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Message Board Topic For 2/11


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I don't know many people who would ever make the claim that writing a story is 'easy'. It can be a long, and sometimes frustrating, process. You have to really love the craft of writing, or have a really deep desire to get the story out of your system, to be able to put up with the aggravation of getting it all down on paper. Hehehe, but for those of us who are psychotic enough to do it...there's a sick pleasure in that frustration, and we ENJOY it! Go figure! :P


However, over time, while developing your particular style or take on the subject...the number of stories you create begin to grow. And grow. And GROW! The more you write, the better you get. But, let's be honest...you've only lived one life. You only have one set of experiences. You only have one language to work with (well...per story, that is). How many different ideas, situations, dialogues, and characters, can you possibly come up with?


This week's question is...how can an author keep from becoming repetitive in the stories they tell? How can you keep growing and stretching without using the same words over and over again? Without using the same situations, or drawing from the same experiences? Without creating characters from the same friends and love interest you've known? Is it possible to keep creating and treading on new territory? Or is there a point when an author is cursed with an end to his life material...where everything that needed to be said, has been said?


What do you think?

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Well, not being an author myself... i only have some guessing here.

First, of course, i think you need to get out there once in a while and experience new things... to get new ideas... and to "air your brain" :P

If you can't make the experiences yourself (which of course always is the best), you have to learn from others who experienced things you didn't... so talking to other people, getting to know other people with other experiences may help getting new ideas and insights. I think thats best accomplished through getting to know other people in person, but reading what others have written may be a way to learn something and widen your horizon as well...

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Many times you don't have to draw from your own personal experiences but maybe that of a close friend or family member. Or maybe just hearing a story can spark your creativity bulb.

Yes, personal experiences definitely make a story a lot more powerful, but sometimes you have to draw from somewhere else, and you probably do.

I mean, unless you really truly are a vampire mimic in Chicago, you had to get that idea from somewhere else, not personal experience. Of course you could have just randomly made it up in your head, but that still isn't personal experience. So it is possible to be original and not repetitive.


Also, life is the longest thing anyone will ever have to go through, literally.

There are a lot of different experiences that you go through during the process of life. I'm not even sure if it's possible to run out on experiences, because you always are constantly getting new ones. No one day is exactly the same, so there is something new every day, even if it isn't a major huge change. You just have to start looking for a new angle of these experiences. Maybe you can even reuse certain experiences, and just portray them differently. In order to stop repetitiveness, you have to portray it in a completely different light.


I dunno, just some thoughts.



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I really appreciate this particular question, because I've recently found myself asking if I've used a particular scene or plot device before....


However, I still have a number of original ideas to write about. I think those ideas are more important than individual words. I may use some of the same words I've used in other stories, but the setting is different. If I re-used an entire scene, I'd be concerned, but words... no, I'm not bothered by that.


Yes, it's possible for an author to get stale, to run out of new ideas, but I think that's an author who is tired, who needs a break. There are a LOT of new ideas floating out there, waiting to be used. You just need to be open to read them. Even if an author finds himself stuck in a nursing home, there are still stories to be written. How about the young guy who visited a nursing home as part of work experience, or after being pressured (ordered by the courts?) to do some community service? What impact does the nursing home have on him? There are LOTS of opportunities for inspiration -- the author just needs to be open to them :)

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I think that creativity, in itself, is endless if you keep it 'moving'. Even if you're 'just' going by events that you've lived through in the past...as long as you're growing as a person, you can take that same event and look at it from a whole new angle. So it's possible to keep writing until you're simply out of life.


(Hehehe, "Life is the longest thing you'll ever have to live through"! I like that! :) )


Occasionally, I'll look back at some of my older stories, and I'll see something familiar that I've put into a much newer story. And I cringe because of it, because I want every single story to have it's own feel and it's own impact. So I definitely don't want to repeat myself or tread over old teritory. It bugs me, and I try hard not to do that, but I know that it can be done.


There are characters that I've used more than once. Or at least that I've based on the same person. The second story I ever wrote on the site was called "Boy Next Door", and the love interest in that story was based on 'Ariel' from "New Kid", but I doubt that it would really stand out unless I was a complete idiot and mentioned it publicly.




I just believe that if you live life, on TOP of recording it through your writing, then you will always have new material, new ideas, new characters, to write about. I, personally, can't have one without the other. But put them together, and the reserve will never go dry. :)


Now....if only we could solve that 'oil' problem.....

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