Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
so for all you writerly-type enfps out there, i was wondering: when you write (novels, plays, blogs, children's stories, whatever), do you prefer to take the time to outline and structure your writing before going in, or do you tend to make stuff up as you go along? which one do you find is the best method of harnessing your creativity?

i have always found that when i focus on the outline first, it completely derails my writing. i can pull it off to some small extent sometimes, but too much too long will kill it out of me. i prefer to jump in swinging, and then pull out temporarily to jot down some notes about what direction i want to take my writing, but i can't stay in this phase very long before i throw myself back in. i think i have a lot of practice with pantsing my writing because i play a lot of role playing games and (especially) online text-based rps. because i never know what the other person is about to do/ say, i can't know ahead of time what my character(s) should do, so i don't know where the story will lead, which means i have to think almost entirely on my feet. my husband and i spent a few months on an rp where together we wrote 110+ chapters together before i wrote up a document of "secrets" of my characters (the closest thing i would go to outlining), and used it as a guideline when we rebooted the rp from the beginning to give it a better, tighter story.

in table-top rpgs, i hate the character creation process because i have to make so many decisions about my character that i'm just not going to know about until i get her into the story. like, how do i know what she's skilled at if she hasn't been tested in them yet? what if i take "improvise weapon" but during gameplay it ends up making more sense to me that she sucks at improvising things like that? the same thing applies to online rps, especially if filling out an extensive profile skeleton is a requirement to play. i'm a member of a sailor moon forum where i pretty much only play canon characters instead of original characters because the demand for detail is too high for me. i tried to make an original character but eventually dead-ended because i could never know so many details about her until i test her out. all of my best, most creative, most powerful work has occurred when i was free to just write up a minimal description and then learn about my character through gameplay. the same goes for my novels and other forms of creative writing-- i learn by doing, not by planning.

how do you handle your creative writing? is it the same as me? different? does it depend on what you're writing?

the reason i ask is because i'm wondering if my pantsing tendancies might be related to my extroverted intuition-- seeing so many possibilities and not being ready to accept final answers right away. and possibly also that low si that causes me to not like planning out so many details.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,567 Posts
I'm the same as you. My creative writing stems from roleplay, both text based and table top. You kind of aren't given much of a choice here though, you have to make it up as you go.

For text based roleplay though I do come up with goals. A beginning, some rough middle and an end. The story will branch and transform in weird ways but I'll either find a way to bring it back to a goal or accept that the new course is a more interesting story. I guess recently my text based roleplays have ended up being with just one rp partner and we often take turns to lead the story, trying to add twists to surprise the other to keep them on their toes.

I'm not the best at sticking to my goals though. So I will break my own structure to my own detriment. This is why I make a useless GM. The times that I have run games they always spiral off in the most insane ways... Like they go from a simple city based political drama to meeting Gods and destroying the world in one session or suddenly it turns into something along the lines of Alice in wonderland... I can't keep things grounded when I'm working on the fly.

I love writing the backstory to my characters. I go into massive depth with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm the same as you. My creative writing stems from roleplay, both text based and table top. You kind of aren't given much of a choice here though, you have to make it up as you go.

For text based roleplay though I do come up with goals. A beginning, some rough middle and an end. The story will branch and transform in weird ways but I'll either find a way to bring it back to a goal or accept that the new course is a more interesting story. I guess recently my text based roleplays have ended up being with just one rp partner and we often take turns to lead the story, trying to add twists to surprise the other to keep them on their toes.

I'm not the best at sticking to my goals though. So I will break my own structure to my own detriment. This is why I make a useless GM. The times that I have run games they always spiral off in the most insane ways... Like they go from a simple city based political drama to meeting Gods and destroying the world in one session or suddenly it turns into something along the lines of Alice in wonderland... I can't keep things grounded when I'm working on the fly.

