Discussion NSWFF Writer's Support Group - December's Topic: Action Scenes

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    That is definitely true. Either as an experience they've had or wish to have. Or inspiring them to be more like the characters they admire. [face_thinking] Personal growth stories are great reads and if they find happiness, I do like seeing that expounded at some length, not just as a sorta paragraph in the epilogue or something. If it takes 20 chapters for a character to realize something the rebuilding/actualizing should take some expression also so the characters can (and the readers also) enjoy the changes. :)
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  2. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    @TrakNar - That is an excellent way to compare it with the art - art Is so subjective to a viewer's taste and perception, especially when it comes to abstract art, and it is a great principle to carry over into writing. [face_thinking]

    @serendipityaey - You are such a dear! [:D] I can't wait until your summer allows you to post more, as well. Your JtGS tale has been like cat nip to me - between you and @Nyota's Heart, I not only get my fix on mush and excellent character building within relationships, but a model to hold my own writing up to. [:D]

    Now, for this month's topic, I think that that is an excellent point about the reader making your stories there own. I can't say that I have really had a reader take the complete opposite of what I am trying to write - for, you can still shape your words and story building to garner a specific thought or reaction - but I love that feeling of surprise and 'I did not even think about it that way' that a reader giving feedback can result in. Really, it's one of my favourite parts of writing. Now, the best is when a reader actually inspires more from you, or makes you look at your own work in a new way. There really is nothing better. [face_love]
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  3. Viridian-Maiden Jedi Master

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    Hi everyone!

    And thanks to @Mira_Jade for the question. I've been meaning to add something but haven't been so active for the past weeks. I, too, love it when a reader points out something that is definitely in the story but which I didn't see. Or makes me see that there could be more than one reading of an event.

    I've never posted on this thread and have only been semi-active on here since getting on about a year ago (not my intention when I registered, of course) but I actually want to ask another question and I'm hoping you'll feel free to give your input. I apologize if it's been discussed before - I don't know how to search and find prior answers yet. But I want to ask all your kind advice about how I can deal with writer's block, particularly after being criticized or rejected.

    Basically, this is something like a cry for help.

    You see, other than the brief Defiance fic I banged out for the movie quote challenge (which I signed up for mainly to get me out of a slump), 6 months have passed in which I've just found myself unable to write.

    Not to get into all the nitty-gritty drama of the situation, but I think it will help me if I explain a little bit:

    I have a good friend who has always been a sounding board/support for all my stories. Although I posted the Last Starstar about a year ago and meant to post regularly I ended up working on something else and spent a good portion of time over the past year on a fic for another fandom. It wasn't anything great, but it did mean a lot to me even though it was mostly fluff. (I actually started it partly as a birthday present for her, but that's not THAT important.) I did post the story as I wrote, but I never got a single review although I saw the reads going up to show people found it good enough to read through multiple chapters. And even though it would have been nice to get reviews from people other than my friend, I didn't really care much because I liked writing it and I wasn't really "in the circle" on that fansite anyway so it didn't seem to matter.

    Well, six months ago, my friend stopped reading at all, let alone writing reviews or giving feedback. She stopped reading after I posted the most recent two chapters. First she said she was busy with work and would get to it next week, and of course I didn't complain because I SO get that! But she didn't. I try to be an understanding friend. After two months I told her I knew it was silly, but my feelings were hurt -- and really, it was one of the easiest things she could have done for me since it was just a few pages and it's not like she isn't binging on tv on the weekends. She just kept saying she would read it soon but it's been 6 months and she still hasn't read it. (I stopped mentioning it after 3.)

    I suppose it's not really relevant, but at least one of those chapters I was particularly excited to get a reaction to because it surprised me as a writer and came from somewhere visceral, and out of all the things I've written I was really proud of it. I assume she just doesn't want to tell me the truth, which is that for whatever reason, she no longer cares and has lost interest.

    And I know this shouldn't bother me. I should be able to get over it because generally speaking, I write for myself and not other people. When I started working on the Last Starstar, for example, I really didn't think anyone else would ever see it. (She was actually the one who encouraged me to start posting it here.)

