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Clay Characters and Battle Extensions · 5:05am September 23rd

I wrote a fight scene that, after reading it, instant deletion became wise. I typed a flurry of random words like one shovelling dirt into an open grave. Maybe I'm too harsh on myself. But your eyes wince for a reason, folks. 

I still haven't nailed why the scene didn't work. I'm still at the start of the project where everything feels like a' work-in-progress, even aided by an outline.' The setting is hazy, and faces are no more than blurs. Everything feels made from clay.  

Nothing in the writing feels real. A character can go from being joking and open to cold and mostly silent. Their personalities can drastically shift in the same scene. You overjudge things that haven't had a chance to form. You worry about anything terrible being offered the opportunity to become permanent. 

Writers struggle with beginnings. They will restart an infinite amount of times until a decent flow possesses them, or they become too tired to care so much about quality. 

I've had to change gears as a writer and how I write.

Before? An idea came to me. It was a feeling, a vague notion of a plot, a desire to see a moment in prose, or other factors that demanded a story. The stories had a personal purpose. I felt an inherent need to write a novel and explore the many places it could go.

The feeling I felt when the idea came to me was the same felt while I wrote it. Everything came prepackaged with those ideas. You already knew the characters, the setting, what the conflict was, and the rest, even if vague, was easy to figure out and discover during the writing process.

You had an idea of what was going to happen and what needed to happen next. You were writing to the heart of something, and so long as you could feel its beat, you could write as you pleased with the certainty that you would reach it correctly with time. 

But now? I've dipped my feet into the world of (somewhat) original fiction, and, like booting up a sequel to your favourite game, your previous tools and talents vanish at the starting screen. Some skills persist in this new medium. But, for the most part, you are unsure of yourself. You're starting (somewhat) from scratch. 

Outlines become a necessity to make 'mistakes' early and in an easily correctable format. You can arrange beats into their best order and better foreshadow. Something near the story's middle or end might cause a re-write/addition to its start. But there's more significant trouble than that. 

Suppose you create the perfect outline.

What happens when your passion for the project has dried? What if you wrote the story to discover it and, because you have done so in outline, you no longer crave to put it into prose? And say you have all of the above down to pat… what if your plot points aren't so easily transferable to prose.

What then?

Maybe you get into the writing, but because writing is a creative task, and your mind detests writing from a manual, it veers from the outline, the characters and the plots becoming different and going elsewhere, the bulk of your pre-writing disappearing? What should you do when your mind, no matter what, will create its own content on the spot?

I'm working toward a balance for all of the above. It's been a steady stream of re-works and deletions: like a training montage with endless amounts of 'dark nights of the soul.' 

I've never been assured of being a normal, proper, or good writer. I try my luck with words and pull a lever when it comes to letters, hoping their blurred-spinning stops to spell: 'W R I T E R.' 

All you can do, talented or not, worthy or worthless, is continue your luck, express the current that, like blood, pumps throughout your body, and continue to do the work that you feel something of a calling for.   

Problems, obscurity, and insecurities aren't signs that you weren't meant for your present task. They are conditions and situations that you must explore and endure and find a personal solution for. So long as something is done out of passion and sincerity, it will always have a saving grace. A hundred problems can appear from a thousand words. But so long as they are fixed or resolved one by one, that initial pain will transition into the pride of perseverance and the joy of building triumph. 


I'd written the fight living through the character and seeing what happens. The fight lacked tension or coolness. It was another plot beat without anything greater inside or around it. Man slashes at a magical beast and wins. Not much more to it. 

That wouldn't do. Stepping back, I knew this issue had to be solved now instead of never. I created another document to describe the creature, its back story, its means of attacks and defence, and all that could be done with it. I made a list of the different ways it could attack the main character and how it would defend itself, extending the actual fight of the story while mining the full potential of the monster.

Exhausting the battle beats, however, didn't make it interesting. 

Something else was needed. A focus or a fixation. Devil May Cry doesn't have the tension in its fights—you know the hero wins. However, because the main characters are fantastic, funny, and overly powerful, the fixation on those things makes the fights interesting. You need another quality, beyond the basic beats, for your battles to fixate on. Failing that, all you have is a classic boxing match with no pre-game shit talk. 

Sorry to end on a short note. I still need to crack the code to writing good fight scenes. I've decided to let my current story limp forward. No amount of worrying or allowing time to pass will fix its (and mine) inherent issues. 

It's better to write to see where the story will go. Allow your character to develop and for the events of the world to occur. Things will solidify enough for one to return to their earlier words where the needed corrections will seem more obvious. Also, I am still determining when I came to write so formally. It could be the times catching up with me. Will I always write like this? Or will something happen in the future to cause me to write like a raving teenager again?

Who knows!

I hope you are well and are devoting yourself to something. Be it a game, craft, or another person. It's nice to feel invested in something outside of yourself. You'll have periods where you do and are nothing. That's okay as well. Every experience teaches and helps you to understand something new.

I've kept myself busy in my hopelessness. It's all you can do when the future is dark and the past is dimming. It's the present that changes the future. The trouble is changing your present to be what you need it to be. But, so long as you are on some path, your mind whips you fewer times.

Please be well.
~ Yr. Pal, B

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Comments ( 6 )

I envy your ability to just sit down and write. Even if what you get done doesn't feel right. For me the trouble is coming up with words at all. I know where the story needs to go and I can outline it just fine but the well is simply dry when it comes time to write.

