Writing General Discussion & Critique | Page 6 | The Popjustice Forum

Writing General Discussion & Critique

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Rainbow Trousers, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. I think just diving right in and writing something is the most important part, you can always go back and edit it once you're more practiced, if it turns out to be something you like.

    I find that when starting something new, plotting it out on the three-act screenplay structure helps me get the main bones of it together. Ironically, I don't actually use the screenplay structure all that much for screenplays, I tend to just dive right in. But for prose, it's really useful to be able to lay down your plot visually then go in and chop it up into chapters so you can focus on one segment at a time.


    That's the most simplistic version and the one I always use.
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  2. I'm very curious about how everyone first gets into writing too!

    For me, the first time I remember specifically sitting down to write was when I was around eight and I would write the worst fan fiction screenplays. At some point I started on prose too and continued to be awful, then finally wrote my first original screenplay when I was 11 (I say original, you would not be hard-pressed to see my inspirations!) and then I wrote my first original prose at 12, and even though it's absolutely awful, I'm proud of the fact I managed to sit down and write 40,000 words when I was 12. That's more discipline than I have now.

    If anything, I've gone downhill.
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  3. eccentricsimply

    eccentricsimply Staff Member

    I'm getting back into writing. It's been a long time since the last time I got myself to sit down and write more than 5000 words in a sitting. I was having a lot of trouble focusing - and still am -, but I realised that if I don't talk myself into doing this it won't ever happen. So I sat down and wrote a very very short story today that's left me more or less satisfied.
  4. I got into it by being fascinated by stories I was reading and wanting to write my own.

    The best way to start writing creatively is to read tons and tons of stories in different genres and in different styles. And also to start considering the choices the authors of those stories are making. The mental architecture you need to write stories will begin to develop when you do those two things.

    As for actually beginning a story, I find that my vague ideas actually start turning into narrative and prose when I consider what point of view the story is being told from. For instance, I'm working on a story about a pastor with a sex addiction and I was only able to start when I decided the story would be told from the first person POV because a sex scandal has forced said pastor to give a personal testimony to his congregation. I know this sounds vague and it works better with stories written in first person, but if you can explain to yourself why your narrator is telling a story, what they're trying to accomplish, the story will usually start taking shape.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  5. I also find it hard to produce a lot of words without drinking first. I have a lot of fear and anxiety when it comes to writing. What has forced me to produce this summer is that I got into an MFA program and I really want to have some good material ready for workshop. I got into the program on the strength of my novel about a popstar that I talked about earlier in this thread, but I don't want to bring novel chapters to workshop all the time. That would annoy people.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
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  6. Another tip to get into creative writing is to write about shit you know a lot about or are obsessed with. The stories will flow more easily and they'll be more authentic. I think my popstar novel was convincing to the MFA admissions panels because I'm fascinated by popgirls and the pop scene in general. I had so much knowledge about the careers of certain popstars, particularly Madonna, that it gave me a lot to draw from and helped me develop the voice of my main character. Popjustice helped immeasurably because I incorporated a lot of this forum's lingo and overall tone into the novel. My narrator is always throwing shade, which actually serves as a fairly subtle way to develop her character since the things she says about others reflects on her.
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  7. Mum couldn't afford a babysitter so she sent me to the library instead while she popped off to the bingo.

    As soon as I finished reading my first book, I knew I wanted to be an author and sit on book shelves alongside my favourites. I had no idea that in years to come not only would I meet my idols, but we'd form friendships. It's bizarre when I think about it. So now I'm on those shelves I'm quite happy. More to be done though!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  8. I'm determined to finish my book before the end of this year, Talking to you in the past really built up my confidence as a writer. I've allowed more people to see my work since and have had good feedback just need to come up with an ending! Facepalm!.
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  9. Great thread!

    Recently got back into writing after a bit of time away from it. I have always used writing as therapy, and there's a link between the worst points of my life and the volume that I'm writing. The last six or so months have been happy, healthy and almost perfect so I've barely written a word. I also work in a very creative industry, and I suppose I get my fix from that.

    Everything in my life is still brilliant, and I'm still creative through my job (which in itself involves writing at the moment) but I've tried to get back into it, minus the angst. It's definitely different. There's less feeling behind it, it's almost clinical, but it's giving me the opportunity to go back to some of my previous work and look at it with fresher eyes. I'm finding it surprisingly easy to look at it, and evaluate between 'this is good', 'this is bad, but can be improved' and 'this serves no purpose, it needs to go' and then, if needed, get rid of it. It's almost cathartic.

    Love reading about other's experiences though.
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  10. Do you guys notice what themes you tend to write about/what themes arise from your work? What are they?

    I find that whether the themes are intentional or not, almost everything I write, when you strip it back, is the exact same story told via different characters in different worlds.

    And it tends to be about death and morality.

    Bit overdone, really.
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  11. I think it's only natural that certain themes keep cropping up. For some reason I tend to always write about fractured identity and parental neglect. The real action in my fiction is psychological.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  12. eccentricsimply

    eccentricsimply Staff Member

    I'm not writing a lot of fiction lately (not the type I'd ever be interested in publishing), but my non-fiction is always memoirs and essays about stuff I learn and deal with. When I was a bit younger everything I wrote sounded really bratty, but I'm learning to tone that down and to look at my work from a more mature point of view. Since I'm looking into freelance writing it helps that I'm finding my tone of writing.

