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Strange Things And Habits You Do While Writing

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While editing off a chapter for one of my many adventures in the creative realm of (please insert colourful metaphor here) insanity that is my writing…  (...Of course, it doesn’t help that I haven’t really written anything in a week, so these are all the buffer chapters I have…)…  Sorry, rambling again…  Anyway, I noticed some of my quirks ‘re-emerged’ from long ago…

In this case, the suspension of disbelief ‘rule’ I have.  (Yes, I, the insane one, follow some strange rules that probably make no sense...)  Anyway, background for it, at one point it was a three-point system wherein I would give myself leeway to do three things that would require a suspension of disbelief.  (Let’s take, for example, Star Trek: Suspension of Disbelief 1 (Hereafter SoD#): Faster than light travel; SoD2: aliens exist; SoD3: Every known woman of alien/human/...shapeshifter? origin wants to get it on with a certain specific Starfleet Captain…  Well, except two…  So it seems…  There may be a third, but…  Sorry, rambling again...)…  Anyway, the way this rule worked for me was, if there was too many SoDs, then it became too unbelievable and it would take me out of the story…

So, my question becomes, what sort of strange things do you, as a writer, adhere to?  What sort of things have you ‘grown’ out of?  

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Most of my ‘weird rules’ are not so much weird as boring and grammar related. A lot of my writing I go by feel, so if I made any rules I’d probably break them real quick. Well I do have a rule where I never use names of people I’m close to. And on the off chance I make a female character, she needs to be absolutely nothing like me as I’m deathly allergic to self-insertion (… of the writing variety…) Even if I some day decided to write my memoirs I’d probably break out in panic hives every time the main character did something that reminded me of me

I guess I’m a little weird about my physical setting when I write too. Like I like to have music playing that fits the mood – there was a whole chapter in Blackbird that I wrote to the sound of a rain from one of those sleep noise apps because it was raining in the chapter. But at the same time, I can’t focus when the music has lyrics. The words fuddle me all up. So most of the time I have to write with instrumentals or complete silence. 

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One rule I follow is to never start a story with the word “The”, and I’ve extended to try to be a solid choice too, either a sound, or a more concrete, tangible thing.  [And this rule came from a teacher of mine, who pushed us to not start a sentence with the word “the”… something I normally manage (though, on occasion, a “the” will slip to the start of a sentence)]

 

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2 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

One rule I follow is to never start a story with the word “The”, and I’ve extended to try to be a solid choice too, either a sound, or a more concrete, tangible thing.  [And this rule came from a teacher of mine, who pushed us to not start a sentence with the word “the”… something I normally manage (though, on occasion, a “the” will slip to the start of a sentence)]

 

That’s a pretty good rule. Forces you to get creative as long as you don’t twist yourself into knots avoiding it. I’ve heard you mention it before and ever since I’ve kinda just been half-assedly avoiding starting sentences with ‘the’ and more aware of it when I do use it. 

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5 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

One rule I follow is to never start a story with the word “The”, and I’ve extended to try to be a solid choice too, either a sound, or a more concrete, tangible thing.  [And this rule came from a teacher of mine, who pushed us to not start a sentence with the word “the”… something I normally manage (though, on occasion, a “the” will slip to the start of a sentence)]

 

That’s interesting. Just for the laugh, I tested my latest chapter. It has 449 sentences, of which 9 start with ‘the’… I’m assuming that’s ok. It’s like two per cent though.

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I don’t worry about ‘the,’ I worry more about using my lead’s first name all the time, so I make the effort for that. I checked my 13 chapter fic that is today’s project and only one chapter used ‘the,’ So I think that’s okay.

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3 hours ago, Anesor said:

I don’t worry about ‘the,’ I worry more about using my lead’s first name all the time, so I make the effort for that. I checked my 13 chapter fic that is today’s project and only one chapter used ‘the,’ So I think that’s okay.

It did fit under the “strange thing” but I find it useful for avoiding a story where every sentence starts with “the”...because a bit tiresome/boring to me if it does.

Another thing I try to do is to balance my character names a bit.  Tough to do in those parts of the universe where the names are already well engrained, but I do try to do it elsewhere.  For instance, I have Jaimie, Joe, Josephine, Jade, Jarred, Jefferey, Joey ...etc, I noticed that I was getting a lot of “J’s” so I’ll now try to balance out the letters in a story.  (However, I can’t change the well established names, so those remain.)

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5 hours ago, GeorgeGlass said:

I never use the same name twice, at least not for major characters. The closest I’ve come is “Eric” and “Erik.”

Within a story, I try to do the same too, renaming characters or giving them nicknames if I have to.  At over 2k characters in my universe, it can be tough at times.

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3 hours ago, Desiderius Price said:

Within a story, I try to do the same too, renaming characters or giving them nicknames if I have to.  At over 2k characters in my universe, it can be tough at times.

I don’t think I’m quite at 2000, but thanks to collabing/roleplaying, I’m well over a few hundred. I try not to use the same name twice either, for developed characters, but I have so many characters that I planned that I never did anything with, or only used once for a few scenes and abandoned, that sometimes I will salvage their name for a new character. But even then I feel weird about it lol. 

I have this rule that I don’t use the names of people who mean something to me, buuuut I do actually have one name that breaks both these rules. Rick. Someone I had a crush on when I was a kid, I started using his name whenever I’m in need of a 2 dimensional asshole in a collab. Like just a side character that doesn’t get much scene time (not a full on antagonist or anything) and he’s made appearances in at least a dozen stories now, lol.

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On 12/8/2017 at 3:35 AM, Desiderius Price said:

Within a story, I try to do the same too, renaming characters or giving them nicknames if I have to.  At over 2k characters in my universe, it can be tough at times.

Actually, I meant between stories, too. I do it because it forces me to be more creative and diverse in naming characters. But in your massive shared universe, unique names are even more important.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeGlass said:

Actually, I meant between stories, too. I do it because it forces me to be more creative and diverse in naming characters. But in your massive shared universe, unique names are even more important.

Yep, even though a fair chunk (at least half) are background characters so they don’t enter the stories themselves, it’s still a challenge. 

 

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