General writing fiction discussion thrad.

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#1
Perhaps this is redundant. Basically im a bit selfish here, i want to get writing but i find the whole thing a bit of a bother. eg i have a few ideas/dialogue/scenes already in my head but cant seem to tie things together.

So i figure it would be helpful for me to perv on the conversations of you talented writers, see if i can pick up some tips :monster:

So to start the discussion, how do you guys deal with the boring bits? Like scene setting and description? I prefer character interaction and dialogue and really struggle with the other stuff - which is no less important of course, i just find it hard.
 
#2
Are boring bits necessary? If so, can something be happening in the background that adds to the plot beyond descriptions of scenery that would make the boring bits exciting?
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#3
Lol i dont even know. I guess i have it in my head that you should always be as descriptive as you can but maybe thats wrong? Maybe being minimal is ok? I guess its how to make that come across as a stylistic choice and not just 'i cant write for shit' lol
 

Fangu

Great Old One
#4
Fine line - too much is boring, not enough doesn't paint the pictures you want to paint in your reader's head. It's all about picking the perfect amount, and the right ones. It can be really hard. I generally like to go with the 'what's the first thing you'd notice' thing, or 'what is very typical to describe the thing' - also, is the descriptions relevant? Like, if the fortress was built with red bricks bc slaves and red bricks taken from someone's home country and kings and blah blah, then yes, red bricks. If not, 'the fortress was red'. idk X)
 
AKA
The Engineer
#5
Oftentimes I find that you want to describe things in length that matter in the story. Initial settings, what characters look like... those things you want to describe. If it's something everyone is familiar with, you usually don't have to be that descriptive of it either.

What you also might try is writing fiction without any description (just write down dialogue and what people are doing) and then going back and putting in the description once everything else is down on paper. That tends to help the initial writing not get bogged down.

I've found this journal on deviantART to be very helpful: Pacing (and Show verses Tell)
 

Fangu

Great Old One
#6
idk, when George R R Martin goes on and on about what Catelyn Stark's dress looks like, I find it completely irrelevant. Tell me it's green and regal looking and that will be enough for me. But like stories and authors differs, so does readers. It all depends on the story you want to tell.
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#7
Lol yeah, my brother read the GOT books and sad they wouldnt be so fucking thick if he wasnt describing characters clothes in excrutiating detail :lol:

Incidentally, thats a good way of spotting a Mary Sue, if they spend too much time on their description.
 
#8
Not the best person to give advice here, because I love writing description. I tend to see my stories playing in my head like a film and I just write down what I see and hear.

I think it's generally true that if you don't love writing it (and by 'love' I mean in the sadomasochistic sense; there's a lot of pain involved in writing) the readers probably won't love reading it. Personally I think the GRR Martin style of description goes too far, but I can't be doing with no description at all, either.

Fangu's advice is, I think, excellent: give just enough description to sketch in the scene - two or three salient details - and let the reader's imagination do the rest. You have to give the reader something to work with, but you also have to leave scope for their own imagination to engage with the text.

Also - Maybe you should be writing plays? How about radio plays? You could even try writing a radio adaption of a piece of literature that's out of copyright, just to get you started.

A really useful website for advice on all things to do with writing is this one:
https://www.writersandartists.co.uk

Although I like their book even more. You should be able to find it in the library.
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#9
@Lic, your descriptions make me feel like i AM watching a film, its never boring and it just sweeps me along.

My problem is sometimes i dont even know what i need to describe. Almost like i need to draw a map of a location first.
 

Keveh Kins

Pun Enthusiast
#10
I'm in a similar boat in that I've only just started to get back into creative writing and have found it a struggle at times, but most everyone does at some point or another. Some times it flies out, other times I spend two hours banging my head against the table trying to structure a sentence...and failing because I've been banging my head against a table.

I like writing descriptive passages partially because having a very clear image in my own head of the environment makes it easier for me to envision characters interacting with it, and partially because my dialogue writing is rough as a badger's arse. I often find that going for a good long walk by yourself, with no music or distractions, just your own thoughts, really helps when it comes to imagining a scene or story and all the little minutiae. I've gotten myself lost before because I got so into piecing something out in my head, and the walking's a great way to stop you from occupying yourself otherwise.

Then, when you get back, pour all that detail onto the page and you can cut out the unnecessary crap that was just for you later when you're editing.
 

