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WackAMole
12-01-2006, 09:50 PM
I have this problem. I am so bloody sick of editing my current manuscript so I thought I would break away from it for a bit before I destroy it. The problem is, I cant seem to escape the constant idea that everything has to make sense in terms of everyday life.

Im a huge horror fan and I love to write and I would love to write something creepy for a change. The problem is I cant seem to escape this thought pattern of reality that I have. I have the same problem with my art. My art is all about realism. How close can I paint this picture to resemble real life? How the heck can I practice breaking away from the idea that everything has to make sense in terms of normal day to day life on earth? How can I practice a process of thinking outside the box or being abstract? Does anyone else have this problem? Is there any advice for learning how to create our OWN reality? Is it even possible to change patterns of thinking to write outside my typical genre?

CaroGirl
12-01-2006, 10:01 PM
My only thought is to read the kind of work you want to write. Read the best of it until you assimilate it like the Borg. After you do that, write some flash scenes that challenge your realist perceptions. Write more of them. Write a fantastical short story. Write more stories in that style.

In sports it's called "muscle memory". You do the same action over and over until you can do it without thinking about it. Good luck in your break with reality. (That sounds bad, doesn't it?)

Silver King
12-01-2006, 10:03 PM
Are you posting from work again, Wack? Spooky's gonna getcha for that.:tongue

WackAMole
12-01-2006, 10:07 PM
Are you posting from work again, Wack? Spooky's gonna getcha for that.:tongue

LOL ya and right after I got a performance bonus too! WOW I SUCK

Silver King
12-01-2006, 10:12 PM
LOL ya and right after I got a performance bonus too! WOW I SUCK
Naw, you're just great at multi-tasking.

janetbellinger
12-01-2006, 11:02 PM
I think you s till have to be accurate about certain things while writing outside the box, otherwise you're going to end up feeling like an ass. I am in the same dilemma. Right now, I am reseqarching a topic in way more detail than I wish just because I want to get certain fictional accounts accurate which are based on real places and events. I cringe at the thought of writing something which can be proven impossible or being shown up.

Julie Worth
12-01-2006, 11:06 PM
Reading will cure you. Read some magic realism. Alice Hoffman or Gabriel Marquez. There's a list at Wikipedia.

KTC
12-01-2006, 11:11 PM
I wish I could help you. I live outside the box. My every step is basically abstract. When writing I just let loose the lion...just go where my brain takes me. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with it, but it's a trip when I see the words forming on the page or the screen and my fingers are so far ahead of my mind that I don't even know what they're writing any more. Outside the box thinking is what I used when I facilitated an on the spot writing group a couple of years back. The participants loved it. You just put your pen to paper and travel through the vortex. Give yourself a topic...anything and allow yourself to write bunk for 5 or ten minutes...whatever touches down on the slippery ice rink in your head. Just go. Why don't you go dredge up the 5 MINUTES WITH A BLANK SCREEN thread and try that out for starters. Abstract is where you are taken when you throw off all the inhibitions. You must be able to believe that anything is possible. I wish you all success. Wish I could help. Maybe I should start a thread about the opposite...How Do I Get Inside The Box?

WackAMole
12-01-2006, 11:13 PM
I've thought about reading some horror again. Its hell to be stuck like this. I have wonderful concepts for horror or creepiness..but I cant seem to form the plot because i get all caught up in the plot turning out laughable because of its abstractness. At the same time, I remember Christine by STephen King and I think wow that guy is just amazing..a car that is evil? Who would have thought it would be a good read? The very idea of an evil car when you mention it by itself is laughable..but it didnt turn out that way.

Im just too stuck in this mindset that it has to make sense in terms of the world "I" live in or its no good. I am trying to break away from that thought pattern so I can practice being more creative with my writing.

KTC
12-01-2006, 11:17 PM
If your stuck in that kind of mindset, read Roald Dahl. And go look at some Salvidor Dali art...preferably his desert scenes. That shook shake your tree some.

Jamesaritchie
12-02-2006, 12:07 AM
One of the first things I learned in high level art classes was that the way things really are is usually very different from the way things look. As one teacher put it, "If you look at clouds and see only water vapor, you need a camera, not a paint brush."

And if you look at the world and see only the surface, then there is no reality. Whether a painter or a writer, it's the hidden that matters. It the dark shapes in the forest that are real, even if no one else believes it, that turns the mundane into art.
Our own reality is the only reality there is, and no matter how much we believe others experience the world the same way we do, it simply isn't true.

Carrie in PA
12-02-2006, 12:21 AM
Turn it around so you're not using your own reality. For instance, if you have sociopathic nutcase, try to view his reality. Warped? Yes. Distorted? Yes. But in his own head, things will be very logical.

All reality is only perception anyway. Maybe look at a situation from your "reality" but then turn it around and look at it from someone else's. Take a fender-bender. Your reality is that some jackass ran a stop sign. Their reality is that some jackass ran a stop sign.

Hope that made some sense. :)

Oddsocks
12-02-2006, 03:37 AM
You could always create a secondary world that is similar to ours, but in which you can define your own set of slightly different rules. That might help you mentally step around some of the restrictions your mind places on things, because you're writing in a different context. Then just transfer the outcome across to this world (or give your 'secondary world' all the same names as this world to begin with).

That, or you could try training your mind to believe that what we experience in day to day life is a very limited picture of the full range of possibilities. That way, day to day expectations might not be so limiting.

