Writerpedia discussion

on writing > People needed to give insight to certain topics...

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Leah (new)

Leah (leahmaree1992) | 3 comments Okay, so for an avid writer, I haven't really written anything lately. But just recently I've been inspired to write a new story.

This one is kinda close to my heart, as a small portion of it is based on true events that happened to me, but the rest, is stuff that never even happened to me, and areas I have honestly no real personal experience in.

Some people will say I am taking a risk in writing a story including stuff I have no experience in, but I feel that if I can get people who have personally experienced such issues to give me a bit of insight into those issues, I might be a little more accurate with my story. =)

However, some of these issues may touch the exact people I am looking for very close to the heart. So please, if it is going to be too painful for you to share about, please don't subject yourself to the pain. Only if you feel comfortable in sharing. =)

The issues...
* A boy and girl (best friends) who one day take it too far and destroy their friendship temporarily.

* A boy and girl (best friends) who one day take it too far...and she falls pregnant...and she decides to 1) abort 2) adopt out 3) raise herself, with or without the father's help.

* A boy and girl (best friends) who one day take it too far...and she falls pregnant...and sometime in the future, they end up back together.

Anyone who can help me in the smallest of ways in these areas, your help will be the greatest appreciated! xD

message 2: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (jozanny) | 16 comments Mmm. How do I put this? When I published my first feature article on attendant care I did, in fact, get some of my sources online--but you need to make your characters come alive for yourself Leah, even those that do not touch on your experience directly. I have a damaged character with MS who has a miscarriage, and I did not need to find women who miscarried to show my readers her wounds. Write. Those you create must come alive for you first.

message 3: by Leah (new)

Leah (leahmaree1992) | 3 comments Hi Joanne, thanks for your insight. Yes, I do try and write, but I always like 'putting it out there' in case I learn something that I could easily add to the story. It's kind of one of those stories I know the exact storyline, but I'm just trying to get it on paper in the best way possible. ;-)

message 4: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments In my humble opinion, I would google something like relationships to start with, and find some true life accounts for one thing. These kind of things are all over the Net and in magazine, ezines, everywhere. And better if you can get both sides, maybe not from the same situation, but the more you read about such things, the more that knowledge will be reflected in your writing. The male side will be harder to research than the female side.

And just write. Let your characters live through you. They will ultimately decide what happens, if you allow them to do so.

A good writer writes what he or she knows and if he or she doesn't know it, then they research until they do. This includes psychology and why people do what they do, their motivation. A lot of my books have real people in real situations that have happened to me or close to me, but my life has been such a trip that if I wrote it all down, no one would believe it. Like my grandmother said once before she died, "You've lived." I took that as a compliment, the highest one any person on Earth has ever paid me.

And once I fell into writing, my life up to that moment of realization made sense. Until then, I had no idea what I was doing or why, I was just letting God move me along as he saw fit, something I'm still doing today. I often joke he gave me my daughter merely to make me sit down and get something done, but I think there's more truth than humor in that statement.

Do not let what you think you don't know stop you from writing. This craft is as much an inward journey for the writer as it is an outward journey for the reader. If you pursue this writer's road, you will someday know yourself...sort of...maybe...possibly...until you change again...LOL


message 5: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments While true accounts must be taken into account, I need to offer a word of warning against what I've seen done by many authors:

True accounts aren't the whole truth. They never are. As such, true accounts always suffer from he said she said. Whenever an author tries to base a story off of an account based on a true event, the copy of the story tends to become even more obligatory the closer they try to make it to the true story.

Some of the worst, or best, examples of writers using stories based off of "true accounts" are those in the comic book industry. Specifically, Greg Rucka and Jud Winick are the worst "based off of a story based off of a true account" type writers ever in the history of the world.

IF you use true accounts, whatever you do, do NOT make your story a carbon copy. It'll look shoehorned no matter what you do.

Now, what I suggest is: Read some stories. Read SOME accounts, but do NOT take it as the gospel.

