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Weird writing techniques

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by TJPoldervaart, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

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    When writing, I have a some techniques that the people around me find weird, and I'm guessing that I'm not the only one. So, I'm curious: what weird, strange or funny writing techniques do you use?

    An example from myself: I use a bulletin bord with handwritten notes and pink yarn (the shop didn't have any red) to chaotically work out my worldbuilding and story outline while listening classical music and moving about my room like an obsessed madman.
     
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  2. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Sage

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    Perhaps not weird, but different. I do all my outlining by hand with pen and paper using multiple colours of ink.
     
  3. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I type with my nose while listening to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody as performed by The Muppets.

    I was shocked when I discovered nobody else did this.
     
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  4. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Ah, mayhaps I should do that- then I'll have a Wikipedia article about ME too!
     
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  5. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Does it have to be Muppets? Can it be 'Weird Al'? I find him more calming.
     
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  6. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    I've talked about this on here before, but I do clean drafts. I don't pore over a manuscript tearing my hair out and doing nit-picking little edits. I finish a draft, take a week or so off, then open a fresh document on a second screen and retype it from the words CHAPTER ONE, fixing as I go.

    Shortly after college, I lost a manuscript in a hard drive crash while editing it, and I had to retype it all from a printed hardcopy. (Your hardcopy was your backup, back then.) As I went along, I found things on nearly every page that I could do better, so I fixed them. When I was done, it was much stronger than it had been previously. More than that, the voice was smoother and much more consistent. I'd also found a couple of major plot holes. Rewriting, it turned out, involves merciless rereading.

    Just for the hell of it, I did it again--it had only taken a few months, now that I knew what the story was--and it was even stronger after the third full run-through. It became my process. I think of it like a comedian rehearsing a skit in front of the mirror, getting all the timing and voices down. When I can rewrite it almost from memory, getting the dialogue and even some of the comedic punches correct with minimal reference to the prior draft, it's ready.

    My process now is to start with flowcharts, then build an outline and complete synopsis, then write a half-length "Crappy Draft Zero" with some sections that are just pictures I've pasted in, and some scenes that are just a few lines in present tense, to make sure the story works. Once I have that, I write the entire novel several times through before I send anything off for structural edits.

    I also write my ending first, then plot it all backwards.
     
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  7. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Weird Al is good in my book, except the song Eat It is just about as annoying as Beat It.

     
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  8. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    I like both of those songs.
     
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I never could stand Jackson and, well, most pop of the period. By the 80’s my musical tastes spread from New Wave to Metal
    to Classical to Class Rock to Punk, but never, ever, Michael Jackson or disco. I did watch the Thriller video once because of the FX hype and I was underwhelmed, LOL. Okay, that’s enough off topic here.

     
  10. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Michael Jackson is amazing, but whatever. Your loss.
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I did do some rewriting of a story once that got nixed to the nether and it did teach me some lessons, but I could never work that process. That said, I sort of did something similar with the first chapters of Eve of Snows, just writing and rewriting until I got my voice where I want it. After that... I’ve sent off chapters to the editor that were a day old after a day’s work and a little cleanup. I tend to draft in my head, which can take days, weeks, and then it just piles the hell out of there and I go through cleanup to make sure all elements are present. I read the book a couple of times to strafe for errors and start pestering the editor and her schedule. On top of all that, I am a constant tinkerer and rereader. I don’t really have a rough draft in a purist sense.

     
  12. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    New house, which is a major reason the book's going to be late, but check out this office! We'll be able to act out scenes if we need to, have room for a partner desk, and the light is sublime. Can't wait to get moved in here! We write by roleplaying and this office space is just build for it! (Yes, I'm showing off a little bit. I'm a writer. :D ) 20201204_140400.jpg 20201122_152713.jpg 20201122_152656.jpg 20201122_152713.jpg 20201204_140400.jpg
     
  13. When I am drafting a novel, I have a playlist of songs that have a hard, driving beat and those come from a number of sources like Epic Rap Battles of History, Hamilton, Hadestwon, rock n roll songs, and so forth.

    But, I think the weirdest part of my writing process is how I create characters. This isn't a written process but as I am conceiving of characters I interview them in my head and funnel down their responses. It looks something like this:

    Me: So, state your name.
    Character: Fred
    Me: what is your occupation?
    Fred: student:
    Me: College?
    Fred: Yes
    Me: Major?
    Fred: Magical hoboslapping
    Me: Why did you pick magical hoboslapping?