Shadow_Ferret
12-02-2006, 09:39 AM
I"ve always struggled with realism and when reading I often wonder how much of the story is factual and how much is fictionalized. For example, if I read a horror story and there is some kind of monster killing people, I often wonder if that is a real monster, did something like that exist in legend or myth in man's past? Did the writer merely borrow the idea? And when they describe some ancient book that contains the secret to destroying said monster, I wonder if that too is a real book. Basically I'm wondering if the author merely did a lot of research and used that knowledge to create his story or did he merely make it all up.

I'm very naive.

Linda Adams
12-02-2006, 05:54 PM
How close can I paint this picture to resemble real life?

Rather than simply painting what you see, you interpret in a way that helps the story and doesn't bore the reader. Let me give an example from my experiences the military. This is how I could literally, word for word, describe marching off following exactly how it was really done:

"Right!" the first sergeant called.
"Right!" the platoon sergeants echoed.
"Face!"
One hundred people pivoted to the right.
"Forward!" the first sergent called.
"Forward!" the platoon sergeants echoed.
"March!"

And, while it is realistic, it's not interesting--in fact, people would probably already be bored. What you write should move the story and the characters forward. In essence, it should feel realistic without necessarily being realistic. That means thinking about the details that best help your story and what your intended audience wants to read. It also means interpreting some details and reshaping them so they work in your story better, leaving out others that clearly don't help, and in some cases, making up some of your own.


How the heck can I practice breaking away from the idea that everything has to make sense in terms of normal day to day life on earth?

Think of a story as like a ship in the bottle. Everything has to work within the confines of the bottle. That bottle can be a fantasy world, a different dimension, a different time, its own reality. Everything in that world should make sense in that context. In that world, you could have vampires in Missouri, a society where they use magic to heat their homes, or Atlantis was an alien spaceship (these are all actual examples of published books). None of these things could actually happen, but it's fun imagining what if and building it's reality around them. Actual real life is outside the bottle, and the readers are coming inside to escape from it.


How can I practice a process of thinking outside the box or being abstract? Does anyone else have this problem? Is there any advice for learning how to create our OWN reality?

Your story should fit within what's acceptable for your genre. I remember seeing one person dismiss a popular best-selling thriller as being "flawed" because the storyline couldn't actually happen. I could say the same thing about a fantasy novel or a science fiction novel or even a mystery. But in all these books, the author builds that world in which the story and characters exists, and they follow the rules for that specific story.



Is it even possible to change patterns of thinking to write outside my typical genre?


It is possible, though you may have to work hard to overcome it--and be aware that it may be a weakness for a while.

Bufty
12-02-2006, 07:39 PM
It's fiction. It's invention, make-believe -it isn't real.

It's not meant to be real.

Unless it's Non-fiction, it only has to be believeable within the confines of the story. If it's real to the characters, it's real to the reader. No matter what one writes, some 'expert' is going to question the credibility of something, but personally, I don't write for experts.

engmajor2005
12-02-2006, 08:42 PM
Turn it around so you're not using your own reality. For instance, if you have sociopathic nutcase, try to view his reality. Warped? Yes. Distorted? Yes. But in his own head, things will be very logical.

All reality is only perception anyway. Maybe look at a situation from your "reality" but then turn it around and look at it from someone else's. Take a fender-bender. Your reality is that some jackass ran a stop sign. Their reality is that some jackass ran a stop sign.

Hope that made some sense. :)

Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" comes to mind.

a tree of night
12-03-2006, 09:05 PM
I don't believe everything has to make sense in terms of real life, only the characters. To me, the breaking point of a lot of horror is when the plot is predicated on the characters acting stupidly and/or unnaturally. Effective horror is placing people in unnatural positions and having them react in a believable way.

Also, there are different levels of "unnatural". That is, you don't need some wildly exotic monster or twisted dimension to be scary. One of my favorite stories (obviously) is Capote's "A Tree of Night". Nothing particularly inexplicable happens, but the writing implies something is not right. Sometimes, you don't even need that much. Arthur Machen is good at making it appear that different things are happening from the protagonist's perspective, when in fact they are just being manipulated by other people. Everything is completely real and plausible (by the end of the story), but the effect is creepy in the interim.

Sean D. Schaffer
12-06-2006, 04:36 AM
I have this problem. I am so bloody sick of editing my current manuscript so I thought I would break away from it for a bit before I destroy it. The problem is, I cant seem to escape the constant idea that everything has to make sense in terms of everyday life.

Im a huge horror fan and I love to write and I would love to write something creepy for a change. The problem is I cant seem to escape this thought pattern of reality that I have. I have the same problem with my art. My art is all about realism. How close can I paint this picture to resemble real life? How the heck can I practice breaking away from the idea that everything has to make sense in terms of normal day to day life on earth? How can I practice a process of thinking outside the box or being abstract? Does anyone else have this problem? Is there any advice for learning how to create our OWN reality? Is it even possible to change patterns of thinking to write outside my typical genre?


It sounds to me like you're not seeing the forest for the trees, as it were. Maybe you just need to look at your version of reality from a different angle. A good re-focusing of ordinary things can many times change their meaning.

My grandmother has a sign on top of her piano that at first glance looks like a bunch of miscellaneous pieces of wood scrambled together in meaningless fashion on a darker piece of wood. But when you look not upon the light pieces of wood but rather focus on the spaces between them, you see the word 'Jesus' in it.

Maybe you could use such a concept to look at your reality differently, so that you can see what you want to see in what you normally think of as mundane.

I know sometimes I look at words and just stop focusing on them as words. I will look at them instead as a jumble of letters, and it will take me some time to understand the words again. Using the normal, everyday stuff and focusing on it in a different manner might give you the means you're looking for, in order to get the effect you want to achieve.


I hope this helps. I wish you the best with your endeavors.

:)