Friday, August 04, 2006

The Obstacle Course

Ever tried writing fiction in the middle of a crowded internet café? It's remarkably difficult to execute. Apart from the noise, the constant invasive presences of people, and the frustration of ending up with a sticky keyboard, there's also the fact that you're trying to get the words to flow in an totally different environment than the one you're normally used to.

Strangely, I have little or no problem writing blog entries in the same environment. Maybe personal essays and fiction pieces are especially distinctive in that way.

One of the things I've found is that nowadays, I absolutely have to write my fiction in front of a computer in order for it to turn out properly. I can still scribble my ideas or narrate entire sequences with pen and paper, but with fiction, my mind usually works so fast that my hand finds it difficult to catch up. For that matter, if I do find myself reduced to paper as a medium, I feel that I write far better with a pencil than I do with a ball-point pen.

Call it a set of odd quirks, I suppose.

Then again, a lot of writers can be observed to maintain their own strange habits. Don't some of us listen to music when writing, for example? Don't some of us shut all the doors and windows to ensure extra silence? Don't some of us bring a tape recorder everywhere we go, in case some great idea comes around in the middle of our more mundane lives?

I've particularly wondered if any of these strange habits directly influence our kind of writing, or if we actually do turn out better works because we follow these odd quirks to the letter. I'd even go as far as to suggest a scientific study on these sorts of things, if there were a scientific method of measuring writing skill out there. (Sadly, there isn't, and therefore, I can't.)

Another possibility, for that matter, is the exact converse; that our choice of writing may directly influence our choice of weird habits. Writers do develop a certain reputation through the core disciplines of their products: Most of us, for example, find it easy to assume that H.G. Wells was an intellectual genius, or that Neil Gaiman is a new-age guru of some sort, or that Stephen King is a very creepy man. While these people and others may not necessarily fit the impressions we assign to them, they'd all probably be willing to admit to having taken on some aspects of their chosen genres. (Although it's just a theory, of course.)

Maybe it's simply a question of who we are, really. It's easy for one's personality to become ingrained in whatever he or she writes, so it's not too far a stretch to assume that the methods of how we write would contain pieces of our personalities as well.

If that's the case, then I can assume that there's probably at least one person out there who might find it easy to write something in a very noisy environment, e.g. one of the local internet cafés.

For that matter, maybe they can teach me how to do it one day.


Jac said...

sus buti ka pa nga nakakapagsulat ng fiction e :)

Sean said...

Jac: Yeah, but it somehow doesn't seem as good as other pieces...

Der Fuhrer said...

hey dude, my blog is back up.

Sean said...

Der Fuhrer: Noted, and marked for my reference. Keep posting! :)

kat said...

Somehow, I can't seem to help but echo Jac's sentiments hehe.

But then again, I find your observations quite true, and not just for writing fiction but wrtiting in general. Blogging is easy in an internet cafe, but writing fiction or a term paper isn't. I like to be alone or isolated when I write, but have music for company. And if I can't write, I get distracted by... SNES Emulator games. :D

Sean said...

Kat: Coincidentally, we have the same problem there. I've recently plowed through all the SNES Final Fantasy games, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Kart. I'm working on Tales of Phantasia right now, in fact. These days have been pretty bad for my writing. :)