Scarab Struggles With Writing

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Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby Scarab on Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:23 pm

NB: this is the kind of random nonsense that may be deemed irrelevant after a few hours of sleep, but given my track record, not this time, so... yeah.


So I wasn't sure where would be an appropriate place to have a little crisis of faith, and then I remembered, hey I'm part of an actual forum with writers on it, I should post there.

I've been struggling with writing lately.

Actually, no, not just lately. I've always struggled, and I'm not just talking about my inability to string together a sentence without it containing a dozen typos. In theory, struggling is a good thing, because as we all know, "if you think writing is easy then you're doing it wrong". But it doesn't feel good right now.

I was looking at my folder full of 'snippets' today (little segments of blurbs, single sentences, or concepts that I haven't given enough substance to stand on their own -I don't usually write in notebooks, though I know I should). I was hoping it would fill me with some kind of creative energy. This doesn't usually work (inspiration, contrary to popular belief, does not spring up and hit you like a lasso of truth), but on occasion it sparks something. Not today.

So I went to town for an hour and wandered Waterstones, reading the blurbs of as many books as I could (this happens often, btw, I used to jokingly refer to visiting bookstores as partly Scoping Out the Competition). I was reminded of the rule that there really is no such thing as originality, but I didn't come out feeling anymore competent or self aware than when I went in.

I look at things like Dark Souls, or Game of Thrones, or Pratchett... hell even the friggin' Yogscast are coming out with choice tales using nothing but a vector based building game and shenanigans (not to mention enthusiastic fans, 90% of that fandom is flippin' headcanons). And it depresses me because... I don't know why.

When I was a kid, somebody managed to convince I was good at writing. Thus began may childhood of stories, crappy comic books, and even crappier fanfiction (mostly fanfiction, if I'm honest) ... My first completed 'book' sits in my cupboard. I had poems published in Children's Poetry Collections, and my own section on the Junior School website, which In retrospect was adorable. I was a writer.

Except these days, it doesn't feel like it. I'm not talking about TECHNICAL ability. I KNOW I have that. Imagination is a talent, and it no doubt separates the career authors from the people who just do really well at essays, but writing is a skill you develop. It might not necessarily make me a fiction writer. At twenty seven, this realisation is a bit of a bummer.

Primarily, my concerns right now are that I don't enjoy the process of creating my own worlds and characters. I mentioned fanfiction earlier, right? Well, that's pretty much all I ever did as a teenager.

The feeling has never gone away. If I think about writing a FANFIC right now? It feels me with the urge to write straight away. I'm feeling it right now, in fact. I just can't get that with original stuff.

It strikes me that perhaps the reason for this is not so much that fanfiction is "easier" than original fiction (although in many ways I believe it is; claims that fanfiction is lazy are not entirely unfounded). It's that I loved the series and characters I wrote fanfiction for more than I love the characters and people I come up with in my own head. Maybe that IS partly because coming up with your own stuff is harder, I don't know. I just know that the former feels like indulgence, exploring a world and characters I love, whereas the latter feels like a chore. I was never a big fan of the old self insert thing, either. I just loved the stories. Their stories.

But when it comes to creating my own, I stumble into a ditch. I do slightly better if I'm working with others, even if I find group writing difficult (Tamar seems to do o.k. in Floating Castle). I also do okay if I don't feel pressured to be original or go anywhere. And I guess that's because I don't function well creating a world on my own. All my previous novel attempts drifted. My world building is shoddy, my characters are bland, my concepts subpar. I DO tend to start liking my characters a bit if I force myself to keep going long enough, but usually I get distracted by fears of my own lack of skills and experience, so most don't even get that far.

I don't know if this is a sign of my not really being a writer or if this is just some kind of funk.

At some point came university. I chose art. I'm still not sure exactly why I did that when writing might have seemed the more instinctive and apt choice for me. I struggled through a Bachelors degree and a Masters, learning to draw and constantly fighting off depression. After my Masters was over, it was all job hunting and me being terrible at job hunting and eventually hitting a funk where I stopped trying to do anything.

And then came Watch the Footage.

The Wall Will Fall helped me in a lot of ways. It got me thinking about writing again. It turned casual observers into active participants. They had to teach us how to ARG, and they did so by luring us in. The next thing we knew we weren't just watching a story, we were PART of the story, and we friggin' loved it. When it ended we had each other, and a place to play and writing seemed fun again. I had more topics I was interested in and stuff I might enjoy writing about.
It was great... but in the end I couldn't capture the joy of TWWF with the traditional writing I was used to. I fell back into the funk, which consists of staring at scraps of ideas, feeling bad about my lack of depth and development, and then just... not doing anything. I eventually trail off into anger, self doubt and tearful frustration that nothing I have done is any good anyway.