I love writing the backstory to my characters. I go into massive depth with them.
wow, almost everything you've said here applies to me precisely. i haven't gotten around to GMing any games though, because i tend to come up with TOO MANY IDEAS to settle on any, and if i try to make other people play, they will have such limited choices. and i don't want to overwhelm them and override their own creativity like that. well, that plus the one i was supposed to gm for halloween a few years ago i just... kept forgetting to finish the map for. ^^;

actually, i do have a lot more and longer experience writing fiction and nonfiction on my own rather that through role play, and i pretty much always just freewrite those. i've just been doing a lot more rps, and with better/ more in-depth writing more recently. over the past few years i've been trying to do more outlining for my novels because all the professional writers' blogs/ magazines/ books tell you to outline first and that it will increase your creativity and will help build your self-discipline and all the regular reasons they give you that i bet most writers are familiar with. and during this period my writing has taken a hard hit. i have barely finished anything i've started to write now, and that include stuff that would have been less than 1000 words. so many writers who teach writing claim that pantsers are much less effective than they realize, that they used to be pantsers too until they started outlining, and that all writers will see improvement in their writing if they start outlining instead, and i decided to go ahead and give it another go, but... just yesterday i picked up my novel that i started working on about five years ago and looked over all the notes and notes and outlines and notes and character development and notes and... and now i think i know what killed it. ._. it's starting to click in my head right now that i should have assessed it long before now and to be honest with myself whether it's been working or not, rather than spend all this time forcing it. (five years to finish outlining a novel that i already had 50+ pages written out for already?)

there is one exception i would be willing to make however, and that is that if i ever take the 3 day novel challenge, i'll outline it first: http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/how-to-write-a-book-in-three-days-1210/ and then turn it into the nanowrimo challenge after i fail to finish it in 3 days.

fun fact: i can't use guidelines when i draw either, otherwise the proportions come out wrong and the character looks misshapen.

(ugh, can't load deviantart to link them, so here are a couple of low-res examples of my non-guideline art) :
frog_boy_061817_by_kitti606-dbgpfyb.jpg
welcomebacksailormoon2013.jpg
valentineroses.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: mangosloth

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,567 Posts
wow, almost everything you've said here applies to me precisely. i haven't gotten around to GMing any games though, because i tend to come up with TOO MANY IDEAS to settle on any, and if i try to make other people play, they will have such limited choices. and i don't want to overwhelm them and override their own creativity like that. well, that plus the one i was supposed to gm for halloween a few years ago i just... kept forgetting to finish the map for. ^^;
Yeah my motto for GMing is not to limit the player freedom... Unfortunately I am not a good enough GM to pull that off. Actually I'm in a game with an ENFP GM right now. What he does is he writes down all of the ideas and events he has and then gets the players to role a dice to choose their fate, the number will determine which event happens next. So in a way it's still in the players hands and he still has all of his ideas to utilise. I think I'll definitely steal that idea if I try again. I even had a world which encouraged the idea of randomness.

actually, i do have a lot more and longer experience writing fiction and nonfiction on my own rather that through role play, and i pretty much always just freewrite those. i've just been doing a lot more rps, and with better/ more in-depth writing more recently. over the past few years i've been trying to do more outlining for my novels because all the professional writers' blogs/ magazines/ books tell you to outline first and that it will increase your creativity and will help build your self-discipline and all the regular reasons they give you that i bet most writers are familiar with. and during this period my writing has taken a hard hit. i have barely finished anything i've started to write now, and that include stuff that would have been less than 1000 words. so many writers who teach writing claim that pantsers are much less effective than they realize, that they used to be pantsers too until they started outlining, and that all writers will see improvement in their writing if they start outlining instead, and i decided to go ahead and give it another go, but... just yesterday i picked up my novel that i started working on about five years ago and looked over all the notes and notes and outlines and notes and character development and notes and... and now i think i know what killed it. ._. it's starting to click in my head right now that i should have assessed it long before now and to be honest with myself whether it's been working or not, rather than spend all this time forcing it. (five years to finish outlining a novel that i already had 50+ pages written out for already?)
It's like it's either the bare bones or the five details? I mean, work however you like, I say. There is a wonderfulness to making sure that everything has a purpose in the story, which I'm sure a lot of people who outline would decide upon first, but you can often bring things full circle as you go. I often think "What'll round this off?" And I'll just say it's the cause of a minor character/macguffin introduced before just to give things more purpose and magically it'll look intentional.

there is one exception i would be willing to make however, and that is that if i ever take the 3 day novel challenge, i'll outline it first: http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/how-to-write-a-book-in-three-days-1210/ and then turn it into the nanowrimo challenge after i fail to finish it in 3 days.
I think short stories are basically the best I'd be able to do. I often get easily bored of themes too quickly to be able to write a novel... Although I think if I put my mind to it I'd be able to do a comic book series. I will publish a comic one day. I just need to work on my artwork first.

fun fact: i can't use guidelines when i draw either, otherwise the proportions come out wrong and the character looks misshapen.

