Something I have come to realise the last few months, is the negative affect discussion can have on an idea.
I have found that if I discuss or put out for critique a newly started piece of work, it seems to fail soon after. The input from others has the affect of stalling the creative process. I canít get passed what people have said, it seems to alter my original idea and somehow the stream runs out fast.
This started me thinking. Both my novels were not put out for critique until they were finished or nearly so. I just wrote them; then started to think on them, to edit, alter and seek others opinions. In fact of late I have only commented on my completed work, been very reluctant to even talk about any ideas, because they are just that, ideas, not really formed; not shaped at all.
Donít get me wrong, it is nice to throw ideas around, I love to bounce thoughts and story lines off friends, but when it comes to creating, I feel I need to now sit aside and keep quiet, lest till I have a rough idea of where a story is going, maybe this will help a work get past the 3 chapter mark, which seems to be the failing point at the moment.
Anyone else noticed this, that the talking of, the trying to reason out the whys and wherefores are killing the very thing you want to create and keep fresh?
October 28th, 2004, 12:28 PM
There is always going to be someone to shoot down your ideas because there is always going to be someone who doesn't like it. I realize that when someone tells you how stupid they feel your plot is, it can be a bit discouraging, but do you really care what they are saying? There are plenty of other people who will read your vision for what it is, YOUR VISION. Don't take anything anyone says too seriously because in the end it is your story and only you can make it the way you want to.
When you are done, there might be room for improvement, or areas to tweak. Don't ignore EVERYTHING that people say but remember that it will never be perfect to them until they are the ones that write it. Keep your stories as your own.
October 28th, 2004, 12:43 PM
Sometimes Brainstorming is great for coming up with ideas, although sometimes after everyone else gets done with it you don't recognise your idea afterwards.
But sometimes an idea can be talked to death simply because you still don't know where you want to go with it.
If you go back to your original inspiration, you may yet revive it.
But some ideas are best developed alone.
October 28th, 2004, 02:50 PM
I don't write myself, so I can't directly comment, but one time I was lucky enough to go to a talk that Ray Bradbury was giving to local writers.
He was talking about when he was first starting out, and his day job was delivering newspapers. He was running yet another awesome story idea past his partner, when his partner told him to shut up. "Why?" asked Ray. "Because you tell them to me and never get around to writing them down. So instead of telling me about it, write the darn thing down!" was the reply.
That's the one thing I've always remembered from that talk (among others, he really is a great guy and a very entertaining speaker), and I always mention it to writer friends who talk to me.
October 28th, 2004, 04:43 PM
Hey, I have made atleast five books, deleted them and now have a worl dfull of ideas.
October 28th, 2004, 07:56 PM
To answer your question, yes.
I have an idea that I can really expand, but when people comment on it, it gets so boring and I hear a song or see a movie that gives a new idea.
October 29th, 2004, 03:13 AM
Yeah I know exactly what you mean.
You of all people know how many projects I have started. My problem, is that I get too enthusiastic I think. I just have to tell someone about the wonderful new idea I have had! The problem is that it isn't a new idea anymore.
You got me thinking, currently I have 6 potential novels on the go. Of course I'm not actively writing any of them, they are just sitting there waiting for me to do something with.
Ah well, one day!
October 29th, 2004, 05:52 AM
I think new projects especially can be very sensitive to critique and often the criticism can be a little short sighted.
It make take a while to get a story flowing the way you like and the latter part of stories tend to be better that the beginnings (in my case anyway).
Then you can always rework the opening.
In other words, I'm generally shite at openers, which unfortunately the most important part of the story, as it the one that will be scrutinised the most in the submission proccess etc.
Plus if some takes a dump in your baking mix, your'e more likely to bin it that cook it and see what comes out, as no amount of salt can diguise the taste it leaves :eek:
October 29th, 2004, 10:34 AM
For me it depends on the type of discussion. Plot is usually a strength for me so I think my books sound good in sound bite form. I've never had anyone scoff at one of my ideas.
I have, however, become much more selective on who I ask to critique my novels and short stories. When I first started posting on the site I got one of the best critiques I've ever had, packed with useful information based on the reviewer's reaction to each scene. Since then not every experience has been as productive and I've seen some others get blasted for purposes that I could never quite gather.
Being harsh is one thing. Being hypercritical without ever offering constructive suggestions for improvement is another. Telling someone that their sentences are too long, their characters too bland, their dialogue too stiff, their plots too implausible.... does nothing to help them write better.
I truly hope that no one on this site would ever be tactless in a review simply because knocking someone else made them feel better about themselves. But a couple of times I've wondered.
The internet is a very impersonal way of interacting and I think it is easy for us as reviewers to lose site of just how important our words may be the person who is on their receiving end. Everyone who looks at a piece of writing and wants to comment should put their post through one simple Litmus test: do I really think that this will help the writer.
"Here's what I liked and here's what just didn't work for me..."
"A lot of your sentences seem to drag out each idea. Here's a paragragh where I deleted some of the prepositional phrases, adjectives, and adverbs. See what you think."
Shaping writers is a serious business. We should treat it that way.
October 29th, 2004, 11:36 AM
I've had critiques that have been helpful, and a couple that have completely ruined the work for me (by being overly harsh - I can take most criticism and am fairly sure I can tell the difference between fair and OTT critting).
Now, I've learnt to keep my work to myself for longer. When I complete a novel length work I intend to let it rest for a while, give it at least one pass of revision, and then give it to maybe one or two trusted friends. I prefer to get overall revision - how do the characters work, are there any slow chapters, etc, rather than picking sentences apart (unless they can say they've noticed I do the same thing to sentences a lot), so I'll probably tell them all that too.