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the idea of ideas August 21, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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Wednesday writing group was a quiet one. However The Leafy One commented that she enjoys IDEAS. She likes coming up with IDEAS and wants to come up with more of them.

An example she gave was Larry Niven. I must apologise for my lack of remembering, but I do recall a race that was leaving the galaxy, and was taking 5 stars with them as they went? The Leafy One thought that was an awesome idea. I large, interstellar idea.

I like what she said, and I understand what she means. I enjoy ideas. I get ideas all the time, but they, in themselves, are not a story.

In my first ever lecture at university I was told to ALWAYS have a note pad and pen with you. That way, when you got an idea you were able to keep it. I have mentioned my note book in previous entries -‘Where do ideas come from?‘. I am not so comfortable with my current notepad. It seems a little scattered. I might transpose it and start anew.

When my notebook becomes full I put the ideas into word documents. I have a document for the quotes and snippets. And a document for the larger ideas. For example, I have a snippet of an idea for my steam punk- The Disciples of the Cog and Piston. In itself, it is an idea, something I can put into a story, but it is not a story in itself. Just something I wrote in my note pad one day. I have other Steam Punk snippets in this notepad, I see. This must be the notepad where my Steam Punk ideas began.

The larger ideas, the ones which go for two or three pages, they are potential stories.  They mutate into CONCEPTS. I like Concepts. These have the potential to blossom into stories.

I have a file of concepts, waiting to be taken out and given a run. A post apocalyptic concept (Which sci-fi writer doesn’t have one of those?) I romantic high-fantasy with classical Greek and Roman overtures with magic thrown in for kicks. I have a modern day Mythic fantasy set in London in my file, a classic High Fantasy involving a one-armed man, a set of triplets and a sacrificial lamb who clearly wasn’t a virgin when she was chosen.

Ideas, I’m not running short on. Concepts, I have me some of them.

All in good time.

But, like The Leafy One, I enjoy having IDEAS. I enjoy that my mind drifts off to these creative places and comes back with some jewel, something shiny I can add to my collection. My little day dreams. Makes the grind of 9 to 5 not so grindy.


Still beginning again and again August 10, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in writing, Writing Group.
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Its crazy. I’ve written the novel. I have been through 4 drafts. I have 3 other novels which follow on from this in the series. It has been read and enjoyed and reviewed.

And yet, trying to start it again, I falter and fall down.

It is the strangest thing. Once I get into it, all is well. It is just the beginning.

In last weeks writing group two writers commented that they prefer to write characters of the opposite gender. One writer said he enjoyed writing female characters as he can enjoy writing as a woman because he knows everything there is to being a man.

I didn’t fully understand his comment. I don’t know if it is because I have not fully investigated pure gender issues of each of my characters, or I just characterise a person and have them do and be, without a need for gender. My three MC”s for my novel are two gentlemen and a lady (I flatter them by calling them such…) and I can’t say that I have enjoyed writing any of them less than some.

In a later book I developed a lesbian relationship for one of my characters. I have not received any feedback on how well I wrote that. So far those who have read it have not told me it felt false or was badly written. On the other hand, no one has said it was a waste of space and irrelevant for the book. I will hold off judgment until I have had more feedback.

Looking back at my work, I must say that most of my MCs are male. Some may say it is a conscious decision of mine to do this, but I don’t know. Unless you go way out on a limb, you only have 2 choice for the gender of your MC. So I choose the XY more often than XX, should I read more into this than I need? I know how to be a male, so am I just writing what I know rather than challenging myself to write as someone I don’t fully understand?

Or am I just thinking too much? Perhaps I am just distracting myself from the start of this novel.

Speaking of distracting my self, I now need ice cream