(ugh, can't load deviantart to link them, so here are a couple of low-res examples of my non-guideline art) :
View attachment 724778
View attachment 724786
View attachment 724794
Wow, those are awesome. Did you use reference for them?

I thought I didn't have to use guidelines but I need them to create more challenging artwork. If I have reference it doesn't matter but if I'm attempting to draw poses/angles that I don't normally do then if I don't have a good technique for guidelines then it falls apart.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ENFPurpleKitti

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
That's a good question! extroverted intuition must definitely play a role here! And as ENFPs who LOVE to explore psychology and relationships, it doesn't surprise me that most of us seem to enjoy creating characters and roleplay.

I've always loved inventing characters, and I've often developed them over a few years. When I was a toddler and a child, I mostly drew them, described them and drew short stories like in a comic book. As I grew up, I noticed that each character was a sort of summary of a whole period, atmosphere and hobbies that I was really into. It's as if I had to crystallize all my interests and hobbies into characters so I could move on to other stuff. For instance, when I was 13 and fascinated by roller coasters, extreme sports and hard rock, I created a character that played in a rock band, was a pro skater and did completely crazy stuff like the Jackass. Years later, when I was fascinated by the late 19th century, dark romanticism and dandysm (Oscar Wilde :love_heart:), I invented dandy characters that smoked opium, drank absinthe and had their suits cut by the best tailors. This time I wanted to write a novel but I had absolutely no plot, so it remained a mere project, like many other things. I have zero imagination when it comes to stories and plots !

Thus, I turned to free writing forms, short texts (they never exceed one page) of nonfiction and poetry, without characters. Your question PurpleKitti is a tough one, since I consider I plan as much as I improvise, and at the same time! (both in writing and art). First I brainstorm ideas (my favorite part!!) and find a guideline, but it's vague enough for other ideas to join and specify the initial project, which happens only when I start writing/painting. Lately, I wrote a brief text about a place that I love, it's both a barge and a club in which there are concerts and parties, it has a really "underground" and Lynchesque atmosphere. My idea was simple : I wanted to mimic the boat by writing a narrow, vertical text, and in a scattered way (no sentence, almost no verb) to render the overwhelming impressions and sensations. And when I wrote the text, I noticed I had described the place from the outside to the inside, and from the ceiling to the floor, which emphasized its underground (well, rather "half-submarine") atmosphere and matched the progression of reading. Writing is an exploration in which we can grab detailed ideas that precise the all-round concept. It's as if I started my creations on full extroverted intuition, and practice turned it into introverted intuition. Which is fortunate because if I had the complete structure and details in mind from the beginning, I would never feel the need to actually write it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Actually I'm in a game with an ENFP GM right now. What he does is he writes down all of the ideas and events he has and then gets the players to role a dice to choose their fate, the number will determine which event happens next. So in a way it's still in the players hands and he still has all of his ideas to utilise.
that sounds like a terrific idea!

I even had a world which encouraged the idea of randomness.
also a good idea. at least this way you're always aware that you don't know what to expect and that you shouldn't have to.

I often think "What'll round this off?" And I'll just say it's the cause of a minor character/macguffin introduced before just to give things more purpose and magically it'll look intentional.
i did this a LOT in the 1-1 with my husband i mentioned earlier (the 110+ chapter adventure). i'll throw in some minor detail thinking, 'this should make this scene more interesting, more complete.' and then later something pops up that needs a quick answer and that seemingly insignificant detail from twelve chapters ago pops into my head like, 'this is what i've been here for all along'.

i hate that my memory sucks so much in my normal, routine life, but whenever i'm writing something pops back into my head like, 'i've been here all along.' like, where were you when i needed to remember this Really Important Thing the other day, but when i can just go back and reread something to find you, you're so reliable all of a sudden, you useless sonofa...?

Wow, those are awesome. Did you use reference for them?
nope. i only use references for sketches as a learning experience, and only rarely in anything i would use in my original works. except inanimate objects, i rely more on references for those, i think.

