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Discussion >  > why, or how, do you write?forum=Science-Fiction

why, or how, do you write?

Narainsbrain (July 9th, 2002, 4:45 am)

this may be a stupid question for a writer to ask, but rubbing shoulders with you guys around here has made it very clear to me that i'm not really a writer, in the usual sense of the term.

'real' writers tell stories about people. they develop characters with whole backgrounds and well-thought-out feelings and motives. they write to tell the stories of what those characters do, how they feel, how they get through the situations set up by the plot...

i can't think in those terms. i can't write a story that's solely about people, for lack of good ideas on characters or plotlines. in fact, i wouldn't write at all, if not for the strange ideas that occasionally crawl out of the primordial ooze bubbling about in my head. and i have to let them out, and the best way to get them across, as it seems to me, is to write a story about them.

like the concept that tries to answer the question that some John A. Wheeler guy has put much better than i could: "what is it that puts fire in the equations and makes them come alive?" i couldn't think of a better way to explain the concept than to write Limit.

now that i think about it, it seems a very tail-first way to approach fiction. i tend to leave the plot and characters very feeble and hope the strength of the concept pulls the story through.

the reason i'm saying this is, i'd like to confirm whether i'm uniquely abnormal in this respect around here, or if you guys can do this AND think up great characters and plots as well? and, how do you do that, 'cause i can't!

sounds like...

cruise (July 9th, 2002, 11:29 am)

A short sci-fi story.

No, seriously. If you're going to write about people, have big detailed backstories and motivations, you're going to need a lot of space.

If you simply have an idea to get across, and the people are only there to represent that concept, then you'll end up with a short story.

I tend to prefer short sci-fi, because of the "WOW" factor of a neat idea, delivered in such a compact punch. I wrote most of my shorts in that fashion. "Everything in its Place" was written from an idea I had on the train one day...there is no characterization to speak off. Ditto "Home by the Sea", "Pearls" or "Frozen in Heaven."

A "Light Within the Shadow," however, is all about the people. Therefore it will take me a long time to write.

I guess your answer, therefore, is that it depends on what best suits the idea. On a big concept, you need people to carry it. On a clever, tricky concept, you don't.

I leave you with one of my favourite stories ever, which also happens to be one of the shortest stories ever. And it has no characterisation at all :P

"After the war, nothing lived - not even bacteria - save one man alone in a room.

There was a knock at the door."


Semirrahge (July 9th, 2002, 7:03 pm)

This is actually something I've been thinking a lot about lately... Be warned - this might get long. And you'll have to pardon me if any of this is really flaky, I'm on cough supressant (NyQuil), which has a LOT of alcohol in it... Not being a drinker I don't know how well my mind works under the influence. :)

When I first started writing, it was because I had a cool idea. I simply wanted to put a cool fight scene down on paper. The rest of the story kinda developed itself (Coup de Main).

As I've progressed, I've gone from that to more complex ideas and desires, though never with very deep characterization. For a while I wrote stories heavily inspired by and about music and the effects it has on us.

Now, with my changing interests, I've begun trying to emulate the effects of Anime in my style, going for a visual-only style where everything is deduced from the images presented.

I've experimented wildly, from random poetic-styled things, first person dialogs, third-person omniscient, etc... each story ranging the scope and breadth of my admittedly wild imagination.

My goals for writing are as nebulous as my stories - incomplete ideas and inspirations flit randomly about the recesses of my brain.

I've had some deep thinking about the stories I have written, though. The visual element is easy to write, on one hand, yet, is it cheating my readers? I noticed that I really do not know Slick and Contra very well. I am writing this story about them, using only vague motivations. If this is "honest" writing... Dunno. It just seems to me that I could be striving for something better. There's more to storytelling than cool fight scenes, slick technology, and beautiful phrasings.

This is one reason I've thought hard about writing my hacker story. I could serialize it, so it would not be a big commitment, but I could write about people and how they interface with this high-tech world. I think all my other stories are simply about the tech.

I do care about people and emotions; my favorite movies and stories are the ones that get me emotionally wrought up... If a movie can make me cry, then so much the better.

Yet, there's the emotion of melodrama, influenced by music and directing (or phrasings, etc.)... and then there is real emotion, brought in when the characters have lives of their own. What kind of characters do I write?

I guess I'm not answering your question, though. Why do I write? For fun. If you can call something so much like work fun, of course - but I can see no other reason for it. I don't see myself reaching any kind of mass popularity except among my friends, and if I never finish anything I'll likely lose even that. :)

To some extent I feel a need to generate new information to contribute to the community, and that gives me a substantial bit of motivation.

Yet I feel discouraged when I write... I can't write what I want. But the real problem is that I don't know what it is that I want to write. I know that I can't - and shouldn't - write like other authors, yet I envy many authors their abilities. I envy Angelas for her ability to sit and write and write and write ad nauseum infinitum, I envy Cruise for being able to write and finish his stories... And you, Narain, for your original and scientifically accurate stories.

Yet, envy is no good... Why do I write? For me. I write because I wish to share my ideas. Then why do I desire to increase my skill? Is this the normal desire to increase one's skills?

A friend told me that I would be able to write once I had something to say. Yet, I have lots to say - so why am I not saying it? Is this why I am not happy with my writing?

Good grief I'm tired. I have this terrible suspiscion that I'm rambling aimlessly.... I can hardly keep my eyes open.


Eldritch (July 10th, 2002, 4:19 pm)

Wow...Semi scared me there. As usual, another short post by me to interrupt the ramble. I'm 14. I'm a kid in your eyes. I write for fun and need of it. I write because I want to. I want to show everyone else that I can create, not just analyze. I want to live in another world and as such, I write, creating such a world and characters as would be, as I would say, an interesting life and chains of events. I don't create plots. I create characters, the plots make themselves! I write short stories often to let certain things out of my system, without straining my brain to create a character background and a serious place or setting. I just write when I feel it's time, though I do set a certain "time " to do so.


Odoacer (December 25th, 2002, 7:04 am)

you know what naras, you and me are very very similar. I have a really hard time crafting a believeable world and characters to go along with them.

Perhaps thats why I write a lot of fanfiction. (dont deride me please, i'd like to think its good fanfic)

anyways, so I write conceptually... if there's something cool brewing in my head, i put it in one story or another and hope it all meshes together. It's also probably the reason why I can never seem to finish a story.

Discussion >  > why, or how, do you write?forum=Science-Fiction

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