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January 30th, 2007, 03:55 PM
Right. Is it just me who has this problem?

I have a very vague storyish idea thing that's been around for about 2 years now. Fine, that's not the problem. However, now when i pick up a new book, whether in a library or shop i want it to be MY story.

Now i seem incapable of really reading anything because i want it to be something else. MY something else.

Is it just me who has this problem and how do i end it?

Probably by actually writing the story. Lol

January 30th, 2007, 07:23 PM
It sounds like you're searching on the outside for something within. We all do that from time to time. Perhaps the answer is to start writing your story.

January 30th, 2007, 08:34 PM
I second that. Were it nearing November, I'd suggest you try NaNoWriMo. But really, write your story. It really does make the feeling go away.

January 31st, 2007, 12:59 PM
Thanks, both of you. i suppose i already knew that was the answer but just wanted someone else to tell me so. :)

January 31st, 2007, 02:45 PM
Actually, it's not a problem for me per sei, but it does happen. Usually I'll walk in a library and, even though I won't read them, I'll pick up a sci-fi or a fantasy novel and flip through the pages, stop on one, and read it a little. I just stop and think, "These could be my words, my picture..." and it usually motivates me, inspires me, or gives me material to work with. The only trouble is that, after that, I have to write it; the trouble being that I usually don't end up doing that. I wonder if anyone can help me with THAT problem. Unfortunately, the idea is that I have to solve it myself, so I don't expect an answer!

January 31st, 2007, 03:13 PM
Actually, I have the opposite problem.

"Damn! I wish I had thought of that."

Or worse:

"Oh no! That's my idea! And better than I could ever manage."


January 31st, 2007, 06:04 PM
I'd say that you're both developing an author's eye and getting the "itch." The author's eye is when you start noticing things specifically in story terms -- material that would work well in a story, ideas from casual encounters, playing with language in your head. This also effects your reading. You see more what the author is doing in constructing the story, which may often lead you to think about how you might take things in a different direction or use a different approach, even if you like the story you are reading. Your brain is thinking like an author's brain, if you like, and it's bugging you. Happens with movies, etc., too.

The "itch" comes from being inspired by what you're reading, good or bad. It is seeing the act of creation on the page, which sets your brain racing to do the same. I know when I really like a work because I'm energized and have the strong urge to go write. I'm connecting with the author's work and characterizations and jazzing from that on the possibilities of story-telling. This includes DS' oh I wish I'd thought of that sort of reaction and sometimes dissatisfaction with an author who you feel dropped the ball, giving you the urge to run with it instead.

These things are of course offset by the inner weasel, the cravenous spirit inside who tells you that you could never write anything worth anything to anybody, and the wall -- the prospect of having to sit down and write and write to produce a story, which even if you really enjoy the activity of writing, is a daunting prospect because we want to do well at it. Ignoring the inner weasel and focusing on small steps may help with these.

February 1st, 2007, 02:47 PM
Thanks KatG, I can certainly relate to the author's eye thing, something i hadn't even realised i was doing! So will I always do this now or will it come and go depending on how much writing i do?

And yes the inner weasel is a great big monster of mine, if i don't feed it will it go away?:p

February 1st, 2007, 06:36 PM
Thanks KatG, I can certainly relate to the author's eye thing, something i hadn't even realised i was doing! So will I always do this now or will it come and go depending on how much writing i do?

It will probably always be with you in one form or another, now that you've taught your brain to think like that. But of course, if you don't exercise it, it may not be very prominent for you. I imagine it varies, depending on the person.

And yes the inner weasel is a great big monster of mine, if i don't feed it will it go away?:p

The only thing you can do is sit on the inner weasel, firmly and repeatedly, to at least shut it up for awhile. Published, successful writers still have inner weasels, but they're not as thrown off by the wall or setbacks in climbing it.

One of the books I'm reading now is Stephen King's "From a Buick 8" and he has an author note on it, because he wrote the first draft of the novel right before he was hit by a car and almost killed. He got the initial idea for the story when he stopped at a gas station, on his way from Florida to Maine. He went in the back to use the bathroom, and there was a steep slope nearby that lead down to a spring-swollen, rapidly moving stream. King moved a little closer to look at the water, slipped and fell, slid down the slope toward the stream and grabbed something to catch himself.

He considered what might have happened if he'd been swept away in the stream and his car full of belongings left sitting there at the gas station, no one knowing what had happened to him. And he made a story out of it. Everybody does this to some extent; it's part of how our brains work. But writers specifically look for it, they zero in on it and really try to use it. They have a very hard time turning it off, and they'll add material from different aspects of their life, reading or things people tell them. Mystery writers plot how to kill you, romance writers consider any location as a possible setting, and sffh writers look for things that are weird. :)

February 2nd, 2007, 12:04 PM
So i suppose in a way, storytelling is just extended daydreaming?