Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » A new member, and a question...

   
Author Topic: A new member, and a question...
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hello folks. I'm a member of the SFFW who has just joined these Hatrack forums - partly because I'm interested in getting an opinion on my writing from across the pond (I'm English), and partly because it's always nice to communicate with other writers.

I'm not sure if there is some established protocol for new members to introduce themselves - so apologies if I'm unknowingly violating it.

I figured, though, that an easy, broad question might be a good way to introduce myself. So, here it is: exactly what leads you to write?

I'm more concerned with what prompts you to write at any given moment in time, than what started the ball rolling however long ago. I've been struggling with writer's block (writer's apathy?) for a long time now, and just recently started writing something new. My solution, in the end, was simply to stop <i>thinking</i> about writing something, sometime, later, and actually writing something. That seemed to work. But do any of you have some unusual psychological or physiological stimuli that instils in you a sudden and urgent desire to write?

Hopefully this question is not so tired and dull as to gain some responses.

Oh, and for the record - my name is Shaun Green, I prefer to be known as Shanu (just that little bit more unusual than my bread'n'butter given name), I'm a 21 year old English lit graduate, and my favourite authors range from Alastair Reynolds to Frank Herbert, and from China Mieville to Kim Stanley Robinson.

Cheers!


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Magic Beans
Member
Member # 2183

 - posted      Profile for Magic Beans   Email Magic Beans         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome, Shanu!

What makes me write on a daily basis is that the story must come out. Another aspect (sort of a push-and-pull) is that if I don't work on it every day, it will never be finished; if it isn't finished, it can't get published.


Posts: 284 | Registered: Sep 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Kolona
Member
Member # 1438

 - posted      Profile for Kolona   Email Kolona         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome, Shanu, but I'm afraid I can't help you. I'm still learning to take myself by the scruff of the neck to sit down and write.
Posts: 1810 | Registered: Jun 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome!

I sit down and write because it is 8:00 a.m. and I always write at 8:00 a.m. after I check my e-mail and writer forums.

In fact, scientific evidence (or as scientific as psychology can get given the high concern over ethics) suggests that forcing yourself to write (or run, or kick box, or paint, or or...) at a specific time every day is one of the best ways to get yourself to do something.

If you're struggling with writing, the first suggestion I would make is that you find a time every day that you can write. It doesn't matte when and it doesn't matter how long. Let's say it's 11:00 p.m. after everyone else has gone to bed. Get your but in the chair and write at 11:00 p.m. every day. Don't worry about making it sound good or making it peotry. Write complete and utter crap. (It has been suggested that every writer must write a million words of crap anyway.) Just write, and get in that mindset. Eventually, when it comes to 11:00 p.m. it will just be time to write and your mind will know it and not understand what you're doing watching Jay Leno when his monologues aren't as good as they used to be anyway. :-)


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
djvdakota
Member
Member # 2002

 - posted      Profile for djvdakota   Email djvdakota         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome Shanu! Your introduction was 'spot on'. The only annoying way of introducing yourself around here is to submit something for critique the day you sign on and then never participate in any other areas of the forum, nor offer to critique others' work for them.

I think for most writers it's simply the old BIC trick. (Butt In Chair) You give it the same attention and commitment you do a job. It's awfully nice to think that writers have some psycho-anomoly that allows them to wax poetic at any given moment, but the reality is that it's work, just like any other career.

Sure, there are times when the ink flows over the page with greater ease than at others(some call it the presence of the muse), and there are times when inspiration hits (which is why I carry a notebook with me EVERYWHERE I go). But for the most part it's simply doing it. Every day. Without fail. Even if it's only a sentence or two.

[This message has been edited by djvdakota (edited October 09, 2004).]


Posts: 1672 | Registered: Apr 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What "inspires" me to write regularly (or as regularly as I can, working and going to school full-time) is that I know if I don't, I won't finish stories, and if I don't finish stories, I won't sell stories, and if I don't sell stories, I won't have a career as a writer, which is the ultimate goal.

