November 28, 2020, 10:30:45 PM

Author Topic: Relating to characters  (Read 5074 times)

Offline shadowkat678

Re: Relating to characters
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2016, 09:12:28 PM »
The problem I see with "freestyle" writing is that the plot that emerges from it will largely be situations and developments that come intuitively to mind while you are writing. And intuition tells us to follow the path we're already familiar with. Which in this case means following stereotypes and even cliches.
Doing something new and clever isn't likely to happen by accident. You have to actively decide to get off the beaten path with a purpose or you will quickly drift back to it because that's what comes naturally.

This is a bit silly. Writing without an outline doesn't suddenly give you an inability to recognize tropes, nor does it mean you put less thought into what you're doing.

Frankly, I don't think there is much of a difference between gardeners and architects aside from how much you know when. Most gardeners I've spoken to have a vague idea from the start of what is going to happen, they just haven't put the path down onto paper. It means just spending more time on a particular scene immediately, as the scene is being written, and more time spent rewriting later to adjust dialogue and setting to push the plot toward the end goal. It also means not knowing what elements must go into what place at what time, right from the get go, and while I think gardeners probably spend more time in the rewrite phases, I don't know any authors who don't have to rewrite in order to rework these details anyway.

On another point, architects are working with as much intuition in writing their first drafts as gardeners are in their first drafts, in the same way gardener's spend as much time reworking their scenes as architects spend reworking their outlines.

Personally, the reason I prefer freestyle, is a) because I'm lazy, b) writing an outline saps all the fun out of writing the actual scene, and most importantly, c) I know what I have to work with at every moment. Since I already know what has happened, and what spontaneous changes have already arisen, I have the opportunity to build upon those changes without having to go back and rewrite entire sections of an outline, or try to force a course correction to get myself back on track.

I've tried outlining, but what fails for me is that I found most good ideas actually do come to me in the spur of the moment. They build from small details in plot, things like describing the setting and writing the dialogue. These minor details are typically things I wouldn't have put into or thought of in the outline.

I'll give you an example:
One of my main characters is a traveling merchant. I knew nothing about her when I started, except that she would be the initial PoV's foil, something to balance the "quiet, brooding, teenage protagonist" that I was hoping to make fun of. In the spur of the moment, this merchant became overly talkative, to the point I was having her tell random stories from her life, with no purpose in them aside from showing that she liked to talk. At one point, she told a story about a time she got drunk and broke into a library, and shit in a book. It was meaningless at the time, I had not planned it to mean anything at any point, it was completely and utterly meaningless.

A few scenes later, I was writing dialogue for another character, and suddenly the merchant shitting in a book became the backbone of the story. It became a critical moment which thrust everything else into motion, and why? Because I thought it was funny. It set the entire course of the story from that point forward, and yet it never would have ended up on an outline, because it stemmed from an inessential, spur of the moment conversation.

I'm not saying that architects don't have this level of spontaneity, in fact I very much believe they do, but the assertion that freestyling it leads to tropes and stereotypes is just silly.

Very good points. I think the most important factor just relates to personality. I kinda switch back and forth.
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.