Greg Eidson's picture
Greg Eidson from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Alchemist - Paul Coelho December 16, 2011 - 12:31pm

Do any of you write this way? 

I've been obsessed with Charlie Kaufman for the past month. Watching interviews, reading articles, watching his movies etc. He talks about going into a script having no idea what it's about. We have this idea of how to tell a story, how to structure it. I was curious, if anyone on here writes this way. 

A lot of it comes out as some sort of lucid experience. Letting whatever surface that's floating around in your head.  

1. Do you think it's pretentious, not real/true writing

2. Do you enjoy this kind of work? (If you do write this way, let me know why and how you go about it.)

.'s picture
. December 16, 2011 - 12:33pm

How is Glamorama?

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break December 16, 2011 - 12:35pm

Right Brian?

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 16, 2011 - 12:37pm

I once married a Brian. He was not the Right Brian, he was definitely the Wrong Brian. I've given up on Brians completely and am now married to a Jon. He seems to be the Right Jon so far.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 16, 2011 - 12:39pm

In seriousness, though, I do this often, and it has it's pros and cons. I am terrible at writing for assignment, but I can get some really good yarns from just sitting down and writing, and letting the story go where it wants to. I would never compare my style to Kaufman, though, his stuff has a great surreal feeling that makes it what it is.

.'s picture
. December 16, 2011 - 12:43pm

B-rye. B-ronie. Bri-man. B-ryan.

Greg Eidson's picture
Greg Eidson from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Alchemist - Paul Coelho December 16, 2011 - 12:56pm

Okay, successfully changed it. The first time I thought I got it right. What is a right brian anyways?

jack - Finished Glamorama, and absolutely loved it. It was very cinematic. The tone, even, the writing style. It was very much appropriate to the story and Victors character. Glad I read it. But now I'm anxious to see this short film Roger Avary did, "The Glitterati", where him and the actor who played Victor Ward in "The Rules Of Attraction", traveled all over Europe and he completely got into character, he had sex with random women. Did a bunch of drugs, went to clubs, just completely went for it with the character. But, they're only screening it privately in select locations. One day, I will obtain a copy. 

Brandon - You're a dick. 

Renee - I think Kaufman picks a theme. And keeps fleshing it out. It's because I've been writing screenplays and short films lately. And you can use visuals with that medium so much more, and more effectively. But it's an interesting thing. To see what comes out when you have no filter. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 16, 2011 - 1:04pm

And that's why I can't say that I do it the way he does it--I don't start out with anything particular in mind when I sit down, I just sit down and start writing, whereas he is actually trying to communicate something specific. I don't usually figure out the themes and plot lines until I have gotten a good way into a larger piece.

.'s picture
. December 16, 2011 - 1:12pm

Well you live in LA so let me know when you find a bootleg copy of Glitterati from some shady movie editor so you can loan it to me haha.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words December 16, 2011 - 1:47pm

I draw scenes and characters from my narrative. I've even done some "storyboarding" - it nudges the narrative in different directions because of visual cues that aren't necessarily as obvious when writing in text alone - for the record, I'm not a very good artist - but it's definitely a way to think about the story with more "right brain."

And there is a big part of the pre-draft stage which is flushing out the story and characters. It takes a while to pare out the dead ends, false starts and backstory, but this step is import for me in developing the story. I've added weird details as they occur to me, but had to figure out the reason for them.

Like a ship's captain who wears an impeccable uniform, which is missing all of its buttons. I still haven't sorted out where they've gotten themselves to. It may even become a significant plot point.


Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter December 16, 2011 - 1:47pm

1. I don't find it pretentious, but 2. I certainly don't enjoy reading a bunch of intriguing prose that goes nowhere.  That said, I think this way of writing is beneficial; sometimes you can crank out some good shit to work with.  Because that's really what writing is, is working with what you've got.

Greg Eidson's picture
Greg Eidson from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Alchemist - Paul Coelho December 16, 2011 - 1:56pm

It's something new I'm trying. Making the story much more personal, and trying to paint the perception of life, and simple every day things, and how differently another person might experience it. 

I've just been trying to write things that come to me, and to thread them in a way that connects them all. It's something new, something weird that is a fun new sort of way to spitball an idea together. I

I think I could only do this strictly through screenplay format though. Short story/novel require, a lot a lot of planning before hand. 