So, in other words, "Crap, I'm feeling totally uninspired and don't feel like writing at all, but I better get SOMETHING on this stupid page if I ever want to see a contract."

I'd rather have a burning desire driving me to write, but that comes along rarely. For all the in-between time, it's just forcing myself to do it.


Posts: 1528 | Registered: Dec 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Gwalchmai
Member
Member # 1807

 - posted      Profile for Gwalchmai   Email Gwalchmai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome, Shanu. A broad question with a short answer. I write every day because I feel guilty if I don't.

Djvdakota, I also used to carry a notebook around with me wherever I went but I've swapped it for a dictophone now. It's smaller and I find it quicker and easier to use.


Posts: 156 | Registered: Nov 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Jules
Member
Member # 1658

 - posted      Profile for Jules   Email Jules         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the best way of keeping yourself writing is to set yourself targets. I have two targets currently: finish the second draft of my current novel within the next month, and write a rough draft of my next before march of next year.

I also keep a spreadsheet with my daily word counts in it. I can then plot them on a graph, and I know if I'm falling behind schedule...


Posts: 626 | Registered: Jun 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
mikemunsil
Member
Member # 2109

 - posted      Profile for mikemunsil   Email mikemunsil         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
exactly what leads you to write?

Beer.

Either too much or not enough.


Posts: 2710 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Thieftess
Member
Member # 1683

 - posted      Profile for Thieftess   Email Thieftess         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think it depends on what kind of person you are. Happiness inspires me to write -- my friend Robin thinks I'm nuts, because misery is what inspires her (and many others, apparently).

Of course, happiness also inspires me to take on WAY too many other projects and not get the BIC as much as I should.

It's a double-edged sword...as always.


Posts: 280 | Registered: Jul 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Reading a how-to-write book makes me start thinking about one of the stories I'm working on, and usually, I put the how-to-write book down and go work on the story.
Posts: 8523 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  | Report this post to a Moderator
dspellweaver
Member
Member # 2133

 - posted      Profile for dspellweaver           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Writing everyday has gotten my brain into the habit. Whenever I'm stuck, music always serves to inspire me. Most especially the instrumental kind. Also reading, really anything, helps start the creative juices as well.

[This message has been edited by dspellweaver (edited October 09, 2004).]


Posts: 45 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The only annoying way of introducing yourself around here is to submit something for critique the day you sign on and then never participate in any other areas of the forum, nor offer to critique others' work for them.

Well, I would disagree with that, there are a lot of annoying ways of introducing yourself. But the above is one of the winners, particularly if you then react childishly to every bit of criticism you recieve. Ah, but those are the most fun...as long as it happens while KDW is away


Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you all for your warm welcomes! I'll probably be lurking for a bit, but I'm sure I'll dive into various discussions once I feel I know where everyone's coming from.

Incidentally, I found another great way of prompting oneself to write today. I've been working on a new personal website (as the domain registration on my old one expired and I've decided to start afresh). I was adding links to various authors I liked who had good sites - and ended up browsing through them, reading, laughing, opening MS Word, and writing... aha! A new technique!

But what will I do when I have exhausted the sites of my favourite authors?

I'm sure by then I shall have though of something.

Cheers for all your feedback, anyway... I think forcing myself to write in the morning, feeling guilty if I don't, and bribing myself with beer sound like some particularly good options. ;D

I have a dictaphone, which would be great for recording ideas, but unfortunately I work in a secure lab and no recording equipment is allowed. Not even pens and paper. *rolls eyes* I have to e-mail ideas to myself.

Thieftess, I used to find that unhappiness inspired me to write - but these days I find that it is the opposite. Fiery enthusiasm is what seems to get me in the mood for writing now.

Kathleen - how-to-write books do that to me, too - although I have to admit that I have never actually attempted one of the exercises they prescribe. Hmm.

Well, thanks for all the responses, folks. I almost feel right at home already, heh!

Cheers!


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shaun, I don't usually do the exercises either, unless one seems particularly geared to help with something I'm working on in the story.