Gym Leader Devil

True Master of the Dark-type (suck it Piers)
AKA
So many names
#11
Description and detail are just like anything else: there is a time and a place for different degrees of it. Used properly, the changing degree of detail you work into any given part of a story can greatly enhance things. Go much more descriptive about something that the main body of your work reflects? Reader thinks THIS IS IMPORTANT even if its not. Subtle lack of details about something? When you spring a twist or solve a mystery what details you gave suddenly jump out in the reader's mind and you get a lovely "ohhhhh I remember that!" moment.

Its all in what you wanna do, and how you use the tools available to get it done :monster:
 

trash panda

---m(O.O)gle---
AKA
Howl
#12
I prefer a lot of description, but there are different ways to express the detail in a setting. I think that a good balance between thorough detail and monotonous garble is using analogies to describe the nature of the thing being described.

The following "advice" (if you want to call it that) is only my opinion. I'm really not qualified to give advice on this topic. :awesome:

A basic description would be as follows:
She wore a green dress with lace trimmed sleeves.
This line is descriptive enough to get the point across, however the fact that her dress is green and has lace on the sleeves is irrelevant garble unless is conveys a message to the reader or has some underlying meaning to the character who is observing the dress. In fact, don't even mention what she's wearing at all unless it serves a purpose.

To add significance to the dress and validate your reason for describing it in the first place, you could write:
She wore a green dress. The hue reminded him (the character observing the dress) of an evergreen fir; a strong, deep rooted tree that never loses it's color, even in the dead of winter.
Creating an analogy using the color of a fir tree's needles to describe her dress adds depth to her character and describes the exact hue of her garb. We learn that, like the fir tree (which is the same color as her dress), she is a strong woman with deep roots and perhaps a vibrant personality.
In this example, we removed the description of the lace on her sleeves because it serves no purpose to the observer.

It is best to describe only that which is necessary. While the writer may have a highly detailed idea of how the dress looks down to the lace on her sleeves, the reader really doesn't need all of that information. In fact, removing some of the fine details allows the reader to create their own image of the dress.
If you provide every single detail of the dress down to the beads on the collar, one of two things may happen:
a) the reader will spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to put together this outlandish costume that you've created while overlooking the purpose of the scene
b) the reader will skim ahead, making your description of the dress into a complete waste
 

Fangu

Great Old One
#13
^ this. Very nicely explained.

Edit: If describing that dress is vital for something else or you just really want to do it, you need to be careful to not interrupt a scene, as Howl says.

I love writing about writing. There is so much Stuff To Consider : D
 
Last edited:

Pixel

The Pixie King
#14
Im trying to write a couple of scripts for movies. Its really freeing not having to describe everything. Just the character interactions, small amount of scene setting. I even have a scene that says "BELFAST MONTAGE" :p
 
#15
idk, when George R R Martin goes on and on about what Catelyn Stark's dress looks like, I find it completely irrelevant. Tell me it's green and regal looking and that will be enough for me. But like stories and authors differs, so does readers. It all depends on the story you want to tell.
You'd like Robert Jordan, then. There's a famous chapter in book 10 of his series, in which Character X takes a bath. And he's famous for describing dresses, rooms, tapestries... It's excessive, but not always pointless. One character is prone to everything she owns being covered in as much lace as possible, a particular ruler was born a fishergirl and has hardly any furniture not brutally practical, another one puts a lot of consideration into looking exactly like how she thinks a queen should, someone else on the march has a rickety chair that keeps collapsing.

Honestly, being able to invest me in their descriptions is how I distinguish the good from the great. Details on dresses can be relevant if it's worn in a situation where the character wants to be seen in a certain way, or gives an insight into their person or environment(she didn't use to wear things like that, something has changed.) General descriptions give the impression that the author has actually put in some research, and knows how things work. When it gets into someone describing the brand name and serial number of the motorbikes his pursuers are using, that's a problem. I read something by Robin Hobb lately about a character who spends most of one book digging graves, and it worked, mostly. The next is described on goodreads as 'X eating things and arguing with himself''. But's it's so damned well written that it can't help but be compelling.

Me, I'm not good at descriptions, I don't even know what my own characters look like most of the time, unless there's something relevant like a missing hand or armour. It's something I need to work on.
 

