shivver13 (shivver13) wrote,

Styles of writing

I'm not talking about actual style, what it is that makes one writer different from another. I'm thinking more about approaches to writing. (Warning: This is kind of a rant.)

I was just reading through an old thread (over two years ago) on a message board, and one particular sentence stood out to me. Paraphrased, the poster said that we might write what we want to write, but we are at the mercy of our characters, that if they decide how the story should go, we change and write that instead.

I have to admit, the statement pissed me off. If I remember correctly, it pissed me off two years ago as well. Partly, I had already been predisposed to anger, as the poster had, in the previous paragraph, told me in no uncertain terms that I was wrong about something that was a completely subjective opinion (it was a question about what should happen to a character in a certain situation). But my first reaction to this new statement was, "Don't tell me how I should write."

But that's the interesting thing. Everyone writes differently: different processes, different goals, different inspirations. I've heard many people say things like, "I follow my muse," or "My muse said to do it like this." I don't have a muse. I don't have characters who talk to me and make decisions. I come up with an idea, sketch out a plot, select the DW characters that would work best in them (if the idea didn't come with them automatically), and try to realize the idea as best as I can. Sometimes I change things in the middle, because the original plot sketch wasn't good, or a better idea came up, or many other reasons. Sometimes the idea and plot hold true all the way through. That's the way I work.

The closest thing I've had to a muse or a character talking to me was a general pressure to write the stories of my OC David's life from becoming a Time Lord hybrid to starting to explore the universe. I felt like the character, by sticking around in my head for a number of months, wanted me to tell his story, but I never felt like he was telling me what that story was - I decided what would happen to him and wrote that; he never had a say in it, or even tried to tell me what should happen. Things did change while I was writing, but not through any influence the character had on me. Changes were made when I decided that the story would be better if this happened, or if I added or removed that character, etc. My decisions. My plans. Sometimes a friend would suggest something and I changed things if I thought the suggestion had merit. I still have plans for David - and they change as new ideas come to me and old ideas prove to be pretty dumb in hindsight. But he has no say in the matter. Probably the only person who would have a say in the matter is the real David, and that say would come in the form of a cease-and-desist. :/

But this doesn't mean this works for everyone. I'd never presume to tell the poster that she shouldn't allow her characters to dictate the story to her. If that's what works for her (and she's a good writer, so I suppose it does), great! But don't tell me what to do. I write for myself, in the way that works for me, because it's my way of exploring the DW universe. I don't really care if anyone reads or likes my stories - it'd be nice, but not necessary in the least bit - or agrees with what happens in them. And if you're going to tell me I'm doing it wrong - especially unsolicited -(and I'm not talking criticism - I'm fine with criticism and encourage it) then I'd just as soon rather that you didn't read my stories at all.
Tags: real life

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