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The Quandries of Writing. Or, How Much More Difficult It Is When You Actually Do It


Queen Cassie
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I originally posted this on another forum, and then immediately thought that it was a great topic for discussion here too, not just about Pony-based fanfiction, but fiction in general.

 

So, I've been trying my hand at writing fiction again lately, something I haven't done for a while. And if there's one thing I've been noticing, it's this peculiar habit of finding it so much harder to write effective prose when I actually sit down to write, versus how I picture said prose in my head.

 

It used to be that I'd just picture images, or something like a running video, and then attempt to transcribe that into words. In my previous works this resulted in...technical prose that barely described what it needed to and often went far too in depth with every little action a character might perform, at an almost Lord of the Rings level of unnecessary description while lacking the quality prose to make up for it.

 

Nowdays when I try writing I instead try actually picturing the scenes as both a running video AND as actual prose in my head. That works much better...I can come up with rather descriptive prose fairly well, with wonderful word choices and flow that sounds fantastic.

 

And then I sit down to write and all of that melts away from my head, leaving me back in a more technical prose setting. I mean, the prose that I can write now is still quite a lot better than it used to be--I actually understand how to be effective with it. But the descriptive prose just doesn't come out when I actually sit down to write, much like how it's still incredibly difficult to actually write the scenes I picture in my head. When I sit down to write them, they vanish, or taunt me with a flicker here, a glimpse there...they're so wonderful when I originally pictured them, but I can't seem to ever capture that essence on the page.

 

Maybe it's just a lack of real writing practice, something I'll get past and learn how to cope with more as I write more. I posted this thread to inquire: how many others experience this problem? And if you have experienced it, what have you tried to do to fix it that's been most effective for you?

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Writing is either incredibly easy for me or incredibly hard!

 

I mean I can just plop out something that one would find alright in the blink of an eye (for school assignments), but when I want to get serious and write some real quality work... that's a complete other story! (Pun totally intended :P)

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Man... I can't even remember the last time I really just wrote something.

 

See, once upon a Disney Afternoon; I used to love writing. I wasn't any good at it, but I loved creating random stories. At first, I was just a bit humorous with my writing. I took a couple classes here and there; learned a bunch of "what you should do"s (that really don't apply in the real world) and overall kept at it. My favorite was narrative (but for school and stuff, we were always forced to write *bleh* education papers...)

 

See, I quit writing for a few reasons, other than the fact I sucked at it. Mainly, because I have such a sick sense of humor. I started writing stories that were so comically depressing I had a hard time not cracking up while I was writing (and believe me, a lot of people share this kind of humor.) Various elements of torture and psychopaths always slipped in.

The second, people can't take the 'jokes.' Everyone knows I have a sick sense of humor, but apparently some people take writing about death too seriously, especially when its done in a comical fashion.

Lastly, I hurt people...with words. I'm not going to go into details; but apparently there are people so vain that considered all my writings about them (which somehow, I managed to do without knowing any aspect of anyone's personal lives? Honestly...some people.) I was confronted by said people, ending friendships, and ending magic.

 

Whenever I write now...It feels as I've lost the 'spark.' It now sucks worse than ever. However I find my most effective way of getting 'creative juices' flowing is staying up really late, and letting your mind wander (that's probably why this post will get so far off on tangents...:P) When you're half-awake, you're also half-sleeping; unlocking all the creative potential of dreaming, in front of a computer. It's grand.

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I have a flaw in writing. I never, ever write a revised final draft. Basically, the rough draft I create is my final product. I'm sure my writing would be much better and make much more sense if I made final drafts, but I'm just too lazy...it's like I've exhausted my creativity on the draft and I have nothing left to give :

  • Brohoof 1
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I have a flaw in writing. I never, ever write a revised final draft. Basically, the rough draft I create is my final product. I'm sure my writing would be much better and make much more sense if I made final drafts, but I'm just too lazy...it's like I've exhausted my creativity on the draft and I have nothing left to give :

 

That's exactly what i do.

When im done writing, i'm done.

You get what you get. Typos and all.

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That's the sort of thing I used to do as well, doing a one polished draft and not bothering to go back and revise at a later time. Mind, I would make that draft much better grammatically and in technical terms, so it's not as if the draft would be rife with spelling errors...but after my more recent attempts at writing fiction, where I applied actual revision, going back and rewriting the way certain sentences were written, even rewriting whole parts of chapters, I can tell you that the quality jumps can be significant.

 

Revision is important when it comes to writing. Even if your initial draft is free of errors from a grammatical, punctuational, or spelling point of view, that doesn't mean it can't be improved enormously in other ways, from the way prose is constructed to the very scenes involved and described.

 

As an example, in my most recent writing, the first chapter was massively rewritten from its initial draft to the version that was actually posted up on places. The entire first half was tossed out and replaced with a much better version that, while still portraying the same basic events, made for a radical improvement in the quality of the prose, for a number of reasons. It showed rather than told, it avoided excessive repetition of information, showed exposition in a natural way rather than in an artificial way, etc. If I were to go back and revise that chapter again now, I'm sure I could improve it further.

 

I can also feel much better and prouder of the work I put out when I release such a revised chapter versus the first draft is only draft method, because it has more work invested into it, and because the quality improves so well. I don't know if every revision of chapters would be as dramatic as that revision was, but it definitely makes for significant improvements.

 

As an aside, Jawmuncher, that is an incredibly distracting GIF in your signature. Well done with the choice of it.

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