That's a good question! extroverted intuition must definitely play a role here! And as ENFPs who LOVE to explore psychology and relationships, it doesn't surprise me that most of us seem to enjoy creating characters and roleplay.
exactly! that's what i'm thinking. being able to explore so many different angles of a person, how the same personality might react to different situations, interact with other types, etc. all of that is so fascinating.

As I grew up, I noticed that each character was a sort of summary of a whole period, atmosphere and hobbies that I was really into.
i did that quite a few times myself, but most of them didn't last, really. nowadays i start with some abstract idea of what i want and if i feel like inserting something of myself or my experiences into it, then i do. i mean, pretty much 90% of what any writer comes up with is still going to relate back to the writer herself, but you know what i mean. xD

Your question PurpleKitti is a tough one, since I consider I plan as much as I improvise, and at the same time! (both in writing and art).
well, i think most people do, to be honest. i've seen it stated many times that all writers are both planners AND pantsers. (sound familiar? aren't we always hearing that all people both introverted AND extroverted? lol.) but i believe just as with e/i, writers can fall anywhere on the continuum, some falling far on the planning/ outlining side, some far on the pantser side, and some right around the middle. my best writing falls so far onto the pantsers side of the line that my stories kind of look over there like, 'what lies beyond those mountains yonder? never mind, i don't give a crap. it's far more interesting over here.' xD when i was in high school i wrote three long short stories (because i can never do anything small) all in about a day or two each with absolutely NO PLANNING whatsoever. i didn't even have an idea for one of them and i just sat down and cranked out a gem all in one go. my mom was impressed, and suggested for me to edit it and submit it for publishing... when the computer it was on was stolen. ._. (the person who owned it let someone else borrow it, and that person moved away.) to be honest, it wounded me so much that i never pulled it off again because even though i kept feeling like i could reproduce it from memory if i thought hard enough, i just couldn't get my soul up off the floor to even try. do you know how awesome it would have been to submit a story for publication at age 15? even if it wasn't accepted? TT^TT

My idea was simple : I wanted to mimic the boat by writing a narrow, vertical text, and in a scattered way (no sentence, almost no verb) to render the overwhelming impressions and sensations. And when I wrote the text, I noticed I had described the place from the outside to the inside, and from the ceiling to the floor, which emphasized its underground (well, rather "half-submarine") atmosphere and matched the progression of reading.
that sounds really cool. i've done that a few times before with my poetry. and not just 'shape poetry' (although i've done a few of those too.)

Writing is an exploration in which we can grab detailed ideas that precise the all-round concept. It's as if I started my creations on full extroverted intuition, and practice turned it into introverted intuition. Which is fortunate because if I had the complete structure and details in mind from the beginning, I would never feel the need to actually write it.
that's basically the same way i feel about it. ^_^
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,264 Posts
I'm very pragmatic. I got full marks in my creative writing GCSE (only person in my year to do it, and I'm not really even that keen on it- this is at a selective school too) because I knew to add structure to it. There were a few people keen on creative writing in my year, and they produced good pieces but they let their creative freedom run because they were so excited to be doing it.. I was tempted to do the same, but I deliberately reigned it in, and made something polished and structured. If I were to write a novel I would be the same- my main focus would be that it was polished and accessible, and that people would ultimately buy the thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
that's not to say that freewriting/ pantsing comes without structure, of course. i'm always careful to include theme and purpose and direction in my stories as i write them, and in the editing/ revising stage i can always go back in and tighten up stuff. of course story always needs structure-- the amount and type of structure is up to the author and their genre and style of course. it's the best way to reach audiences and create something significant, something meaningful. but i'm also open to the completely unstructured type of freewriting as well, since it's good practice for me to help silence my inner critic which may sometimes try to usurp control and mess with a good thing before it's finished. that being said, i rarely write anything which is unstructured, and usually only as a result of being tired or bored more than anything else. sometimes 'unstructured' can easily turn into 'aimless' and i'm too fearful of my 'aimless' writing because it usually gives me the sense that i did a whole lot of work for nothing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,850 Posts
Both.