Utah's picture
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry December 16, 2011 - 2:03pm

I agree with postpomo and Bekanator.  I've used this approach quite a bit, ala Natalie Goldberg and Ray Bradbury.  It's good for a number of things.  Excellent composting, just churning and mushing together all the images and names and smells and stuff that are under the surface of your conscious.  I'm pretty convinced that the more often you bring this stuff out, the more accessible it is when you actually need it, so I try to write like that about a half hour a day. 

But really just as practice.  I've gotten some really useful material out of exercising like that, but that useful material tended to be a lumpy mess that I had to figure out.  It's great lumpy mess, because when you dredge your subconscious like that you're really poking around in the living tissue of your perspective of the world, but by nature it tends to be disjointed and half-formed.  Once I've got that mess down on a page, I can sift through it until I find useful stuff to structure around. 

As to the approach to story itself, I tend to like to have an idea where I'm going, what blocks I'm using.  Direction might change midstream as a natural evolution of the narrative, but even then I'm typically aware of the end result of that new direction.  Otherwise, the prose tends to come out intriguing, as Bekanator said, but formless.

David Shepherd's picture
David Shepherd from shepherdsville, KY is reading Idoru by William Gibbson December 16, 2011 - 3:22pm

It depends. If I get an idea and don't write it down it eventually floats around in my head until I've constructed a full story. But if I just sit down to write I often just let it flow out using maybe nothing more than a single line or image as my basis for the whole story so I often have no idea what's going to happen. I like to let the story construct itself.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 16, 2011 - 4:49pm

Charlie Kaufman wrote Being John Malcovich right? I love that movie. I still think of that as one of the most original movies I've ever seen. I think some of the best writing starts by driving blind into the darkness. Just feeling your way out in a dark room, describing shapes, sights and sounds. If you want to be versed in the art of surrealism, reexperiment with your senses and learn to view the world in different ways. Imagine how a blind or deaf person experiences the world or write like you are autistic. I think it takes huge floppy pink sweaty veiny grotesque balls to write without a destination but watch out for the potholes of logic, if you want to write from a place of the subconscious, ignore all logic.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts December 16, 2011 - 4:59pm

I don't know what you mean by right brain writing. If I use my brain at all, it usually involves the whole real estate.

If you're just talking about writing stories on the fly, this is my main mode of execution these days. A general story starter idea and a way to tell it, come up with an opening sentence and start writing. Every line after that is to elevate or subvert the previous text, themes and plot quickly develop through this formula. I'm confident in my storytelling abilities to at least come up with something passable for a first draft.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. December 17, 2011 - 1:03am

I'm usually accused of being out of my mind, so writing with the right brain isn't my speciality.  I've been using the wrong brain for a as long as I can remember (which, incidently, happens to be about 3 days ago when I washed up on the beach, naked, except for a longsword strapped to my back- luckily there was a crusty old hermit there to explain my amnesia and explain that I was the savior that the people had been waiting for).

Hetch Litman's picture
Hetch Litman from Ojai, Ca. is reading Wise Blood by Flannery OConnor December 17, 2011 - 1:58am

I mostly write this way the first 20 minutes of every day the moment I wake up. I've gleaned a lot of really swell story ideas from these writings bu I have to admit I wouldn't show them to anyone. It's almost like I'm still half asleep but it's a great way to defeat the blank page without stressing over I too hard IMHO. 

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly December 17, 2011 - 9:26am

I've two projects I'm focused on getting into a readable state.  One of them is somewhat of a memoir, based on real people and real events. I was there for all of it so it seems as though it would be really easy to get it all out on the page, but no.

The other is something I'm writing for fun, running with an idea.  I'm making that one up as I go, and it flows so much easier and much more quickly.  I'm enjoying writing this much more than my above project.

David Shepherd's picture
David Shepherd from shepherdsville, KY is reading Idoru by William Gibbson December 17, 2011 - 9:41am

It seems to me real life is always harder to write. It's much easier to make up a reaction or feeling than portraying your own at any given moment I feel.

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly December 17, 2011 - 4:42pm



I agree.  I thought it would be a breeze to write real life.  After months, if not years, of not knowing quite how to start, I had a brainstorm one night and got what I would call a prologue out in a few hours.  After which I've come to a grinding halt. 

My major hurdle is the substance between the events.  For my fiction, I can invent and go with whatever springs to mind.  The memoir-ish story needs to be plausible, but not boring.  Distilling life into worthwhile stories that contribute to the overall plot, without being a waste of time or words, is really blocking me.

Looking at Scrivener, that seems like exactly what I need to organize all these seemingly disjointed occurences into a cohesive affair.