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Old 10-25-2011, 04:09 PM   #1
frahse
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How do you do this WRITING THING?

I started to give out a lengthy spiel along the order of what you might expect from someone trying to sell a secret method or promote a book or a series of lectures.
That was quickly squashed by my aversion to those kinds of self important promotions.

Also I think that in this thread we will deal with ideas. rather than lengthy how to do instructions.

So let us cut into the matter quick and deep.

One important idea can be summed up simply as "INSPIRATION."

What is inspiration?
Why do I need it?
Do I need it?
Where the hell is it hiding?
Why does it go away?
How can I coax it back out from under the bed?

I will start the discussion by simply saying that

Inspiration is vastly overrated!

Last edited by frahse; 10-28-2011 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:07 PM   #2
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Okay, I'll agree that inspiration is over-rated.

The novel I'm working on now started from commenting on something else, which had a blacksmith's daughter as a heroine. It made me wonder if it would be possible to have a blacksmith as a romantic hero. Once I had decided that, most of the started to fall into place. The time dictated a lot of the setting, and I had to dream up a heroine who was a good match for him, and a mystery they needed to solve together.

Very little of it was inspiration, most of it was research and necessity.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EileenG View Post
Okay, I'll agree that inspiration is over-rated.

The novel I'm working on now started from commenting on something else, which had a blacksmith's daughter as a heroine. It made me wonder if it would be possible to have a blacksmith as a romantic hero. Once I had decided that, most of the started to fall into place. The time dictated a lot of the setting, and I had to dream up a heroine who was a good match for him, and a mystery they needed to solve together.

Very little of it was inspiration, most of it was research and necessity.
Nice,

and as an aside, your avatar is an inspiration to me.

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Old 10-25-2011, 10:21 PM   #4
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I look at fantasy artwork on various websites, read stuff, gather ideas. Play D&D or Magic the Gathering, play WOW or other fantasy video games, watch anime. Sooner or later you'll get an idea, and then another and after a while you've got enough for a story.

After all, there are no new ideas. Just new combinations of ideas, and new shapes and forms for them. New ways to do them.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:19 AM   #5
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Inspiration is vastly overrated!
How are you defining Inspiration?
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
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Inspiration is a tool in a writer's chest. Some writers depend on it to begin or maintain a project; others can work without it, or use it sparingly. I'm in the latter category, being more of a craftsman than an artist, and being capable of starting and maintaining a new writing project whenever I'm ready to work.

Inspiration is usually thought of as a "spark," a sort of coalescence of ideas so powerful that they compel you to act upon them, whether you're ready to act or not. Therefore inspiration, as emotional as it tends to be, has to be tempered by intellect, lest you're drawn into spending a lot of time on nothing useful (though even in those cases, it can serve as a learning process).

There are working processes for writers that can essentially substitute for the inspiration spark, methods that bring your ideas together and lock them in, so you can approach them at your leisure and work on them in almost any frame of mind. (Again, this is how I work.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by EileenG View Post
It made me wonder if it would be possible to have a blacksmith as a romantic hero.
Google "Will Turner."
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:35 AM   #7
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Two things I have learned about writing over the past 10 years:

1) The Muse exists to make you feel good; nothing more. Sometimes the prose bursts fully-formed from your fingertips. Sometimes you must laboriously yank every word kicking and screaming from the bottom of your brain. And in most cases, when you re-read the manuscript a week later, it's impossible to tell which prose is which.

2) The primary challenge in writing fiction lies, not in generating new ideas, but in knowing which ones to throw out. Every writer I know has a desk drawer overflowing with notes, outlines, and half-formed story ideas. Inspiration is not difficult to come by. But learning to recognize the one idea out of the thousand that has stuff of great fiction buried inside it; learning to reject the mediocre ideas and concentrate only on the ones that speak to your soul -- that's hard.
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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This thread reminds me of Sander Cohen (twisted "genius" artist in the game Bioshock). He described his muse as "a fickle b**** with a short attention span!"
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:32 PM   #9
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Nice,

and as an aside, your avatar is an inspiration to me.

And to me too. I don't actually look like that.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:42 PM   #10
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And to me too. I don't actually look like that.
You mean you look even better? Wow.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:00 PM   #11
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You mean you look even better? Wow.
My hair is redder and my boobs are bigger.
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:56 AM   #12
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How are you defining Inspiration?
Good question.

And sorry, I have to turn it around somewhat.

Inspiration is how "you" define it.

When someone says, "I found inspiration." or "I can't find inspiration" they are defining it for themselves in a way I may not understand.

If he says "you are my muse" and she says "you are my inspiration," each mean something that is interpreted by the speaker and the hearer . Correctly or not. I think that it is possible that the statements mean that they make each other happy and that makes it easier for them to work. I think it might be possible that they may be sounding boards for each other.
I think it might be nice, but certainly isn't necessary.

There is a great singer in Nashville, who called his previous wife his muse. Then they got a bitter, really really big bucks divorce and in the court papers she became a distraction, a detriment and a hindrance. Still she got the big bucks, but he is happy now with his new wife who probably is a better muse too. So it appears that you can find and marry muses just like pretty faces and sweet dispositions. Personally I like the second wife better myself, but she isn't my muse.

Sometimes we use phrases that seem to have meaning but without feeling the meaning. It becomes a recitation, a litany like a greeting or honorific. "Good day." "Good to see you." "Hail honored Sir." "Great Lord and Master of the Oceans and the 19 Seas, the 33 Canals, and the Swamps of the Vast Hinterland."

So the word itself, the meaning "inspiration" becomes a thing in itself. An excuse. A curse. A boon. A will of the wisp. What you would have it.

And after all that, it is time to make another statement.

"Inspiration" is the biggest excuse an author has.

I hear an author say I am waiting for inspiration or I lost inspiration, and I grimace inwardly.

It is the equivalent of "the dog ate my homework." "It is not my fault."

Last edited by frahse; 10-28-2011 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:59 AM   #13
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Like most things, writing is one part inspiration and nine parts perspiration. Inspiration may get us going, but perspiration is what gets the story finished. And that nine parts is a combination of perseverance, discipline, and technique. Still, inspiration always plays a role at every stage in the process. If luck is the residue of design, then inspiration is the residue of perspiration. Anyway, it's a theory.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:00 AM   #14
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Good question.
Then answer it

Honestly your post has no meaning unless you explain what you mean by that term. You might as well have said...

Asldkjfjhsdf89h0hwf is over rated!

It has the same meaning as what you have presented so far.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:37 PM   #15
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This thread reminds me of Sander Cohen (twisted "genius" artist in the game Bioshock). He described his muse as "a fickle b**** with a short attention span!"
I wouldn't quite put it that way, but I have had the problem he's describing.

As for the inspiration/prespiration discussion, its not entirely true. You can only write so much at one time before you start producing tripe, and when that happens you have to sit back and let your brain recover. Its like a computer programmer whose boss forces him to keep coding after his brain reaches the point where he can't write good code anymore; he has to spend the next day's good code time fixing the bad code he wrote because of it.

Sometimes I wonder if that's why L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi works were so bad; he was spending so much time writing that he overstrained his brain.
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