Writers: Do Any of You Ever Worry About Bad Inspirations Affecting Your Writing?

sageoftruth

New member
Jan 29, 2010
3,417
0
0
Happyninja42 said:
sageoftruth said:
On the other hand, HappyNinja may be onto something too. Two of the members of my workshop are in their 60s, basically my parents' age, and the differences in what media we consumed growing up definitely shows. Perhaps I'm trying too hard to impress those two. I've been trying to be selective about what advice I take to heart from them, but even though we're all writing sci-fi/fantasy they seem to like their material to be more grounded in reality, basically less Star Wars and more Star Trek. Trying to measure up to their standards seems to be taking some of the fun out of writing.

Still, well-crafted characters are important regardless of genre.
Ok so, this begs the obvious question....do you want to write like them? Or do you just want their approval/recognition of your skill as a writer? I mean, if you want to actually write in a style similar to theirs, then it would make more sense to try and measure up to their standards, as they are writing in a style you want to use as well. If it's the latter, then I think you are setting yourself up for failure trying to write in their style....in a different setting. I mean, trying to shove Cowboy Bebop for example, into Star Trek, just doesn't work, nor should it.

I'm personally always of the opinion of write how you want to write. There isn't really any wrong way to write a character, if it's done intentionally. Even the 2 examples you gave aren't truly "wrong", if done properly. There ARE people who are overly emotional, and jump mercurially from one mood to another at the drop of a hat. I've met many of them. There are also people who aren't bothered by killing people. So, if those traits are done on purpose, then it's fine. If they are a side effect that you didn't really intend, then it's a flaw that needs to be addressed.
Upon further reflection, it turned out to be worse than I thought actually. One of the two mentioned above in my workshop is undermining my confidence. My writing received loads of very useful criticism, but hers was downright abusive. Snide, insulting. Some parts even come across as tirades. I get the impression that reading it actually angers her in some way. I could forgive this behavior from random blokes on the internet, but we're supposed to help and support each other in workshops, and she's been causing me to subconsciously question whether or not I'm even worthy to be a writer.

In the end, she may be the whole reason this thread got started. Still, I'm glad I started it. Lots of useful comments. I'm thinking of talking with the workshop leader, or another person in my group about how I should handle her.

Anyway, to answer your question, I don't want to write like them, but I don't think I want to write just like myself either. Their material is too serious for my taste, but I still want to have strong characters that the reader can get onboard with. It sounds to me like the course of action is for me to give more thought to the criticism from the others in my workshop. There are at least 8 of us, so I won't lose much by disregarding those two.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 13, 2010
8,577
2,952
118
sageoftruth said:
Upon further reflection, it turned out to be worse than I thought actually. One of the two mentioned above in my workshop is undermining my confidence. My writing received loads of very useful criticism, but hers was downright abusive. Snide, insulting. Some parts even come across as tirades. I get the impression that reading it actually angers her in some way. I could forgive this behavior from random blokes on the internet, but we're supposed to help and support each other in workshops, and she's been causing me to subconsciously question whether or not I'm even worthy to be a writer.

In the end, she may be the whole reason this thread got started. Still, I'm glad I started it. Lots of useful comments. I'm thinking of talking with the workshop leader, or another person in my group about how I should handle her.
That's probably a good idea, the other option would be to confront her directly about her toxic behavior. But that might lead to more toxicity on her part. I don't know her so I can't really say. Now, another thing to consider, is how her criticism is getting to you. I specifically mean the medium of it. Is she vocalizing her criticisms with the level of negativity you are describing? Or are you reading her written comments, and perhaps reading tone into toneless writing. As someone who has, for years, fought with the online persona of being rude to people when I'm genuinely not, simply based on my writing style, it might be this. I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I don't know. I just know from my personal experience, that I have written things in online discussions, that were written with a light hearted, playful, comical tone, and people genuinely came away thinking I was angry and insulting them in some way. So this might be that, hence why I suggested talking to HER about it directly. It might simply be a misunderstanding. Then again, she could be a raging **** and you will just get more of it directly in your face, so you know, choose your course of action wisely xD

sageoftruth said:
Anyway, to answer your question, I don't want to write like them, but I don't think I want to write just like myself either.
*dog tilting of head to side in confusion* Errr? I hate to break it to you, but you will always write like yourself. There is no way around that. Now you can improve your writing craft, sure, but it's always going to be YOUR style.

sageoftruth said:
Their material is too serious for my taste, but I still want to have strong characters that the reader can get onboard with. It sounds to me like the course of action is for me to give more thought to the criticism from the others in my workshop. There are at least 8 of us, so I won't lose much by disregarding those two.
I'm not sure there is anything intrinsic to "your style" of writing, that precludes having strong characters readers can get on board with. That just sounds like you need to improve the actual skill of writing. Many famous and successful writers that I've watched discuss the act of writing, have all said, it's a skill, you have to learn it, you have to improve it before you can do it professionally. And it takes time. But in the end it's always YOUR style.