    As for fiction, it's usually a lot of girls loving girls stuff. Sometimes very cheesy and nothing extraordinary or with a lot of plot, but very very self-indulgent. I love writing slightly fantastic stuff as well.
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  13. I love writing - whether it's lyrics or screenplays. I suppose I struggle to maintain an interest in what I'm doing as I tend to let my mind wonder and start thinking about something completely different, I lack focus I guess.

    I enjoy reading books but I can't write in that style at all. I prefer screenplays where you can just write what is happening as it happens and it can be less descriptive. I also really enjoy writing dialogue.

    Hit me up if anyone want to collaborate on a script or something. Be good to get back into it this year.

    Last year I wrote 3 scripts for a sitcom idea I had. I submitted the first to the BBC writers room. It progressed through to the top 14% or something but that's as far as I got.

    I'd love to write a horror or something physiological.
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  14. I wrote an article of a wedding magazine which has been published today.

    It's a 2 page spread in the Scottish Wedding Directory magazine. Pretty proud of myself.
  15. I started writing a story a few month ago (from an idea I've had for a few years now) but I just got stuck...

    This was the opening section;

    My best friend was dead. It was hard to comprehend the words I was hearing from the slight Asian man who was currently kneeling down before me, cupping my hands in his own. He had extremely hairy hands, which I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of. Doctor Rasulov was saying something else now, something about Alice, but I couldn’t decipher it. Every sound was clouded, like my head had been dunked and my ears filled with nothing but the movement of muddied water. Alice was dead and everything else after that seemed of little relevance.

    Two hours ago Alice had been rushed into the emergency room with multiple gunshot wounds to her chest and head, obviously the prognosis was bleak but she was still alive - there was still a heart beating, grappling inside her bloody chest and a brain still stimulated in her crushed skull, there was still functionality and feeling throughout her battered and bruised body and so there was still hope, as far as I was concerned.

    I felt moisture on my blouse, as I looked down at my chest I discovered tears spilling over from my cheeks and landing on the flowered-patterned fabric – I hadn’t even realised I was crying. Doctor Rasulov was now standing, rummaging around in his left pocket, then his right, and then he found what he was searching for and proceeded to shove a neatly folded handkerchief into my grasp. Instantly I blew my nose, blotted my eyeliner and dabbed at the wetness of my clothing. I think I smiled for a brief moment and with that Dr Rasulov was walking away.

    “Can I get you some water?” The voice seemed to come from nowhere and then suddenly an older woman was sitting next to me, to my right - a nurse, according to her badge, with an ancient-looking hand on my shoulder. My foggy hearing cleared suddenly as I found myself most alert, like someone had snuck a bottle of smelling salts under my nostrils and forced me to inhale. “Perhaps you’d like to wait in our family room and I could make you a coffee or get you something sweet?” I turned to face her, she had a kind face and well-meaning eyes but her mouth was creased and dry and for a long time I couldn’t look away, continuing to stare at her wrinkled lips, wishing she’d moisten them with her tongue. Eventually I licked my own lips and spoke, “No, thank you. I should go, I shouldn’t be here. He might come looking for me.” The nurse now looked concerned and was rubbing my shoulder, up and down as if cleansing me of something foul. “Who might come looking for you?” She said her eyes wide with concern. “My husband...” I said, though it felt like the words had slipped out accidently, as if I should cover my mouth with both hands and run off into the dark somewhere. Then it happened again, “My husband will be looking for me and then he’ll kill me.” I said, with absolute certainty.
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  16. This doesn't relate to anything but I was thinking the other day how amazing it would be if somebody wrote a short comedy sketch about Russel's paradox - specifically the barber analogy that gets used to explain it to non-mathematicians.

    Actually I will Venmo whoever does this first and either PMs me or posts it here. WRITING CHALLENGE
  17. So an idea for a story came into my head.

    I've now decided I'm the new JK Rowling.
  18. I've had an idea. It's not my favourite idea I've ever had but objectively, I think it might be the best plot I've ever come up with.

    It's just a shame my schedule is fully booked and I have no time to take on a new project.

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  19. I'm giving a keynote speech in Edinburgh next week to over 200 aspiring creative writers, then I'm heading up a creative writing workshop. I've done the workshop for the last two years. Authors/poets/journalists are invited to take part and pupils get to choose whose class they attend. I've never been comfortable as a 'teacher' as I've never felt creative writing is something that can be packaged and taught to people. Sometimes I think you're either a writer or you aren't. But then it's a craft and you improve the more you work at it. So what I do at these classes is I do a one-man show about creative writing. It works for me and I hope (and assume considering how popular my classes have been the last few years) that people get something out of it. I would feel like such a fraud going in a telling everyone THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE. I always assume they already know how to write, but don't yet have their style or technique sorted out. And even then that can often change anyway. I have no idea what to say in the speech. It's my first time as the keynote speaker. It'll probably be my last too!

    I'm writing something new which I'm going to sell at some point. I need to finish it first!
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  20. On Tuesday, I'm going to be workshopped for the first time in my MFA program and I'm nervous as fuck, especially since the story is pretty much about pornography and masturbation (though compared to what some people write in the program, it's pretty tame). It's the story about the pastor with the sex addiction that I think I mentioned earlier in this thread.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
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