Monday, October 12, 2015

The Ethereal vs the Real!


I have been writing steadily since I was fourteen years old. I have published two books and have been writing as a published author for over two years.

In that time I have been asked by writers just starting out for advice on how to get started or what they should do.

I think about that question a lot because I don't think any of us really know. I mean even big time authors can give examples, but often say things like, 'that worked for me' or 'this may help you'.

The fact is sometimes things just click and through a lot of hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck some of us find success. 




I think there are many mistakes people make when starting out, but tonight I got to thinking about a big one. 

The idea. 




When you get that good idea and it just really hits you. It is like falling in love. You want to hold it close to you and just live in it. 

This is not a bad thing, it is an integral part of all great stories.

So what is the problem?

Well, the problem is this love is a lie. 

It is like falling in love with someone you have never really met. They can seem amazing and everything you want, but the truth is they don't live in the real world with you. They don't go through the stress of everyday life with you. They are this ethereal idea of love. 

This idea you have for a story is the same. 

The reason is a book has to have order to make it work. You have to tell a story. It has to make sense and be told in a way that is compelling. When you take this amazing idea and start bashing at it to conform to a book, it stops being this perfect thing.

The result of this is we feel like the idea is bad, or worse that we are not good enough for the idea.

Both of these things can be true. The problem comes when we cling to the idea and keep it from letting us go forward. I spent ten years doing this. To think where I would be had I just let that idea go sooner. 

There is a lot of merit to letting yourself just write for yourself. Just sit down and start telling a story that no one will read. When you're done tell another and another and another until you have the confidence to say, "This is good, someone should read this."

Ethereal is great, but real is better. Real is what you have when you complete something and if you do it enough you will be good at it. If you stay stagnant even the best ideas will turn into this bitter old thing that will drag you down with it.




Anyway, these are just some thoughts I had. I hope all is well. As always, have fun and keep writing.

21 comments:

  1. There have been similar tips - keep writing. Nothing at all will happen if you don't do that.

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    1. Yes, keep writing will always be good advice.

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  2. Interesting thoughts, Brandon. For me, it's a pesky voice or Muse or whatever you want to call it that gives me the idea and then won't leave me alone till I write it.

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    1. That is a good voice to have. Anything that pushes you.

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  3. Great post. Having the muse, for me, works better when I'm not under a deadline.

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    1. Yeah deadlines can suck the life out for sure.

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  4. You defined the reason why only in person love can work.
    I guess I'm doing it right as I'm never crazy about any of my ideas. Or first drafts. I don't really start to like them until they are in printed story form and I can really see them.

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    1. Yep fall in love with the finished product. That is the best way to be.

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  5. Writing ideas! Argh! Try teaching writing to second and third graders who struggle for ideas and how to get them down on paper. You made an excellent point about letting go when that idea just won't work, Brandon! I battle with feeling like I'm not good enough for the idea. I'm in the middle of that now, but I think of my second and third graders and push myself on. I enjoyed this point!

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    1. That is nice that you get to see that perspective. It is hard to feel that we are not good enough yet, also I think that it can be a good that we notice such things. I spent so long trying to make something happen with a certain idea and feeling less than capable, but when I decided to move on the flood gates opened once more and we can always go back.

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  6. That is SO true! I've had so many great ideas that seemed brilliant, yet they didn't pan out in the actual writing. I always feel like I've failed when that happens...but you're right, it can be deceiving. As I've grown more experienced, I've learned to question the idea. As I think of a great idea, I automatically add, "And THEN what?" Because you know an idea has to be able to go beyond that first chapter!

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    1. Exactly. Then what is the perfect temper to the "Great Idea".

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  7. Some books definitely do turn into disappointments, but the more I write, the more I learn they're mostly amazing rides, and who doesn't want a thrill?

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    1. Very true. It is always fun to explore.

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  8. I've had ideas grab me, but they didn't translate well on paper. I have felt bad about this, as if the ideas are too big for me or that I'm not skilled enough to create a book from them. Now that I've published several books, I know that there are ideas that are doable while others aren't.

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    1. It is a great thing to learn going forward I think new writers sometimes get hung up.

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  9. Great advice! I've found that there have been ideas that seem so brilliant, but getting it out on paper I find it really isn't. It's just one thought, doesn't translate well into anything, which sucks *sigh*

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    1. Lol, it does suck. Glad you liked it.

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  10. You totally sent me into a Wikipedia wormhole with this concept. I was delving into the etymology of Sephiroth (from FFVII) a while back, and something you said pulled that research back into my memory.

    In the Hebrew Kabbalah, (whose definition differs based on your denomination / religion) "Chokhmah" is Wisdom and it's defined loosely as an initial creative flash, unbound by shape and form. Chokhmah is also Fear because "it has no measure of boundary, and therefore the mind does not have the power to grasp it."

    We do have to bend and break the idea to fit it into a story, be it novel or film or video game. But I think (and hope) if we can become a master of our method of story telling, then the idea can gain as much as it loses in this transition.

    Unrelated: I've had a lot of coffee this morning.

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    1. Lest it go unsaid - I agree with you: Some ideas just weren't meant to be stories. No matter how hard we try. Or perhaps they weren't meant to be novels... but maybe graphic novels?

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    2. That is pretty awesome actually I love learning new stuff. Yeah that is a good point as well some things can live on in other forms. I think we don't have to give up on them, but we just can't let them hold us back.

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