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Topic: Do you feel like you're living in your book while writing it?

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Subject: Do you feel like you're living in your book while writing it?
Date Posted: 7/7/2008 8:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2007
Posts: 908
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Whenever I'm writing I feel like I'm right in the story. So much so, that I think dh worries about me! It's like I'm off in another world, talking out the parts (not out loud usually though!) seeing where I'm going right in my head. Just like it's actually my life for a time.

It doesn't bother me, I feel that it really helps in that I don't usually get the normal writer's block, but it does however, affect my every day life.

Anyone else have this experience?

Date Posted: 7/8/2008 3:35 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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When I am at home writing I can get into a state where all my thoughts are on what I am writing.  Best way I can describe it is, I can look around in my mind and see what my characters are doing IE where they are in a room and who else is there..  But at work I need to keep my wits more with me as I have to answer the phone..LOL

I think it is rather normal to be involved with that is going on, the more vivid the characters are the more you can describe them..The only issue is if you cannot tell if what you are thinking of is your novel or not (not sayin you do just a comment I have heard from others).

I also tend to daydream my scenes before writing them, give them a few test runs to see if it works. I tend not to get writers blocks but do get stopped every so often with not having an idea of how to get through the next scene.

I have been known to giggle and reply to my characters while writing and I KNOW I am not the only one that does this because I have writing friends and we meet in cafes and they too do this..LOL  

I have been told by a many times published writer that sometimes you need to read aloud the story you are writing to see if it makes sense and flows well.  Maybe you are doing this subconsciously.

I am dyslexic and being visual is a big part of that, left is a direction that when spoken or written can confuse me but if someone points that way I know its left..so I do that in my head while writing. (I was always told that you write with your right hand, kinda sucks because I have been known to forget and I can write rather neatly with both hands..LMAO!)

SO to answer your questions, Yes I experience it too.

Date Posted: 7/8/2008 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2007
Posts: 908
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Pam,

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way! lol!

I was sure when no one responded that I was crazy or something!

I  do find myself daydreaming my scenes, even down to birds chirping, background sounds whatever! I think it makes us good writers!

Date Posted: 7/8/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2007
Posts: 589
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Ahhh... sometimes I will talk out the dialogue parts. = D I just try to do it when no one else is around. My children find it amusing when they catch me acting out scenes. If I'm going to have the hero kick in a door, I want to make sure the way I have him facing the door would work.

My son always knows when Mom is working on a car chase or fight scene in her novel. He'll come home from school and find that all of his Matchbox cars and Rescue heroes are up stairs in the living room. It's nice that he's willing to share with mom, he's benefited for it as his car collection has grown as I like to have the 'right' vehicles to use.

If you talk out your scenes alot (and wander around while you're doing it), investing in a small digital recorder is great. Too many times I've come up with the perfect exchange only to forget it when I sit down to type.

Subject: Immersion
Date Posted: 8/2/2008 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 235
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I get so immersed in my writing (a complex novel) that I can't do it in a few hours. I get so lost in my character and the story - which often seem realer than life - that I cannot switch gears to return to my life very easily. I have to set up large blocks of time - usually 24 hours  or more - which is difficult to do. I did so much writing last fall (staying up all night too many work nights as well as writing most of the weekend) that I got so behind on my work  and other life necessities. As a result,  I haven't been able to create the space for much writing the first six months of this year - but I continue to read and research. Reading books on writing and superb novels (sometimes I read them twice, the second time to jot down ideas for m own writing) helps me brainstorm.

Tracy

Date Posted: 8/18/2008 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
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Yup, I do that too.  I had a blissful day of being all alone yesterday. I spent 10 hours inside my novel, editing and reading aloud.  I was exhausted at the end of the day.

I'm glad I'm not alone. When my husband reads it for the first time  I truly expect him to simply nod and say "Oh that's what was happening with you earlier this year."

 



Last Edited on: 8/18/08 9:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 8/23/2008 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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I've always commented to friends who've asked that writing is like an exercise in controlled schizophrenia... I have all these characters with their own distinct personalities and points of view, often arguing with each other - and yet it's all in my head!!!  Quite often I'll get so wrapped up in a particular scene while I'm writng it I find myself feeling the emotions my characters are going through.  They and the worlds they inhabit are as real in my mind as the one I have to actually go to work in... finding the balance between them is the tricky part!

Date Posted: 9/16/2008 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
Posts: 8,672
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 7:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/18/2008 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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Well, of course! Doesn't every writer live inside their book? *grin* If it's not real to you, then it won't be real to the reader. That's what makes a good story.

