Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,
Inverarity
inverarity

Ideas are easy, writing is hard


Because I feel like making a separate post (and hey, irony of ironies, it's a quick and easy distraction while I am editing AQATSA, or as anthonyjfuchs said, "Why is writing about writing easier than writing fiction?")

Admiral Duff (not to pick on you, Duff, it's just such a common sentiment) said:

I want to be a writer. I've had a hand full of good ideas all original. My strongest factor, when it comes to writing, is world building. Weakest is probably getting from point A to B and idea thinking.


To which tealterror0 correctly pointed out that getting from point A to point B is the hard part.

Yup.

There is a reason why ideas cannot be copyrighted. Naive young writers regularly show up at writers' forums and express anxiety about posting their synopses publicly or sending a query letter to agents because they're afraid some unscrupulous type might steal their idea! This always provokes laughter (or, if it's a more kindly and newbie-friendly forum, a gentle pointer to the inevitable FAQ that will disabuse them of this notion).

Original ideas and worldbuilding, I'm sorry to say, are easy. Any 14-year-old can come up with ideas and worlds at least as interesting and original as anything Hollywood has ever produced and better than most published novels. It's easy to come up with a thrilling plot and it's easy and fun to sit down and create your characters and your world and your history and your magic system and your alien races and so on and so on.

Turning it into a story -- that's hard. Even outlining it (if you are an outliner) takes work, because you actually have to start organizing the plot and figuring out what the key events are and the timeline and pacing and so on.

And then when you actually start writing, you start encountering plot holes. And you realize that event A has to occur before event B, but you had these two characters becoming friends after event B but event A doesn't really make sense if they aren't already friends, so you start moving events around, except now that the characters are already friends by the time event B happens, it no longer makes sense for the first character not to ask the other one for help, and you can see how things just spiral into a great big tangled ball of "WTF happened to this brilliant, exciting story with an epic climax that's already a vivid picture in my head?"

And that's just plotting. Then there's the character who is supposed to be important but she hasn't done anything for the first half of the book so if she suddenly becomes important in the second half it looks like she's been dropped into the plot by author fiat. There's the chapter where you realize you've spent 4000 words on your main character falling asleep, waking up, looking out the window, thinking about something, falling asleep again, and arriving at her destination. I swear, it was interesting when I wrote it! The Suck Fairy must have visited and turned an entire chapter into boring crap.

Also, every sentence you write starts to look like something meant to be sporked on a badfic comm. Putting words together in an aesthetically pleasing way that is clear and concise and unpretentious and also not boring is hard.

It takes time to write. It takes time and persistence to finish what you write. The reason why there are a million wannabe writers out there who never get past chapter one despite the muses burning in their brains is that the muses aren't gonna sit down and write for you, hour after hour.

That's what the Dan Browns and Stephanie Meyers can do that people who are more brilliant and creative and inspired and original than them cannot -- they have the persistence to hammer away through the long writing slog. If everyone with a great idea could turn it into a novel, there'd be a lot more novels and a lot more writers. And no writer has ever needed to steal an idea. Oh, it might happen that a writer does steal an idea because s/he likes it so much, but anybody with any creativity at all can produce a publishable idea, easily. It's not the idea that is publishable, it's the execution.

It's writing that's hard, because it takes work and it's not easy and sometimes it's just aggravating even when you love the story. There are parts that are boring so you want to get past them so you can write the "good parts," except that -- uh, if it's boring to you to write them, how interesting do you think it will be to read them? A good book can't have "boring" parts that only exist to connect the not-boring parts. (It may have boring parts because what the author thought was interesting, wasn't, but if it has parts that the author thought were boring and just inserted because they were "necessary," it's going to suck.) Some writers fall apart and become unable to finish once that realization sinks in. You don't get to just write the action scenes and the witty banter and the Crowning Moments of Awesome -- you have to write all the other stuff, too, and all of it has to not be boring and not suck.

Even if you love it, it's hard and sometimes you want to do something that's easier, which is why I just knocked out about 1000 words of writing about writing in less than half an hour, and failed to edit half as many words of AQATSA in twice that time.
Tags: writing
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    After a bit of slacking, I have been picking up the pace recently. 202,000 words and 36 chapters, with 56 in my outline. Eep. I was determined to…

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