Oh well, gotta keep on keeping on.

It's a tough task relaxing yourself to the invention of words. I find the ability to improvise comes from allowing things to happen without regard to criticism or legitimacy. You get better at inventing things or 'lying' the more you do it and allow yourself to do it.

I'm facing the issue now. I worry about the words that will come out and ensuring they are 'proper.' Before, I wrote to write. I wanted to see what words I could say and what their sequencing would turn them into. But as one craves more from their writing, the more conscious and critical you become. Instead of exploring the words for that sake alone, you are more invested in creating good ones or correcting ones. You cannot amble or ramble.

What you find is that, no matter what you do, one is screwed either way. The intent to write well inherently sabotages that goal.

All you can do is write and allow yourself to be as loose as you can as you do so. Sometimes you are surprised by how easily and well the writing comes out. Other times, you chase after each word with a bat, beating them to fit nicely with the others in the sentence. Take what I wrote before. I had no clue I was going to write that line until I was in the middle of it.

I always seem to reply to comments with better writing than I do blogs based on a point. I've always wondered why my messages and replies always seem to be better than the bulk of my other writings.

In any case.

Allow yourself to write regardless of an outline or any measures of desired standards. You'll find with outlines that, if you came up with them once, your natural writing will reach them twice. The thing with outlines is that it's the logical beats and the succession of events. Much like real life: we plan and we expect for A. But in the living through events until the point, we find ourselves and the situation around us changed.

We don't always hold the same feelings, views, or characteristics after some experiences. Therefore it is wise to let your mind invent and write as it likes, experiencing those plot points in prose, then allowing yourself to go where the characters take you.

In either case.

Regardless of the above.

I hope you come to write something.

Anything, really.
~ Yr. Pal, B

Thanks. It's about a year since I started my fic and it's been on my mind lately. Gotta remember that perfect is the enemy of good, or, in my case, finished.

I hope your writing endeavors go well for you.

You can never do better than your current skill and ability.

No amount of passed time can compensate for practice or understanding. I fall into the same pit myself. So do many writers. We believe that there will come either the perfect time or the perfect state that will allow us to write perfectly. You see it all the time in media and fiction. Where the right idea comes at the right time and the writer writes the perfect story at the perfect moment.

But it doesn't work that way. You never know if you'll write well today or not until your fingers strike the keyboard and you get a feeling for how the prose is going to go. But, more than that, when it comes to important stories, we tend to think we're awaiting a revelation or a feeling of readiness before we write it.

This could be the case with some stories. You might need to be in a different state of mind or have a revelation of the story occur to you before you feel that is the sealing deal. Stephen King said the same of The Dark Tower and The Dome. The latter he wrote many pages before knowing it was not yet his time to write it. That could be the case with some stories. There are some tales where you have to be in the proper place to write it.

But I'm not a believer in such things—even if it means not having a critical plot point or a needed perspective of the work. You can only discover what the story is lacking by going through it. No amount of passed time can compensate for that. And you won't be able to write better five years from now if you do not spend that time writing.

But it's hard. I take for granted the ability to drum up words and see where they will take me. How, nine times out of ten, they will take me to a point that wraps everything that came before in a neat package. Or how, in writing characters and dialogue, they will come alive on their own, express their feelings and problems, and deal with whatever comes next.

It might help to find different ways of writing. Outlines can kill it for some people; others cannot write without one. Maybe you need something of an idea before you start writing. A rough sketch of events but you don't quite know what happens between them. Or maybe you need to go full dry and be like a reader in not knowing what happens next. Pushing through anything is rough and tough and ordinary life already gives one enough of that.

You have to ask yourself why you're writing and what you want back from it. Do you want to see your ship come alive? Or to experience a certain kind of relationship? Do you write because you want a means of expression mixed with entertainment? Do you want to write well or do you want to write something you'll enjoy both the reading and the writing of?

One path isn't more correct than another.

It helps to have some idea of what you're wanting from writing because it helps define the path you should take. I know you're big on Sunset and Celestia and the connection and story they could share. That's probably the reason why you'd want to write in the first place. To experience that in a way that hasn't been done yet—or, at the least, hasn't been done recently.

Sometimes you might not be in the mood at the time of writing. But as it goes, it's in the writing that pulls you into the mood. The composer for Silent Hill 2, a musician of talent, was asked if he tries to depress himself before composition. His music is sombre, after all. But his answer is that he tries to be happy before creating his music. If he can create music that plucks him from heaven and plummets his soul to the bottom of a bottomless abyss... then he knows he has done his job well.

It's true with anything else. It's the action that evokes the motivation or the associated mood.

I would say that if an outline isn't doing it for you... ditch that and write. And do not care if it limps. Sometimes you have to let it limp because something in the future, the characters, given a chance to breathe, become more solid in your mind and heart. Or maybe something happens that concentrates everything in the plot. Outlines are an idea of how things are to go. You haven't lived them yet through composition.

It's only through composition that you understand the full scale of something.

And it all comes down to... letting yourself write... no matter the result.

You can only become better at writing by writing and, in order to do that, you must let yourself write terribly at times so that you might one day write well.

Happy writing!

And I hope I have as good luck on my end as you will with yours.

So make me lucky and get to writing.
~ Yr. Also Stuck Pal, B

We are still here for you if you need and/or want us

Thanks. We'll see how it goes.

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