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About Getting Started Writing:

Love Saves
Twilight Sparkle demonstrates.

So you have an individual. There are these undisputed facts* about them: They're exceptionally smart. They're very clutured. They've read a lot of fiction. They've written lots of descriptive and prescriptive works (essays, reports, analyses). They're eloquent: they're good at debating, perhaps even acting and singing. But they've never written a story.

And they feel like they should be able to.

But they're somehow stuck.

What should they do?

edited 22nd Oct '11 2:25:33 AM by PacificState

 2 Ramus, Sat, 22nd Oct '11 2:28:07 AM from some computer somwhere.
Lead.
Start off with a story that's relatively simple and just write it. While you may be well read, intelligent, and be able write up formal essays, writing a story takes a different set of skills and should be approached that way. Practice writing various smaller stories, improve, and move onto better stories.
The emotions of others can seem like such well guarded mysteries, people 8egin to 8elieve that's how their own emotions should 8e treated.
 3 Kayeka, Sat, 22nd Oct '11 4:16:02 AM from Amsterdam Relationship Status: Brony
World's biggest wannabe
For some added motivation, try running in the NaNoWriMo.
Is that cake frosting?
I think that the main problem lies in the part where you say
And they feel like they should be able to.
There are enough chores already in life. And writing is hard work.

If the person is as you describe, he or she is certainly perfectly capable of writing a decent story. But the point is, it takes effort, and a vague feeling as the one you mention is not nearly motivation enough.

You say that this person wrote a lot of descriptive and prescriptive work: would I be in the wrong if I guessed that the vast majority of them were written because of college classes and so on?

If the person that you describe is really interested in writing a story, I would suggest them to join a creative writing class. This would probably be more than enough to get them to write something; and, of course, there is also the added advantage that they could probably learn quite a bit about the craft in such a class.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 5 Karkadinn, Sat, 22nd Oct '11 5:47:58 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
The greatest and oftentimes only achievement that occurs when you write a story is simply that - you put your story into a physical form and thereby reap the emotional rewards of doing so. While research, technique, marketability and so on shouldn't be ignored, they're not the most important thing. The most important thing about fiction is to write a story because you have a story in your head that's screaming to be written, a concept that DEMANDS expression. If you don't have that guiding star, then don't try to force it - there are, frankly, a million other more profitable and productive things you could be doing with your time. But once you get it, write it as quickly as you can, while the iron is still hot.
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
Love Saves
Well, I, personally, have been stimulated by your words to write a story this morning. Well, the prologue anyway. So, thanks, everyone in the thread. But we won't talk about this story here. Anyone interested or with advice or critique, just PM me.

So, that feeling of obligation. In the trope Writers Suck, it's descibed how everyone feels like they can write a story, and "plan" t do so but "don't have the time". A common criticism against tropers is that often "want to have written a story" rather than "wanting to write it", and that this focus on an end result, a finished product, to the detriment of the process of product-in-making, acts against us and makes any story we try to craft hollow and crumbly. Especially when writing in collaboration: anyone remember TV Tropes The TV Show?

Also, many of us are GM or Fanfic writers, but the rules used for that type of writing are fairly different from those used to create original fiction. Darths & Droids would have been a terrific game, but the Star Wars prequels are universally reviled as very poor work. Fanfics examine stories and dessicate them, deepening in neglected or badly-lit corners, or rebuilding and reassembling into something entirely new. But that's more akin to playing with legos than with sculpting a new toy out of a wooden log, if you get my drift. You can do amazing stuff with legos. But, being from standardized built for you beforehand... well, the method has its limits, and doesn't seem to prepare you well for the other sort of from-scratch designing, building and executing. It can also uncomfortably raise the awareness of possible flaws and Unfortunate Implications. The very cracks in the edifice that you, as a Fanfic writer, have latched on and grown upon and stretched wide, like ivy growing around a tree, hugging it tight to the point of asphyxiation, borrowing its strength and size and making it yours, those cracks, those faults now become your enemies as an original writer, and you see them everywhere, and do not dare to put one word before the other, do not dare to walk with pen steps into your story and lose yourself in it: you're afraid of every shadow, especially your own.

Goddamit, remind me never to post in a thread after having written a story, this is just baroque. Now I don't dare read whatever the hell I just wrote.

Obsidian Proboscidean
You could go to the dictionary and randomly point to a word. Then, write a short passage (it may be a stream of consciousness or an actual story) with that word as the mood. You don't have to actually use the word, and you don't even have to stick to it as the theme if you don't want to; just start writing. This usually works for me.

If that doesn't work, i look up prompts. And if that doesn't work, I write whatever crackfic comes into my head.
I'm an elephant. Rurr.
I found this to be quite helpful: http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/
 
 9 Endrael, Sun, 23rd Oct '11 9:07:13 PM from Ministry of Truth
But once you get it, write it as quickly as you can, while the iron is still hot.
Based on my own experience with writing stories, I'm inclined to issue a caveat for this, that being that some stories don't need to be written quickly so long as they're still alive in your imagination. If a story is dead there, it's going to show when you write it, because it's not going to come out as vibrantly as it would otherwise (though this can be mostly fixed with second draft editing). This especially holds true for longer works (novellas and novels), because they require much larger amounts of time and effort put into them than short stories and flash fiction.
"All propaganda is a lie, even when it's telling the truth." - George Orwell
Love Saves
Oh, and let's not forget about the step after busting writer's lock: getting feedback, critique, an editor.

