I doubt your story is shallow Darga. You're just writing a story that has less characters than ours, and your strategy is to plan it out. I would do the same, if it wasn't almost physically impossible for me to do so :P You still have to create the plot and world around these chatacters, and from what I've read of your work, it's certainly not shallow.
Ama, I hope you don't mind me adding another question into the mix here, but if people are willing to share (I understand that in some cases this will be a very personal thing), I'm intrigued to know; What goes in in your head when you write?
For me, I see what I'm writing played out like a movie in my head, which is why having mood music in the background often helps me along. This isn't always productive, like when I can't put a movements I'm seeing in my head into adequate words to describe it. But if I don't feel like I'm living the story, I struggle to write it. I put some of this down to the fact that my dreams often influence what I write. Replaying a dream over and over in my head so I can write it down might have paved the way for my current head space when writing stories. It's completely different again if I'm writing poetry however :)
I think I'm the same as you, Ari. I know that sometimes when I'm doing a task that doesn't require much thought, I will start thinking about my book, and that often results in me seeing my characters talking to each other; dialogue actually happens in my head. Interestingly enough, while the dialogue can be really clear at the time, the appearances of my characters aren't so clear, but that's probably because I am not a visual person. I like words and numbers. I've never been one to relate that well to pictures and flowcharts and things like that. But, yeah, a movie with blurry people wandering around. The only problem is that when I actually go to fix this awesome dialogue down on paper, it never quite goes the way I want it to! :)
When I write, I'm part of the story and the story is part of me, which pretty much means that I can see everything happening but I can also anticipate what needs to happen next and I know what's going on in my characters' heads.
Most of the time.
Some of the time...
I love those times when characters say something unexpected or do something that isn't to plan (which isn't too hard, to be honest - my plans are generally of the vague variety). That sort of thing can make me re-consider my story or a character's motivations and it generally leads to better things.
I'm a bit like Darga with my character descriptions - they always feel somewhat superfluous, even though they're really not. It's something that I have to remember to do, because it will definitely be commented on when people read my stuff. At Uni, I used to get a lot of "it was a good story but I wish I knew what the characters looked like" comments.
Darga, you had a few things crop up in Reticulum which I remember you weren't exactly expecting :P
Anyway, I'm a very visual person so I definitely see things in my head like a movie but that's not when I write it. I have to wait until the narratives voice is right. I literally have a voice in my head that narrates the words for me and if it doesn't sound right then my words always come out lumpy and chaotic--like lately :P When the voice sounds good, however, I write at my best and I can get thousands of words done in one sitting. The voice is different for each of my stories and sometimes certain ones will impress themselves on me even when trying to write other stories which really messes with things.
Despite being visual though, I hate describing anything, especially characters. Or at least main characters. If it's a minor character I will describe them with intimate detail. Repeatedly.
Ha ha - me too, Shonk, especially if said minor character is a pathetic looking headmaster type person.
Like a lot of you, I see the scenes play out like a movie in my head. Like Shonk, I also hear a narrative voice, but that is usually my characters patiently explaining their thoughts and actions to me. They write the story, I'm just the secretary, transcribing their ideas. When they're being cantancerous, or if I try to make them do something they didn't plan to do, I get writer's block.
(and I love Grint's Nose; it is a character unto itself :D. ... People who have not read Shonk's descriptions of Grint's Mose deffinately should :nods: )
Also, Ari, I have absolutely no problem with your question :) Thay, too, is part of the process.
Wow - loving all the different answers here! I always love reading how everyone else goes about getting ideas on the page :)
I'm definitely a nocturnal writer: thought that is likely more down to the fact I am so not a morning person and prefer doing pretty much anything at night time. In terms of planning, I usually only collect brief generic reminders of each character's physical traits or other important to remember basic information that half of the time I decide when I'm actually writing it, I tried planning in the past, which has proven the downfall for many a manuscript as I'm the sort of person who hates writing anything twice - editing is different - but if I feel the story has already been told I have no motivation to map it out on paper in any detail either: those writers who suggested this were bang on in my opinion.
In terms of a manuscript, usually I actually start with an ending, then form a beginning and let the characters have free reign with filling out the middle for me. This usually means a lot of tightening has to be done during drafting, but overall I think it has a more natural flow and banter than if it was a more methodical 'Today Character X will do this and this with Character B and Character A will get up to evil deeds'. Whenever I discuss writing with non-writers I'm sure they think I'm crazy as I often refer to my characters as taking the story in their own direction: I'm a big believer in characterisation, both of main and supporting characters, to the point where I could let them loose in any scene and they'd have hilarious misadventures without me really having to think about how they'd react. Sort of like how you know a person so well you can predict their actions before the situation arises.