 

HML

Subject: Pacing
Date Posted: 10/18/2008 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13
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I do the same thing, as well as walking in circles acting out the carechters and dialouge. It sort of scares othere people when I do it in a public place though!

Date Posted: 10/20/2008 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 270
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I hadn't ever gotten that into what I was writing until the book I'm working on right now.  I never finished any of the others, but I'm making some good progress on this one.  I have really gotten into this one, though.  I actually acted out the whole thing so far a couple days ago in the early morning, just to check for continuity. ;-)  But I think it helps that I'm writing this one in first-person, as opposed to my usual third-person. 

Also, I usually don't have any idea of where the story is going, but in this one I've got a general idea.  I think my story is good, but I'm not sure if I'm a good enough author to write it well, you know?  But, I will do my best.  And we'll just see where it goes.

There have been a few times where I'll suddenly say something that has nothing at all to do with the conversation, because I was thinking over a scene.  That can have some interesting effects! 

So, all that to say, yes, I do get very much into the book I'm writing. ;D

-Rebekah

 

Date Posted: 10/22/2008 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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Rebekah C.,

That is exactly what I felt like when I started writing my book! I felt like my story was solid, but I didn't know if had the skill to do it justice. (I mean, teenagers don't tend to be amazing writers right off the bat.) THEN, I found The Snowflake Method, at www.advancedfictionwriting.com . IT HAS MADE AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE! I really think you should try it, and just see how it works for you.

And, just to make this post relevent to the title, I must say YES, I live in my book! I hang out with my characters, ask their advice, yell at them, teaze them, and all that jazz. If your story isn't real to YOU, it won't be real to your reader either. Keep on going!

God bless,

HML

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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Oops--I posted twice! Sorry for repeating myself. *grin*

 

HML

Subject: My poor roommate...
Date Posted: 10/30/2008 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 7
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Are you kidding me? I still chat with my characters from my high school stories. I check in on them every now and then and see how they are. The characters in my stories right now tend to get annoyed if I leave them alone too long. :)

Not quite. But I get so wrapped up in my world. It exists, I know it does, even if I'm the only one who's been there. My problem is that a lot of what i write is adapted from my own experience -- situations, characters, etc are based on people I've known or things that have happened to me. So sometimes if I have to write a difficult scene based on something that was difficult for me to go through myself, I get so stressed out. I shy away from writing it because I don't want to have to go through it, even though I'm not really going through it -- it's not real, it's just a situation I put my characters in. But either way, I have to live it in my head to write it, which can be scary at times.

On top of that, I get annoyed with my characters. I yell at them for being stupid. "Why are you doing that? Why can't you just tell him? Why can't you get a life?" Granted, I realize that if they did all those things I would not have a story. And as my roommate, my best friend and now my roommate's brother have all pointed out, I am the one writing them that way so there's no reason for me to be annoyed with them. Says them, anyway. I know better. I can't tell them what to do. I try but they don't listen too well.

Who said fiction was easy?



Last Edited on: 10/30/08 11:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 11/1/2008 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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Kyla, you have a great comment.  People who don't write fiction don't understand that, yes, we create the characters, and yes they do exist only in our own heads and imaginations.  But they do have their own lives and personalities!

I have one character who has a tendency to wander off on his own without telling anyone.  I'll be writing a scene and get far into it before I realize he's just missing all of a sudden.  He was there at the beginning, but by the end I realize there hasn't been a word or action out of him for five pages!  So then I have to figure out where he went, what caught his attention to draw him away, and what the rest of the group is going to do about it.  On the one hand it gets very aggrivating.  But on the other hand, any story with him in it always ends up much more interesting than I originally had it planned out!  (And sometimes I really punish him for wandering off like that... I may have given my charcters free will, but I'm still god of my universe and can make their lives miserable if they cross me once too often!)

Subject: Maybe he needs a leash?
Date Posted: 11/4/2008 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 7
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Ha! I love that. I've had characters like that. They are the ones who are somewhat aware that they are fictional. They stand back and lean up against a wall and watch the action, smirking, until I turn to them and try to poke them into doing something. But on the upside, characters like that are always fun to deal with. And if you've got nothing else, you can always make a character the kind of character who just is always leaving a room right as someone is entering it, or never around when you need him. There's a tongue-in-cheek humor in that.

