Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How do we decide what we write?

Aaron posed an interesting question on his blog this morning: What is horror?

I really don't concern myself a whole lot with what I write, I personally don't care to think about "Okay, today I am going to come up with a 2600 word story on martians invading Des Moines." I am a little more free-form than that. I think my favorite story that I have written, at least in the last six months has been Lullaby and published in Macabre Cadaver (who incidentally has some exciting news on their homepage you should read) I actually just came up with a situation and ran with it. I didn't have a character in mind when I wrote it or a plot for that matter. I didn't know where the story was going to end or if I would finish it. It was just an idea. Not a very original idea but I thought I would run with it. What the character did at the end took me as much by surprise as anyone. I got done writing it, leaned back and actually went "Whoa! I didn't see that coming."

I think this is how I like to write most of my stories. Just an idea with no real clue where it is going but letting the situation or the character take over and do whatever needs to happen.

How do you like to write?

10 comments:

Aaron Polson said...

Situation usually starts it for me, too. Then I toss in a character and ask "what does he/she want in this situation?"

The rest is just an act of preventing said character from achieving his/her goal. (evil laugh)

Catherine J Gardner said...

Sometimes I start with a character, other times with a situation and I usually go with the flow rather than planning out short stories.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I guess I haven't thought of preventing something. I probably have but not in a conscience way. I like that. Will have to try it later on.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

I'm still trying to find my groove with that. Sometimes I'll outline a storyline with all of the major and minor arcs and character sheets...sometimes I just sit and type chasing a feeling from a song or a thought...sometimes I come up with a title I like and build on that. I think the core for me is throwing people into a scenario, and trying to understand how they feel about that, how those feelings drive behavior, and then trying to get the reader to empathise somehow.

I'm finding that the outline method has resulted in mostly shite for me so far, and the more freedom I allow myself, the more I enjoy the process and the output. And I absolutely love that feeling I get when a character does something that I didn't expect.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I read the story today. Makes me grateful that I've thus far only experienced very mild insomnia!

Jamie Eyberg said...

Jeremy- I don't find that outlining short stories helps me at all, although I have found it imperative to my longer pieces (my outlines are really just rough, very rough ideas on paper and nothing concrete)

Nat- I hope you never suffer anything that severe. At least not with a colicky baby next door and an apparent roach problem.

K.C. Shaw said...

I like to have an idea where a short story is going, because otherwise it's likely to peter out and I never finish it. Novels I can do more free-form (although I do like having an outline to fall back on). I usually start with an idea, sometimes a character or setting. Whatever grabs my imagination, I guess.

Barry Napier said...

ooh, drat on timing. The answer to the question in your post title can sorta be found on my blog (as you have already commented on).

Rob Brooks said...

Lots of different things start my stories, but one thign I don't worry about is genre. I think very little of what I write tha tI market as horror, can actually be classified as horror. I just call all of what I write Spec Fic and I'll let the editors worry about what they think of it.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Sorry Barry

Rob- I know that genre is usually the last thing I want to worry about. my primary concern is making my character as believable as possible. Even in unreal situations.