Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Telling a tale before it's 'told'

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Telling a tale before it's 'told'

    Originally posted by Robert E Howard
    When you tell a story and someone listens to it, you are really publishing it. Then when you sit down to write, it just doesn’t come. You’re not excited about it anymore. You’re not trying to discover something new. I mean, of course, that’s the way it works for me.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done exactly what I’m telling you not to do, but when I do it, the yarn always comes out wooden. Not easy, flowing, light.
    Source = http://www.rehupa.com/waterman_alone.htm

    Mike, and anyone else out there with experience of this, do you think it's important to keep a potential story 'bottled up' until it's written? Does this, if at all, add any urgency or energy to the writing process for you?

  • #2
    Very much agree. I almost never tell a story before I've written it. Another good reason for doing a book that is nothing like the original outline!

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      I hate :x talking about a story I'm working on before it's done. Sort of like having somebody tasting the cooking halfway through and then wanting to add their own seasonings. Had enough of that in school.

      (Into the smilies today! 8O )
      Miqque
      ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

      Comment


      • #4
        I've learned to talk about my writing as little as possible and then only in the most vague terms, because yes, once I've told it, I've told it, and I'll never write it.

        Comment


        • #5
          I hate having to write outlines, I like to work from a basic outline and then build it from there.

          Comment


          • #6
            As a typical Libran I tend to be of two minds about this. On the one hand it can be handy for me to bounce ideas off someone in the planning stages and can help stimulate creativity knowing there is an initial 'audience' for the story who can help shape it; on the other, I find it can diffuse some of the expressive energy.

            On the topic of outlines I was surprised to find that REH, who I previously considered an author who wrote spontaneous unplanned stories with great gusto, actually almost never wrote anything without an outline:

            Originally posted by Robert E Howard
            “Do you always outline your stories?�
            “Absolutely.� He paused, thinking. “Oh, once in a while, I put a sheet of paper in my typewriter and start out and get where I’m going with no outline at all. But the way I explain such things is that it’s either been gestating in my mind, or I have lived it or knew about it in some other life....I don’t want to leave the wrong impression. Most of the yarns I write are planned very carefully, and they’re complete with a detailed outline.�

            He said his outline helped him to know his characters, what they wanted, and where they were going. The outline helped for it made the yarn stick in his mind. Then when he sat down at the typewriter, he went straight through the story.
            Source = http://www.rehupa.com/waterman_alone.htm

            I guess your approach, Mike, of outlining, but wandering from the outline when actually writing the tale, is one of the few ways to maintain both structure and spontaneity.

            Comment


            • #7
              Never, ever allow your wife/ partner/ gibbon to read a partially-completed work-in-progress. kiss of death.

              Comment


              • #8
                On this subject, I write 'outlines' of numbered notes that begin nice and neatly, but rapidly become hieroglyphs scrawled in several directions on two or three sheets of paper; with added scenes and dialogue snippets shoved in as I get a surge. When I've retrieved them from either the recycling bin or the kitten's mouth, I then write something that runs in a parallel universe to the plan, touching on it at key points, but diverging as it gains life of its own.
                As you may gather, my structuring's not very good. I (think I) have (he says delusionally) good ideas, but need to work on the framework-design. My story-writing is a bit like driving a TVR: a powerful engine on a chassis that isn't quite up to the job, with always the likelihood of a major breakdown just around the next corner... :P

                Comment


                • #9
                  Perdix, I had to chuckle at the image of you surrounded by your heiroglyphic notes puzzling out where it's all going to go while the kitten runs away with your masterplan for chapter x in it's mouth. Perhaps its trying to help you with the structure. There's something anarchic and engaging about the idea of throwing a mass of story notes on the floor and letting a bunch of cat's work out where everything is going to go in the story. :)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kiss of death indeed. Especially, as I know to my cost, if your gibbon has done a course in Creative Writing at East Anglia. You'd think the climate would fix the bastards, wouldn't you. Bloody know-all gibbons. And their method of criticism is disgusting, when all's said and done.

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      'Mmmm...yeah' that's what I get. Usually accompanied by a blank expression as she tries to think of something nice to say. 'Mmmm...yeah' means everything from 'I think it's a steaming pile of horse manure' to 'Well, it's OK' (which is as good as it gets, probably deservedly). Even worse is coming out of my consulting room to find one of the nurses reading a draft I've left lying on an anaesthetised dog or something. You can actually watch their eyes and faces freeze over like one of those poor Iron Age sods who snuffed it on a glacier. Complete incomprehension.
                      I tell myself it's because they're too thick to understand it, but then they go and diagnose the obscure case I've been fretting over, and that goes out the window. Philistines.
                      Mmmm...yeah.

                      I went to East Anglia once. Terrain so uncompromisingly flat I felt like I was a character on a page: two-dimensional. Scary. I needed some relief, in both senses. Good pike fishing, though.

                      The nearest Meggie Teabags has got to literature of her own is standing on the keyboard and turning the bloody computer off in mid-save. I'm getting a giant cockroach next time. Lower ground-pressure.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If she is like any of my cats, I'm sure the young Ms. Teabags periodically stages "happenings" as her means of artistic experssion. Perhaps the occasional found-object-as-art, or sometimes (when peristalsis moves her) an aleatory monumental sculpture or two...

                        LSN

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Of course! Who has NOT read "Space-Time for Springers"?

                          Quite a good story. The fundamental premise sounds "cute," but the way Leiber worked it out, with the psychological angle about the daughter Cissy (sp? Sissy?) added some tension and pathos to the story.

                          The concluding paragraph strikes me as perfect.

                          Leiber obviously had observed cats very closely. I've given this story to cat fanciers over the years, and many have been struck by the aptness of Leiber's observations of feline behavior.

                          LSN

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Perdix
                            As you may gather, my structuring's not very good. I (think I) have (he says delusionally) good ideas, but need to work on the framework-design. My story-writing is a bit like driving a TVR: a powerful engine on a chassis that isn't quite up to the job, with always the likelihood of a major breakdown just around the next corner... :P
                            Fortunate that we have day-jobs, is it not? :lol:

                            I'm sure you've heard variants of that line on occasion, as I have. Fortunately for me, I can tell people I'm not serious about such things. I'm just playing. If they don't enjoy watching me play, tant pis, but that's okay.

                            LSN

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X