Dawnbreaker

~Heiress of Her Will~
#16
I go with what Howl said: work within the confines of the observer. Not only does it describe the one being observed, but it says something about the one doing the observing. I've always loved this type of writing, because it serves more than one purpose. And in stories you want to get as much bang for your...words.

I'm also very fond of what I've termed 'active description' (I'm sure there's a real word for it, but I've misplaced it)...as in description in action. i.e. the house isn't just old and decrepit; the boards are falling off, birds are nesting and the even local vegetation has overgrown through the windows.

You don't need to, and shouldn't, describe everything, especially not right away. Aside from being completely irrelevant at points, there's also an air of excitement and mystery as you peel the layers of the world for the reader at later points. And let them put some of the pieces together themselves. Just make sure to note the important things, else you'll confuse the reader, and that's never a good thing (unless it's for a plot twist; then have at her!).

I use to rely heavily on description, too much so. I admit I was quite good at describing things, but I got bogged down in it so much that the story's pace was crawling. Then I went on a mass murdering of my imagery, and found that, sometimes, you'd do better to form the vision just a bit for the reader even as they fill in the parts you leave unsaid.

So now I'm in the stage of balancing the amount of description I go for. It's quite the juggling act, but I feel it's worthwhile since I want my readers (even if it's just me) to feel tantalized but also satisfied!
 
Last edited:

Fangu

Great Old One
#17
This thread needs to be alive! I have suggestions for topics:

  • The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them
  • Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)
  • Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writing
  • Stories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why
  • Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?
  • Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless
  • Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?
  • Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?
  • What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why

I don't mean that people should answer ALL of those, but maybe pick one or two to keep the topic going?
 
#18
Something that I see a lot on tumblr are 'headcanon memes', which asked you to supply all kinds of random information about your characters - or 'muse' if we're talking RP. The one doing the rounds of tumblr right now asks the following questions:

What they smell like
How they sleep
What music they enjoy
How much time they spend getting ready every morning
Their favourite thing to collect
Religion (if any)
Favourite touristy thing to do when travelling
Favourite kind of weather
An obscure fear they have

I don't understand the popularity of these memes.

With the exception of Reno (beer, fags, and that funny chemical smell plastic electrical sockets emit when they start to overheat; spread-eagled across the entire bed; country and western*; two minutes; toy helicopters; he's superstitious rather than religious; try all the different brands of local booze; overcast and cool; sahagin) I really have no idea of the answers to these questions for any of my characters.

I guess if I wanted to I could sit down and make something up, but I'd just be forcing quirks on my characters, rather than voicing an authentic head canon. Real character traits, I think, need to emerge and blossom organically.

*Actually, I made that country and western thing up. I have no headcanon for the kind of music Reno likes.

I guess my question is, does one really need headcanon for all these minor details in order to truly know one's characters?
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#19
YAY I have access to a keyboard and can type more than 10 words!

I think more often than not headcanons are what people wish rather than what would actually make sense for that character in that setting.

I mean I guess it can help people more fully realise their interpretation of a character which can only be good. But in terms of how the character really is from their creators intention pov it's not so useful.

Fortunately for us, I think the majority of the characters we are writing belong more to the fans than their creators - the fans have spent more time and energy thinking about this stuff.

It don't think Nojima or Nomura or whoever could tell you what Reno's favourite anything is. I doubt they could even tell you Cloud's favourite food.


Anyway to answer Fangus stuff:

The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them
Oh good lord this. Like there are no original characters storys or scenarios really. I find myself going too far the other way to avoid one trope and ending up smack dab in another. Like Ok (incoming Hobbit fangirling!) It's sort of been decided amongst Hobbit fan's that Thorin did have a love interest prior to everything going to shit - so how do you write that!? Because Thorin - what we see of him in the films is an incredibly fucked up guy who has the fate of his people on his shoulders and is basically a bit mad. He's a giantically grumpy twat (though we all love him!) but how does that even translate to romance? Because every first impression we see him make is him being rude and grumpy - even to Elrond who is the nicest person in middle earth! It's just not conducive to romance.

So now we have to think OK - maybe - all that grumpy twatishness is because of the pressure he is under. Maybe before all that he was different - but then you're writing an almost totally different character and you're flying blind. And it would be too fucking easy to write him as some boring perfect nice prince - which would suck balls.