    And I also know I should just get over it because this happened another time before and I was sorry that I let it affect me as much as it did. At the time, I had let a boyfriend read an original piece I had written, and even though I always did and still do vehemently disagree with his criticism I took it pretty hard. (We actually broke up just days after that.) In fact, I really didn't do any creative writing again for years after that. And I know now that was stupid, because when I finally started doing it again I realized how much I like doing it and how good it is for me, and looking back I was able to see that it was ridiculous to have let one person's misinformed, insensitively expressed opinion affect me so much. But hey, live and learn.

    Ever since this though, I've felt hurt enough that it's become really hard to work on any of my stories in my mind, let alone really write. Every time I sit down, I just find sadness. I've also had trouble working on my tumblog, which I was also spending a lot of time on until roughly the same time this happened.

    I assume I'll get over it eventually. I've even had days where I was sure the remedy was just to get going again on something. Maybe even anything. Which is why I wrote the Defiance fic. It at least got my juices flowing a little bit. But I'm still shying away from the stories I want to be writing. Because it still hurts a lot.

    Unfortunately I've been going through a few other losses during the same time period, and writing was really helping me deal with those in a positive way. So I feel even more keenly the loss of both the pastime and my friend's support. Some of those other things I expect (well, I hope) will eventually get better and I hope when they do I'll be able to get back into it. But I can't say when exactly those situations will change, or when I'll be able to start really sorting them out.

    Any advice? What should I do? Should I just get to writing anything again, even if I feel uninspired? Or should I not push myself and wait for inspiration to come otherwise? How should I deal with this?

    This is probably way more than anyone wanted to know about my writing woes/life. But it seemed worth reaching out. It's better to express the feelings, I think, than to sit there and keep them bottled up. Maybe just spilling the whole thing out to uninvolved parties will help me forgive her and begin working again.

    So thank you for your sympathetic ears. Much appreciation. [face_good_luck]
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  4. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    @Viridian-Maiden --

    I also sent a brief PM P.S. [face_batting]


    I really like the "Like" feature on this board. On the other JC forum, you couldn't tell if anyone was reading and lurking :p Participating in challenges does help - they can be as short and as long as you have the time and inclination to write and if the prompt is open, you can fit it in any fandom. It doesn't run all the time and hopefully it'll run again, but there was an edited challenge in Fan Fiction Writers Resource on the SW side, run by KELIA, which supplies prompts in three rounds. It's like a contest of sorts, :cool: but the good thing is it's not long like a challenge that runs for months or a whole year.

    When I get stuck, I let anything inspire me, a line from a poem, a song lyric, a line of dialogue. Even the way a piece of music makes me feel.

    I feel writing and reading very therapeutic, around stressful times and around periods of personal loss. Have for years LOL.

    I also find that writing dialogue gets me unstuck. Then I can go back and write the descriptive parts.

    [:D]
    Last edited by Nyota's Heart, Aug 19, 2014
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  5. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    I'm in a similar predicament as you, @Viridian-Maiden, where I can't seem to get myself to write. I've tried dabbling in other fandoms that would allow me to unleash a different creative side, only for those stories to immediately fall apart. Really, the only time i find my muse even remotely active is when I'm writing up an RP post. If I put pen to paper, though, it runs away in fright, despite having plenty of possible plot bunnies and characters sitting around and taking up brain space.

    It's been well over a year since I've written anything significant. It's not that I need inspiration; as I mentioned, there's a ton of it just sitting around and waiting for me to write. My problem is that the words simply are not flowing. I just can't get it out on paper. Draw it? Can do. Write it for something other than an RP? Not happening.

    Has anyone had this problem? What did you do to fix it? Should I just force myself to write, even though what I put down on paper will be total garbage? Should I just wait it out, as obviously I can write for RPs?
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  6. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    @TrakNar Couple of pinpointing questions first. @};-

    Has this happened before and if so, what was the common trigger?

    And if not, what do you think froze things up for stuff that aren't RPs?

    :D
  7. Viridian-Maiden Jedi Master

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    @TrakNar -- Thanks for sharing your experience! You're lucky you still have art as a creative outlet. I've been trying to find something else like that for the time being but nothing's been coming to mind lately. Creatively, I seem totally stuck. (I dabble in various things on occasion, but drawing is definitely not a talent.)

    I will say one thing, despite my own difficulty. There have been times when I thought what was coming out wasn't very good, only to realize later that it ended up one of my favorite parts. Sometimes I think there's a bit of struggle to get the best chapters just right. I think the best chapters I've written have been a balance between having to push to get down to business and ideas just coming out.