And I still don't know if I'm a writer.

I'm... not sure how to fix this problem... um... any advice? I mean... have I just not learned enough or something? if that's all it is I can keep going but... I'm getting really tired here. :(
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby RussetDivinity on Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:09 pm

You sound like you could use some encouragement, so I thought I'd pop by.

You're right: writing is hard.I'm pretty sure every writer has days (or weeks, or maybe even months) where they feel like they're absolute shit. I've gone through periods like that, where I was so sure that I couldn't write anything good and I ought to just run off and become a nun, or a housewife. So, if you get no other help from this, just know that dealing with this is very much a writer thing.

Speaking of help, here are some various ideas/suggestions:

Sometimes reading other books helps, but sometimes it just makes you feel worse. Depending on where your mood is, reading a great book can make you feel inspired or make you think that you'll never be that good. My advice is to find some wretched fanfic online and remind yourself that you're better than that. You're a better writer than Carlo Gozzi and L. Ron Hubbard, too, but you shouldn't read either of their works.

What helps me sometimes is skipping the books and looking straight for inspiration. Browse TV Tropes and pick your favorite pages to work into a story. Watch a TV show or read a book about something that might inspire you. I was having trouble figuring out where to go with a flash fiction piece, but watching the first episode of the new Cosmos (which I highly recommend) inspired me to flesh it out into a novella about a monster hunter, with a bit of a theme of how interconnected all life is. Read a poem and write a poem in response. Watch a movie or a TV show that was anywhere from mediocre to almost good and decide how you would have written it. You could even do that with a really good one; my ex-girlfriend was rewriting Merlin.

On a related note, just write. It doesn't matter if it's fanfic or poetry or the worst piece of fiction you've ever written. Put on some music (like the soundtrack to How to Train Your Dragon), make yourself some tea and cookies, and write until your hand starts to cramp up. Then put it aside and look at it later. Maybe it will be great. Maybe it will be terrible. Most likely, it will be all right, with a few parts that need to be cleansed from this earth with fire and a few parts that are so brilliant you could make the very stones weep from their beauty. Keep, cleanse, and edit as necessary.

There's nothing wrong with writing fanfics. I've got four going right now. I use them as kind of a breather, since I only have to come up with a working plot and maybe some original characters. You can even use fanfics as a springboard onto original fiction. That's how 50 Shades of Grey happened, and I'm sure yours will be even better. Once you've got the world and the characters, you just need to find a way to make them your own.

There's also nothing wrong with working collaboratively. I'm sure if you wanted to do your own collab with some people from the forum, they'd love to write with you, and having someone to help you flesh out the world and the characters should help you get more confidence in your own skills. Also, sometimes a lot of the development comes from editing, which can be insanely hard. That's where all my problems come in; when I have to pick apart my work and try to make it good instead of the rough piece of words that it currently is.

First off, though, I'd suggest you step back. Give yourself a vacation from writing. Make lots of tea (you drink tea, right?), go out for walks, and just treat yourself. Buy some brightly-colored socks and wear them to an ice cream shop. Give yourself a temporary tattoo with sharpies. Spend a whole day doing sketches and drawings. When you feel refreshed, come back to the writing. Oh, and make sure you get plenty of sleep and take naps. Naps are magical.
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:15 pm

If I might offer a piece of advice, Scarab, you seem to be making a basic mistake here.

Writing - or at least, writing in my own personal experience - isn't something where you sit down and say, "I should write something now, but what?" It's when an idea strikes you and you decide "I want to write about THIS." It takes days, weeks, or months even to come up with and fully explore the possibilities of a story you truly enjoy, and to come to the realization that this is a story you have to tell. Even then, you don't always have the resolve to go through with it. For example, I've had two major ideas that I've decided to write novels about, but neither of them has gotten over halfway finished, and they're currently just sitting on my computer's harddrive, unopened and unfinished, since I have neither the time nor the drive to keep writing.