I prefer to think that he is totally socially awkward when it comes to females or at least females he likes romantically - and that was always there and not to do with fucking Smaug shitting everything up. But thats a trope too isnt it? The socially awkward guy who falls in love but is useless at acting upon it to the point of hostility - Tsundere - they even have a name for it in anime! :lol:

Oh and then writing a female OC that doesnt suck, isn't a mary sue is so fucking difficult. You want readers to like her and stuff, but you can't make her flawless because thats not realistic at all. Yet I see other fic writers manage it just fine. Its a fucking nightmare.

Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)
Other than this, not that much. Not conciously anyway. I think I'm always thinking about stuff one way or another.

Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writingStories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why
Porn. I mean I want to be able to write big epic sprawling stuff with proper character development but I'm never been one to eat my vegetables I just want to skip to dessert :monster:



Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?
Probably more with an OC I think, because its a blank canvas. I think all characters personalities a writer creates are informed by their creators - like I would never write a character like myself because that would suck - but I would write a character who is an ideal of what I would like to be like. There are lots of variations. The incredibly surly kick ass warrior, the incredibly handy yet goofy mechanic/pilot/astronaut - thats just two of them (though they have never really been written down yet!)


Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless
Ha, well I havent yet posted anything to be feedbacked upon. I have a nice empty AO3 account though. I think if I was to post something I'd be specific about what I wanted fb on to begin with eg: "I think X part seems a little off can anyone advise improvement?" Other than that I'd just be happy if people enjoyed it - even if it was just 'OMG I loved this!111!' I think sometimes feedback can be a bit much if its basically getting you to change the story too much. The story is what it is. Unrelated - I hate it when a fic says its been beta'd yet is still riddled with typos and spelling errors!


Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?
Probably everything I've ever written is drabble. I dunno if I benefit from them, I guess every little helps right?


Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?


Hmm, I usually have one scene or an exhange of dialogue in my head, and then I sit for 9000 hours staring at the screen thinking 'how the fuck do I get from here to there?!" I mean sometimes I hit a snag where I realise that 'oh wait for X to happen it means that Y can't happen yet or even at all' Like I draw back and see the bigger picture and my story doesn't make sense all of a sudden.

What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why


Ha ha quite a few. 2 or three Tseng/Elena fics that were abandoned because I can't get them to make sense probably 4-5 years old :O A few Hobbit related things (and no they're not even all porn at all actually!) but basically my main problem with writing is writing. I should really just write scripts instead because I'm all about the visuals and I just cant articulate it in words. :closedmonster:
 

Dawnbreaker

~Heiress of Her Will~
#20
I don't mean that people should answer ALL of those, but maybe pick one or two to keep the topic going?
I’m going to answer all of them. For some reason I just want to. >>
The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them
I make it a point, now, to avoid many of these as possible. I actually read up on tropes online and then I try to subvert them in my stories. I don’t always succeed (some clichés are too ingrained to be ripped out of genres) but I’d like to think I make for an interesting twist when I do something that wasn’t in keeping with cliché (like how my hero’s grand transformation turns out to be a complete disaster…LOL).
Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)
I don’t read nearly as often as I use to, or want to. But I usually get in a few hours during bath time or down time. I started going to historical fiction and mythology to get inspiration for my stories. I tend to write a few hours a week too, also not as much as I’d like. I do, however, a lot of researching for my stories, pouring through internet articles for hours at a time (Wiki in particular is almost always open as a tab).
Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writing
I can honestly say I write almost exactly what I want to write about. I can’t say that makes my stories popular but I write from a place of honesty and integrity. I’m loyal to my own personal goals in that regard.
Stories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why
1st person almost always kicks my ass and I’m still none too fond of dialogue. I think that’s because I’m better at grand-scaling things rather than representing the more mundane scenes. I need to learn that even the most ‘insignificant’ scene or emotion can have a big impact on the development of the story.
Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?
I don’t do a self-insert per say, but I do write characters with values or flaws that I have. I take a piece of myself and insert that into each character, so there’s literally hundreds of characters all with a part of me in them. This makes it easier to relate so I can write them better.
Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless
Get it from another writer. Sorry but most people have NO idea how to write and will give you the most useless advice. The useful stuff is the kind that addresses the core issues of your writing ethic or skill like a lack of characterization or an obsession with excessive imagery, rather than “OMG, your story was so good because you wrote my favourite character!”. Gawds.
Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?
I didn’t use to, but I write more of them now. Just for brainstorming purposes.
Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?
No story ever got started without at least the bare-bones outline. For me, organizing my thoughts is critical for my comfort. If I’ve no idea where I’m going I tend to stall on the writing, waiting until something comes along to encourage it to continue. And it won’t.
What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why
Oh god, this could take a while. LOL I think I’ll just talk about my recent stuff.

