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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » From thoughts to text

   
Author Topic: From thoughts to text
Bycin
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During a long drive today I got to thinking about the story I am currently writing. I'd never really broken down my own mental process before when it comes to writing, but today for some reason I was more analytical. I was thinking about what was to come next in my plot line and then it started to play out for me, almost like a movie in my minds eye. I saw my characters, the scenery, their interactions. All I have to do now is just describe what I saw.

It made me curious about other writers and their processes. Do any others out there visualize their inspiration before putting it down on paper, or do have a different method? Outlining? Stream of thought?

(Apologies if this seems a bizarre topic or incoherent. It's been a long week, a long drive, and now I am at my in-laws... A perfect storm for rambling.)


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satate
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I usually have to "see" it in my mind before I write. I can't see faces though, but I can see everything else. Occasionally though, I don't see it as much as hear it. I have a constant internal dialog that I can never squelch. I have my best ideas while driving, like several other people it seems. I recently moved from Tucson but before that I had to drive from Pheonix to Tucson every week and I got my best story ideas then.
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arriki
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Yeah, driving in light traffic like the interstate between towns seems to be conducive to the sort of mental disconnect that allows the creative juices to flow. We go into what? A theta brain wave state?

As for me, I have several modus operandi. One is that great driving state. I'm an intensely visual person. Although I'm not deaf, auditory memory hardly exists for me. I see the movie, then write the book. Or, short story. Or parts of the story. I like a hot soak bath for untangling ideas and knots in the story. Then there is the just-before-dozing-off inspiration and the middle-of-the-night sudden insight (usually after a vivid dream). However, the most dependable way is to sit staring at text I've already written until I've practically worn the ink off the paper and somehow that text and the visual of it (the movie) blur together and I can edit the garbage that I forced out while sitting at the computer going "150 more words and I'll have my 500 word minimum for the day."


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deebum25
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Definitely a stream of consciousness girl. Rewrites are my friend. Ideas and inspirations really tend to come to me as I'm writing. Heresy I know but I don't like working from an outline any more complicated than a) what's happening b) why is it important and c)what's the point. Always have the notepad and a pen to write down the snippets of characterizations and dialogue that are sparked by everyday interactions. Life is fun!
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annepin
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I'm a kinetic person, so i have to sort of "act out" a scene. I don't actually get up and do it, but I have to mentally put myself in the character's shoes, think about what they are doing and feeling in a scene, and then write it. I often think about them while I'm taking a long walk, working through a scene in this way. Ultimately, the act of writing itself is the exploratory process. I seldom have an entire scene worked out from start to finish. I usually have a strong emotion, action, or event that guides the writing of my scene.
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Robert Nowall
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I'll play with a scene in my mind---sometimes for years---before fitting more of the story to it and I get something that seems to be put together in some logical order.

(A lot of these tend towards the lurid---they inhabit my mind while I'm trying to sleep and won't go away until I can put abovesaid logical plot together and write it out.)


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Symphonyofnames
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I see things in my head in a rather movie-like format, then I tend to write stream-of-conscious whatever my thoughts are, and go back and take the ravings and put them into a coherent form.
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rippamate
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I ussually figure the story outline and character details in my head and then I start writing. But anything can happen when i write, as i write random ideas are popping in my head all the time.
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Rhaythe
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My characters take me hostage and demand that I stop being so horrible to them. Then they execute me for not listening.
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TaleSpinner
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I've just realized I have something of a two-phase process. First I see the story in my mind's eye in a cinematic form and I keep re-running different versions until the plot hangs together. But then, as I write it, I make myself put a camera on the MC's shoulder to capture it in close third POV--which changes some of the plot details when I have to answer questions like, "But how would he know that?" I suspect that, sometimes, I allow myself to move between omni and close third, and I like to think that the POV changes are like smooth pans.

The funny thing is that, while I see clearly the locations, machinery, furniture and gizmos, I don't see the characters in detail. I can see their form--heavy, lithe, fit or fat--and colouring--women are probably too often blonde--and I use their clothing to hint at their personalities; but the details of their faces are a blurred mystery.

Cheers,
Pat


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annepin
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Hm, Pat, your comment made me remember another thing I do which is to look for my characters in photos and people.
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JamieFord
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I start with a beginning premise, then figure out the ending, which is usually the hardest part. The middle is more of a discovery process along the way.
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Symphonyofnames
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Yeah. For me, also, I find out a lot of things along the way. I plan what I can, but sometimes my characters will decide to do something else without checking with me first.
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Robert Nowall
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Usually the scene I start with winds up somewhere in the middle, though usually (but not invariably) by the time I sit down and write it, I have a beginning and end surrounding it, and I generally write from beginning to end.

(There's background fill, stuff that you have to think up but don't actually have to put into the story in front of you, but that's a different matter.)


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steffenwolf
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The first part is the hardest part--finding a seed of an idea. A "what if" question or an idea for a unique character or something.

Then it works best if I let it gestate for a day or two without typing out a word of it. Commuting is the best time for it, but other repetitive and brainless activities like vacuuming or mowing the lawn or doing the dishes or running are good too. I have the idea seed such as a situation, then I think what character would act a certain way in that situation. then i think about what other characters his actions have an effect on, etc...

then i sit down and type it out all in one draft, no looking back. Still some discovery in this stage as i go new directions

then i go back and iron out all the continuity errors and fix grammar mistakes.


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