I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the frustration and depression that comes hand in hand with writing. With each word you add to the page, you wonder if you've lost the interest of your readers, if anybody actually cares anymore. You feel as though your characters are too flat, your development too rushed and unrealistic, or your plot far too boring. Somebody praises your story unexpectedly, and for about twenty seconds, you feel like you're walking on air, but then you wonder if it really deserves the compliments it's gotten so far - or else nobody says anything about it and you fear that your words are simply rotting at the bottom of a sea of superior stories. As a writer, what I want a lot of the time is instant gratification. I wish I could just pour out all the ideas in my head onto a page, throw the result on Fictionpress, and get millions of positive reviews instantly. But if it were that easy, what would be the point?

Writing doesn't necessarily take amazing imagination. While those authors who can effortlessly produce a compelling setting and characters certainly have an easier job than we do, oftentimes, it's just a matter of picking and choosing traits of stories you like and seeing where you end up. Plenty of my early story and character ideas could just as easily have been for fanfiction rather than for original works, a fact which I hated. I became obsessed with trying to create something "original," and constantly tried to come up with new ideas on my own, with varying success. I think how you feel now might be similar to how I felt then, in which case I can only give you this advice.

You don't just look within, push a few buttons, and out pops something nobody's ever seen before. A world and characters aren't something that there's any process or method to creating. You can see something you like, and decide to add it, or perhaps think "I wonder if anybody's written a story about X?" and figure that you should try your hand at it, causing your story idea to grow and grow until finally you have a good idea of what you want to write. However, trying to force yourself to come up with ideas may succeed sometimes, but the fact of the matter is, unless the world is one you create because you want to, and write about because you like, you'll probably encounter difficulties in maintaining your interest. The trick is, quite simply, that there is no trick at all. You just write about things because you simply like them for what they are. It's annoying, and for those of us who have a difficulty coming up with new things on our own, it makes writing near-impossible sometimes, but in the end, the world we write about is a world we create ourselves, and unless we like it for what it is, there's no way we'll be able to share our liking for this world with our readers.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. Maybe this will inspire you, or drive you to seek ideas in new places where you may find something you missed before, or perhaps I just confused you with added ramblings about my own issues with writing, and comparing the two of us has been wrong for the start. But, as I'm no professional - just a kid with some weird ideas and a computer to type them out with - I don't actually really know many methods for creating characters or worlds. I just do what works for me, and write about the things I like, which might not work as well for you. But I hope it does, because you're a good writer, and if you want to write a story, then you deserve a story that you think is worth telling.

Best of luck, Scarab. You're not alone. ^_^
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby narrativedilettante on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:48 pm

Okay I have a whole lot of thoughts. I don't know what will help and what won't, so I'll just throw stuff out here.

First, DON'T BOTHER WITH ANY ADVICE THAT ISN'T HELPFUL TO YOU. Anything that I or anyone else says is just our perspective, so take what you will and leave the rest. That doesn't mean you should ignore advice that seems difficult; if something challenges you that could be just what you need. But if something just doesn't work for you, feel free to ignore it.

Also, I'm going to use the word "artist" to describe anyone doing something creative, be it writing or painting or sculpting. If I mean a particular type of creator I'll specify.

Now.

From what I've read, I really like your writing. Your Cthulhu story was beautiful. I'm glad to have the privilege to have read some of your work.

I also feel like The Wall Will Fall changed things for me. Our experiences regarding the game were different, but I also felt a renewed interest in writing as a result of the experience. For me, though, I had set myself on a path where my career would likely involve no creativity at all, and then when I was working on refics I thought, hey, maybe I could do this. Not just as a side thing to keep myself entertained, but as a major part of my life. That hasn't quite resolved for me, yet. I still don't know what I'm going to do with myself. But I'm looking at things that I hadn't really even considered before TWWF.

I saw something recently about how the stereotype of the depressed artist needs to go away. I agree wholeheartedly; not because artists don't often suffer from depression, but because depression is not an advantage to artists. Depression is a paralytic. In a similar vein, I think "If you think writing is easy then you're doing it wrong" is bullshit. Writing can be hard, but that doesn't mean that if you're having an easy time that you're somehow inferior to the people who struggle. That's something you tell yourself when struggling to make yourself feel better, but it comes at the expense of other people with different experiences and you don't need to do that. Writing can be a slog, or it can be a jaunt. What matters most is that you do it.

Most people have times when they feel inspired and like everything is falling into place, and other times when everything feels like crap and nothing is going ever to fit together. What matters isn't how often things feel easy, but how well you keep going when things feel like crap.