    What I'm going through currently seems slightly different to me, I guess, because I mostly sit down and ask myself what's the point of that little push to even bother starting it?

    I still expect it to take a while before I'm able to post but I had the files at least open yesterday and I was trying to figure out just where I am. So something about all this seems to have helped.[face_good_luck]
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  8. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    1. It has, but hell if I know what caused it. I just have dry spells.

    2. RPs tend to be spur-of-the-moment with a dynamic storyline, and having dialogue with multiple people helps keep me from getting stuck. I don't need to stick to my usual writing methods, either. I have more freedom and other players to keep me going. With a fic, it tends to be just me working on it. Certain projects I'm a bit secretive with.
  9. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Happy as all get out @Viridian-Maiden to see your participating in a challenge. [face_dancing] =D= @Mira_Jade -- would love your input on Viridian's conundrum. [face_batting]
  10. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Thanks for tagging me, Deb! I am still getting caught up on things, and this is definitely something I wanted to comment on. :)

    That said - Ack. I can at once agree that there is nothing worse than loosing a favorite reviewer - I post a lot of pieces specifically looking forward to what a few key people will say, and I can understand why losing that would be a blow. Our art is tied with our emotions to a huge degree, so what you are feeling does not sound 'silly' or 'wrong' at all. I'm sorry for your bad experience with writing - since this particular outlet should be nothing but a joy. [:D]

    From personal experience, I have found the best answer is to just write, even if it is a blabbering, string-of-conscious-thought mess. I have had things that I forced myself to start, and as they get rolling, they end up being my favourite things. Even if they are just drabbles or sentences or ficlets - anything to get your creative side going. Short pieces also have the added benefit of letting you exercise your pen and satisfying your inner-artist by letting you see that you finished something - and that something often leads to more somethings more often than not. We have a prompt thread going on now - and I would love to see a few of your entries for it, for any fandom. That may be a good place to start if you are looking for a foothold. (That said, your work on your Defiance piece really impressed me. You have an excellent style and your voices for your characters were clear and relatable. You are in the upper tiers of what I have read online, if that helps the confidence issues in your writing - and that is with you being 'rusty' and 'uninspired.' The skill is still there, it just needs to be let out. [face_love][:D])

    I can also say from personal experience - and @Nyota's Heart can testify, patient and amazingly prodding friend that she is ;) [:D] - I used to always wait for that 'perfect inspiration' and 'perfect feeling' with my writing, and as a result it would take me months to churn a piece out, and I would often get frustrated with a project and lose interest in it. I forced myself to write and write and write, and now, since I got the ball rolling with my muse, I constantly want to write. I am even at a point where I even enjoy my own writing - which is always a feat for us writers! We are our own worst enemy, it seems. :oops:

    It is easy to say 'write for yourself' and 'just write something', but it is true. Love what you are writing about, and the readers will find you more often than not - even if it takes time. I have had stories start with one review and even none per chapter, and then down the line I hear from readers who have been enjoying the story from the start. But, if you enjoy it, it doesn't matter what other people have to say. It just matters what you feel when you are putting pen to paper. I just hope that you find that joy again - there really is nothing better. [face_love]
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Aug 29, 2014
  11. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Time to force myself to write, then, regardless if what comes out is total garbage.
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  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    I also like writing my own and reading a ficlet/drabble thread with various characters and situations, so that you're not tied to a tight overall story arc with chapters, etc. Each thingy can be totally unconnected from what is before and after in the posts--whatever strikes the author's fancy/muse. :cool: On the NSW side, a multifandom thread would also be nice and flexible. [face_thinking]
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  13. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    @TrakNar - That's the spirit! ;) If anything you come out with is post-able, we would love to read that, as well. :D [:D] What @Nyota's Heart said about ficlet collections is too true - I am quite a fan of them myself. There is something great about not being tied to a plot - just sweeping in and dabbling where you will and leaving the rest for later. It's a great way to keep the muse going. [face_love]
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  14. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    September 2014's Topic: Writing Characters of Various Ages

    "Adults are just outdated children." ~ Dr. Seuss


    The Discussion

    Since we have had a few topics on the intellectual side of writing, now it is time for a stylistic skill (and this was suggested twice as a topic idea, so I thank you guys for giving me a hand! :)). When you write, do your characters tend to stay to one age group? Have you written for children, teenagers, adults, elderly characters? What are some differences for writing for various age groups - especially when getting into the mind of a very young child? Are there age groups that you avoid for this very reason? What advice do you have for others when creating relatable characters of various ages?