My current stuff includes a novel which is a prequel to my main trilogy and a fanfiction I’m currently brainstorming. The novel is moving along decently but gets side-tracked with RL problems and a bad case of the Can’t-Be-Arsed-ness. The fanfic story is really getting back-burned because I’d like to get the novel done first. That, and I’m posting stuff up at AO3 and I’ like to get that stuff posted before I write the sequel.

And as for Lic’s question:
I guess my question is, does one really need headcanon for all these minor details in order to truly know one's characters?
The simple answer is no. Honestly, aside from the obscure fear and the religion not one of those have a real impact on the personality of the character. It’s useful for fleshing out the character and for having fun tid-bits to pull out in the story to amuse the reader…but otherwise it doesn’t delve to the core of the character which includes values and goals.
 
Last edited:

Fangu

Great Old One
#21
Lic I love your post - I read the various points (and recognized several of them from Tumblr) and thought 'well, some people like doing these exercises, and I guess if you know your characters really well, they don't take much energy to write down' - then when I read the line beneath them I just went HNNG DERES A RAISIN I WANTED 2 B SHIPPD W/ LIC

Because I've often frowned upon these posts, going 'ugh I could never bother with that'. Like you say, does one really need headcanons for everything about your characters? A lot of it is culturally based as well, and thus doesn't really say anything (important) about the character - that he likes classical music might be a very telling thing in France, but not in the UK, etc. How a person sleeps could also be very life phase based. There are different and better ways to say something about your characters, like doing a drabble or writing a small piece of dialogue.

If you asked me to answer these question about the characters I feel I know the best (from Ally: Fran, Balthier, Claire, Snow, Louis) I wouldn't be able to answer half of these questions without pondering really hard on it - and what would it be worth? Unless I needed it for a story, that is. You need to have written a lot of words about your characters to know them well enough to know everything there is to know - and I don't think you ever do. Get to know them that well, I mean. I know my Ally characters well enough to write them decently, but I don't really feel like I know them well. Sometimes they just leave for vacation without saying a word.

Edit: AAAA BOTH OCTO AND DAWN POASTED AAAAAA NEED TO REED EVRYTHANG
 
#22
This thread needs to be alive! I have suggestions for topics:
Okay, I guess I'll answer them too!

The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them
Literally everything is a trope nowadays and has a page dedicated to it at TV Tropes. I ignore the whole existence of tropes and just write what I want to write, whatever feels real and true.

Like, I don't even understand exactly what a trope is anymore. Reno being a smoker - is that a trope? Orbs = eyes: is that a trope? Describing eye colour at length as if eye colour told you something about a character's personality - trope? What about referring to people by epithets - the blonde, the ravenette etc ... Is that a trope? Cloud being emo? I just don't know. Trope to me has become a meaningless word because it embraces absolutely everything.

Rant over.


Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)
When I'm writing I don't read a lot. I tend to be very easily influenced by other people's style, both verbally and in writing: if you leave me in the room for half an hour with a Dubliner I'll start talking with an Irish accent. If I spent a day reading Hemingway I start writing short sentences.

Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writing
Someone (Vonnegut?) said "put a bunch of a characters in a situation and see what happens". I really can't abide the thematic or "issue" approach to writing - "I'm going to write a novel about how to heal from anorexia" sort of thing that you see all the time in YA fiction. That said, my characters do tend to suffer a lot from unrequited love and dysfunctional families, neither of which are problems I've ever had to confront, so go figure.

Stories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why
Action scenes. Boring to read and boring to write. I just want to write, "And then they fought and the hero won: imagine it for yourself, reader."

Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?
I don't think I do. Of course there's inevitably a bit of me in all my characters.


Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless
Obvs the kind I like best is the kind that provides thoughtful praise which a) shows that the commenter really understands the craft of fiction, and b) is lavish in its adoration of my leet writing skilz. The ones that start off by apologising for commenting always make me feel kind of awkward - it's like, geez, reviewer, don't you understand that we authors LIVE for reviews? The least helpful (and I had one of these once) are the ones that quite clearly don't understand what you're trying to do with the fic but offer suggestions for "improvement" anyway. Also, people who mistakenly find errors in my grammar where none exist.

