Writer Workshop Februrary 24th, 2016

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!

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5 thoughts on “Writer Workshop Februrary 24th, 2016

  1. christhecynic February 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Well I finally got more Being more than a Simulacrum written. That’s nice because for the longest times I’d left the characters in the middle of a gaming session. It’s also good because in the new installment important goals were achieved which will cause the story to shift gears from seeking answers to heading home.

    My other Kim Possible fics (Forgotten Seeds, Life After, to a lesser extent Bent, not Broken) still languish as do all my other fics (Edith and Ben, Skewed Slightly to the Left, Snarky Twilight, Narnia stuff, The Princess Story, so forth).

    Still, some progress.

  2. depizan February 24, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    @ Chris

    Progress is good!

    One thing that’s always puzzled me about writing and writing advice is the argument that you should write – don’t wait for inspiration or until you feel like it, just do it. Or however they phrase it.

    How does that work? I mean, sure, I could sit down at the computer every day and type “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” for an hour, but I really don’t think that’s what they have in mind. (For one thing, it wouldn’t exactly result in progress, just waste an hour of my day.)

    How does one write when one isn’t inspired? Does “inspiration” mean something different to them than to me? Even if I know what I want to have happen in a story, I can’t just force that out of my head. I know. I’ve tried. I can’t get into my characters’ minds. I can’t make sentences happen. Writing simply does not happen unless I am inspired. And I have a lot of trouble figuring out how it could happen for anyone else unless they are inspired.

    If any of you can just squeeze words out even when your brain is empty, how does that work? I’d really like to know. Especially as I’m very tired of my brain being empty. I want to write. I simply can’t.

  3. christhecynic February 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    The “just write” people can be talking about a lot of things.

    The Artist’s Way (a book that was recommended to me at Old Slacktiverse by, I believe, Kit Whitfield) tells you to write three pages a day, stream of consciousness.

    What if consciousness doesn’t stream? The recommendation for most people is, “Just write ‘I can’t think of anything to write’ over and over again until your brain gets so bored it starts thinking of things.” That does not work for me. I will get stuck in a feedback look where that sentence is all that I can think.

    Even so the just write thing has been useful for me, provided I modify it so the above doesn’t happen. (I have to accept that sometimes I will zone out, nothing happens until I zone back in.)

    The thing is that this form of “just write” isn’t meant to produce anything you’d ever show anyone. It’s meant to free up your thoughts, maybe dump out things best removed from your brain, and also to make you realize at a deeper than conscious level that it’s ok to write incoherent crap.

    For a lot of people they have an internal censor holding them back which won’t let out ideas that aren’t good enough, the problem being that “good enough” is often an impossibly high standard for a lot of people and also ideas don’t need to be good enough in the first draft.

    I don’t know what effect, if any, doing the “just write” thing has has actually on me, but I feel like I’m generally better able to cope when I get the three pages of “just write” done (though space for bias because when I can’t fucking cope at all I never get the pages done) and I’d like to think that making regular brain dumps makes it easier to dump my inspiration onto the page when the inspiration actually hits.

    As for what I write in “just write” pages… anything. Everything. Whatever I can think into a sentence.

    These are plans for the week that I have no fucking chance of actually following through on, this is a movie I’d like to see, maybe I can finally get back to X, I watched a movie yesterday and… I’m worried that none of this is helping at all, I really need to get back to such and such story but I don’t know what to do, those fucking birds making noise are really god damned annoying and I hope that some god or other smites them with it’s smiting smitey thing of great smiteness.

    Whatever keeps the pen moving.

    I can’t write when my brain is empty. Not a bit. But when I take the pages as an exercise, something for the process not the result, it’s easier to get enough in my brain to get words out than it would be if I were trying to story.

    I’d like to think that, somehow, that helps me be better able to story when the inspiration does hit.

    The people who can produce stuff they’d actually be willing to show to other people when starting with an empty brain… them I understand not a jot.

  4. depizan February 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    That does make a bit more sense. Not that writing exercises have ever worked for me. They just become one more thing to be anxious about. (And I can’t imagine having the free time to both write three pages of whatever and anything I actually care about. Hell, I’m not sure I have the free time to write three pages of nothing, unless i literally just hit random keys for enough minutes to fill up three pages.)

    Then again, I keep losing my places to babble about stuff, so writing the things I can’t post anywhere might help. Or just make me sad I have no place to post them. (Or I need to not care that one of my coworkers decided to follow my Tumblr. Or something.)

    I really envy people who can just do stuff and aren’t tied in knots about everything.

  5. Lonespark42 February 24, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Could we have this be a project thread more generally? Or have a general check-in thread weekly, or both?

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