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Author Topic: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?  (Read 99336 times)

Offline JMack

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #60 on: April 24, 2015, 08:32:03 PM »
"Good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet."
Certainly at play, isn't it?  ;D  I get distracted by F-F all the time.

Yes, I did understand your point; was just trying to look at the other side of the coin.  8)

And to your point, I think there's many reasons, and a few come to mind that might be interesting to think about:
> The blank page is terrifying (Do I have anything to say?)
> The page with ink on it is terrifying (Is what I'm saying worth a damn thing?)
> We're deluding ourselves and somewhere deep down we know it (I'm really good at writing... er, no)
> We're just procrastinating because, well, see the three above  ;D
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #61 on: April 24, 2015, 08:44:00 PM »
You may love to imagine new worlds and spend hours research, detailing, etc. If you never write, you should recognize this is so, and use your world for games or art or... whatever floats your boat.  ;D 
I think if you're like this and know it (that is, you know that you're never write a proper book), you could actually offer it as a job within the book industry, not just games and art.
I mean, you see people around here offering reviews, edits, covers, maps, etc, so what about worldbuilding and detail?
Or do you all think this is something that writers take very personally, and if you don't *own* or have created your own world, then you're not truly a fantasy writer?
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #62 on: April 24, 2015, 08:47:39 PM »
"Good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet."
Certainly at play, isn't it?  ;D  I get distracted by F-F all the time.

Yes, I did understand your point; was just trying to look at the other side of the coin.  8)

And to your point, I think there's many reasons, and a few come to mind that might be interesting to think about:
> The blank page is terrifying (Do I have anything to say?)
> The page with ink on it is terrifying (Is what I'm saying worth a damn thing?)
> We're deluding ourselves and somewhere deep down we know it (I'm really good at writing... er, no)
> We're just procrastinating because, well, see the three above  ;D
Not to mention the difficulty that can often appear when you try to translate your thoughts into words. Especially when writing a first draft.

I've found it's helpful to write a detailed scene sketch instead of full prose actually, so instead of writing in full sentences and stuff it's just clipped, present tense descriptions that capture the idea of what happens. It's easier to capture my thoughts that way, and when I read itback, it brings back the exact impression and thoughts that I had in my head much more effectively. It's then a lot easier to go through and work out a way of communicating that to someone else.

...but then I look at the scene sketch and feel like it doesn't really count as writing since I have to re-do it all anyway.  ???


You may love to imagine new worlds and spend hours research, detailing, etc. If you never write, you should recognize this is so, and use your world for games or art or... whatever floats your boat.  ;D 
I think if you're like this and know it (that is, you know that you're never write a proper book), you could actually offer it as a job within the book industry, not just games and art.
I mean, you see people around here offering reviews, edits, covers, maps, etc, so what about worldbuilding and detail?
Or do you all think this is something that writers take very personally, and if you don't *own* or have created your own world, then you're not truly a fantasy writer?
It's possible that some writers would like that, but I think they'd be more likely to want to collaborate with others rather than hire someone. I think most writers love creating things, so even if they don't enjoy making their worlds very detailed, they do enjoy some of the aspects of creating it and probably wouldn't give it up very easily.

Plus of course there's the question of how on earth you'd get paid for all that work - you'd be putting a huge amount of work in and risking the writer you're worldbuilding for being unsuccessful at getting their book published, or possibly even unable to write a good book in your setting.
 
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #63 on: April 24, 2015, 08:54:32 PM »
Yes, I see your point...
And actually, after posting that, I'm just thinking: worldbuilding *is* very personal for an author, it's the core of their ideas, it's setting up the land and deciding where you're going to live for many pages, so it must be done by you.
Gosh, sometimes I wish I could worldbuild *my* real life...
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #64 on: April 24, 2015, 08:57:50 PM »
Yes, I see your point...
And actually, after posting that, I'm just thinking: worldbuilding *is* very personal for an author, it's the core of their ideas, it's setting up the land and deciding where you're going to live for many pages, so it must be done by you.
Gosh, sometimes I wish I could worldbuild *my* real life...
Yeah I think that's a good way of describing it.  :)
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Offline silvijanus

Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #65 on: April 24, 2015, 11:16:01 PM »
Yes, I did understand your point; was just trying to look at the other side of the coin.  8)

And to your point, I think there's many reasons, and a few come to mind that might be interesting to think about:
> The blank page is terrifying (Do I have anything to say?)
> The page with ink on it is terrifying (Is what I'm saying worth a damn thing?)
> We're deluding ourselves and somewhere deep down we know it (I'm really good at writing... er, no)
> We're just procrastinating because, well, see the three above  ;D
So, some self imposed pressure is stopping us from having that incredible fun we have when writing. Maybe one could try flip things over to more positive attitude... like "blank page is terrifying" to "let's fill this blank page with interesting new creation". If you have a deadline and a blank page, ok now it's more terrifying. Why amateur writer is terrified of blank page... and whole this writer avoids writing thing is funny.