    The Exercise

    Write a short ficlet (five-hundred words or so) trying to get into the mind of both a child, a teenager, an adult, a middle-aged adult, and an elderly character - and feel free to post your results here. What are some things about your style that you had to change? What are some things that stayed the same?

    The floor is yours, fellow writers!
  15. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

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    Clarification: For the discussion what is 'elderly'?
  16. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Erm, I do not want to step on any toes with that, so I was trying to leave that vague intentionally. ;) [face_laugh]

    But I would say that the 'senior citizen' age of 65 and older can be called 'elderly' for the sake of this discussion. But, any age or stage of life can be talked about. :)
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Sep 1, 2014
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  17. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

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    All right. :) Yeah, I suspected but some act like 40+ is so just wanted a baseline. For me it's 75+. :)
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  18. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    I know a few of those types myself, it's true. ;)

    But if you want to talk 75+, then go for it! That was just a very loose guideline to get a conversation started. :)
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  19. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

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    Thanks, Mira. :D I will do up a post for this. Age is a fascinating topic that seems not to get much attention.
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  20. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    This is a great topic! :D

    I find myself writing mostly people who are my age, whatever my age is as I'm writing (so now, mostly people in their early or mid-twenties) because that's who I most relate to. I'm around kids a lot (babysitting and small family members), and back when I was writing more 8-} I liked to write them as well because they're so freaking fun :D
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  21. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

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    When I write I am most comfortable writing middle-aged and elderly characters. Usually male. They are what appeal to me most and whom I best relate to. My advice for writing elders is don’t fall into the trap of popular stereotypes particularly as seen in entertainment. Instead, study real people. Someone you know or admire. Try to give them gravity and nuance. Age doesn’t mean invalid or decrepit. I usually write characters between 45-120 and no, not all are Human.

    I also tend to write characters between 15-27. Often as an adopted child or friend of my older characters. It is important to me to show that generations can indeed work together and learn from each other. Another suggestion is strive for balance. Many tales tend to pit the young against the old and this is not a sound message.

    I do write youths but very seldom younger than 7. I do not understand young children and due to my circumstances have little experience with them.
  22. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    I feel comfortablest writing late teens -20s on up. I agree and applaud the thought that the generations can and should work together and interact in a nonadversarial manner. I do not like the media message that older/mature people are stupid, that teens are always gonna be belligerent and disrespectful towards their parents. :rolleyes: I, like an earlier poster, do not feel comfortable writing kids below a certain age. I feel like I will either make them too mature sounding or something LOL
    Last edited by Nyota's Heart, Sep 2, 2014
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  23. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Generally, I don't see much of a difference in age when writing characters. Age doesn't have a lot to do with the character, as everyone thinks and acts differently, regardless of how old or young they are. Granted, there will be certain traits that some age groups will demonstrate with more regularity, but I think characters should be written as characters. They're people. They shouldn't be a collection of traits based on their age group.
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  24. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    @TrakNar makes some valid points but I think what the issue boils down to for authors often times is an avoidance of writing for/about certain age groups because of not wanting to get the 'voice' wrong. [face_thinking] Especially when it comes to children I think some balk because they don't want the youths to say or do things that don't fit what one would expect for someone of that maturity level. And each age level grapples with different struggles and challenges - adolescence versus those in midlife - and you wanna get those right too ;)
  25. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    I think that @Nyota's Heart put it perfectly. Really, you took the words right out of my mouth. =D=

    While age itself doesn't really matter, I think that maturity does - especially when we all know that there are those who act below and above their age. So I think that level of development and experience is what contributes to finding a character's voice, and alters how you treat each character individually. I enjoy writing all age groups - I've dabbled from writing for children (as Nat said, it is so much fun to play with the their innocence and child-like views on the world), to older characters (there is nothing better than the 'grand-father' type, especially when molding a younger generation), and unrealistically older characters at that. (Thanks to the fantasy genre, I've dealt with characters who count their years in centuries in more than one fandom. [face_laugh];)) Each have been different in their own way, but it is that diversity that makes it fun to write. [face_love]
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