My problem right now? Well, I've got several. Right now I've got a character with questionable motivation, but that's not so much her problem. Her problem is (and this is key to the theme of the story, so I can't really alter it) that she is scared of living. She's allowed herself to be bullied by life and other people until she's become a person who allows herself to be a victim of circumstance. Ultimately it leads to her downfall. But thing is, I was trying to come up with a longterm backstory for her, to explain how she wound up this way. I came up with one, and then I sat back and looked at the whole thing, and found it so bloody depressing. This girl has had so little -anything!- in her life, and I hate to do what I have to do to her; shouldn't she have a chance? I feel like I'm punishing her simply for not having any gumption. Poor thing.

But it's got to happen. I just hate punishing her for no reason. But that's life, right?

Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 11/4/2008 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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Then again, there are people like that... who give up on life without really taking any chances to alter their own situations.  So I'd say you're not the one punishing her.  She's done this to herself over her own life.  People I've known like that have a tendency to blame others for what's wrong with their lives, and woe be to anyone who tries to tell them different!

And maybe what you're going to have to do to her will finally make her realize her own short comings and give her the courage to make an effort on her own behalf.  Sometimes you have to take a character to the point where they have nothing left to lose in order to change them for the better.  On the other hand, if they go the other way that sort of journey can also make for an intriguing villain...

Hm.  This thread just took a major philosophical turn, didn't it?



Last Edited on: 11/4/08 9:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Nothing wrong with being philosophical...
Date Posted: 11/11/2008 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 7
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I'm generally too philosophical so I don't mind going that route. You're right about the character. I'm taking her to a point where she has to make a decision and not giving her a whole lot of choices. Thing is, I already know what she ends up doing. She doesn't make a decision. She pulls a Bartleby in a way, by being incapable of action. That is her great sin, if you will -- her inability or refusal to take action on her own behalf. She allows life to push and pull her, and eventually even things she's created take control because she cannot. Poor girl. Where do I come up with these things?

Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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I hear ya.  Sometimes I have to wonder just how sick, depraved and malevolent my subconscious is to dream up the story and character ideas I do? 



Last Edited on: 11/14/08 9:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/23/2008 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
Posts: 305
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I tend to get very involved in my scene and with my characters.  However, I agree with what others have said, our characters have a life and personality of their own.  I am currently writing a book about a lady who has been a stay at home mom who is now divorced and moves to a new town to start a new life for herself.  She has some money from her share of the sale of the house that she lived in with her husband.  I thought she would simply go to this town, find a home to rent and rent it.  Then she could focus on finding employment.  I was totally shocked to learn that she is having trouble finding a rental home because the landlords want her to provide information in her rental applications, such as where she is employeed.  They want to make sure that the person that they rent to is able to pay the rent.  Because she is unemployeed she is having problems securing a home to rent.  I had no idea this would happen to her.

I've said to my children and my boyfriend (probably my mom too) that my book is writing itself.  These characters are real, the town they live in is real, their lives are real.  They have a story to tell and they are simply channeling through me.  I want to find this town and go there.  I'm sure that the diner exist and that these people are all there.  I want to be friends with them.  I can't wait to find out what happens next. 

Subject: absolutely
Date Posted: 12/3/2008 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 2
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I have been writing a series of novels based on the same world and character and I started when I was like nine years old. I'm about 20 now and during that time I have found that the main charcter "Alcarinque" has become much more real then words on paper or typing on a computer but rather an alter ego of myself. I mean I would probably never be involved in the type of advenures she experiences but her personality has become part of mine and people have told me on more than one occassion that I have no handle on reality whenever I'm in writing mode. Honestly I thought that I was strange for this and I'm glad to hear that i'm not the only one that becomes fully imersed in what i am writing. It gets to the point where the book does indeed begin to write itself because the characters are just so real to me because as I was writing it when I was younger I was writing the characters based off my friends personalities and I used to do alot of roleplay with them and then write my stories based off the role play, so yes my books become very real to me because the events sometimes seem to parrallel my own life and the main character's lover is based off my fiance. In my opinion, the best books are the ones that draw you into the story and make you believe it is really happening somewhere in the world, so if the writer believes it, the reader will.

Date Posted: 1/24/2009 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2009
Posts: 1
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"writing is like an exercise in controlled schizophrenia... " (Paul H.)  That is the best description I have ever come across of what it's like to be a writer.

As for the theme of all this, I also find myself laughing and even arguing out loud with my characters.  Perhaps we're all a little nuts, but as long as we can come out of our own worlds to play with our shared society, it's all good.