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Author Topic: How do you make writing fun (or, So that's a new bit of self discovery)  (Read 1602 times)

ReindeerFlotilla

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I've been having trouble writing for years. Olden times I used to chug ideas and defecate witty prose. Lately, writing has been a chore. All the basic crafting gets in the way of what I'm trying to do--tell a story. I did my most solid work in recent time using the first person. That should have been a clue.

So NaNoWriMo is this thing happening. This year I decided, "screw this novel stuff. I'm going to do a web comic." So I marshaled my notes and dug in.

That was probably a mistake. My goal is the 50000 words. I don't actually care how I get there as long as I have a solid foundation for the story and a bunch of prototype strips. My metagoal, however, is the same I always have when I do this: 50000 words of story. NaNo does proof read your novel, so--technically anything you write counts toward your word count. I could add this post if I wanted. I restrict my self to fiction and additional notes supporting that fiction, and I've finished more than once using that method. But I always try to do it on story alone.

That being the mistake. I'm not afraid of too many words, but even allowing for that, the average script I'm churning out works out to just under 21 months of comic. that's 7 days a week, no holidays. The really scary part, too me at least, is that I'm just coming up on 10% of my esimate. I'm also just shy if 10 of the word count, if I leave out notes.

I've never written with this speed. And it all comes down to HOW I'm writing it.

Basically, I have an idea. I then write the script as pure dialogue. I don't even mark who's speaking. I do some blocking, if it's important to the setup. I mark the end of the script, then start the next one. I do this until I'm sick of it. Then break. After the break, I go over the script adding in the speaker's names, and checking any critical blocking.

I've thought about doing a comic for a long time, or just writing something else. But I know my limits. I can't just sit down with a plan and write a script a day. I have to have a solid core of material.

I thought 60-ish strips. I could crank that out in a month or so. At least I could get the scripts. Hopefully, the art in 2 months, so may average output was 30 a month.

NaNoWriMo began 28 hours ago, I slept about 10 of those, and tried to sleep for about 4.5 more. Then wasted a lot of time just being tired. (frakin insomnia) in that time I produced 58 scripts totaling approximately 4450 words of pure fiction and 1500 words of notes.

And it's fun! I'm figuring out a possible resolution to a love triangle right now, and it's a blast. A minor character has suddenly become really important, and the cast is FINally starting the the wise"man" character as someone they turn to for advice. They aren't there, yet, but they're starting to come to life.

What have discovered that make writing fun?

Aziraphale

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One thing I've found helpful in both writing and photography is to switch off my internal critic, and also tell my internal editor to take a hike while I'm at it. Once in a while, I find it useful, and fun, to just write for the sake of it. If it comes out with piles of grammatical errors, if it comes out backwards or out of sequence, or even if it doesn't quite make sense on the first reading, I just roll with it. I figure I can always edit later, or impose structure later.

I've never tried my hand at fiction. Well, that's not entirely true. I have a series of... well, I hesitate to call them stories. Episodes? Sketches, maybe?  But I've been kicking ideas around for something, or a series of somethings, that'd probably be comic-ish. I think what I might do is figure out the bones of it, and find someone better at fiction than I am to round things out.

On a related note, something else that can be fun is just to come up with a character and see what they have to say. They'll let you know their stories, when they're ready.
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Sometimes it can be a combination of things that brings things to a grinding halt.

Me, I've had both personal and medical reasons, along with other factors that have stalled my WIPs for nearly a year now.

I'm hoping that I'll hit the Keyboard again sometime soon as the desire to write is slowly coming back again.
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ReindeerFlotilla

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I can see how the time pressure of NaNoWriMo can help turn off the censor. (Nothing quiets my editor, and that's fine. Trying to follow the advice to squelch the inner editor makes me stabby and unproductive).

I have something like 94 scripts in total. The down side of the wild and crazy method is that 44 of them deal with the resolution of a stary arc that not meant to be resolved for a long time. During a break, I thought, "where am I going with this?" Just wondering what I should foreshadow, and such. The I had an incredibly stupid idea, and I decided to see where it went (Basically, the problem comes to a crisis. The characters involved decide to talk it out. One points something out as an ironic joke. All realize it's not irony but truth. All agree, truth or not it would be a terrible idea. In the next strip they have gone and done the thing.) It felt like a cheap gag, but exploring it seemed like a good way to "talk" to those characters. To see how they talk to each other. And the whole exercise was very useful in that sense. One of the characters is way to flat, not engaged. The others have taken to the motives I've given them, but this one hasn't. He needs more flaws.

Anyway, despite that problem, the complications created by the cheap gag are really interesting to me. I'm not sure if they are 44+ strips worth of interesting. That'd be two to four months to tell at a strip a day, and that doesn't allow for weaving in other plotlines. I'm okay with that, to a certain extent. Only the first few scripts need to be developed to a publishable level after all. There's no way I can practically come up with two years of usable scripts in a month.

I'm just astounded at how much volume, in plot and word count, I can produce through the simple expedient of skipping the descriptions.

I feel like the factor here is not the time pressure, but just they way I "see" a story. I feel the motions of the plot, and I hear the characters talk. trying to write both of those things at the same time leads to a situation where I lose track of the direction or dialogue, and have stop and reconstruct the next step. Stripping the first draft down to dialogue, and the occasional blocking, has resulted in my being able to put a scene down while it's still fresh

The biggest issue I have now is that several of the characters are already refusing to stick to the script. I'll see an exchange as being A, B, C. But the characters seem to feel it's A, D, Q, b, c, C.

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The biggest issue I have now is that several of the characters are already refusing to stick to the script.

I can only write when the characters are telling me what's going on.
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Unless there's some way to weave those endings into the narrative, kinda like a Choose Your Own Adventure book (I feel like I'm dating myself with that reference)? Or a way of showing the different outcomes that would've played out depending on how the characters behaved, or on the choices they made? Not all 44 of them, necessarily, but it might be an idea worth exploring (even though it might take you into Groundhog Day territory a bit, depending on how you handled it). Or at least it seems that way to me, since I typically have a hard enough time plotting one storyline, so I'm a little envious that you have so many options in front of you. :)
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Knowing I can take a a couple of days and churn out 59 scripts takes this whole idea of creating to a different perspective. I'm not worried about the 44 future scripts surviving in the form they have now. In fact, a complaint on the Enjoy board has me rethinking the entire idea. Ultimately, not the basic plan. I like it, too much. But certain elements of the story have to be rethought, and probably 8 or 10 of the 44 have to be different.

As for the character rebellion, it's a bit more extreme than I suggested. My first illustration was just to get the point across.

Say my idea is I need a strip between 5 and 6 to add background for X. It's not a huge deal, a single throwaway line (T) will do, and it only takes a couple of lines to get there. I would imagine that going A, B, T(P), where P is the button or punchline. If T can button the strip, it could be as few as three lines.

What usually ends up happening is strip 5a goes A, G, Q, Q?!, P. Now I need 5b. If G or Q weren't huge, 5b will probably go, R, D?, X,X because B, I, H,P. A and B are down so, if I am lucky, 5c will finally introduce T.

Edit: in related news, the basic plot of the story has just rebelled. Apparently I am writing a different take than I thought.
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