Blog Chain Time: Writing with Fresh Eyes

j0178890It’s blog chain time again.  This round was started by Carolyn, who asked this question:

How do you keep from telling the same story over and over?  What are your tips and tricks for finding fresh ideas and adding new twists to your work? 

This was more difficult to answer than I anticipated.  You see, I think we are influenced not only by the stories that keep rattling around in our own heads, but also by the books we read and critique, the movies we watch and the lyrics we listen too.  All of it has the potential of influencing our story ideas, shaping our word choices and impacting our writing.

So how, then, do we not only make sure our ideas are fresh, but also not bordering on plagiarism? 

For me it comes down to authenticity  – authenticity of voice and authenticity of story.  

Stories are fresh and unique when we speak from our own characters’ voices, and not merely our voice as an author – when we explore the premise of our story from the perspective of the unique characteristics that define our characters. (For about the Voice of our characters, check out this post)

Not always easy to do, true.  But always worth the effort.

Another aspect of originality can be found in looking at the following Mark Twain quote:

There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written — it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.

To me, this speaks of being authentic as well…authentic to the actual story.  Just as I think we must speak from our characters and not ourselves, we must be true to the story – and let it tell us how it is to be written.  We get ourselves into trouble as writers when we allow the inner editor to get into the mix too soon.  True, there is a time and place for editing (gosh knows my own writing needs serious editing on a regular basis), but not initially – – – not while the story is being born.

Michelangelo believed that his job as a sculture was to reveal the art that lived in the stone.  As writers, I believe we reveal the story the lies just beyond the page.  We just need to be open to it!

For more on this very interesting question, check out Kat’s post before me and Michelle’s post tomorrow.

14 thoughts on “Blog Chain Time: Writing with Fresh Eyes

  1. Speaking of Mark Twain and author’s voice…there’s a writing contest happening over at http://twainia.com/contest/

    We’re looking for the next Mark Twain; can you write an ending to one of Twain’s unfinished pieces? If you’re interested, take a stab at it and spread the word!

  2. I like your point about characters’ voices. I’ve read books where the characters were nothing more than mouthpieces for the author. That’s why I no longer read those authors, sad to say.

  3. Michelangelo believed that his job as a sculture was to reveal the art that lived in the stone. As writers, I believe we reveal the story the lies just beyond the page. We just need to be open to it!

    This is beautiful.

    I also know exactly where Sandra is coming from, but it’s not just books. The same thing happens in music. When songs become the tools for the musician’s view (especially political — ick), that’s when I look elsewhere.

    Great post!

  4. This is utterly brilliant. Between you and Kat, I don’t have anything left to say. Could I just link and say, go read this? LOL.

    I love how you said everything around us has the power to influence. It’s so true.

  5. No Elana you can’t cause I’m next and that is what I was going to do!😀 awesome Twain quote. I loved when you said “Stories are fresh and unique when we speak from our own characters’ voices, and not merely our voice as an author – when we explore the premise of our story from the perspective of the unique characteristics that define our characters.” So very true. Excellent post!! (and now I have to follow it….eek!)😉

  6. I love this post. It’s so interesting to read over my writing and to identify little snippets of inspriation taken from books, movies, music, etc. But I’m so proud of the fact that all of it somehow adds up to something new and fresh. Well, at least I HOPE it adds up to something new and fresh. This is a great post. I’m going to read it whenever I’m freaking out about accidental plagarism, my new #1 phobia.

    1. Christine Fonseca

      Thanks everyone!!!
      Elana and Michelle – Sorry guys, you HAVE to post something…and not a link!
      Lisa and Laura – NO PHOBIAS!!!

  7. I’ve found that, as I’m working on a piece, who I am changes. As a result, my writing changes as well. The differences can be microscopic, but they’re definitely present. I think living life every day, learning new things, altering my perspective keeps my writing fresh.

    1. Christine Fonseca

      Great points KLo…and thanks for coming to my blog. It’s fun around here – and thought provoking!!

  8. “Michelangelo believed that his job as a sculture was to reveal the art that lived in the stone. As writers, I believe we reveal the story the lies just beyond the page. We just need to be open to it!”

    Yeah! Well said. Lovely post.

  9. Your Twain quote reminded me of something Chris Baty said in No Plot? No Problem! It was something about the things happening in his life that allowed a certain novel to be written. I feel like you have to find the authentic form of the story and actually be ready in your life to write it.

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