Don't worry about writing in a notebook. I hardly ever use a notebook. Most of my writing is done digitally, and when I do write on paper it's almost always in a loose-leaf binder. I have a binder that I can zip up, so I can keep some pens and pencils in it and they won't fall out. That way I can work on multiple ideas and shuffle paper around, something that I can't do as easily in a bound journal. Most of the Medusa fic was written on a sheet of binder paper during a Chemistry class.

I didn't write fanfic until TWWF; I'll admit I've been a bit of a snob about it. I had this thought that fanfic was "beneath" me. But now I have an account where I post fanfic fairly often and I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Attitudes change. And I find that for a lot of the fanfic I've written, I have to put A LOT of work into developing character and setting. Because even though there's stuff that's already established for me to use as a jumping-off point, a story needs a hell of a lot more than that. If something's going to really breathe, it needs its own background information. There are things I know about fanfic I've written that never make it into the text, but are just things I needed to figure out in order to write it. That kind of thing happens with "real" fiction all the time. Fanfic has those same requirements.

There ARE real jobs writing fiction in already-existent worlds. There are official Star Trek novels, a whole Expanded Universe of Star Wars stuff, novels in the settings of all sorts of video games, all licensed by the intellectual property holders. I have no idea how you break into that kind of career, but it's a job that real writers do. I've always thought that it seems terribly restrictive, that I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had to write something like that, but maybe you would really enjoy it. I'd do some preliminary research but I figure you are just as qualified to Google that kind of thing as I am.

Ultimately, the question of whether you're really a writer is up to you. And you know what? It doesn't matter. If you want to keep writing, go ahead and keep writing and call yourself a writer. If you'd rather not, feel free to stop. You have no obligation to write or not to write. Just know that if you do keep writing, I will gladly be a member of your reading audience.
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:28 pm

Hey, so I feel kind of silly adding to this conversation after a bunch of people have just said it probably better... but as I'm typing this sentence I realize that that's basically a sum-up of what you're describing feeling, if I'm understanding you correctly, and what I think most beginning writers feel: "I feel silly telling people they should read my stuff, or bothering to write stuff for people to read, when other people have already written something better." And I'm totally against that, even though I feel it myself, because everyone has different tastes and quality isn't objective and if people said "well someone else already did something better I'm just not going to bother" we would miss out on SO MUCH AMAZING STUFF in the world so I'm just going to write words.

I like external validation. I don't know if that's because I'm mildly extroverted, or because I'm a narcissist, or because I'm a writer, or because I'm human, but there it is. I feel more good about myself and my writing when other people say it's good. To bring that closer to home: TWWF. A year and a half ago, I'd just started a program of study in writing professionally except my first course in the program was terrible and soul-crushing and I was all "MAYBE I SHOULD JUST QUIT CREATIVITY FOREVER AND GO BE AN ACCOUNTANT" and then TWWF came along and I wrote things that other people said were good, and it made me feel like I could do this again. Like I could do things.

And part of me thinks it's exceedingly silly to feel so validated by what's essentially a writing contest judged by people like me, half of whom I socialize with regularly at this point, but there it is. TWWF was something that I loved, so when it told me that my refic was good, that made me feel good. Hey, TWWF says that your writing was good, Scarab-- the Witch refic and the Cthulhu fic speak to that. If you're anything like me, that probably feels incredibly good and validating.

But how do I move on, now that TWWF is over, and still feel like I'm a competent writer? Well, I think part of it is that most writers have that crippling self-doubt at SOME times or we'd be horrible narcissists, and it's not pleasant but we live with it. But I don't like living with it, so I'm all for looking for new sources of external validation. Fanfiction's a good one, like people before me have already discussed extensively, particularly because there are established fora for people to post fanfiction and established fandoms that are pretty much guaranteed to produce at least a few people to validate your work by liking it. I personally don't do fanfiction so much, but that's more because of me-- I like feeling like I totally "own" my writing, and with fanfiction, a large part of it "belongs" to the person who wrote the original work.

Then there's the writing-with-people and RPing, which you touched on. This is great, when we have people we work well with, on so many levels. For one thing, it's easier, at least for me-- we bounce ideas off each other; when one of us dries up, we just need to stop and wait for the other one to keep things going. Then there's the back-and-forth of validation while we're writing, plus the approval from everyone else who reads it once it's posted.

