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Why does nothing inspire me?:

 26 Twentington, Fri, 11th Jan '13 8:43:03 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Sometimes I get a feeling that I'm afraid of something, too. But I can't think of what it might be.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 27 JHM, Fri, 11th Jan '13 10:30:36 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] That your story will be boring, maybe, or that people won't get it. That you'll fail.

All I can say is: Just go and write. Let your characters bounce off each other until something happens. Don't know much about them? Let them speak for themselves and you'll find out more. It's really that easy; you're just making it harder than it is.
 28 Twentington, Thu, 4th Apr '13 11:54:47 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]I've tried. Still, all I get is sex and/or monkey cheese lolrandom.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

I'm going to throw this out there: I'm guessing you're afraid that you'll put a whole lot of time, effort and thought into a story and have it turn out bad.

What you need to understand is that every writer writes crap at some point. You'll get better the more you write. "Practice makes perfect" and all that. If you write something and it turns out bad, you can always rewrite it. It's no big deal.

My advice would be to try to decide what kind of feel your story will have: determine the genre, tone and pace. You need to give yourself some kind of guideline to keep you on track so your story doesn't become something you don't want it to become. Then write an outline of the three acts. Add details to the outline like "what would need to happen in order for event A to happen" and "how do you get from event A to event C".

If you can't come-up with a basic plot outline then maybe you should write something else as practice. Like really short stories or dialogue or fan fiction.

And remember: inspiration isn't everything. Sometime-in fact, a lot of the time-ideas won't just come to you. You got to form them and think them through. Writing can be hard work. "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration"

Also, if someone on this thread gives you advice, don't just say "I tried it and it doesn't work". Try it again but harder. Everyone in this thread has given some good advice that should help you.

edited 5th Apr '13 9:15:41 AM by WSM

 
 30 Crystal Glacia, Fri, 5th Apr '13 10:28:29 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
Twentington, I have a question. What, exactly, constitutes 'lolrandom monkey cheese' to you?
 31 Twentington, Fri, 5th Apr '13 8:15:04 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
My advice would be to try to decide what kind of feel your story will have: determine the genre, tone and pace. You need to give yourself some kind of guideline to keep you on track so your story doesn't become something you don't want it to become. Then write an outline of the three acts. Add details to the outline like "what would need to happen in order for event A to happen" and "how do you get from event A to event C".

That's always where I get stuck. I'm like, "okay, I have the four siblings, two brothers and two sisters. Now what? What does this one do? Or that one, or that one, or that one?" I have super vague stuff like "okay, such and such adopted them. This one got married to this character." but I never know where to take it. What is their adoptive parent like? What is that character's wife like? Well, I have that the latter is a chubby girl who's very Type A and works in a restaurant with one of the sisters, but what does she do otherwise? What SHOULD she do?

Genre? Well, some slice of life, some cyberpunk, and some space opera minus the space. I think. But I'm familiar with absolutely none of those genres.

If you can't come-up with a basic plot outline then maybe you should write something else as practice. Like really short stories or dialogue or fan fiction.

My short stories always turn into rampant sex, which mutates and contrives to the point that no one could possibly find it enjoyable. Likewise my fan fiction.

What, exactly, constitutes 'lolrandom monkey cheese' to you?

Like, me getting bored and just writing something like "banana antidisestablishmentarianism fahrvergnügen I'd like to solve the puzzle" or leaning on the backslash key until the word processor window is filled.

edited 5th Apr '13 8:16:29 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

If all you can write is sex scenes, then I'd recommend that you just run with that, trying to force your inspiration is the worst thing I can think of doing. Just pump out those PWP's, be they kinky, porny, sexist, poorly written or just plain cracky. Just write what ever comes to mind until you stop, no one says you have to publish it. Sometimes you just need to flush things out your system until you can move on to something else. There's nothing wrong with a little PWP and who knows, good ideas may come of it.

edited 5th Apr '13 8:45:39 PM by Lockedbox

 33 Crystal Glacia, Fri, 5th Apr '13 8:42:59 PM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
[up][up] Okay, that clears things up.

I think I've said this to you before, but you can't take a character and build them a story unless you know what they want. Desire is the base of almost every plot ever, from the small and simple to the large and sweeping. Sure, you can take a collection of personality traits, relationships, likes, and dislikes, combine it with a backstory and family, and call it a character all you want, but you're not going to get much out of them. Everybody at every point in their life wants something, even if it's as basic as making it through the day or not dying. Desire is the driving force of not only fiction, but life.

Until you realize that fact, you will be getting no plots out of anything you create.