[*]Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?
To me, a 3,000 word short story is a drabble. Everything tries to grow into a novel if I don't exert strict control.

[*]Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?
No outlines. No character sketches. Jump in and let it all unfold organically.

[*]What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why
Just DIPOTP. Plus a historical novel, which is kind of like fanfiction for dead real people.
 
#23
The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them.

I can't say I pay particular attention to tropes. Dundundun.

Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)

Considering I make most stuff up, and most things I write ain't based in the real world, I don't need to do too much research. The most I spend time on is technical terms, eg: terms given to specific sections of a ship, or a building, or a weapon, etc.

Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writing.

I like adventure stories where people journey and eventually "save the day". I'd like to write a political thriller based in the real world (albeit an alternate one), but I don't have the time for it at the moment. That certainly would require a lot of research to be believable :P.

Stories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why

Scenes containing a lot of characters, especially battles. The flow of the story seems to cease when I write such sections, and I feel it might be hard for the reader to differentiate between who is doing something to what. Granted, I think I generally solve the flow problem by the time I finish the story, but the process is certainly difficult.

Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?

I think this is a huge problem for me. It is certainly sub-conscious. Something I need to work upon. My characters lack a broad field of personalities, and I suspect that is because they are me :awesome:, or rather how I'd be if in their shoes.

Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless.

I like to receive what would probably be perceived as brutal feedback. I suspect I give brutal feedback too, given the vibes or outright criticism people give me when I do give it :awesome:. It shouldn't matter as long as it is constructive, otherwise it is indeed not useful. If criticism is given, you shouldn't personalise it. The ego needs to be sedated.

Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?

Never heard of it until now, and given a quick googling, I'm sure it'd come in handy for writing good essays. I think I somewhat write concisely already. I try and structure my writing so I can say a lot in very little words.

Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?

Probably jump straight into it. I have a basic idea of how I want things to go, but it is only in writing that I see if what I have in mind works / is believable.

What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why

I have a wip, but I don't think I'll be working on it for quite some time, given uni. I think I started on it mid-2013, but I haven't touched it for months. Having re-read it since, I really dislike it, so will probably give it a re-write anyway.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#24
The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them
It's more how tropes are executed that bothers me then the tropes themselves. If a good in character or canon explanation is given for an overused trope, I'm fine with it. If the trope is there for no reason, or just because everyone else does it then it's a lot more bothersome. If I'm writing fan-fic, I'll go back to source I'm writing from and see if I can't come up with another version of a character/event that's still canon then what people usually assume about it.

One thing that does annoy me though are AU (alternate universe) fics that "fix" everything that goes wrong in a story. Most of which I think has more to do with authors not thinking enough ahead about the consequences of the story. It's not that I don't like AUs, but if one thing gets fixed, the consequences of the fix can't all be positive. This is especially true in stories where the negative circumstances end up being a positive influence on characters. Taking away that negative circumstance also takes away that positive influence.
Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)
The hardest part about writing for me is the actual writing itself. This probably has to do with how what I want to write down is one big long movie in my head and all that visual/audio has to be converted into text. So I probably spend more time writing just because of that.
Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writing
I love writing dialogue, especially from first-person perspective where you can only put down what one person is thinking about the situation. Especially when you're doing multiple first-person perspectives and not everyone knows what's going on. I love mind-screwing with the readers/characters. :evilgrin:
Stories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why
Writing the rough draft of anything. I'll start agonizing when I don't find the right word for something the first time around and I'll obsess over it to the point that it kills my creativity. Scenes that I haven't mentally "blocked out" (the theater type of blocking, not the mental one) are also hard as I don't know what's going to happen in them yet.
Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?
I think to some degree, all authors self-insert, otherwise they wouldn't be able to figure out what possible character reactions to the plot are. I don't deliberately do it though unless I'm working on my Elder Scrolls fan-fics, in which case, self-inserts are part of the point.
Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless
I like feedback that tells me what people liked/didn't like and why. Was it the writing style? what I'm doing with the plot? do they think I should have been clearer about something? etc. I tend to leave the type of feedback that I want. That said, I tend to have a possitve outlook on things, so it's a lot harder for me to find things to complain about and easier to find things I like.
Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?
I do them in my head. Usually they're backstories for characters that help me flesh them out as 3-D people. You could say they're like film-stips on the cutting room floor; canon info that doesn't make it into the actual story.
Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?
There's an outline in my head of all the major plot-points of a story before I ever start work on it. Sometimes I don't know exactly how they'll all be connected, but definetly know where the story is going at all times. It's not a text-based outline though, it's a bunch of movie clips of all the important points of the story.
What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why
FFVII wip I've had in my head for a long time is an exploration of the S Project and it's aftermath from the pov of Hojo, Lucrecia, Vincent, and the Lifestream/Minerva. Then there's all my Elder Scrolls stuff I need to write down... most of which isn't getting done because I have so much other stuff on my plate and writing is actually pretty stressful for me when I can just make an mental movie of it.
 