As for your dictaphone, you could act as if it were a cell phone (mobile?--I know they call them handies in Austria, but I don't know what they call them in England), and talk your story into it as you travel to and from work.

That is, unless people in England are more polite than people in the US and they don't talk on their cell phones no matter where they are or who is near them. I wouldn't want to encourage you to do something rude.


Posts: 8523 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We call them mobiles, here. Hmm, I could well use it on the way to and from work for recording ideas - might be good, actually, as generally I just chew them over, flesh them out, and then forget them when I get to work!

Oh, and people talk on their phones all the time. It's only considered obnoxious when you're REALLY LOUD and on a crowded bus or some such.


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
djvdakota
Member
Member # 2002

 - posted      Profile for djvdakota   Email djvdakota         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think I could EVER exchange my notebook and my favorite pen (an old Scheaffer fountain pen that I've had for years) for a dictophone. There's always been something magic in the way the ink flows out of a pen onto paper--and especially so for my Scheaffer.


Posts: 1672 | Registered: Apr 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm afraid a dictaphone wouldn't work for me. I've never been as good at speaking as I am at writing....it comes out all stuttery and jumbly.
Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Keeley
Member
Member # 2088

 - posted      Profile for Keeley   Email Keeley         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A belated welcome, Shanu. I find balance is important to my writing. If I don't get out and live now and then, my writing suffers. Conversely, if I don't sit down and write, my life suffers.

BTW, is the BIC part of the HUB upgrade?


Posts: 836 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Gwalchmai
Member
Member # 1807

 - posted      Profile for Gwalchmai   Email Gwalchmai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh yes, for writing I quite agree that it has to be nothing else but pen and paper. I can't seem to get the hang of typing something straight up onto a computer screen and definitely wouldn't be able to dictate. However, I find a dictophone so much quicker and easier for getting down an idea for how I want a particular line or scene to run if it comes to me somewhere where it isn't especially practical to sit down with a notebook and take the time to write everything down, like if I'm in the middle of a busy shopping centre, cooking, or half asleep or something. I don't worry about getting it word perfect. As long as I've got the general gist down of what I want to say and how, I can make sense of it when I get home and play it back.
Posts: 156 | Registered: Nov 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
yanos
Member
Member # 1831

 - posted      Profile for yanos   Email yanos         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome Shanu. I lost internet access for almost a week, so I am now playing catch up.

I love to write. Simple as that Who needs any other motivation?

I am glad that another Brit has joined this merry crew. Just remember, that annoying is sometimes good. We all learn when someone else puts their foot in it big time. And woth Survivor on the lookout for fresh prey, it keeps us all on our toes.


Posts: 575 | Registered: Dec 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome.

What usually get's me to write is the unspeakable horrors that commence if I do not.


Posts: 1895 | Registered: Mar 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlin
Member
Member # 2203

 - posted      Profile for Merlin   Email Merlin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There are three things a book can make me do:

If it is bad it will make me stop reading it,

If it is relly good it will make me finish it very quickly,

and if it is good enough to catch my attention but not good enough to hold it indefenitly it makes me want to write.


Posts: 10 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hello and thanks to all the people who've posted recently... ahh, like a true hero, this thread refuses to lay down and die, and instead battles on against all odds!

Merlin, I see what you mean. Unfortunately your third category usually leaves me tinkering with a few things, then being unable to restrain my curiousity and going on to finish the book!

Pure Dynasty - so, you are a sort of Lovecraftian figure, I take it? Beware the shoggoths!

yanos - where abouts in the UK? I'm in wet 'n windy Brighton. Charming weather.

I'll leave it at that for now - I keep writing excessively long posts...


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
mikemunsil
Member
Member # 2109

 - posted      Profile for mikemunsil   Email mikemunsil         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Regardless of my earlier facetious post, I write because of the people I met here. They inspire me. Someday I'll be one of 'them'.


Welcome to Hatrack!!!!

[This message has been edited by mikemunsil (edited October 24, 2004).]