In fact, even in that 'plotless' smut you seem so eager to leave behind, it's still driven by somebody wanting something.

edited 5th Apr '13 8:47:50 PM by CrystalGlacia

 34 Wolf 1066, Sat, 6th Apr '13 3:41:12 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
Write a story about somebody who wants to write a meaningful novel (the desire) but can't work out what to do with the characters he's created and everything he tries to write turns into rampant sex or lolrandom monkey cheese (the conflict).

How it's resolved - if it's resolved all, doesn't matter, he doesn't have to succeed in his quest, just explore his desires, frustrations etc as he strives against the internal problem.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
 35 Twentington, Mon, 6th May '13 7:29:17 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Maybe it's my setting that's not working. I wanted to go a little Post Cyber Punk, but so far, all I have them doing is just ordinary stuff. They go to the store, they work, they play instruments in their spare time, only it's future-y somehow.

And that just doesn't seem like enough. It seems BORING. I can't seem to find any place to fit in the cyberpunk-y elements.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 36 Ars Thaumaturgis, Mon, 6th May '13 8:20:34 PM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Have you tried starting with some sort of incident or problem and working from there, picking up the characters as you go?

For example, you're using cyberpunk, so let's start by picking a technology: cerebral implants, intended for use in accessing an expanded internet, for example. Now, let's do something nasty to it: an explosion occurs in a research facility, specifically in the department that handles implant research. The explosion damages an experimental device intended for upgraded communication with implants; the malfunctioning device has connected to the implants of the researchers who were in the lab at the time of the accident, and, being faulty, wiped their minds almost entirely clean — and left them with nothing but ever-building rage in what remains of their consciousnesses.

Worse, any implant brought near to any so afflicted automatically connects to their implant, and causes the glitch to affect them, spreading the mind-ravaging horror.

So, we now have a problem in our setting. Then next step is to think about how are people going to react: What will those in the facility do? Will there be any official response? Who will get sent in, if anyone — or will someone just nuke the place? Is there anything in the facility that might help?

 37 Twentington, Mon, 6th May '13 10:49:23 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
I don't know. What SHOULD they do?

edited 6th May '13 10:51:59 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 38 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 7th May '13 1:44:24 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a post cyber punk slice of life story.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 39 Wolf 1066, Tue, 7th May '13 2:56:18 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
Since it's bound to be different to the lives we're used to.

Just finding out how they shop, what things are and aren't available, who/what is hanging around if they actually go to a physical store rather than buy online...

Conflict could be as simple as wanting to buy some particular thing and it being out of stock at their preferred place. We could get to see something of the area while they try to find some place that does have it.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
 40 Twentington, Mon, 19th May '14 8:10:00 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
So yeah, I posted this in another thread, and thought this called for a bump:

I think it's weird that I never really seem to draw inspiration from anywhere. I rarely look at a character and go "that's what I'm trying to write". They might have like, one minor trait that I want, but the rest don't match up at all.

Also, I never seem to look at a plot element or topic in a story and say "I wanna do something like that" no matter how cool I think it is. Or anything even close to it. Not even a single plot seed.

Is this wrong? I know that having an expy can be a bad thing, but why do I seem too far off in the other direction that I never seem to want to take much of anything away from any form of fiction? And thus end up as stuck as ever?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 41 Sibuna, Mon, 19th May '14 8:35:23 PM from Upstate NY Relationship Status: A teenager in love
Friends O' Mine
Here's something I've done before as an exercise to generate ideas. I just jotted down a list of words that came to mind. Every. Single. World. Until I had a list of about 20 words. Then I just looked for things that worked well together and came up with an idea from that. One of my best RP plots came from doing just that. Even if the words on the list don't generate anything, at least now your creative energy is flowing. Sometimes all it takes is to just write down a bunch of random things, because somewhere, there is bound to be a gem.

And maybe, don't rely on drawing ideas from other places or trying to make something that seems interesting to others. Just rely on pure imagination; Adapt things from dreams, maybe, or do the above exercise, and write what you, personally, think would be interesting.

I also did exercises where I went down the alphabet with one of my characters in mind and for each letter wrote down a word or sentence that applies to them, even if it's something I never thought for them before.

What I'm getting at is, there is bound to be something surprisingly good hidden in all the junk; You just need to find it. And whatever that good thing is, take it and run with it.
You're crazy and I'm crazy about you... [1]
 42 Twentington, Mon, 19th May '14 8:53:26 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]The few dreams I remember anymore are so cracky that nothing good would come from them. My dreams are so Random Events Plot that they make My Immortal look completely linear. Also, my two universes have furry characters and I never, ever once have had a dream with a furry in it.

