Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie (Aether)

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Anna's writing advice: Real life intrusions.


That's right, another Annabel writing advice blog full of WORDS, NOT cute Lala's or Cat Girls! Read it if you are interested or just BORED! ;p

Recently Tifka wrote a little piece on her blog telling of a problem with real life interfering with something she had written.

I wanted to comment on this. But you know me, why use a few words when I can write a WHOLE blog about it! LOL

But seriously, this is a good topic to discuss because if writers are not careful, it can mess up their writing.

Actually, this is going to be split into two parts. Real life intrusions and deleting stuff you have written.

So to start, if you read her blog, you know that Tifka was writing about a confrontation between two characters when it took a turn for the worse because of feelings Tifka HERSELF had for one of the characters she was writing. She hated what she wrote so much that she deleted the story.

Now, writing fiction, note the word I just used, F I C T I O N, NOT real, made up from various sources in ones mind. This is different from writing about something that ACTUALLY happened in ones life, which IS and WAS real.

When writing fiction, one pretty much makes up stuff; characters, places, events and situations. They create it and put it down for people to read. It is fantasy, made up from things that don't exist normally unless it is real world settings.

But WAIT! Lets back up a second to something I wrote; EVENTS and SITUATIONS. WHERE do ideas for these COME from for some people? Yep, you guessed it, REAL LIFE.

People will draw from memories of things that happened in ones life and apply them to their story. They will have their characters experience these situations and events for themselves for good or bad depending on how it is written.

And there is the OTHER key to this; the character, NOT the Writer, is experiencing these things! It is the CHARACTER who has to decide what THEY think of it, what THEY will DO in the situation of the event' and THIS is where the writer can mess up and entrap themselves if they are not careful.

You see my dear readers, things that happened to the writer in real life can have a profound and lasting effect on the person for good or for bad. It can be positive or negative and writing about it can lead to a biased attitude when having their character experiencing the same thing.

When one writes, one has to remember that your creation is NOT you. They do NOT have your opinions, attitudes, or biases on things. They are their OWN person with the personality YOU give them. Now of course if you decide TO make them exactly like you with all your thought baggage, well that's up to you. What's it called, self insert fanfiction, something like that. But generally, your creation is a totally separate entity from yourself.

The trouble is though, that this can sneak up on you without even realizing you are doing it. You can be inserting your thoughts as the character's because you feel that it is RIGHT to do so. YOU forget to think AS the character is thinking, you are analyzing the event or situation as YOURSELF now and thus you write it that way. It's not until you are finished and read it that you (hopefully) catch what you have done. In fact, you may not even SEE that you have done this because you feel that it is just well......right.

If you are paying attention though, you WILL eventually catch that you are doing this and either correct it by rewriting, or justify it by making something up that fits.

For example......

In this story:

I had Annabel give mini Minnie some advice about her situation with Thancred. But as I wrote it, instead of giving the advice from the way Annabel would have given it, I gave it from the way I would have given it. I justified it by saying it was the Echo that was influencing her to say something different.

Now, I usually try VERY hard to make Annabel be LIKE Annabel and think LIKE Annabel thinks. It's kind of hard to do this with the 'silly' and 'serious' thing but I usually make it work. Sometimes though I DO slip up. Usually I will just rewrite it if I have not released the story yet. But if I DON'T catch it till later, I just pull something from my ass to justify the way it was written. LOL

One way to catch this is to go back periodically and reread what you are writing. Read it as though your character is talking, thinking, feeling, and see if it feels right to you. If it sounds off, like it ISN'T them, see if it is more YOU in those words. If it is, change it, rewrite it, fix it to make it sound and feel more like your character is the one saying, feeling, and doing those things.

Also, don't feel bad if you find yourself doing it. It can be hard at first to separate your creations from yourself. It takes practice to invent totally different personalities and keep them separate; from each other, and from your own ways of thinking and saying. As always, practice makes perfect.

Now onto the other thing I wanted to talk about, deleting stuff that you wrote.

When you write stuff, you are going to find that not everything that you write is particularly stellar; there are going to be times where you don't don't like it. So, what do you DO with it, dump it, or file it away?

Now, more often then not, what I tend to do with stuff I don't use is SAVE it. In my pile of story blogs, I have about 10 ideas, concepts, half written and even full written things that I have not finished or decided to release. Why? Well, for various reasons. I did not think they were good enough TO release, I never finished them, I lost interest, I am holding off ON finishing them till later, the list goes on.

Sometimes I DO come back to the blog entry, complete it, fix what is wrong with it, look at it with fresh eyes. There have been some that were months old before I released them into the wild. It is rare that I actually delete anything. I only do it if I am SURE I will never use it.

Don't be so quick to delete writing that you have done. If it does not look right to you, not feel right, stop doing it. File it away for awhile and came back later to look at it again with fresh eyes. You may have thought of something to improve or fix the problem. This is especially true if you have spent a LONG time writing it out. You don't want to throw away all that hard work just because you are not 'feeling' it at that moment. Something could spark in the future giving you new ideas and insight to make it better.

So, to sum it up.

DO try to keep your real life thoughts OUT of your character's thoughts.

DO remember, they are NOT you, they are their OWN person.

DO reread what you have written from time to time to catch real life insertion.

DON'T always assume that what you wrote is what they think. Ask yourself, is this REALLY what they would think and do?

DON'T be so quick to delete writing you don't like.

DO keep an open mind about it and file it away to be looked at again in the future, you just MAY have a new perspective on what to do with it.

And, as always, have fun writing!

Comments (6)

Ronove Solomon

Faerie (Aether)

Aesthetic means to provoke feeling or emotion. If your media does this, you've created art.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie (Aether)

For a minute there I thought I had put a wrong word in my post, but you are talking about something else. ;p

Since art is subjective, It's a crapshoot on the creator of the work if it will do anything to those that encounter it. But if it does it for themselves, I guess it's a success? ;-)

Esper Eidolon

Diabolos (Crystal)

I still maintain the thought that it’s your work and you’re going to be the worst critic.

Also a bit annoying is having to channel said characters when writing, because say you want to have emet in the story, well how you have to make sure you are saying things on par to him. It gets a bit difficult at times

Lalli Physalis

Sargatanas (Aether)

Ohh I have really been there! When I write Lalli's journals, I sometimes have to remind myself not to veer into anger or sass, because he's a lamb and me, I'm... low-key a dick I guess xD I have an easier time with this when writing in the 3rd person. Writing in the first person makes it naturally harder to dissociate my character's voice from my own.

But all that being said... I believe that separation is an ideal to strive for rather than an actual possibility! [continued]

Lalli Physalis

Sargatanas (Aether)

Like, what I mean is that even if we're not projecting our emotions and opinions like an Imax, we're still always drawing from our experiences and perspectives. If I try to write a very shallow, cruel character, they'll be based on what I think that means, and how I think others would react to it. It'll come out of my memories, my opinions, etc.

So TL;DR I try not to overthink it too much. I know my characters, even when different, tend to have a unifying "flavor" - that's what makes them mine.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie (Aether)

Esper, I actually want to write a blog about that, so I will address that topic in the future.

Lalli, you do have a point. When writing, you DO draw from how YOU think the person should act based on what you have seen and experienced. Hopefully, you have done some research on the personality type to get it sort of right. ;p
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