Deluding part, ah maybe you are on to something there. When you are normal down to earth person maybe you doubt yourself and the story so often that it block writing. When you're a bit nuts on the other hand, you don't waste time thinking about delusion, you just write (paint, play music or whatever). Sometimes in life, most important step is to dare and try. Sam would never got Rosie if Frodo didn't pushed him :D 

Quote
Worldbuilding: deciding where you're going to live for many pages
Good way of describing it, +1.

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #66 on: April 25, 2015, 10:22:42 AM »
Thought about all you F-F writers and this thread when I saw this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/21/the-hour-by0hour-routines-of-historys-most-creative-people/?1234

Apart from Mary Flannery O'Çonnor, of whom I have never heard,  Charles Dickens managed to find a fair bit of time avoiding writing, but still managed huge output so that should make you happy. On the other hand, Voltaire is a bit of a downer  ;D ;D ;D

Seriously, though, apart from Kafka and Murikami, all those authors  created human characters from known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions.  They all had examples to copy and draw from.  All fantasy authors have to start by being God of their own Universe and create everything and fit it correctly together in relation to all the rest.  Even if you copy some RL it still has to fit that which is not in your  own world.  You are incredibly brave to even attempt to begin. All hail, Heroes ;)
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Offline Nora

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #67 on: April 25, 2015, 04:15:26 PM »
Thought about all you F-F writers and this thread when I saw this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/21/the-hour-by0hour-routines-of-historys-most-creative-people/?1234

Apart from Mary Flannery O'Çonnor, of whom I have never heard,  Charles Dickens managed to find a fair bit of time avoiding writing, but still managed huge output so that should make you happy. On the other hand, Voltaire is a bit of a downer  ;D ;D ;D

Seriously, though, apart from Kafka and Murikami, all those authors  created human characters from known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions.  They all had examples to copy and draw from.  All fantasy authors have to start by being God of their own Universe and create everything and fit it correctly together in relation to all the rest.  Even if you copy some RL it still has to fit that which is not in your  own world.  You are incredibly brave to even attempt to begin. All hail, Heroes ;)

Just to be a bit of an annoying prick, I'll put a slight downer on that...
Fantasy writers mostly write about "conventional emotions" (right? Jealousy, envy, love, hate, rivalry, joy, contentment, greed..), and social conditions. A lot of fantasy writers may copy medieval systems for exemple, or modern social conditions. Some might create something quite new, but like for all the rest, we inspire ourselves a lot from what we know, be it to imitate or oppose it.
I think overall the hard bit come from the creations : magic, new species, boundaries between the normal and the fantastic... But SF might have it even harsher!
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Offline JMack

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #68 on: April 25, 2015, 04:17:41 PM »
Thought about all you F-F writers and this thread when I saw this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/21/the-hour-by0hour-routines-of-historys-most-creative-people/?1234

Apart from Mary Flannery O'Çonnor, of whom I have never heard,  Charles Dickens managed to find a fair bit of time avoiding writing, but still managed huge output so that should make you happy. On the other hand, Voltaire is a bit of a downer  ;D ;D ;D

Seriously, though, apart from Kafka and Murikami, all those authors  created human characters from known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions.  They all had examples to copy and draw from.  All fantasy authors have to start by being God of their own Universe and create everything and fit it correctly together in relation to all the rest.  Even if you copy some RL it still has to fit that which is not in your  own world.  You are incredibly brave to even attempt to begin. All hail, Heroes ;)

Just to be a bit of an annoying prick, I'll put a slight downer on that...
Fantasy writers mostly write about "conventional emotions" (right? Jealousy, envy, love, hate, rivalry, joy, contentment, greed..), and social conditions. A lot of fantasy writers may copy medieval systems for exemple, or modern social conditions. Some might create something quite new, but like for all the rest, we inspire ourselves a lot from what we know, be it to imitate or oppose it.
I think overall the hard bit come from the creations : magic, new species, boundaries between the normal and the fantastic... But SF might have it even harsher!
Um, it seems to me you're agreeing with Lady Ty, Nora?
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
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Offline Nora