I don't know what I would find interesting. As I said, there are things that I find interesting, but they wouldn't fit in either of my worlds. For instance, I think older people (55+) have a lot of great stories to share, but none of the characters I've written is over 30, so I can't have them reminiscing about going to the five-and-dime or something. One world is sciencey, so anything magic is out, not that I care for magic anyway. But then again, I have yet to find a sciencey thing that has completely clicked with me either. One world has a Work Com setting, but I've never had a real job in my life.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

patience, young padawan
Also, my two universes have furry characters and I never, ever once have had a dream with a furry in it.

Huh. I didn't know furries were incapable of sharing experiences or emotions with humans. Most works with furry characters portray them as humans in different bodies, which brings me to my first point.

Your dreams sound a lot like mine. (In one, I went from being in marching band in high school to wearing street clothes in a shopping district in a matter of seconds... without the location changing. This is important.) Try writing them down anyways- there are hypotheses that dreams are the result of the brain trying to sort out stimuli and information from throughout the day, as well as emotions or other stuff that's been on your mind. I noticed that I always have a very strong sense of place in my dreams- ergo, the location is usually consistent -which lines up with how I write. Cool. Someday, you might even get a writing gem or notice something about yourself that you wouldn't have otherwise, and if nothing else, it might be interesting to look back on.

What's baffling me the most is that you seem to not want to write about things that you claim you're interested in, and find excuses to not do it. When you say that things you're interested in wouldn't have any place in your writing, you're missing that you're also the god of your story and everything that you write. You want an 'excuse' to include older people in your writing? There's no reason why your under-30 cast can't have parents, relatives, or other people in their lives in the 55+ age bracket with the stories and experiences that you find so interesting. You also want to write sci-fi for reasons that I can't recall, but you don't seem terribly enthused about science as a whole. I write some sci-fi, mostly in the form of Bio Punk because I like ecology, chemistry, and medicine. I have an overabundance of life scientists, chemistry majors, and doctors in my writing because that's what I find interesting, and that's where I see the most interesting plots. On the other hand, I don't care for most sports, magical girls, the intricacies of modern militaries, or kaiju, and while I can certainly see the plots in them and respect those who find them interesting enough to pursue them, I don't write about them because they don't interest me.

That being said, in my experience and yours as well as far as I can tell, inspiration almost never strikes when it's actively and forcefully being sought, whether consuming fiction or partaking in real life. I can honestly tell you that not once have I ever, as you said, consumed some work of fiction for the first time or partaken in some real life occurrence that has made me sit up and think 'I want to write that'. That's not to say I take inspiration from nothing; it just usually takes me a while to realize I've done so, as well as see the inspiration's source. I'm sure there are other writers out there who feel differently and I don't profess to be a writing expert, but inspiration can't be brute-forced and still create something that you're passionate about. Consume fiction and experience life without any particular obligation to learn anything, because chances are, you weren't actively thinking about writing at all when you first became interested in the life and times of older generations.
 44 Twentington, Tue, 20th May '14 7:10:30 AM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Try writing them down anyways- there are hypotheses that dreams are the result of the brain trying to sort out stimuli and information from throughout the day, as well as emotions or other stuff that's been on your mind.

I can't remember what I dreamed about just last night, and I woke up an hour ago.

There's no reason why your under-30 cast can't have parents, relatives, or other people in their lives in the 55+ age bracket with the stories and experiences that you find so interesting.

Because one world is highly sexualized, and the fanservice-freak in me wants attractive characters. One could theoretically be still attractive at 55+, but I suppose that in a future-y world, one could have ways of maintaining one's physical appearance and sexual health for quite a while. Or maybe someone has a genetic glitch and ages very slowly. Or something.

You also want to write sci-fi for reasons that I can't recall, but you don't seem terribly enthused about science as a whole. I write some sci-fi, mostly in the form of Bio Punk because I like ecology, chemistry, and medicine.

The visual aspect I think? All I know is that I want "like the present, but about 20% cooler". Also, I've read both the TV Tropes article and The Other Wiki's, but I still have no idea what biopunk is even supposed to be.

I don't know what I find interesting really.

Soldiers? They do great things, but I'm not interested. I literally fell asleep the last time a soldier shared a story. (It was at a men's conference held by a church.)

Doctors? Don't know any.

Athletes? Don't know any, don't care to know any. And I myself have roughly the same physique as the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Teachers? The only one I know personally is my mom, who's retired, and to hear her tell it, it was a stressful, nearly joyless experience laden with taxing levels of micromanaging bureaucracy, with the only perk being the ability to change a special needs child's life. (She taught special ed.)