    A lot of this is chaffy nonsense, but eventually, I can get a good picture of the character's thought process and how they will react to stressful situations.
     
  14. SundryHen

    SundryHen Scribe

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    I feel called out. So guilty of this. And I started great for this version. I wrote for three months just letting the 15 years of versions, thoughts, dreams, ideas and such pour into the draft. Then I stopped and now I have about 10.000 words to write before the first draft is done, and I'm just snailing it on, going back, fixing, editing, realising my timeline doesn't work, realising my characters can't possibly cross over 100km in two days, etc... So, yup. Those are my weird writing habits.

    But the weird techniques I do use mainly have to do with the fact that my stories, poems, ideas in general have a long gestation period. I am able to carry a progressively developing idea in my head for months before sitting down and writing anything more than a quick note. Then when I do start writing it, all my plotting occurs inside my head, before I fall asleep. I would just take a few minutes thinking about what needs to happen next. And I write this all down as an outline the next day within the draft. I have all my outlines in the draft itself, waiting to be expanded upon.

    I have only once heard of someone doing this, and it is one of my favourite poets.

    This is so interesting and creative!
    And here I am making natal charts based on my characters astrological signs, day of birth, etc, so cheating, basically.

    Ah, someone else who does something similar to what I do. Nice company!
     
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  15. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

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    This is so recognizable I'm starting to think all the best ideas come just before you fall asleep.
     
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  16. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Nope. The best ideas come when you type with your nose and listen to comedic music.
     
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  17. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

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    That's probably because your brain is closer to the keyboard.
     
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  18. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I seem to be more or less incapable of writing down plotting, closest thing I manage is jotting down something like “battle on the bridge/Meliu trolls”. There’s the chapter. I know I can’t outline. I tried over and over in years past, it brings on a nap attack... move over Garfield! The most detailed plotting I ever managed was while screenwriting, where I’d have an index card with a sentence on it for every scene, and I wouldn’t even try that with complex epic novels.

    This is probably what brought me to Waypoint Writing based on set pieces.
     
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  19. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

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    This sounds pretty interesting and although the name of itself gives me an idea of what it is about, I'm having difficulty finding more about it online. How do you use it and what do you like about it?
     
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  20. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Well, there’s a reason for that. I coined the term during a discussion about outliner vs pantser here on the MythicScribes forums. I think Caged Maiden (if I recall the MS name correctly) did an article about what the term meant to her, you can check that archive. Basically speaking, Neither outliner nor pantser fit what I do in a purist sense, nor do I necessarily use a three-act structure or what have you to construct a plot. Three Act is kind of a given for long-form story-telling IMO. But anyhow, the way I construct the story is by considering those things that MUST happen and I write to those points, hence Waypoint Writer. For instance, the genesis of Sundering the Gods & Eve of Snows was backstory for how a northern Viking-esque culture came to live in jungles and plains near the equator... there’s where the story started, at the end. The next image was fleeing their home island and a powerful mage of some sort trapped on an island in a tower of fire. The characters, then, were born from the waypoints... Eliles in the Fire. Then, I needed a clan representative. So, the character would have to be important but expendable at the same time, hence he’s the nephew of the clan head, and not the first born there either. All the characters came about to fill their roles in the play, except for Solineus and (later) Glimdrem, who play major roles in the future. Then, I knew I needed something to drive them from the island. Demons. A Celestial Gate. Boom: critical Waypoint scene, a rift/gate in the universe. So on and so on, piece by piece. The discovery writing is in between Waypoints. Sometimes I find new Waypoints... okay, often. One could call it filling in the blanks on 3-Act structure, but it’s more than that. In fact, it’s quite possible I knew these three Waypoints before anything else in the story, in order of creation... Ending of book 3, ending of book 1, and ending of book 2, and everything else was making sure I got those.

    Then, while watching the blokes responsible for GoT on HBO, they mentioned the “Set Piece Scenes” from Martin’s works that they were just itching to shoot, that really inspired them to make the show in first place. It was like they’re really shooting scene to scene to get to those scenes they love. That’s when I realized that my screenwriting study might’ve had a hand in how I was writing novels: I figure out what scenes motivate me to keep writing, scenes that are both necessary and exciting as a storyteller and from one to the other I find my way to the end. I also try to have every character have at least one worthy set piece, the sort of thing an actor might say yeah... I’ll play that character even if they aren’t the lead.

    I’ve considered making Waypoint Writer official by writing a little book on that and other sundry writing related tidbits. That way I could just refer people to the book for a solid explanation, heh heh.

     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2020
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