Keveh Kins

Pun Enthusiast
#25
The most common tropes encountered while writing and how you handle them

I don't really know, to be honest. Generally I just write what I want to write about and don't worry too much about whether or not it's a trope, at least not when it comes to fanfiction. Mostly I just try to avoid being too cliché, but just about everything has been done before and a lot of it done to death, so I suppose I take the "Simpsons did it" approach and just write what I want to write regardless of tropes.

Hours spent reading vs writing vs reading/writing about writing (research, writing meta, etc)

I've had to read a lot lately, most of it academic essays and such. Between college work and writing, I don't really have the energy to read much else so I just focus on writing as frequently as I can. I'm very much in favour of the trial and error process of creative writing. The best way to improve is to write, have people read it and then tell you what they liked and what they thought sucked about it.


Favourite subjects when writing (both consciously and subconsciously) vs the subjects you want to be interested in writing

Same as tropes, I don't really know. Writing romance is something I have a feeling I'd struggle with. I both like and dislike writing comedic scenes, like because they're fun for me and dislike because I spend the entire time shitting a brick about whether or not its actually funny.

Stories/ scenes you struggled the most with, and why

The first chapter of a crossover fic I've been working on. I wrote it at a snail's pace, it was the first thing I'd written in years. The first scene required a lot of emphasis on small sensory details - the character's waking up from being comatose (that's a Trope, right?) and basically re-experiencing his physical senses for the first time, so he had to pay attention to stuff that he otherwise wouldn't.


Thoughts on self insert (imagining yourself (too much) in your character's place): Do you do it? Consciously? Sub-consciously?

I don't mind self-inserts if they're done well. I'm much the same as Dawnbreaker in that there's bits and pieces of my personality in certain characters and they hold certain flaws or perspectives that I share but I try to avoid inserting myself into a story as, truth be told, I'm not all that interesting a character.

Thoughts on feedback. What kind do you want, what kind do you leave, what kind do you useful, what kind do you find useless

When I was younger, I feared feedback because like a lot of people I took any remark upon something that I did very personally. I copped the feck on after I got a bit older, feedback on college essays helped me get over myself. Now I just want honest feedback, even if that means being brutal about how bad something was. I wholeheartedly embrace having my writing ripped apart and scrutinised piece by piece. If there's something that's shit in my fic, I want people to point it out so I can try my best to avoid it in future.

I also really do appreciate positive feedback, it's cool to know someone enjoyed something you've written. I like it best when it comes with constructive criticisms though.

Drabbles, do you do them, and do you benefit from them? If so, what?

I've done drabbles, they sucked. But they are useful for shaking off the rust or writer's block.

Do you outline carefully, or do you jump straight into it?

I have an idea and usually some sort of rough notion of a conclusion. A bit like writing an essay and having a thesis that you're working toward. I like to have an idea of where I'm going to end up, but as for how I get there I just write and see what happens. Life's a big ol' trip from birth to death, beginning to end, A to B. But you can do whatever the feck ye want in between, that's pretty much how I write. (I'm pretty sure I read that life crap somewhere, just can't remember where)

What wip/ work in progress do you currently have in store, how long have they been there and if you're having problems with some of them, why


Working on a multi-chapter crossover/AU between FFXIII and the Lords of Shadow universe. Been working on this slowly since Christmas whilst writing short fics on the side. Pacing it is a big worry of mine as I've never written a multi-chapter fic before. For now I'm just going to focus on getting it written and weeding out the crap later, during the summer, when I'll inevitable be unemployed and have a lot of time on my hands.
 
Top Bottom