfiction. I've done various crossover stuff, and I'm on and off with them. I love writing intense actiony sci-fi/fantasy. I enjoy writing out the drama that goes on in between the action too.

And scary stuff! Man, do I know how to be scary... I love writing out my own monsters as well as exploring and making fandom creatures scarier than they originally are in canon. The paranormal and supernatural is something I get fascinated with.

To do a new fic is tempting, but I think I'd better brainstorm and think it over more first before I just jump into writing a first chapter or a prologue--no matter how great the first Maximum Ride book is. Maybe after reading the next two books or so down the road would be best, lol. I'm still sorta focusing/writing on my latest epic crossover saga that I plan to divide into two parts. Even though I'm not exactly writing or editing over the chapters I've already finished (and OH YEAH I need to make my first chapter better--darn my perfectionism sometimes), I've been writing these different scenes with different characters and scenarios around that expansive nexus of a fic. For eventual role play writing purposes.

My ideas on this stuff tend to go far and wide and outside the box. Sometimes way beyond... So much complexity flow out or develop from whatever very interesting "What If?" thought that could arrive out of the blue.

:thinking: As for publishing... Well, a book of some of my poetry would be a good start. I should to get back to sorting through the several I've written. And typing up some of the ones I've handwritten. My poetry is various, from things about life or venting out my emotions and thoughts to some fandom related pieces to silly nonsense. Sometime, I don't know when, I should gather the motivation to get back to that.

My biggest weak point, I think, is my bouncing around on stories and ideas. It's either because something else more interesting comes along or I'm caught up in something else. Then I have to put what good writing I've got on hiatus and get back to it whenever I feel able or psyched to do it. I try my hardest not to completely abandon any.

Another big weak writing point for me is...thinking too far ahead. All the ideas I come up with, it's tough staying on a story when I start focusing on something that could happen way ahead of time. Sometimes, it's like this: Brain! Slow down! You're going too fast for my fingers to catch up here! XD

User avatar
capnnerefir
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 6981
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 8:40 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Favourite Animorph: Tobias
Location: The rabbit hole. That thing goes deep, man.

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by capnnerefir » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:33 pm

darkwriter00 wrote:Another big weak writing point for me is...thinking too far ahead. All the ideas I come up with, it's tough staying on a story when I start focusing on something that could happen way ahead of time. Sometimes, it's like this: Brain! Slow down! You're going too fast for my fingers to catch up here! XD
I have the same thing, but I think of it as a strength. It allows me to plant seeds that will eventually grow into something epic. That way, when some major plot twist happens, or something else potentially shocking comes up, it doesn't come out of nowhere.

It can be hard to focus on the "now" when you're paying a lot of attention to the "future", but it can also be motivating. If I've got a part of the story I really want to tell, I tend to write the previous stuff much more quickly. The pitfall there is rushing through important or interesting events in order to get to other things you want to write. Often, though, a revision of the story after it's completed will fix that.

I've just recently finished Draft 1 of my latest work, Colonists. There's a lot of revising I need to do (expanding the roles of some second-tier characters, putting more focus and life into things I kind of jumped through earlier, etc.), but now that I've told the meat of the story I want to tell, I can take my time and do that right.

User avatar
darkwriter00
Warrior
Warrior
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:43 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Location: Southern Maryland, USA

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by darkwriter00 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:38 pm

Hmn... I'll try to think of it more that way. In fact, in this latest batch of writing/plotting ahead has proved to make some good potential for my latest saga way later on. There's at least one big, big idea I'd like to keep!

Having my sole original character go down so far from being ordinary seems like such a twist...and it could very much so match something in which a seer character will say somewhere soonish in part 1--once I get back to it. (This seer often knows of future events, but the ever-so-limiting ability for her to travel through time in addition with her dreams does not make everything come to her clearly.)

It may not all pan out the way I hope since the characters in any story I pretty much move and act on their own, a natural flowing way for me to write, but I'm sure I could steer this dramatic, intense, and tragic plot twist to happen in a way I would like it to happen. :)

In a round-about way, I'm saying thanks a bunch Cap'n!
Last edited by darkwriter00 on Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
The_Brigadier
Captain
Captain
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:16 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Favourite Animorph: Marco
Location: United States

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by The_Brigadier » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:41 pm

darkwriter00 wrote::thinking: As for publishing... Well, a book of some of my poetry would be a good start. I should to get back to sorting through the several I've written. And typing up some of the ones I've handwritten. My poetry is various, from things about life or venting out my emotions and thoughts to some fandom related pieces to silly nonsense. Sometime, I don't know when, I should gather the motivation to get back to that.
http://www.artandwriting.org/Awards/Categories#WRITING

Why not try the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest? You can submit several of your poems and hope for them to get published as well as win some cash if you place in nationals. HOWEVER, you must be either a US or Canadian citizen and between grades six through twelve to participate. If you are a high school senior, you can submit a creative writing portfolio and perhaps win ten thousand dollars and I believe several creative writing scholarships.
♫When playin' Jazz you always has a welcome mat, cuz everybody digs a swingin' kat!♫

User avatar
darkwriter00
Warrior
Warrior
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:43 am
Gender: [Female][/Female]
Location: Southern Maryland, USA

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by darkwriter00 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:50 pm

The_Brigadier wrote:Why not try the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest? You can submit several of your poems and hope for them to get published as well as win some cash if you place in nationals. HOWEVER, you must be either a US or Canadian citizen and between grades six through twelve to participate. If you are a high school senior, you can submit a creative writing portfolio and perhaps win ten thousand dollars and I believe several creative writing scholarships.
Oh snap I've graduated from high school in 2002, so I don't think I could qualify. Well, there's poetry.com or something like that, right? I think poetry.com has some money winning contests... It's been ages since I've looked at that site though, so I'm not 100% sure if that's still going on.

Hah, at first I put down "199%". There's not much in life I'm that sure about. XD
|) /-\ R |< \/\/ R ][ T 3 R

Rock on, AniFans!

User avatar
capnnerefir
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 6981
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 8:40 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Favourite Animorph: Tobias
Location: The rabbit hole. That thing goes deep, man.

Re: The Creative Writer's Guild

Post by capnnerefir » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:24 am

If you're just interested in trying to publish some short stories, poems, etc, you might want to check out this website. It's got thousands of magazines and such that are looking for content, many of which are willing to pay for it. There's a lot of customization involved in your searching, so you can find what's right for you.