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blog Can I? When Doubt Kills Your Ideas

Ankari

Hero Breaker
Moderator
Ankari submitted a new blog post:

Can I? When Doubt Kills Your Ideas
by Kassan Warrad

fantasy-when-doubt-kills-your-ideas.jpg


Alright! The Muses sing, drawing you to the desk, pump your veins with hot blood and fill your mind with combustible imagination. You’re on fire and ready to write. The idea once tumbling in your mind is bucking with life and wants to breath words on your screen. It’s awesome. You’re awesome. All is good.

Then the passions temper under the cool, steady light of your computer screen. The process of fleshing out your idea with words demands time. So much so, you feel the vibrant energy of your story suffocate under the process. Now you’re using the logical, analytical side of your brain. Each scene or circumstance demands continuity and must fit into the internal logic of your world. Everything must make sense; else the reader will dismiss this pile of junk for amateur hubris.

With logic comes the questions. A train of them, each rumbling down the tracks uncaring of the idea which once bucked in the stables of your mind, eager for freedom, now tied to the rails. All of the doubts can easily be summarized into “Can I?”

Of course, this isn’t the real question haunting the halls of your mind. The real question is “does it make sense?”

Does it make sense for a dragon to love a human?

Does the magic system make sense?

Does the social construct I want to use make sense?

Does this awesome character trait make sense?

Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
 
I have often thought the question, "What is allowed?" to be ridiculous. Can you? Yes, you can. It's speculative fiction; do whatever you want. Sell it.

Often, the question is framed through the lens of our own world: our world's history, our world's physics, our world's biology, our world's cultures and peoples.

"Can glass swords work?" No. Yes. Which world are you using?

"What would happen if...." is sometimes a difficult question to answer correctly for our own world. What would happen if I get married? If I bought a Powerball ticket? If I started my own business? If extraterrestrials landed in Central Park? Does anyone know the full scope of any answer to any of these questions? Who is a prophet, here?

But in a created world, with its own history, physics, biology, cultures, and people...The full answer may be easier. You, as author, get to determine the answer however you see fit. Make it work.

All this said, legitimate limits exist. Can you? I don't know, but I know this question is different than May you? Sometimes, you can't sell it. Not yet, at least. You haven't figured it out. You haven't found or invented the logic sufficiently for yourself let alone for a set of as-yet-abstract readers.

Should you try? Yes, I think so. Why not? If it matters to you, give it a go.

Should you give up? No. Yes. Maybe. There are trillions of ideas, and you don't have time to devote your lifetime to figuring out all of them.

But do get on with it.
 

Ankari

Hero Breaker
Moderator
I have often thought the question, "What is allowed?" to be ridiculous. Can you? Yes, you can. It's speculative fiction; do whatever you want. Sell it.

Often, the question is framed through the lens of our own world: our world's history, our world's physics, our world's biology, our world's cultures and peoples.

"Can glass swords work?" No. Yes. Which world are you using?

"What would happen if...." is sometimes a difficult question to answer correctly for our own world. What would happen if I get married? If I bought a Powerball ticket? If I started my own business? If extraterrestrials landed in Central Park? Does anyone know the full scope of any answer to any of these questions? Who is a prophet, here?

But in a created world, with its own history, physics, biology, cultures, and people...The full answer may be easier. You, as author, get to determine the answer however you see fit. Make it work.

All this said, legitimate limits exist. Can you? I don't know, but I know this question is different than May you? Sometimes, you can't sell it. Not yet, at least. You haven't figured it out. You haven't found or invented the logic sufficiently for yourself let alone for a set of as-yet-abstract readers.

Should you try? Yes, I think so. Why not? If it matters to you, give it a go.

Should you give up? No. Yes. Maybe. There are trillions of ideas, and you don't have time to devote your lifetime to figuring out all of them.

But do get on with it.
You have perfectly encapsulated the motive behind this post. I often wonder why this question is asked in this forum and so many others Can you? Is the question more of self doubt than curiosity? I think so.

"Get on with it." Is the perfect answer.
 
Is it really doubt?

Or is it the dawning reality of exactly huge is the task?

Gets easier once you've completed a draft with which you're happy. You understand the process and the volume of work much better then (and know you can actually get through it).
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Is it really doubt?

Or is it the dawning reality of exactly huge is the task?

Gets easier once you've completed a draft with which you're happy. You understand the process and the volume of work much better then (and know you can actually get through it).
I agree. The hardest part for me seems to be the long haul through the middle of the story, connecting all those interesting scenes in a way which makes the story complete. I try very hard not to think about the size of the task when I start a new story (especially when it's intended to be a novel) and instead focus on the joy of creating. As for making sense, I think that provided you have some idea of where the story is going then it will work out once you get it down in writing.
 
Ankari submitted a new blog post:

Can I? When Doubt Kills Your Ideas
by Kassan Warrad

fantasy-when-doubt-kills-your-ideas.jpg


Alright! The Muses sing, drawing you to the desk, pump your veins with hot blood and fill your mind with combustible imagination. You’re on fire and ready to write. The idea once tumbling in your mind is bucking with life and wants to breath words on your screen. It’s awesome. You’re awesome. All is good.

Then the passions temper under the cool, steady light of your computer screen. The process of fleshing out your idea with words demands time. So much so, you feel the vibrant energy of your story suffocate under the process. Now you’re using the logical, analytical side of your brain. Each scene or circumstance demands continuity and must fit into the internal logic of your world. Everything must make sense; else the reader will dismiss this pile of junk for amateur hubris.

With logic comes the questions. A train of them, each rumbling down the tracks uncaring of the idea which once bucked in the stables of your mind, eager for freedom, now tied to the rails. All of the doubts can easily be summarized into “Can I?”

Of course, this isn’t the real question haunting the halls of your mind. The real question is “does it make sense?”

Does it make sense for a dragon to love a human?

Does the magic system make sense?

Does the social construct I want to use make sense?

Does this awesome character trait make sense?

Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
I'm just starting out and have been trying to educate myself by reading everything I could find online, about how to write fantasy, what is right, correct and acceptable. I didn't count on so many conflicting ideas from way too many self-proclaimed gurus. I crawled under a rock and stopped writing altogether, I didn't crawl back out until almost a year later.

When I did crawl back to the keyboard, I decided I needed a community. I landed here at Mythic Scribes, I'm beyond glad that I did.

It is so freeing to read an article such as this. Imagination should not be fettered by the opinions and conventions of others. You have the right of it. I will not ask myself if it can be a part of my story, instead I will ask how can I make it work? How can I use the fantastic to touch, inspire and pull my reader more deeply into my reality?

Thank you for sharing your wisdom here. It is greatly appreciated.
 
How can I use the fantastic to touch, inspire and pull my reader more deeply into my reality?
One of my favorite quotes are,

"Ignore what the public wants and focus instead on what matters to you."

"Reaching millions requires reaching into yourself. It means finding your own truth and making it ours."

Quotes are from page 6, Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass (2012).
 
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