ladyoflorien: (Artsy: Forever Dreamer)
Gabby ([personal profile] ladyoflorien) wrote2013-01-14 12:21 am

Why writing every day is important.

They say the mind is a faucet: creativity doesn't come pouring out until you turn it on.

It's easier for some than it is for others. The axiom is simple: you can't write unless you first start to write. Words won't magically appear on the page. Yet, for how strongly the writing world tries to decry writer's block as hokum, a self-created fear that only you can manipulate, it doesn't change the fact that oftentimes writing is hard. You can't turn on your creativity, there is no magical switch to your imagination, and no matter how many words you type you still feel stuck, hammering the backspace key until you feel perpetually in reverse. That's when the axiom becomes a diatribe, and the author is lost to despair or anger (or both - or binge eating). There are oodles of advertised "fixes" for this problem, most of which follow the same basic formula of just write something. Anything. It doesn't matter what. Turn the faucet on.

Now, I'm not going to yammer on like some advice column with a magical fix, because there is no magical fix (except written kitten, naturally). The point of all this is to talk about my favorite new writing exercise: 140 Character Fic, or Twitter Fic.

Why Twitter Fic is important. Over the last eight months (wow, eight months already?), I've observed a lot. What's worked, what hasn't worked; what's inspired, what's confused, and so on. I'm thinking of implementing some tweaks to #FicFriday starting on the 18th, and this is a place to discuss that with other interested parties. The point of Twitter Fics was lost on a few people, with my vague description of 'Twitter Fics are whatever you want them to be!' The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of reasons to write #140CharFic. My personal goal when this started was to force myself to write something short, concise, and impactful, with nothing under or over the limit. Most who know me know that I am a rambler; I love run-on sentences and tend to get tangential. #140CharFic is important to me because it helps me write shorter sentences, choosing my verbs and nouns more carefully so I'm not leaning on adverbs and adjectives to paint the picture for me. A lot of folks think you can't do anything with just 140 characters, but to that I say 'Oh no, Friend!' On the contrary, there's even an AO3 collection dedicated to Twitter Fics. Think about it: that's about two good-sized sentences. There's a lot you can do with that, if you give yourself the breathing room to stop, think, and whittle down your recipe to that one small vial that makes its essence. Highly distilled, and potent.

Those familiar with the writing communities dedicated to 1-Sentence Fiction and 100-Word Fiction know what a great tool it can be to give yourself a strict goal and limit that forces you to think harder than you might, or reword a few times, in order to hit it. It keeps you keen, and helps you retain more than you would working from your everyday vocabulary. Another great benefit of Twitter Fic is that it can inspire longer fics. Yet another thing I've seen on AO3 are drabbles of several hundred words or more, based off a prompt for #140CharFic. By dipping your toe in the pool, it inspires confidence to wade out into the deep end, so to say. It gets the mind working and the ideas flowing. And there's really nothing more exciting for a writer than seeing a small seed of an idea grow into a thriving plant. Sometimes, writing in one genre inspires you in another. Sometimes, it unsticks a plot that had been stuck. Sometimes, it's just like the metaphor of the faucet -- once you start writing, it helps you keep writing. But most importantly:

It's important for a writer to have a goal to keep them from going stagnant. It's easy to talk about writing, but much harder to actually do it. Even if you only write a few sentences, Fic Friday is a good way of checking yourself to make sure you're writing a little every week.

If you haven't tried it, try it! It's awesome, and us regulars will love the extra activity. Just use the #FicFriday hashtag on Twitter so we can find you.

Now, as for the changes I've had in mind, the first is simple. Themes. I ran this by people a few weeks ago, but what it boils down to is this: the current function of #FicFriday is incredibly open. People generally request fics based around one or two characters (often cross-overs), with a simple one-word prompt. What a theme would do would provide an extra challenge -- fill that prompt with those characters, but now they have to fit the week's theme. Say the theme is 'winter', and you're prompted 'Luke Skywalker, orange'. Now you must create a fic with all three elements (perhaps Luke is wearing orange snowshoes, or eating an orange snowcone). Genres. In the same vein as Themes, there could be a suggested weekly genre, such as Sci Fi, Fantasy, or Action. So if the weekly Genre is 'romance', and you're prompted 'Iron Man and Rosie the Riveter, flight', you now have to fill that prompt in that genre (Iron Man woos Rosie by taking her on a romantic spin around Stark Tower?). Note: For the sake of ease, there would be a theme OR a genre for the week. Having both seems a little too difficult, but I am open to thoughts.