But RPing and collabing doesn't run the whole gamut of writing, and if I rely on that solely then a part of me's afraid that I'll begin to think that I'm not a good writer at all, I'm only competent when I work with other people. My last method for external validation is the one that I'm really posting in order to recommend, that I really want to talk and think and investigate more: get a reader.

Find someone whom you trust, who wants to read your writing and whom you would want as a reader, and write in googledocs and give that person (or two or three people) the link. Not to collab, just to... watch you write. To comment on things they like and things they think you should expand on or edit or think about while you're writing. A guest in your doc means that you feel more accountable, more like you HAVE to keep writing because someone's waiting on what happens next without the pressure of making everything public before you're ready. It means there's someone who knows what you're thinking and who can keep giving you that encouragement and remind you that that paragraph you wrote this morning, that you're feeling ambivalent about? It isn't garbage. You can write, and you can write well.

The only other thing I'd say is the really obvious thing-- if you feel like you're not a real writer, keep writing until you do, because we get better with practice. You commented that you somewhat regret taking art instead of writing in university, but I'd say that's the right move-- you can't learn how to write from a course, or you can't learn how to write well from a course. You learn how to write by seeing how you write, and gathering experiences to write about (says the girl studying professional writing... but then, I'd have been no good in art).
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby Guyshane on Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:38 pm

Maybe this will seem kinda short and pointless after what everyone else has said. But honestly beetle? Write about something you love. Like the reason I just go and write for FC and don't even bother editing is because I love the characters I've made. Because I love the mythology I've built around this one little doomed town out in the boondocks and how it's fall affected those who lived there. Similarly I never would of been able to write (and get constantly distracted from) my RWBY fanfic if I didn't love that series to death. Find something you love and the story writes itself.
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby JRPictures on Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:13 pm

There's not a lot I can say to you Scarab that hasn't been said by anyone else in this thread.

We've all struggled with writing a lot, me especially. I've written up an entire plan for a tv show with character summaries to episode info and yet I'm only 5 pages into the script for the pilot which I haven't gotten back to in months.I have so much stuff planned yet I just don't have the motivation to keep writing it. Hell I haven't even revisited my NaNoWriMo project since the November ended.

I've preferred making movies to writing stories for a reason. I don't have that kind of skill. I don't want to write down in detail what locations look like, how characters appear, speak, etc. Fight scenes are especially a source of contention. How can I write down anything I imagine in my head and when the product I write down just doesn't have the same feeling it had in my mind?

It's why I don't write novels, it's why I can be so relaxed while writing for an RP. It feels like there's no strings attached for me there.

Even with all that in mind, I can confidently say that you Scarab alongside everyone else on this forum are far far better than writers than me. And that will never change.

You're all fine writers and even when it seems like things are down and in the dumps, I trust that you and everyone else can find the motivation to keep writing. Sometimes it means taking a break, or finding inspiration. Either way I know you can make it.
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby Scarab on Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:25 am

Sorry it took me so long to get back here, I've just... sort of been reading through all this and trying to piece together in my brain. I'm still not entirely sure I get it. There's... a lot of stuff.

AMimsyBorogove wrote:I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. Maybe this will inspire you, or drive you to seek ideas in new places where you may find something you missed before, or perhaps I just confused you with added ramblings about my own issues with writing, and comparing the two of us has been wrong for the start.


You didn't make it worse, no, this was helpful, although I do agree now that comparing any two writers is probably the problematic in some ways, it's very helpful in others. Still your ideas hold weight. I guess it's not so much that I worried I wasn't a writer, though I still have that concern. I once heard that the definition of a writer is "if you wake up in the morning and all you want to do is write, you're a writer" (heh, Sister Act 2) and... I don't get that all the time. I have no idea how much of that is to do with depressive symptoms, how much is just laziness, and how much is not finding something I really wanted to do.

RussettDivinity wrote:There's nothing wrong with writing fanfics. I've got four going right now. I use them as kind of a breather, since I only have to come up with a working plot and maybe some original characters. You can even use fanfics as a springboard onto original fiction. That's how 50 Shades of Grey happened, and I'm sure yours will be even better.


...The fact is, even though I haven't actually written it for years now (unless you count The Wall Will Fall), I really wanted to fanfic at several points. I've sometimes rather wanted to write an original book, but I've never felt the same wild passion for my own worlds as other peoples.