Musicians? Well, I like country the most, and at its core, that's a story- and lyric-driven genre. But I have almost no personal experiences from which to draw a good country song. I don't even have the experiences from which I could construct a stereotypical "bro-country" song about partying with a girl on a truck tailgate.

My personal experience? I sit on my ass all day, fail to find a job no matter how hard I try, and still live with my mom at age 27, meanwhile feeling no desire to improve my appearance nor any clue how to better myself.

Favorite movies? Forrest Gump, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Try drawing a common line among those. I dare you.

Consume fiction and experience life without any particular obligation to learn anything

That's what I have been doing. I go into works completely blind, without actively expecting something to light a spark within me.

edited 20th May '14 7:13:04 AM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

Because one world is highly sexualized, and the fanservice-freak in me wants attractive characters. One could theoretically be still attractive at 55+, but I suppose that in a future-y world, one could have ways of maintaining one's physical appearance and sexual health for quite a while. Or maybe someone has a genetic glitch and ages very slowly. Or something.
Everybody in that world has to be attractive? Really? I think you should either change that or come up with a good reason (in-universe) why it has to be so. Like you can write about how people feel the need to artifically keep their youth, or about someone who ages unusually slowly. And then, your story can evolve from that.

edited 20th May '14 8:36:12 AM by Furienna

 46 Demetrios, Tue, 20th May '14 9:10:34 AM from Northbrook, Illinois
Don't forget the trope Freaky Is Cool.
Yoko is the best part of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
 47 Sibuna, Tue, 20th May '14 1:59:27 PM from Upstate NY Relationship Status: A teenager in love
Friends O' Mine
Hey buddy, I was thinking of your problem a bit more and something occurred to me. I think your brain might be trying to subconsciously tell you something about your story.

For example, if you can't think of jobs for your characters, maybe, deep down, the characters are meant to be unemployed. It opens up a whole new can of worms. How do they support themselves? Does someone else get them money? Do they steal it? If so, will they get caught? Maybe only one of them is a thief. Do the others know? Will they know? How would they react? What personal conflict will this create?

It might just be that you are trying so hard to think of something good that you aren't being open to testing out the random. Rather than trying to force yourself to think of something, maybe some of these questions are better left unanswered.

Don't know their favorite food? Maybe the character just likes everything; Or is an extremely picky eater.

Don't know how they might react to, say, a murder in front of them? Consider the idea that they might not even have a reaction. Maybe their desensitized to violence and death, or maybe they had a grudge against the victim, or maybe they themselves were the killer.

Don't think you are interested in your setting? Place them somewhere else and see if anything changes. Want a 55 year old, but can't fit them in? Maybe have one of them being the narrator, telling the story as 55+ year old. Of course, this may or may not work for you, but the thing is that you have to allow yourself to be open minded to different ideas.

So next time you come to a question like, "What is their favorite color?" and if you don't know what it is... maybe, having no favorite color could become more interesting than having one.

It's all about how you choose to work with what your mind feels about these things- believe me, it's better to listen to your head and go with your gut instinct than to force yourself to do something you'd rather not.

edited 20th May '14 4:18:40 PM by Sibuna

You're crazy and I'm crazy about you... [1]
 48 Gary CX Jk, Thu, 22nd May '14 6:14:09 PM Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
cout << endl;
Here's what I've learned from NaNoWriMo.

When stuck, just add a random ninja ambush / attack. Stuck in an epic fight scene? Add ninjas. A horror story going nowhere? Bam! Ninja attack! Can't figure out the right way to make the guy tell the girl he loves her? Throw a ninja at her face, literally. Writing a traveling guide? Ninjas make it better.

Then, work from there. Also, I've got a nice Cracked article for you.
Signatures are for lamers.
 49 Twentington, Thu, 22nd May '14 6:37:53 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]Then they'd all die instantly because I don't think a single one of my characters has an ounce of fight in them. Somehow I don't see that working.

On a more serious note, a friend gave me a couple leads for how things could work in this world I'm building. It'd be pretty utopian.

edited 22nd May '14 6:40:32 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 50 maxwellelvis, Thu, 22nd May '14 8:09:35 PM from undisclosed location Relationship Status: In my bunk
Mad Scientist Wannabe
[up]Law of Inverse Ninjas, my friend. The more ninjas attack, the easier to fight them off they are, and vice versa. Once more than five show up, a small child could mop the floor with them.
Of course, don't you know anything about ALCHEMY?!- Twin clones of Ivan the Great
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