As I almost solely write in first person, I certainly have the scenes play out like a movie but have to really get into each character's mindset when writing - it can be a bit scary since I tend to get a bit too involved with their emotions and struggles. Things can get nasty if people interrupt me while writing one of my snarkier and moodier characters! Music definitely plays a big role too: often I need it to at the very least start writing and will only stop it if it turns off by itself and I'm in a groove.
I actually have the hardest time not going over certain aspects of side character's descriptions: namely eyes. They're the first thing I notice about a person so frequently I describe them and not much else. Describing the main character in first is really hard too I find - but everyone always wants to know what they look like. At leas writing females you can get away with it a bit more than with guys - what with the girls being more conscious of their appearances and all. :P
Ah, yes. Ditto to the character reflecting statement. I find I can't write a whole lot of dark stuff because of that--otherwise I really do end up in a depression. As such even my serious scenes tend to get forced to have a slightly amusing side just so I can't get too caught up in my characters emotions. I think this is also part of the reason why I no longer write chronologically. Switching between things makes it harder to get too stuck into the current emotions of the piece. They keep getting thrown around and changed if I'm not writing things in chronological order.
(That said, I really love killing characters and basically just making their lives horrible :D )
I once made myself cry for about half an hour when thinking of an idea for a short story. It turned out no where near as depressing as it was in my head, though. I was so upset when I thought of it :P I think I get more emotional when reading rather than writing but writing can put me in a really scary mood and I end up breaking down in front of people :P It's always awkward when people ask what's wrong. Making characters die/suffer while writing is fun, but for some reason it always sounds more painful in my head then when I put it on paper.
Wow I haven't dropped in here in ages, but the comment on character descriptions in the newsletter caught my eye.
Has anyone watched the Story Board with Patrick Rothfuss? It's a geek adm sundry project, available on YouTube, it's Pat hosting a panel of fantasy writers and talking about fantasy writing.... Stuff. Airs first tues of each month and this month was all about characters. They kicked it off talking about descriptions and Pat was once told: never give more than 3 points on any character. The idea being that the more that's left up to the imagination, the easier it is for the reader to slip themselves into the role. One writer was mentioned who NEVER scribes a character (weird) but the panel agreed too much description can be not a good thing.
Anyhoo, that's my solitary bit of input to this discussion :). Definitely worthy watching, and if you haven't read Name of the Wind, you don't know what you're missing!
What goes on in my head when I'm writing is actually creatively disgraceful :P It's been really interesting to see how other people see their stories.
Like other people I see the important part of scene play out like a movie, and the part that I'm writing too, of course. I also have a few snippits of text floating around my mind, only phrases though. When I write most of the time it's like a constructive wave, I guess - the writing keeps building itself up to the point that I want to write and then carries on to the next part. That's why what I end up writing is longer than I anticipate, because I fill it out as I go. It's also why, I guess, I have to write chronologically or at least in the order that the story goes - writing out of order for my mind is just about as dangerous as building a skyscraper by constructing levels at random rather than going from the bottom up. I guess a plan, like a metal skeleton, would still make it possible - but I can't, I just can't.
However, for the most part, what goes through my head is pretty eclectic and, like I said before, the bane of creative freedom. I think a lot about composition and pace, if I need to write another paragraph before getting on to the next bit to maintain the flow, am I using synonyms to prevent word clashes, have I described a setting properly (using the five senses), how does the sentence come together, what oppotunities can I take to describe the characters and get deep into their heads, am I using techniques such as similies and metaphors, etcetera etcetera. You know, the standard things you learn in primary school :P Even though I think about those things though, as well as the plot and characters and setting, only a frustratingly small (comparitively) amount actually finds itself in the writing. That's just proof that I need to practice and get better :)
I also have other annoying distractions from other corners from my mind - things like I'm tired, I'm hungry, writing is hard, parts of what I'm about to write that aren't applicable to the next sentence, general blocks of absence of thought, wandering focus (this happens a LOT) and so on. I think I've said it before, but it's like scraping sentences out of the bottom of my skull word by word. I listen to music too while I write but although it serves to help me get in the mood for writing, while somethimes distracting me, it helps to block out a lot of this annoying NOISE coming out of my head.