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #69 on: April 25, 2015, 04:24:13 PM »
No @Jmack I was trying to oppose and nuance and ... argh!  ;D
I was mainly saying that I don't believe most of those writers had it easier, writing non fantasy. Most of them were still writing fiction, and I'm not sure whether fiction settled in "known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions" is necessarily easier than inventing your own world. World building gives you a freedom that "known worlds" don't have. Besides, rendering existing cities can be harder than making one up, as you need to convey the vibe of it, or make accurate descriptions.
Not trying to down things for us fantasy fiction writers, but it's actually a pretty interesting topic I think, and a worthy debate.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Offline JMack

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #70 on: April 25, 2015, 04:42:15 PM »
No @Jmack I was trying to oppose and nuance and ... argh!  ;D
I was mainly saying that I don't believe most of those writers had it easier, writing non fantasy. Most of them were still writing fiction, and I'm not sure whether fiction settled in "known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions" is necessarily easier than inventing your own world. World building gives you a freedom that "known worlds" don't have. Besides, rendering existing cities can be harder than making one up, as you need to convey the vibe of it, or make accurate descriptions.
Not trying to down things for us fantasy fiction writers, but it's actually a pretty interesting topic I think, and a worthy debate.
Totally get the point now, and quite persuasive. Listening to a fantasy on recorded book recently I was often struck by how extreme and unrealistic the emotions, reactions, actions, etc. really are. They only make sense (if they do at all) in a Fantasy novel. We go along because the world, the magic and the adventure are so much fun.

Of course, this can be the case with spy novels, romances, etc. The best in each genre delivers on it all: genre fun and completely believable human emotion.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #71 on: April 26, 2015, 12:44:09 AM »
Thought about all you F-F writers and this thread when I saw this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/21/the-hour-by0hour-routines-of-historys-most-creative-people/?1234

Apart from Mary Flannery O'Çonnor, of whom I have never heard,  Charles Dickens managed to find a fair bit of time avoiding writing, but still managed huge output so that should make you happy. On the other hand, Voltaire is a bit of a downer  ;D ;D ;D

Seriously, though, apart from Kafka and Murikami, all those authors  created human characters from known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions.  They all had examples to copy and draw from.  All fantasy authors have to start by being God of their own Universe and create everything and fit it correctly together in relation to all the rest.  Even if you copy some RL it still has to fit that which is not in your  own world.  You are incredibly brave to even attempt to begin. All hail, Heroes ;)
Victor Hugo was reputed to have had a rather interesting method of trying to get over writer's block. He supposedly stripped himself naked, gave his clothes to his servant and then locked himself in a room with strict instructions to his servant that he was not to be let out under any circumstance until a certain time frame had passed. Presumably the idea was that he had no other option other than to write, so did. Not sure how much he actually accomplished doing it this way, however.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Nora

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #72 on: April 26, 2015, 01:18:06 AM »
Thought about all you F-F writers and this thread when I saw this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/21/the-hour-by0hour-routines-of-historys-most-creative-people/?1234

Apart from Mary Flannery O'Çonnor, of whom I have never heard,  Charles Dickens managed to find a fair bit of time avoiding writing, but still managed huge output so that should make you happy. On the other hand, Voltaire is a bit of a downer  ;D ;D ;D

Seriously, though, apart from Kafka and Murikami, all those authors  created human characters from known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions.  They all had examples to copy and draw from.  All fantasy authors have to start by being God of their own Universe and create everything and fit it correctly together in relation to all the rest.  Even if you copy some RL it still has to fit that which is not in your  own world.  You are incredibly brave to even attempt to begin. All hail, Heroes ;)
Victor Hugo was reputed to have had a rather interesting method of trying to get over writer's block. He supposedly stripped himself naked, gave his clothes to his servant and then locked himself in a room with strict instructions to his servant that he was not to be let out under any circumstance until a certain time frame had passed. Presumably the idea was that he had no other option other than to write, so did. Not sure how much he actually accomplished doing it this way, however.

I have a hard time buying that... First I studied philosophy and literature in France and never found this mentioned, though my literature teachers was quite full of anecdotes. Then I find no sources in french relating to this, but a very few translation from american articles, and I'll be wanting some better sources than the american web! :p
On the other hand I found this while looking for backup to that story : https://podio.com/site/creative-routines
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #73 on: April 26, 2015, 05:06:39 AM »
Thought about all you F-F writers and this thread when I saw this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/21/the-hour-by0hour-routines-of-historys-most-creative-people/?1234

Apart from Mary Flannery O'Çonnor, of whom I have never heard,  Charles Dickens managed to find a fair bit of time avoiding writing, but still managed huge output so that should make you happy. On the other hand, Voltaire is a bit of a downer  ;D ;D ;D

Seriously, though, apart from Kafka and Murikami, all those authors  created human characters from known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions.  They all had examples to copy and draw from.  All fantasy authors have to start by being God of their own Universe and create everything and fit it correctly together in relation to all the rest.  Even if you copy some RL it still has to fit that which is not in your  own world.  You are incredibly brave to even attempt to begin. All hail, Heroes ;)

