Fiction Writing Tips: Murder Your Options, Commit to the Kill
Written by Otaku Apologist
This method is for indecisive media creators who struggle with committing to creative choices. It’s effective, though once you learn it, I recommend you discard it. Here’s why: No singular project can ever express everything you feel and think. The longer you jerk off to your current ideas, the more frustrated you’ll get over the years. You gotta get past this and finally drop your perfectionism and start cutting some very necessary corners, to complete your projects.
Ultimately, you just have to grow some balls and embrace the bloodbath, make flawed shit for people to attack. And while your critics will be circling your ideas like vultures, pecking them to the bones, you’re at the exit-phase of your heist.
Before we discuss this method for overcoming creative indecisiveness, I want to share an epiphany brought on by my old math teacher that’s core to this. Here’s the truth of life:
My math teacher from upper secondary, a total dick by the way, lectured once that a circle has infinite lines in it. It’s only after you draw a line that one of them exists. For anything to exist, it must be made killable. You must wound your idea, afflict it with limitations, an expiration date.
Your ideas will never be immortal. The pencil that draws the lines into the circle will scrape the paper, rustle its fibers, leave it damaged. That is the price of existence.
To be a writer, you must come to terms with the violent nature of the process of bringing perfect ideas in touch with an imperfect reality. If you can internalize this, accept it, you barely need a process. Then you just make shit.
Usually indecisive people have an overbearing internal critic bashing all their ideas, because their dad or teacher was a bully, and the memory of them puts breaks on your thought process. This internalized baddy daddy regularly forces himself into the room of your mind, to whip you up.
If so, identify this guy and pull the gun on them – on the level of imagination, of course. Squeeze it, fuck him up, bag your internal critic and dump him in the ocean of your soul. You got fiction to write.
Now, the method I hyped up is simple. Get a notebook. Pen and paper. Digital tools for brainstorming are the worst for perfectionists. When writing on a computer, you can always rewrite everything from scratch on softwares like Open Office or Wordpad. There is no damage, no scraping of paper, no rustling, your thought process becomes invisible upon a rewrite. Meanwhile, every coffee stain and grease drop on paper will remind you of your thought process, the whole messy path how you arrived at the final ideas. It’s the stains, rips, the eraser marks, that you can never completely remove from that piece of A4, that make you move forward with your ideas.
Once you’re committed to a plot device, a time period, a character’s age, gender, their socioeconomic class, their relationship status, or similar, never revise those decisions! You have to make the next set of decisions.
As every decision has this grounding power that limits future creative decisions, like gravity prevents humans from flying, you should explore where your ideas will lead the story before making decisions, so you can stay committed to them. Ask yourself questions, on paper, and answer them. Write down the answers that come to mind, and write next to them the next set of questions. Make a bloody mess of that page.
Then, get another page. Fill a whole notebook with ideas! Let that pen dance, baby! I have big stacks of prep work for my first novel that I started at 13. I restarted that novel recently, check out the project here.
There are multiple paths your story could take, but usually only one that resonates with your soul. Like a ceramic artist, you have to carve the excess clay out, to create your masterpiece statue. Writers do this by writing out their craziest ideas.
Only an unwritten idea is an obsession. Once it’s out of you, it’s boring even. That’s the big truth, why you don’t wanna get obsessed with your ideas. You will eventually bore of them, want to euthanize them, be free again of all restraints and responsibilities. That is why, stay productive, complete projects, publish and monetize, keep the flow.
Once you start committing to a path in your story, those alternate paths you explored, the questions you asked and answered, will still be part of your text. They’ll give it depth. Just like normal people are messy creatures who could’ve been this or that, but end up growing into strange and twisted combinations of incompatible ideals, harrowing regrets and a coffee addiction. My addiction is hot chocolate. Two cups for darkest days.
You should never, ever get writer’s block. You’re doing something terribly wrong if you get writer’s block. If it’s the internal critic, fuck him. If it’s performance pressure from success of your older works, then work that out in therapy, or start a new pen name. Always think ahead to the next project and the next project. Your ideas are going to develop in future projects anyway, and you’ll wanna move on to them having finished and published the previous iterations.