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Thread: How does one think, act, grow, progress, or just plain get ideas on paper?

  1. #1

    How does one think, act, grow, progress, or just plain get ideas on paper?

    (sorry if this is a bit weird to read, i was trying to do this stream of consciousness just to see if i was capable, and in the hopes i wouldn't over think my wording and fail to present the problem/question)

    ... how to say this, well what am i even saying, what am i asking? well the last of those is easy.

    How does one think, act, grow, progress, or just plain get ideas on paper?

    of course that's a vague question isn't it. But well it's what i'm asking. I have a problem with drawing; it's a sort of love hate relationship, but that's not the important part. because really drawing isn't the question here, it's part of it, and considering the nature of this sub-board( or at least as i understand it) there is a chance that will become the focus (or not). so keeping that in mind, can i describe the problem?

    To put it simply, i am not a person who does things, i am a person anal retentive enough that it might border on OCD, I am the kind of person who works hard not to have opinions that cannot be expanded into a full essay on the subject matter, i believe that an ego is a terrible thing (though i have also learned trying to kill ones ego only makes it stronger apparently), i am a person who thinks planning to make more than two drafts on a project is an admission to poor planning and pre-thinking, i can say something like "I tried having fun and it was a terrible experience" and only be half kidding. perhaps in simpler terms i have a ten foot rod shoved where the sun don't shine and you know what, to be honest it doesn't hurt but it makes life hard to enjoy.

    perhaps to make things easier to understand let me tell you about one of the stories i've been writing for awhile, as in at least 4-5 years, not including the parts before i scrapped/forgot a huge portion of the ideas and started from all but scratch. now at this point you might think i would have something to show for it, but i have absolutely nothing unless your willing to roll out a CAT scan machine, i have written nothing of this down except for a few one or so paragraph long false starts of the beginning. largely because i'm still running a fine tooth comb through the story trimming away unneeded details and making sure the events and actions make sense, there are still a few problems though i'm down to the skeleton of the story that taking anything away can really ruin a portion of the story (for example the story is divided into three primary sub-arcs a lot of the emotional weight of the second arc's climax rests on the shoulders of an otherwise unnecessary character, aside from this scene he only acts as a foil to the facade/persona to one of the two primary characters, a facade/persona that starts coming down early in the third arc. the simplest solution would be to kill him off in the major scene which makes sens and further develops the emotional impact, but then given that he isn't introduced until about 20% into the second arc it feels like he's written as a cheap emotional ploy...) but outside of some issues like that the story is arguably ready to start being worked on as most/ all of the bigger problems occur later enough that the beginning is essentially good to go.

    have i gotten anywhere writing all this, was i ever going anywhere with it. to be honest i don't know, basically i have problems and i'm sure many of them are about how i think.

    there is no point of writing/drawing/creating something no one else will see, you have the idea and know what it is so any more effort is wasted if you have no audience.
    I have no problem with you spanking me. However, I have a huge problem with you not spanking me...

  2. #2
    In the Dramatic Scriptwriting course that I took at college (an elective), the professor told us how to write a movie script.

    Start with 3 Beats (or 3 main points in the story. Turning points, if you will). I've found that these 3 Beats relate to the 3 Act Structure. Then expand those 3 beats into 9 beats (an additional beat coming before and after each Main beat). Then add more beats if you want, and expand those beats into paragraphs. Each paragraph represents a scene in the script. Each paragraph/scene should build on the previous one, because all together they will form the movie. When that's done, expand the paragraphs into scripted scenes, and you have your first draft.

    One of the famous screenplay writers (I forgot what his name is) would apparently write the first draft of his movie, then put it in a drawer, leave it alone, and re-write the whole movie. He would do this 22 times, and each time the story would get better.

    What I've noticed is this:

    Tag Line = Thesis Statement
    Trailer = Introduction
    3 Beats = Acts = Main Points
    9 Beats = Main points and sub-points
    scenes = paragraphs
    Resolution = Conclusion

    That's how people are being taught to write screenplays, and probably also novels, short stories, etc. A story is not an essay. It has a different dynamic from an essay, or a newspaper article.

    To write a good story, you must be good at storytelling, or the art of flirting.

    I've found that the 'essay' structure of writing a story actually makes it Harder for me to write the story.

    It gives structure to a story, yes, but it stifles character development. And characters are what the audience relates to when they experience a story. A well-structured story can fall flat without well-written characters. And story with some plot holes, depending on the nature of those holes, can be forgiven if there are great, well-written characters in the story.