Just to be a bit of an annoying prick, I'll put a slight downer on that...
Fantasy writers mostly write about "conventional emotions" (right? Jealousy, envy, love, hate, rivalry, joy, contentment, greed..), and social conditions. A lot of fantasy writers may copy medieval systems for exemple, or modern social conditions. Some might create something quite new, but like for all the rest, we inspire ourselves a lot from what we know, be it to imitate or oppose it.
I think overall the hard bit come from the creations : magic, new species, boundaries between the normal and the fantastic... But SF might have it even harsher!
Um, it seems to me you're agreeing with Lady Ty, Nora?

Sometimes this darn time difference is really annoying as I would have liked to reply immediately to your comments, Nora. I love your enthusiasm for discussion and the meticulous care you use in planning your worldbuilding, so please don't take this as criticism, but you have completely misread the intention of my comment.  I should have been more explicit, but when that happens I usually end up writing an essay length comment which I know is a great failing and annoyance. Anyway, here goes, you have been warned.

My post was directly related to the title of the thread- a genuinely serious discussion among writers on avoiding writing.  I have followed and been interested in this but only from the point of view of a reader. I thought the chart posted in the link, (which is the same as the one in your link further on), would be of interest to show how several well-known writers divided their time. Our own F-F writers here could see how wide the variation between writers in the actual time spent per day putting pen-to-paper and/or planning thinking about content as opposed to doing unrelated things.
 
I hoped this would be encouraging as in general terms there sometimes seems to be an implied guilt at “not writing” for a while, or an expectation of “so many hours per day” and even if only imposed sub-consciously those are negative burdens.  It also seems to me that ‘just living’ also gives rise to many ideas and inspiration, so all time contributes. Even sleep time dreams may inspire.

In the same context my next comments related directly to the possibility of the extra time that  fantasy writers may need to spend on world building, cityscapes, singularity of language, diversity of physical attribution, exclusive and unusual applications of “magic”……..and so ad infinitum.

I see or hear of Dickens, Austen, Zola characters around me all the time, but never a garuda or an earth elemental.  Admittedly I had Perdido Street Station, The City and The City and Discworld in mind because they have such huge scope of imagination, but medieval and urban type genres* of  fantasy still require extra time and care with accurate historical detail and the melding in of the fantasy elements to a semi established world.

Nora, you are absolutely right about the conventional emotions being present in fantasy, but when I used the word conventional I  meant in our own recognised understanding of them.  Some alien or invented race may not actually have them all, or they may be expressed or effect them in ways completely different. The examples that spring to mind are certainly SF, the Star Trek Vulcans, Mr Data( both logic) or The Swarm( hive mind duty), but there are fantasy examples I have read and maybe our widely read @Elfy can help me out here, as I can’t remember.
I have China Mieville’s Embassytown on my TBR and think there may be examples there. All such deviations from norm need long careful thought and would take time. The changing or inventing of emotions would make  a terrific subject for development as it opens up strange and wonderful possibilities.

*Not knowledgeable on so many, often controversial, “genres” of fantasy as I only notice them on library bookshop shelving. Personally classify all books as yuk, good, will read again, love, love, love.

No  I was trying to oppose and nuance and ... argh!  ;D
I was mainly saying that I don't believe most of those writers had it easier, writing non fantasy. Most of them were still writing fiction, and I'm not sure whether fiction settled in "known worlds, familiar cities, conventional emotions and social conditions" is necessarily easier than inventing your own world. World building gives you a freedom that "known worlds" don't have. Besides, rendering existing cities can be harder than making one up, as you need to convey the vibe of it, or make accurate descriptions.
Not trying to down things for us fantasy fiction writers, but it's actually a pretty interesting topic I think, and a worthy debate.

I never intended to imply  that it was easier to write classics non fantasy fiction than fantasy. That would be unbelievably arrogant and presumptuous. Not guilty, m’lud.  I have far too much respect for both.


Edit for that darn affect/effect n/v >:(
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 07:21:39 AM by Lady Ty »
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
« Reply #74 on: April 26, 2015, 07:58:09 AM »
As turns out I've just finished one that probably fits that example, and that's Clive Barker's Imajica. Cat Valente is another one who creates these absolutely incredible worlds, but does it in such detail that they appear very plausible. Tad Williams also creates very detailed and believable worlds. I always remember George Martin's comment when he got requests as how to say things in High Valyrian. 'I'm not like Tolkien. Tolkien created an entire language before he even started writing Lord of the Rings. Me? I've got 8 words.'