Participation would be optional, so if you like the more open, laid back style you absolutely wouldn't have to work with the themes or genres. It would simply be for those who want to keep pushing themselves with new challenges and different styles. To that end, give me suggestions for things you work on as a writer. Is action hard? Suspense? Imposing limits?

The last thing I'd like to do is allow #FicFriday to stretch to Dreamwidth, for those who don't have or use Twitter. It would be more like comment fic rather than #140CharFic, in that instance. A two-sentence fic, or longer if the mood descends. The stipulation is it would have to be drabble length, easy to fill in a DW comment box. A simple post would go up in the participant's journal asking for prompts (and mentioning the theme or genre of the week, if desired), and stay open for requests all day. Would anyone be interested in that?

I'd love to hear people's thoughts, whether they think these are good ideas or poor ideas, whether you'd be more interested in #FicFriday if it was on Twitter as well as Dreamwidth, or with any suggestions you might have that interest you. Just leave me comments!

For posterity, my #FicFriday prompt fills for 1-04-13, and 1-11-13:

For Shana, prompt: Jack/Renee 'Now with my heart wide open, I listen to the wind for just a word.'
Drafts catch steam off her cocoa, spiriting the warmth off. She watches snow fall, his mouth, crackling fire hot, to her ear.

Avengers, MCU
For Ashie, prompt: Hill-Romanoff, out for drinks
"Not Romano's."
"No, not Romano's."
"Had a mission go south there."
"And I... decked the owner. How about Schezwan?"

For Fi, prompt: Hill-Coulson, paperwork
"Ma'am, last time you assigned paperwork Nng sustained a broken femur."
"That's why I expect you to rise to the occasion, Phil."

For Rachel, prompt: Bruce Wayne, souffle
Staring at the ingredients, the mixing bowls, the utensils; barely arching a brow at Alfred's smug look, he asks, "Really?"

Hell on Wheels & 3:10 to Yuma
For Fi, prompt: Lily-William, what we have
Men ascribe them inheritances in dust, and dowries in disease; less for lesser in harsh climes. They'll take their own fortunes.

Once Upon a Time
For Fi, prompt: Regina, my duties
It's always been hers to be devoid of weakness, powerful, firm. Not now. Now, it is hers to win back the costly love of her son.

Once Upon a Time & X-Men: First Class
For Fi, prompt: Regina-Charles, who defines you?
It's a spirit he tries to reason out of his students, that they're tools to be used. She's grown too old under a merciless yoke.

The Three Musketeers & Becoming Jane
For Fi, prompt: Porthos-Jane, dancing
His style of dance is hardly courtly.
"I may be as polite as the next," he bows; "but I rather hear your laugh."
"Caution, sir!"

For Shana, prompt: Jack/Renee, "There is no line that you can't step right over."
Kissing his shoulder; "You don't have to talk about it."
(Her grip a flash of restraints.)
"It's okay." He talks about China.

Hell on Wheels & 3:10 to Yuma
For Fi, prompt: Lily-William, smell of gunpowder
The ferocity they see in each other's eyes is familiar. It isn't bloodlust, but fear. A will to survive, and a conscience at war.

Once Upon a Time & The Chronicles of Narnia
For Fi, prompt: Regina-Tumnus, queen
He shivers, stammers, on his knees.
"My dear, I am not made of ice. Come, you will see I'm much more agreeable than your queen."

Seabiscuit & X-Men: First Class
For Fi, prompt: Red P-Charles, more than you see
It was easy for Charles to see beyond simmering blood to the scholar, the survivor; for Red, it took more to see the confidant.

Seabiscuit & Changeling: the Dreaming [OC]
For Fi, prompt: Tiwa/Red P., not afraid of not knowing
Not all can let go. They need the ground under their feet; they choke at the wind in their mouths. Red craves it; he craves her.

The Three Musketeers & Firefly
For Maru, prompt: Porthos -- a strange kind of ship
"It's borne along with no wind?"
"And its hull has touched no wave?"
Porthos laughs. "Captain Mal, I'm no fool."

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