    What I think you need to do is strike a balance between planning and characterization. Because you can plan all you want, but until you write the story, you won't know how well it's going to turn out. And even the best-planned story can take a different turn if you develop the characters.

    Think of story 'planning' as a 'framework' for you to tell the story in, not the finishing touches of the story.

    And for the character you're having a problem with, you may want to develop that character's personality. A memorable character would also have a greater impact on the audience with his death.

    EDIT:
    The best way to kill an ego is with humility. Humility is acknowledging what you can do, and what you can't do. It's admitting when you're not perfect. Admitting when you're wrong.

    An ego is an elevated sense of self-importance, which is inflated by pride. A person cannot be proud and humble about something at the same time. Pride is an unjust elevation, but humility is acknowledging what your limit is.

    If you realize that it's okay not to be perfect, and you do the best you are capable of, then you can improve as you go.

    One of the big problems that people have when writing is that they edit while they're writing. I suggest that you don't edit while you write, because that stops creativity and then you never get it down.

    Write down what you can, and then edit it. Perhaps write in portions, like an episode or a chapter, and then edit it.

    But not too much. Only edit it enough so that it 'works,' then write the next chapter.

    After you've written everything down, you can edit it until you're happy.
    Last edited by SmartrykFoster; 08-28-2012 at 03:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Trying to ask a question i'm not sure how to phrase with a largely stream of consciousness text dump can offcially go on the list of bad/failed ideas i think...

    @SmartykFoster: the story discussion was meant as an example... well regardless i must say i'm curious about your advice there; i mean am i reading it right then you consider planning and characterization as mutually exclusive ideas, if so do you mind my asking why you think that is because i just don't see how that works. You decide on a characters personality in the earliest stages of planning, you plan the story, and thus the things that happen to your characters, and you plan how they react to those situations. Why can i only focus on characterization when writing, and not while planning, or are you using characterization to mean something else. Also, though i do agree that you don't really know if something works until you write it down that has more to do with the fact that someone else can read it, not it actually being written down, unless there is something i'm not seeing.

    also humility is hard, constant attacks and the realization that ones 'accomplishments' are far from that (to paraphrase myself after graduating high school "And, in this day, age and country who hasn't but the exceedingly unfortunate, and the incredibly stupid. Only the former have an excuse not to, and i am not one of them.") i am more than willing to admit my faults, willing to admit when i'm wrong (given someone can objectively explain/prove why i'm wrong).

    Finally, tell me, How does one not edit while they write. IF you read that first post, as much as it was stream of consciousness, it was far from pure stream of consciousness because i still edited as i went, writing what i was writing, thinking about what i was going to write, and re reading the last sentence or so more or less at the same time. i thankfully avoided changing the thoughts and order of thoughts (mostly), but phrasing, wording, and such were all edited as i went along. like i said, the problem is as much how i think and act, but what does normal thinking and acting in writing and drawing even mean. and how do you fix your own thoughts and ingrained ticks and more or less subconscious actions.
    I have no problem with you spanking me. However, I have a huge problem with you not spanking me...

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bardic-Dragoon View Post
    Trying to ask a question i'm not sure how to phrase with a largely stream of consciousness text dump can offcially go on the list of bad/failed ideas i think...
    That depends. Did it accomplish what you intended? Was it the only, or best, way that you were able to accomplish it?

    @SmartykFoster: the story discussion was meant as an example... well regardless i must say i'm curious about your advice there; i mean am i reading it right then you consider planning and characterization as mutually exclusive ideas, if so do you mind my asking why you think that is because i just don't see how that works. You decide on a characters personality in the earliest stages of planning, you plan the story, and thus the things that happen to your characters, and you plan how they react to those situations. Why can i only focus on characterization when writing, and not while planning, or are you using characterization to mean something else.
    Writing characters and planning a story are not mutually exclusive, but some people put more effort into planning the story first, then they develop the characters and find out that the characters don't believably 'fit' the plan for the story. That's when some writers 'force' their characters to fit the story (by writing the characters 'out of character' or re-writing the characters throughout the story). On that same note, some people put a lot of effort into developing their characters but not a lot of thought into planning out the plot. That can result in a story with great characters but not a lot of plot substance, which can become boring.

    However, even if a person develops the characters and plans the plot around the actions that each character would take (which is the best way to plan a story, IHMO, but also probably the hardest way because of the amount of thought that must be put into each character, turn of the story, character interaction, etc.), when you write the story, each character's actions and dialog, you might be inspired to do things that are great, and can portray the characters better or make the plot better, because of inspiration that comes 'in the moment' when you're writing. And sometimes that can necessitate a change to the plot.