Take the emotions of the accounts, and try to generate your characters from emotions on both sides. If it feels clunky or wrong - then stop what you're doing and rewrite the whole piece. If you don't, you'll regret ever putting fingers to keyboard.

message 6: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Kevin,

I don't think any writer should be appropriating someone else's true life account for his or her story, especially to the point where it's recognizable. This is the lazy writer's approach to research. This also leaves a writer open to charges of copying or plagiarism.

Research, in my opinion, is exactly this: Read, get a solid feel for, say, both sides of a relationship, or broaden your knowledge on a subject, or in other words study, study, study what you don't know, and then...write.

Nothing beats real life experience that an author brings to his or her work by living, interacting, learning first-hand, etc. and so forth. But, barring that, diligent research done well and in depth can be the next best thing.

I once spent two days studying the vegetation of a certain small area to write a three line paragraph in one of my novels. To put it another way, I researched until I felt qualified to write authoritatively on the subject wholly of my own accord.


message 7: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments M.L. I wasn't saying you were saying what I said some people do ;)

I was just warning against that practice, which I've seen done too often.

message 8: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments LOL

I didn't think you were saying what I was saying was what you said some people do, Kevin (whew, is that a sentence or what...LOL). I was just agreeing with you, I think, and then expounding on what I meant.

It's all good...


message 9: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (jozanny) | 16 comments Perhaps mentioning my article was a bad example for Leah, since sources and research for fiction isn't the same thing, but yes, I would not solicit stories about pregnancy and abortion and the relationships surrounding them.

I've known the practice of established authors shadowing real people for research, but mature writers usually know their game, have a plan, and proceed accordingly.

I can write about crip-world stuff because that is my life, so making a character with MS isn't much of a sweat. Creating her therapist wasn't and still isn't as easy, even though I know many therapists, but I will not be shadowing a therapist to get this supporting character right. That comes with revision, and a lot of thinking. This story is difficult for me anyway because it involves a lot of negatives, and it was a kind of backlash piece to start; if I have the nerve to finish it it will be dark, maybe even not reputable, but that is another issue.

You need to start with what you know. Learning how to handle what you do not know grows with mastery of your craft, and also knowing your limitations. I could not create, say, a soldier from Uganda--hence, I'd never write a story requiring me to have the remotest understanding of post-colonial Africa. If I was forced to I'd try to contact John Hockenberry, since he went to the Sudan in a basketball wheelchair. But my soldier still wouldn't be very convincing without some kind of first hand knowledge.

If this post seems ridiculous, I am cramped, have a headache, smoking fake cigarettes with 5mgs of nicotine vapor and I'm still in withdrawal, and I am about off to bed, having sworn off the Eagles for the rest of my lifespan.

(waves at Mari)

message 10: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Yeah, Joanne, the Eagles sucked, didn't they? I caught part of that game after I woke up from a power nap. Went woodcutting today with the neighbors, came home and ate lunch with my daughter and out I went for about an hour.

Bed's looking good again right now, but I have too much to do yet...getting another book ready to publish, this one by a guy who, according to the Oxford Dictionary, coined the term racial profiling. Joseph Collum. He writes a mean mystery, the first of a series entitled Brady's Run. He's off on a shoot for PBS right now, he's a producer with them.


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments Just a cautionary comment:

OED is wrong a lot on a number of things. A few years ago one of their editors went on Charlie Rose and made a complete fool of himself concerning the phrase "Short lived". OED had to issue an official apology after a ton of people (professors included) sent in a wave of complaints.

Their definition of racial profiling is marginal at best. Althought Joseph Collum may very well have coined the phrase racial profiling, I wouldn't put all my eggs in the OED basket. So just make sure that you cite OED as the source if you repeat that info.

But, gathering from how you wrote your post, I believe you know this as well ;) So I bet I'm preaching to the choir.

message 12: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Yep, you are preaching to the choir. Joe's the real deal, too. I love having him in the Jigsaw Press stable. He's got a controversial book, nonfiction, called Black Dragon that just might put my company on the map. He's worried about my company getting sued if we publish it, but I say, bring it on. Truth will win out.


message 13: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments That's awesome, M.L. :D

If your company gets on the map, I'm currently unpublished despite having several finished novels ;D

back to top