But if Mimsy's right, well... then I'm expecting to draw sustenance from a gourd I haven't filled, so to speak. That's not the way it happens after all. Your characters and world DON'T often just pop into your head fully formed and adored, at least not often (and those who do aren't enssecarily great characters). You have to grow into knowing and caring for them and a good way to start that is by writing something you love. You have to create the universe: live it, breathe it, in the same way you might relentlessly absorb someone else's media, before you can love it.

I still have the worry that I don't actually know what I love, or how to write a story about it, but.. .I guess that's where inspiration and ideas come in. I didn't ask you all for help with that :)

NarrativeDilettante wrote:I didn't write fanfic until TWWF; I'll admit I've been a bit of a snob about it. I had this thought that fanfic was "beneath" me. But now I have an account where I post fanfic fairly often and I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Attitudes change. And I find that for a lot of the fanfic I've written, I have to put A LOT of work into developing character and setting.


Well in defence of you, Dilly, Sturgeon's law IS firmly in effect re: fanfic, but when you think about it? it's also in the works for ORIGINAL fiction too. It's in everything. And those imperfections come from youth, and from newness to the craft and from a lack of understanding and those are all wonderful things, they're all a part of the creative process, all the signs of people trying, and failing, and trying again and most importantly, learning.

I think TWWF had a similar effect on me as it did you all. It reminded me of why I started doing this in the first place by reminding me what I loved about it: the story and the mystery and the chance to have friends who shared those interests.

I'm not even kidding when I say I owe you guys, and Tom and Dana and Rick and Eric and Sophira and all the other GMs of Watch the Footage, more than I think I can ever possibly repay. I remember sitting there staring at the blank screen where Adell's video had been and trying not to cry because god damn it, people could hear me, but it was just because of everything that had led me here and how it felt this was where it was meant to be: this was where the story ended, not narratively so much as in my head, and whatever happened, that ending was our decision and our choice. With a whimper, not a bang. My quote on my entries has always been "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... and maybe I do suck at orienteering, but I don't regret ending up here.

I think that was the hardest bit for me to get to grips with, tbh. Having friends. I'm not used to that. I don't know hoe to be a good friend, but I'lll keep trying and hopefully I'll get it right for you all eventually :)

Okay now I've gotten that sappy bit over with, back to cold hard facts. :|

(Incidentally and kinda off topic, I was talking to Mark last night, and we're not sure that what we did for TWWF actually counts as fanfic? I mean it is for some of us, for want of a better definition, but not all of us were fans of the media we were creating stories for. I don't even like the Wizard of Oz, so I wouldn't call what I wrote fanfiction. Then again others were writing for things they were fans of so maybe t was fanfic for those amongst us who were fans. I guess we could use the posh, fancy name for fanfic and stuff like that which is "transformative works", but essentially, yeah.)

RussetDivinity wrote:There's also nothing wrong with working collaboratively. I'm sure if you wanted to do your own collab with some people from the forum, they'd love to write with you, and having someone to help you flesh out the world and the characters should help you get more confidence in your own skills. Also, sometimes a lot of the development comes from editing, which can be insanely hard.


Tbh I... really, really struggle with group writing. This is probably obvious to most people whom have ever written FC with me, with the odd exception where our two styles just seem to have conveniently meshed and I think that's rare for any writer to find (that I've found it amongst several of you says more than the times it was difficult). I often end up typing my parts in a google doc and copy pasting because the observation (even from someone I like and truth) just... gets me. I know some writers just don't gel as well as others (Terry Pratchett and Gaiman? Collaboratively they're a creative source of brilliant. Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii? Also creative geniuses but put them together and try to combine their works... not so much.)

narrativedilettante wrote:Don't worry about writing in a notebook. I hardly ever use a notebook. Most of my writing is done digitally, and when I do write on paper it's almost always in a loose-leaf binder. I have a binder that I can zip up, so I can keep some pens and pencils in it and they won't fall out. That way I can work on multiple ideas and shuffle paper around, something that I can't do as easily in a bound journal. Most of the Medusa fic was written on a sheet of binder paper during a Chemistry class.


I am more relieved about this than I probably should be. Not to say I don't like notebooks... they're lovely, and sometimes I use them, but yeah the shuffling is a lot more convenient. I tend to always work digitally just cause I can type a lot better than I write (yay dyslexia). My first story was a notebook. One day I'll show you it. It was terrible and rooted in social and un-diverse stereotypes.

I agree that the stereotype needs to die. I don't doubt that some wonderful stories are written concerning depression and mental illness I'm not saying by any means that I think THAT should stop. But then again depression isn't the kind of thing which generally listens to you anyway. Lots of us here know that. So maybe this entire line of conversation is a moot point.

