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January 5, 2013
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People who confine themselves to one thing

:iconjamberry-song:
jamberry-song Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
People often categorize themselves when it comes to writing. For example, they will say "I am a poet" or "I write science fiction" as if those things were all-encompassing of their work. This is useful.

But I am curious about this. Recently, someone came into a chatroom with a story for critique. I noticed a visual quality about the story and at the beginning of my critique comments I asked the writer if they had ever read or written a screenplay, and if not, maybe they should try it. A third person chimed in with "Or you could just write better stories" and heavily discouraged suggesting writing in another medium during critique.

Now, this has been bothering me for days. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that when I took two play-writing courses, which made me read and write plays, it improved both the action and the dialogue in my stories by tenfold. I can tell you why; when you're writing a play, everything hinges on dialogue. You also have to pare everything down to the bare minimum actions for stage directions to allow the actors some leeway in bringing the characters to life. My stories became a lot cleaner after that. Sometimes it's all about how you're looking at the process of writing.

Now some of you seriously do only write one kind of thing. Why? Granted, I could very well be the strange one with my fuzzy, big-picture perspective. So I want to know what you think!

I know others of you do all kinds of things outside of writing. Sometimes I see comments accusing people of being a "visual artist" (as if it's a bad thing; like why are you in the literature forum at all, I see some writers ask). Why does it matter? A visual artist can write (some of the best writers I know have multiple talents). More importantly, a visual artist can be a really perceptive reader.

Now for all you other multi-talented folks (I know some of you bake and/or cook really well, some of you crochet or knit, some of you not only write your own comics but draw them as well, some of you sculpt, some of you take some pretty amazing photography... etc. etc.); do these things help you be a better writer? If so, how?
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Devious Comments

:iconclaycowboys:
ClayCowboys Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Writer
I definitely have other pursuits besides writing. Although I concentrate mostly on writing novels, I also draw, play guitar (not well, but still!), knit, bake, and sing. I also do yoga, travel, collect vinyl, and am a political junkie. Do these pursuits and interests help me become a better writer? In some cases, yes. I took guitar lessons mainly as research for one scene in a novel. Likewise with knitting. I didn't expect either to become new hobbies of mine, but it's nice. :) I guess they made my writing "better" in the sense that when I have a character play a guitar or knit (I don't want them all to be visual artists or writers, ha!), I'll at least know what the hell I'm talking about. ;)

I guess that's kind of going off what :iconkinofou: said. Life experience is good research. Especially that awful date I went on the summer before, but that's a story for another day. :D
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:iconworldwar-tori:
WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013   General Artist
I think when you write outside your usual medium it teaches you better writing skills both in your medium and a broader ability for other projects.

I don't think anyone should stay to just one thing, even if it sucks the first few times at least you're giving yourself more room to improve and experience to use
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:iconfallingstarz5:
Fallingstarz5 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Student General Artist
I tend to write whatever I feel like writing. Sometimes, I want to write historical fantasy stories. Sometimes it's science fiction. Sometimes it's realistic fiction. I don't write much poetry, but sometimes I do write some poetry.

It all depends on how I feel and if I want to put effort and time into my characters.
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:iconaconitum-napellus:
Aconitum-Napellus Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Professional Writer
I've never tried writing a play or screenplay - at least, not since school - but I would never decide to limit myself to one genre or form. It's always good to try new things, and it's not going to hurt anything if you do it. I do worry sometimes about spreading myself over too many genres, but really it can't hurt.
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:iconrequiemthefallen:
Requiemthefallen Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Everything you learn in life can help make you a better writer, and you should never confine yourself to one genre. I started with sci-fi, but am now planning on trying horror, and have experimented with Second Person Perspective. If I had stuck to third person sci-fi, I wouldn't have improved nearly as much as I have. I believe there is a saying, "Variety is the spice of life" or something like that. If you don't have variety, then everything becomes monotone and repetitive, eventually.
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:iconthenaughticallife:
TheNAUGHTicalLife Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Writer
I perceive, though I'd enjoy being proven wrong, that every great writer only wrote about one thing.
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:iconjamberry-song:
jamberry-song Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Wrote about one thing? How do you mean, like subject-wise?

And hmm. That is an interesting posit. I'm going to think about that one.
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:iconthenaughticallife:
TheNAUGHTicalLife Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Writer
Yes, subject-wise. Woolf did the independence of women, Fitzgerald did lost love, Wilde lampooned Victorianism, etc.
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:iconrequiemthefallen:
Requiemthefallen Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
In some cases this is true, but what about when a person's perspective on life changes? Their views will be different, and they have the potential to write something completely different.
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:iconthenaughticallife:
TheNAUGHTicalLife Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm not talking about 'person,' I'm talking about a pattern I noticed.
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