Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Separating Inspiration and Story

This blog post is going to be a little more focused on writing and comes from a story I recently received some critiques on and I can see a problem is that I was so wrapped up in the inspiration from where the story came from that I couldn't see that the story would do better without the beginning that inspired it and focusing on what came from that story.

This is something I can see in my other writing as well. Largely this comes from the fact that I do my writing as a discovery writer so I only have a vague idea of what I want to write and let things flow from there. A lot of my stories just start from one idea and can move in ways that move quite far from there and result in what I started writing being irrelevant to what develops.

The problem comes from my inability to realize that the inspiration may not be as important to the story as what I've created from that idea. I wrote a dystopic story which stemmed from some commentator on ESPN calling MMA modern day gladiator fights. Which I disagree with, but I took the idea of a society that brings back gladiator battles and used that to create a story. In the end the gladiator fights don't really matter, but they are in the story. Thanks to the feedback on my more recent story it's shed light on the fact that I could lose the gladiator fights, even though I use it as a set piece.

It becomes a case of killing your darlings and in a less obvious way to me. Something about losing the inspiration for a story seems more painful and less obvious than conversations that are amusing, but don't move the story anywhere, which are much more obvious story killers for me to notice than anything else. So hopefully I'll be able to keep this in mind in the future and if you're reading this you'll pay attention to that idea as well.

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