I am told that nowadays editors in the book industry aren't the sort portrayed in, say, Bakuman。: guys who'll review stuff with you chapter by capter, suggest improvements, point ut flaws, help you keep your audience in mind, your style consistent, your story solid. They're much more businessmen than they are editors. All I hear is "go to a writing workshop if you want to get published, it's worth the price"
 11 jasonwill 2, Mon, 24th Oct '11 5:58:18 AM from West Virginia
i think this is in the wrong forum.

as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
Love Saves
Well, Writer's Block is about talking about specific works rather than the general phenomenon of "a writer's baby-steps", knwhamsayn?
 13 jasonwill 2, Mon, 24th Oct '11 6:09:54 AM from West Virginia
yaizthinksnows
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
 15 jasonwill 2, Mon, 24th Oct '11 6:25:03 AM from West Virginia
saywhats?noreallysthoughweofteninthewritersblocktalkaboutt- hingsingeneralanditdoesntneedtobeaboutaspecificwo- rksatall.

It's the general purpose author's place more or less.
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
Love Saves
And this is the general purpose... stuff place, so... do you want me to request this thread be moved?

Is talking about the thread but not the topic of the thread offtopic?

Am I asking a stupid question?

What if I redirect it to the legal/technical part of this? I mean, a singer, a rapper, they have to deal with contracts, which are a delicate thing... Do writers have the same problem?

edited 24th Oct '11 6:58:34 AM by PacificState

 17 jasonwill 2, Mon, 24th Oct '11 7:06:24 AM from West Virginia
im not asking anything, but ok.

too confusing, ill go now.
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
Love Saves
Did I ask too many questions? Does this look like the badly-editor-written epilogue of a trasy pulp novel? What future awaits this thread? And what future awaits a budding writer, statistically?
[up]You don't really want to know. Seriously, the chance of actually getting published is pretty low (I think only one out of every hundred submitted works get published, and out of those books few if any make more than a few thousand dollars in profit) - most writers do it as a hobby, and supplement their income with something else.
 
Love Saves
I knew you should focus on getting an interesting job and live an interesting life first, so you get material. Write What You Know + The More You Know = A Winner Is You, huh?

edited 24th Oct '11 8:54:37 AM by PacificState

 21 Karkadinn, Mon, 24th Oct '11 9:18:07 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
If we're talking standard fiction, most publishers don't accept unagented novels these days.

Many of the good agencies have been known to get queries at a rate of five hundred or more a day. Not actual submissions, just queries to ask if the writer can send a submission to be looked at and probably rejected.

So, there's your odds. They're not great. They never were, really, but I think they're worse now. Still, it's better if you know the odds so you can know what to plan for, rather than getting your hopes up and being disappointed.
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
[up]I kind of grit my teeth whenever I hear the phrase Write What You Know, mostly because it is so obvious as to be pedantic, and it is a bit misleading to boot. Most writers, when they set out to write, automatically pick a topic or subject that interests them, and that they have experience with, so reminding them to do this is pointless. The other problem with Write What You Know is some newbie writers take that to mean that they - being young and inexperienced - just don't have the worldly wisdom to write a decent book, which is simply not true. Having an interesting life always helps when it comes to places to draw inspiration from, but it doesn't mean that people with ordinary lives never publish great books, either.

what I was trying to get across is the fact that it doesn't hurt to think about money and how you plan to feed yourself and, if you start a family, how you are going to pay for your child's tuition, your wedding, your car, etc. Most writers simply do not make enough money off of writing to support themselves, and even the ones that do often run into money problems because they receive one big paycheck in their good year and then nothing for the next two to three while they write their next book. If you want to be a successful writer, you HAVE to think about money, and typically the best way to go about it is to have another job in addition to writing that you can fall back on when the publisher's checks are small or you are taking longer than you hoped to finish a book. Learn to save and manage money properly, too - even great writers, like Orson Scott Card, have admitted to often finding money in short supply due to the downtime between published books.

So to sum it all up, if you are serious about being a writer, understand that it can be a difficult lifestyle at times, and plan accordingly. Many of the best writers, in fact, have full time careers, monday through friday, and give up their Saturdays to writing. If you are extremely fortunate and a little bit talented, you may at some point be able to quit your day job and go full on writer, but don't do this until you have proven that you can make money consistently as a writer.
 
Love Saves
Like Terry Pratchett, huh?

That would be the shit. *dreamy eyes*

...*shakes pink mist away* wait wait wait writing all the time would be boring as all hell, it'd be just another job...

edited 24th Oct '11 9:27:51 AM by PacificState

The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 23
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