I usually have a general / specific place I'm taking the plot (often a planned 'twist' or conclusion) but I let the story build itself to that point; I usually have to do a fair amount of rewriting after my first draft to tighten it, since I tend to try out and sometimes discard plot ideas as I go along -- most often, though, I get to the end and still have my original twist / ending, which shows me that my first hunches are the ones to go with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,970 Posts
Loosely Outlined. Even if it's just in my head. Very loose middle. Unless the structure and the ending are there for me, I don't get as interested in the idea and/or feel it's worthwhile enough to get my ENFP follow-throughness together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,188 Posts
Loosely Outlined. Even if it's just in my head. Very loose middle. Unless the structure and the ending are there for me, I don't get as interested in the idea and/or feel it's worthwhile enough to get my ENFP follow-throughness together.
Same. I have the feeling that, if I strictly outlined something, I'd be paying more attention to "coloring within the lines" than to being open-minded enough to treat the subject thoroughly and justly.

With poems, often the first thing I write is the (boffo!) ending--because with poems especially you want to end strong--then the beginning (which also has to be strong, just not as strong), then the lead-in to the end, then the rest of the poem. Same with my more rhapsodic postings.

Personal letters are usually at the other end of the continuum. Often it's free-association, with numerous spontaneous interruptions which might themselves have further interruptions; and yet, through sheer genius when I'm really on my game I can pull all the strands together at the end. [sniffles] I'm just . . . just . . . so great at this [dabs at eyes] . . . ; but nobody writes or wants personal letters these days, so . . . so much for that art form.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,188 Posts
I write my friends long (e-mail) letters, and get long (e-mail) letters back, all the time. :)
Well done!

I think I fall victim to the usual INFJ malady of giving too much too intensely so my harried friends don't know how to reciprocate. But Life is interesting; thinking about Life is interesting; and writing about thinking about Life is interesting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
@odinthor : same on pretty much all of that. although when i write long emails i rarely get lengthy replies, so it's all pretty much one-sided. *sigh* i used to have a couple of friends who did but lost touch with them. sadness.

tying all the strands together at the end, it's like a magic power we have. we don't know how it's going to happen, we don't know how to set up for it, we just take confidence and reassurance in the fact that we simply will, and then we do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: odinthor

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,850 Posts
I started in editing one of my books last night and realized two chapters into the process that a simpler plot thread had been staring me in the face all along, which means tearing up a good chunk of this book and rewriting the entire subplot.

Oops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,567 Posts
I started in editing one of my books last night and realized two chapters into the process that a simpler plot thread had been staring me in the face all along, which means tearing up a good chunk of this book and rewriting the entire subplot.

Oops.
I'm sure it's all worth it in the end.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ENFPurpleKitti

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,850 Posts
I'm sure it's all worth it in the end.
Oh, it will be.

But until that happens, it's rather like building a house, tearing it all to pieces, and sitting in the rubble trying to connect electrical wires. (IE, a totally overwhelming feeling, lol.)

It's nothing I haven't done a hundred times, tho, so it'll all work out fine. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,567 Posts
Oh, it will be.

But until that happens, it's rather like building a house, tearing it all to pieces, and sitting in the rubble trying to connect electrical wires. (IE, a totally overwhelming feeling, lol.)

It's nothing I haven't done a hundred times, tho, so it'll all work out fine. ;)
That sounds like how I would probably build a house to be honest... With a poor plan that I find myself undoing everything but the foundations!

Hope you have fun at least. ;P
 
  • Like
Reactions: ENFPurpleKitti

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,850 Posts
Hope you have fun at least. ;P
I will. :)

The good part about being a Ne is that I can usually entertain myself while revising ("Ugh, I am no longer in love with this setting / chapter... I'll just change it up" without being sentimental about the old idea).

I kind of envy the Ni-writers I know, who plan it all out in their mind and then sit down and write it, and do very little revision. I was discussing ideas with an ENFJ recently and she was utterly HORRIFIED that I would even THINK of changing a character's entire personal history, or name, or gender, or profession just to 'fit better' with the 'updated' vision for my book. To her, these things are set in cement, unchanging, because the character simply IS -- and for me, the character evolves.

To be more specific about this current project, I had written a mystery subplot that came out kind of a mess / was overly complicated and realized as I started over that a much better 'murderer' has been present from the start, which will unravel some timing issues later in the story. All I have to do is restructure their presence a little bit better and eliminate the character that caused me so many problems. I imagine some people would be horrified, but it amuses me to think that with a Ne writer, the murderer in a mystery novel might change four times through the revision process.

Hahahaha.

I used to feel a little self-conscious about this, as characters changed so much from first draft to finished product, but now I look on it in amusement as a prime example of a conscious Ne.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top