    Also, though i do agree that you don't really know if something works until you write it down that has more to do with the fact that someone else can read it, not it actually being written down, unless there is something i'm not seeing.
    It has more to do with the flow of information to the audience within the medium that the story is intended for. If you're writing a novel, then you have to paint pictures for the readers with your words, and you have to make sure that the information is flowing at an appropriate pace, and that that pace works for the story as a whole. Story pacing has to do with the plot, but more to do with how the story is presented to the audience. And stories intended for other mediums, like comics or live-action, have their own dynamics of visual presentation, story pacing and possibly whether or not the lines 'sound right' when they're spoken (dialog can sound great on paper, but some dialog may not sound good when spoken, for example).

    Having someone else to read it is great, but the usefulness of that depends on how good that person is at recognizing problems in the story and giving constrictive criticism (as opposed to talking with bias of their personal preferences and not being able to recognize specific problems in a story and tell someone how those problems can be rectified).

    also humility is hard, constant attacks and the realization that ones 'accomplishments' are far from that (to paraphrase myself after graduating high school "And, in this day, age and country who hasn't but the exceedingly unfortunate, and the incredibly stupid. Only the former have an excuse not to, and i am not one of them.") i am more than willing to admit my faults, willing to admit when i'm wrong (given someone can objectively explain/prove why i'm wrong).
    Humility may be hard, but it's good for self-esteem. An ego can make a person feel like they have accomplished more than they really have, but if that ego is deflated, and a person realized that they haven't accomplished as much as they thought they did, that can have a negative impact on self-esteem. If a person recognizes their faults without someone pointing them out, then that person already knows what needs improvement and can work toward it without being unduly effected by constant criticism. If someone states that you're wrong, and you answer "I know," that can open dialog on how to improve and the person can receive it without it feeling like an attack. If the person who stated that you're wrong cannot explain to you how you can improve, that stops an attack because they can't bad-mouth you if you already adnit that you're wrong, and you have no reason to listen to them if they're being a bully and can offer no constructive criticism.

    But again, easier said than done. And if someone offers constrictive critisicm in kindness, that's always more pleasant than anything offered hurtfully.

    Something I found out from a North American comic book professional is that maybe 2% of comic book editors can recognize when something 'doesn't work' in a story, but only half of that 2% can tell you how to fix it. Those percentages could probably be applied to editors (and writers) in general.

    Which means that it's hard to find good constructive criticism. And most of the 'constructive criticism' that people will receive is probably unhelpful, and probably biased or hurtful. Which is all the more reason why a writer should read their works and think 'Does this make sense?' If the writer identified something that doesn't make sense, he/she should think about it and try to identify why it doesn't make sense, and how to fix it. That's the best way for writers to learn: self-criticism and logical analysis. (But that is done best after the work has been written out, unless the writer has excellent memory retention.)

    Finally, tell me, How does one not edit while they write. IF you read that first post, as much as it was stream of consciousness, it was far from pure stream of consciousness because i still edited as i went, writing what i was writing, thinking about what i was going to write, and re reading the last sentence or so more or less at the same time. i thankfully avoided changing the thoughts and order of thoughts (mostly), but phrasing, wording, and such were all edited as i went along.
    It's a choice that the writer makes. The problem that you addresses, in the title of the thread, is "How does one ... just plain get ideas on paper?"

    You said that you were re-reading every sentence or more as you wrote that reply, editing it so that i would convey the message that you wanted to present. But in your first post, you mentioned that the same method was stopping you from writing down your story because you had a few false-starts where you ran through the text with a fine-toothed comb and never got further than writing down the first part.

    You made a choice to write one or more sentences, then edit them. If you want to write down your whole story, knowing what your problem is, you may have to make the choice to delay your editing. Write a whole chapter before you edit it. Or write down the whole story before you edit it.

    Think of it like this: You're going to edit it either way. So instead of editing it every few sentences, first write all the sentences down and then edit it. That way, you've at least done a bulk of the work instead of spending your energy on getting the first part edited before you carry on writing.

    It's a change of priority, basically. Choose to write more down before you start editing it.

    like i said, the problem is as much how i think and act, but what does normal thinking and acting in writing and drawing even mean. and how do you fix your own thoughts and ingrained ticks and more or less subconscious actions.
    'Normal' is relative to individual people.

    You fix your thoughts through practice. Thoughts guide your actions, but Actions align your thoughts. If you do something over and over again, it becomes easier to do because you begin accepting it as 'normal.'
    Last edited by SmartrykFoster; 09-01-2012 at 12:29 AM.

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