JRPictures wrote:Even with all that in mind, I can confidently say that you Scarab alongside everyone else on this forum are far far better than writers than me. And that will never change.


Okay I... no. just... no. Don't. Do. That. You guys have all been really helpful here (including you JR) but please don't say stuff like that. It's depressing and there are several reasons why it's a bad idea:

1) When was the last time somebody telling you "you're way better at [our chosen art] than I'll ever be" made you (or for that matter the person you're talking to) feel better? It doesn't. That would be masochistic.
2) It makes people feel bad to have it implied that they're somehow 'better' than someone else whom they know has the same passion they do.
3) It kind of ignores everything I just said about writing being a SKILL you learn. as I've come to learn from reading your comments, maybe unique imagination ISN'T as important as having something you personally love and creating something that you love in response. And once again, therein lies the fatal rub that we so often don't get: your originality comes from who you are.

I've just read six plus comments where you all basically encouraged me to respect myself and my abilities as a writer. Don't start doing the exact same thing to yourself that I was just doing. Don't put one person on a different standard to yourself, or anybody else for that matter. We're all holding the same pens and we're all at different points circled on the same map. If we let ourselves think like that... maybe we've already lost. Maybe I just almost did.

Wow, that was a close one, huh?

So long story sort, thanks, guys. I'm going to keep tyring to get out of this rut, but it's going to involve a lot of swallowing my pride, for want of a better description. Instead of trying to be the writer I think should be, the writer I assume I saw the other day on all those bookshelves in Waterstones, I just need to be the kind of writer I am and that comes from the kind of person I am. Maybe that's not always good or bad. Maybe it might or might not get me a place on those very same shelves, but it'll be me. It doens't matter what I'm writing, perhaps, so long as I'm happy. either way

I'm not saying that'll make me brilliant (hell I don't even honestly think it'll make me good)... but it strikes me that it's the only way to be happy: doing what you love, and keeping it as the thing you love (while exploring new things, of course). Maybe I just need to take a break for a while, but when I'm done with that...

...Well, then I have a nanonovel to finish. And a fanfiction brewing in my brain that's been trying to get itself on paper for months ;) .

Oh, and :) <3
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby Sophira on Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:26 pm

I've been meaning to reply to this topic for a while.

Firstly, I want to address this:

Sophira wrote:I'm not even kidding when I say I owe you guys, and Tom and Dana and Rick and Eric and Sophira and all the other GMs of Watch the Footage, more than I think I can ever possibly repay.


I for one am really glad that TWWF was able to help you to have friends and to be social among people who share your interests - that is, after all, one of the defining points of an ARG, in my opinion. When enough like-minded people band together for a common cause, you can do pretty much anything. I think TWWF definitely showed that. While it's possible to make ARGs for a small, closed group of people, in my opinion the best ARGs are those which openly invite people to join and unite for the cause.

And that brings me to my point; We did this because we wanted to put on a damn good ARG. We wanted so hard to make this the best it could be, and I think we pulled it off. But we could never have made it this good if it wasn't for you guys! You all contributed in so many different ways, and in my opinion all of it improved the ARG. I'm not going to call out specific instances here because that would diminish my point, but trust me when I say that everybody contributed to making it as good as it was, including you.

So, you see, in many ways I feel that we're the ones who owe you guys for making it this good. That being said, how would you feel about calling it even? :D

Writing-wise, I have a suggestion for you but rather than put it here I think it's better if I PM it, because I don't want you to feel like you're being pressured into doing anything. Is it okay if I PM you or talk with you in Chat?
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Re: Scarab Struggles With Writing

Postby Scarab on Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:17 pm

Sophira wrote:So, you see, in many ways I feel that we're the ones who owe you guys for making it this good. That being said, how would you feel about calling it even?


:D Sure I can do that.

Sophira wrote:Writing-wise, I have a suggestion for you but rather than put it here I think it's better if I PM it, because I don't want you to feel like you're being pressured into doing anything. Is it okay if I PM you or talk with you in Chat?


I would like that very much :). I see you aren't using skype anymore for scary reasons, but I'm sure we can catch each other on the neatchat at some point in the not too distant future, I would still appreciate any help and advice I could get! Pick a time and place and I'll be there Soph, (possibly twenty minutes late and sleep deprived but I'll be there :lol: )
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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