So don't get too hung up on that. Don't think your style is all about silly characters with no depth. I'm sure in your head you are picturing characters with depth, so it's mostly just a problem of getting your idea onto the page. Which again, is just an issue of skill at writing. Which is, I assume, why you are taking the writing class. xD
 

Fox12

AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
4,828
0
0
sageoftruth said:
I've been a gamer ever since kindergarten and I got into anime during my early college years. Fast forward ten years, and I'm in a writing workshop. A recurring worry of mine has been that my past (and present) with games and anime has been interfering with my writing. Basically, that I'm unintentionally drawing inspiration from them.
People tell me that a character's mood swings are too sudden and I think "Crap! I made it too anime!" Some one tells me that a supposedly 'good' character seemed disturbingly un-bothered by all the guards he just slaughtered and I think, "Crap! Video games have struck again!"

Do any of you have influences that you try to keep from getting into your writing?
I think I've learned a great deal about writing from anime and games. Neon Genesis taught me a lot about psychology, stream of consciousness, and character in story telling. Berserk has taught me about tragedy, foreshadowing, and symbolism. Dark Souls has taught me about hinting at things in a story instead of directly stating them. AKA, subtlety. There's a lot to learn from other mediums. Great writers shouldn't only read books. They should watch films (not just anime), play games, listen to music, go to theatre, and do other things of interest. It's how you learn.
 

sageoftruth

New member
Jan 29, 2010
3,417
0
0
Happyninja42 said:
sageoftruth said:
Upon further reflection, it turned out to be worse than I thought actually. One of the two mentioned above in my workshop is undermining my confidence. My writing received loads of very useful criticism, but hers was downright abusive. Snide, insulting. Some parts even come across as tirades. I get the impression that reading it actually angers her in some way. I could forgive this behavior from random blokes on the internet, but we're supposed to help and support each other in workshops, and she's been causing me to subconsciously question whether or not I'm even worthy to be a writer.

In the end, she may be the whole reason this thread got started. Still, I'm glad I started it. Lots of useful comments. I'm thinking of talking with the workshop leader, or another person in my group about how I should handle her.
That's probably a good idea, the other option would be to confront her directly about her toxic behavior. But that might lead to more toxicity on her part. I don't know her so I can't really say. Now, another thing to consider, is how her criticism is getting to you. I specifically mean the medium of it. Is she vocalizing her criticisms with the level of negativity you are describing? Or are you reading her written comments, and perhaps reading tone into toneless writing. As someone who has, for years, fought with the online persona of being rude to people when I'm genuinely not, simply based on my writing style, it might be this. I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I don't know. I just know from my personal experience, that I have written things in online discussions, that were written with a light hearted, playful, comical tone, and people genuinely came away thinking I was angry and insulting them in some way. So this might be that, hence why I suggested talking to HER about it directly. It might simply be a misunderstanding. Then again, she could be a raging **** and you will just get more of it directly in your face, so you know, choose your course of action wisely xD
That's and understandable approach. Basically, sarcasm is what makes it so toxic to me. She's much more reserved about it in person, although she's done a few mocking pantomimes of my characters in class. It's in the written critique where she gets a lot bolder. Again, it's the sarcasm. I agree that it's easy to misinterpret tone when it is written, but using sarcasm to explain the problems with my writing plainly states, "Your writing is ridiculous and you look ridiculous doing it."

A part of me wants to openly confront her and make her realize the full extent of the damage she has done, but I know there's a much less mutually destructive way to handle it. She's currently going through a divorce and some of the characters may remind her of it in some way. Love, betrayal and forgiveness are a theme in my story, and I get the impression that she feels that the forgiveness is coming too easily.

Anyway, my plan is to talk to the group leader and work out how best to tackle this. Sending an E-mail seems too passive-aggressive, so I'll talk with her in-person during breaktime, provided the leader thinks it is a good idea.

Sorry for leaving out the rest of your comments. I get confused when I have too many subjects on screen at once. If I have anything to say, I'll reply to those separately.
 

sageoftruth

New member
Jan 29, 2010
3,417
0
0
Fox12 said:
sageoftruth said:
I've been a gamer ever since kindergarten and I got into anime during my early college years. Fast forward ten years, and I'm in a writing workshop. A recurring worry of mine has been that my past (and present) with games and anime has been interfering with my writing. Basically, that I'm unintentionally drawing inspiration from them.
People tell me that a character's mood swings are too sudden and I think "Crap! I made it too anime!" Some one tells me that a supposedly 'good' character seemed disturbingly un-bothered by all the guards he just slaughtered and I think, "Crap! Video games have struck again!"

Do any of you have influences that you try to keep from getting into your writing?
I think I've learned a great deal about writing from anime and games. Neon Genesis taught me a lot about psychology, stream of consciousness, and character in story telling. Berserk has taught me about tragedy, foreshadowing, and symbolism. Dark Souls has taught me about hinting at things in a story instead of directly stating them. AKA, subtlety. There's a lot to learn from other mediums. Great writers shouldn't only read books. They should watch films (not just anime), play games, listen to music, go to theatre, and do other things of interest. It's how you learn.
I read Berserk a few years ago. It looks like you managed to gather much more from it. Could you explain it's use of foreshadowing and symbolism? No need to write a whole essay. Just a few examples. I'd love to return to it with them in mind.
 

Nickolai77

New member
Apr 3, 2009
2,843
0
0
When I was in Uni I used to live with a creative writing major. He told me that they weren't necessarily recommended to read books whilst on the course because other peoples work may make you want to go back and change your writing from your original work.

I do think though that in order to be a good writer you should read fiction extensively. It's also helpful to be critical of what you read and be able to analyse what the author is doing in their work so you can pick up and use examples of good writing practice.