A loaded gun

dsc00006As I scour my subconscious and memory for inspiration, I come across subjects or experiences I’d like to draw on but can’t.

I need to detach myself to the point where I can turn them into fiction, but as yet I don’t have the nerves of steel required to do this.

How do other writers deal creatively with the (metaphorical) loaded gun? Any (constructive!) ideas welcome …

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17 Comments

  1. That’s a really interesting and good question. There has to be distance for it work, I think, for a writer to see the piece objectively. Sometimes that’s achieved by time but I think in a lot of cases it can be achieved by just doing it, just getting on with writing a story. I think that using something that’s affected us as part of, or an inspiration for, a story is fine and can give it a real edge and depth, so long as it’s only part of the story and so long as the story’s not been written as therapy! You’re writing a story inspired by an event, for instance, you’re not writing about that event.

    Hope that makes sense, and if it does, I hope it helps!

    Nik

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  2. That’s very helpful Nik – I think detaching yourself in the first instance is the hardest bit – I’m gearing myself up to doing it, trying to summon up the strength to heave stone away from cave door!!

    Great piece on 6S BTW – I left a comment!

    Diane

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  3. I’m exploring a very simple “get the words flowing” technique I stumbled upon a couple of days ago (shortly after I opened my “writing practice” blog). Take a look at my first page and you’ll see what I mean. The two pieces there I wrote almost as fast as I can type. They literally came off the top of my head. I simply wrote the “obligatory” first sentence (whatever popped into my mind), and then let my imagination run with it. No struggle, no anguish, no hurdles, no disappointments. Just really good practice. Like playing piano exercises; the “music” might not be great, but it sure does strengthen your fingers! Anyway, take a look. You might find the idea (or your own variation of it) quite stimulating…

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  4. Pretty impressive William! I do freewrites but they don’t take a narrative form, more stream of consciousness, ideal for exploring an idea or as a starting point for poetry. I wrote 61k of freewrite during NaNoWriMo, and found amongst it around 30k worth developing as a novel but it’s going to be a long process …

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  5. My interest in writing has just begun, and exploring WordPress these past few days has been very “informative” to say the least. Your mention of NaNoWriMo, for example. I’ve just begun browsing their (very interesting) web site. Thank you for the lead.

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  6. You’ve raised a very good question I think. I’m a non-fiction writer (when I’m actually writing that is!) but it’s very much the same thing, or a similar process anyway. At the moment, for instance, I’m searching for inspiration for my next topic. I have lots of ‘half ideas’ floating around in my head that have been inspired by things that I’ve experienced etc, but for me it has to be selecting the certain something that sticks and can then grow – that has enough legs, if you like, to know that I can run with it.

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  7. I’m coming to the conclusion it’s the same for all creative processes – you have to give ideas enough time to percolate – sometimes all it needs is one extra ingredient to give it ‘legs’ – a bit like a good meal! I’ve been mulling an idea over for ages then yesterday someone made a comment about an entirely unrelated incident which triggered something off! I’ll see how it works out …

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  8. That’s OK – NaNo’s well worth doing – I’d only ever written a couple of thousand words at a time before doing it. On a few days in November I managed to write five thousand a day. I found it very liberating and a great personal challenge achieved in completing it five days early!

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  9. That’s OK – in theory 6S look easy to write but not so easy in practice. Mine by chance came out of NaNo – managed to drag one out to submit for Vol II – but not sure it worked as well as the first one. We’ll see πŸ™‚

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  10. And that extra ingredient can be very elusive. I find doing things other than writing helps – watching films – just not thinking about the problem – that’s when the answers often appear. Not so great when it’s two am and you’ve just decided to go to bed which is what happened to me last night! Managed to scrawl something on a sheet of paper though …

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  11. Oh that’s very true; concentrating too much can be counter productive. I like the Google approach, ie having ping pong tables in their offices so their workers are relaxed when they’re working and free to think freely. I could not fit a ping pong table in my office however and it’d be difficult playing by myself. πŸ˜‰

    Nik

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  12. Yes – can’t even swing a cat in my office (and they wouldn’t appreciate it either I’m sure!) – especially as it’s the kitchen table (out of choice!) but it’s easy to forget you need time to switch off – photography’s good for me – both as a visual stimulus and the act of concentrating on taking the photograph is mentally relaxing!

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