Posts: 2710 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
yanos
Member
Member # 1831

 - posted      Profile for yanos   Email yanos         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Originally I'm, from Scunthorpe, though I have moved around somewhat since then
Posts: 575 | Registered: Dec 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Phanto
Member
Member # 1619

 - posted      Profile for Phanto   Email Phanto         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I hope I'm one of those people that inspired you, Mike. I am, after all, a fairly senior memeber ^^. (Though no one beats Survivor.)
Posts: 697 | Registered: Mar 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, there are several members that beat me by quite a bit, but most of them have long since retired.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  | Report this post to a Moderator
shadowynd
Member
Member # 2077

 - posted      Profile for shadowynd   Email shadowynd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As successful writers, we hope?

Susan


Posts: 350 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Phanto
Member
Member # 1619

 - posted      Profile for Phanto   Email Phanto         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Survivor: 'tis true, 'tis true.

Woh. I hadn't realized how old I myself am on this forum. I wonder who's posting and older than I besides Survivor.


Posts: 697 | Registered: Mar 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Balthasar
Member
Member # 5399

 - posted      Profile for Balthasar   Email Balthasar         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm older than you, Phanto, but not . . . well, you know who.
Posts: 130 | Registered: Apr 2007  | Report this post to a Moderator
mikemunsil
Member
Member # 2109

 - posted      Profile for mikemunsil   Email mikemunsil         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Phanto, Balthasar and Survivor

You all inspire me, in different ways. But I have to ask, is an inspired Mike a good thing?

I have participated in a number of online workshops and critique groups and this group beats the others all hollow when it comes to good will, focus, lack of pretension, common sense and all-around thoughtful comments and advice.

I also like the simplicity of the bulletin board interface, which puts me in mind of the difference between good word choice and the use of jargon. Other boards are fairly useless due to the sheer complexity of getting around in them. It takes more time to navigate than it does to read and post. "Jargon is language more complex than the concept it serves to express." and those boards are pure jargon. Oter boards are pure drama, and if you are a politician-in-training, probably worth your while. Me, I prefer this simplicity and clarity. I have no need for dog-n-pony shows.


Posts: 2710 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Beth
Member
Member # 2192

 - posted      Profile for Beth   Email Beth         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I seem to be following mike around and agreeing with him today! I especially agree with this part:

I have participated in a number of online workshops and critique groups and this group beats the others all hollow when it comes to good will, focus, lack of pretension, common sense and all-around thoughtful comments and advice.


Posts: 1750 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Scunthorpe! Yanos, I spent most of my childhood years living just outside of Luddington, and going to school in Crowle. The nearest large town was Scunthorpe.

Small world...


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
yanos
Member
Member # 1831

 - posted      Profile for yanos   Email yanos         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Smaller than you think. Two years ago I was working in Malaysia, and one of the women who started work at the same time was also from Suncthorpe. And her best friends from back home... well they used to be my friends at school.
Posts: 575 | Registered: Dec 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shocking!

That said, I've yet to meet anyone who had ever actually been to Luddington, let alone lived there.


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
yanos
Member
Member # 1831

 - posted      Profile for yanos   Email yanos         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, I have been there. Can't remember why, maybe a school geography study thing. Can't remember much about it either.
Posts: 575 | Registered: Dec 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I hate to sound ignorant but, Lovecraft? Shoggoths?
Posts: 1895 | Registered: Mar 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Hildy9595
Member
Member # 1489

 - posted      Profile for Hildy9595   Email Hildy9595         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Lovecraft, as in HP Lovecraft. Shaggoths, as in the beasties that inhabit his Cthulu novels.

And Pyre Dynasty IS a really cool screen name.


Posts: 338 | Registered: Aug 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanu
Member
Member # 2195

 - posted      Profile for Shanu   Email Shanu         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hee, sorry... "unspeakable horrors" evokes very Lovecraftian imagery... if you're at all interested in horror I heartily recommend his fiction. You can download it for free, now, as the copyright on his works has expired.

Oh, and Luddington... there is nothing to know. Three roads in and out of the village, and they all meet up in the middle.


Posts: 19 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, my name is explained in the introduce yourself thread.
Posts: 1895 | Registered: Mar 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2