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Creative vs Critical Voice?

For discussing writing, and encouraging those foolish enough to try it.

Creative vs Critical Voice?

Postby AspirationRealized » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:54 pm

I've heard of "necroing" threads by posting responses in them after they've been inactive for years, but is there such a thing as "necroing" a forum? I'm certainly going to try.

So I've heard a lot about this concept of the Creative voice of a Writer vs the Critical voice, on the Dunesteef as well as other fiction podcasts. These seem to be referencing an article, discussion, or commentary that I haven't looked up the source on yet. Perhaps if I did, I'd find the answer to my questions. But then, you wouldn't be reading this thread now would you?

This concept was interesting to me because it didn't fit with my writing process very well. Now I'm not an accomplished writer by any means, I would say I've only just started taking writing seriously (the Dunesteef played a major part in inspiring me to take that step). But in my limited experience, the Creative voice and Critical voice aren't at odds, or even separate. I tend to think of different ways to word things or different plotlines before I actually put it down on the page, usually editing it a few times in my head sentence by sentence beforehand. In this way my Critical voice is present with my Creative voice, presumably helping to guide it. The idea of them being at odds suggests that the Critical voice tells you to not finish something or submit something, in order to protect you. I must admit that waiting for my Critical voice to "clear" an idea has kept me from starting certain projects, so I guess that part reigns true enough with me.

If I remember right the source of the concept cautioned editing a piece well after it was written, as you will have lost the inspiration/influence/motivation that colored your creative voice. How does that idea fit in with keeping story ideas or "seeds" in a drawer and pulling them out later? And if my Creative voice and Critical voice are having a conversation, does that mean my creative voice is colored differently?

I'm sure these are questions I have to answer for myself, guided by my own experiences; and I will. But I still wanted to know what you Dunesteefers thought of this, not just my take but your own as well. Dunesteefians? Dunesteefites....
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Re: Creative vs Critical Voice?

Postby AndyD273 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:05 am

I have heard it said that editing should take place a little while after the writing is finished. As in, write it but don't edit while you're writing, and once you finish put it away for a bit. Maybe a couple days, maybe a week... Kind of cleanse the pallet, then go over it in editor mode, fixing the stuff that catches your attention.

The reasoning is that if you edit while it's still fresh then you may miss things that would be obvious problems to fresh eyes.
Sort of like reading things out loud helps you catch stuff that silent reading would miss.
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Re: Creative vs Critical Voice?

Postby Rish Outfield » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:25 pm

I tend to have a certain rhythm while I write (or maybe "pace" is a better word), where the ideas and creativity is flowing, and any little thing can interrupt that flow. Some of those interruptors would be research/fact-checking, internal continuity, and language exactness. In those cases, I usually just use placeholders or even blank spaces while I'm writing, that I will go back to and fix in the rewrite process, and here's an example of each:

Carlos had gone to school in San Antonio, where it never got below fifty degrees, even in winter, so he wasn't prepared for the subzero temperatures of Calgary.

Alison's roommate ____ had later taken a chainsaw to her entire afterschool study group, so she ended up being grateful for getting kicked out of school.

"You're really the most _____ (vexing) person I've ever known, Doctor," Mister Diggle admitted, finally handing the map over the for "expert" to read.

Later, I'd go in and find out how cold it gets in San Antonio (changing it to "forty"), figuring out what the ex-roommate's name had been (Londeen), and deciding on the appropriate word ("infuriating," in this case).

I'm no expert, however, except to mention that every writer does things differently (two professional writers I know, Dean Wesley Smith and Kevin J. Anderson, have both said that what they write down on their initial sitting is what ends up published, minus a typo here and there), and it has backfired, when I'm sure something is done, only to discover there are still rough patches or placeholders (on one recent story ["Rest Stop"], I realized when I went to record the audio version, that I had left one of those creepy blanks in there when I published it, but only sort of hoped that nobody had bought the story in that condition).

I'm not sure if that's Creative Voice versus Critical Voice, but a lot of times I will focus on the flow of the writing and the way it sounds on my second (or last) draft, rather than the simple creation of the story. And I find that that process takes a different focus (and amount of time) than the writing part. Again, YMMV, as the internet folks are fond of saying.
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