Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Tim Schafer

Writing Update #2: Freewriting Technique

Recommended Posts

Very interesting post, Mr. Schafer, thanks for sharing your wisdom.

I will certainly try if that works for me. I am really curious about what will come out of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much for this update! I tried this method while I wrote a short story named 'The Blooming Basins", which is available on deviant art here: http://fav.me/d54kpb8 I doubt I would have been able to write this creatively if I hadn't used your method. I have hopes to be a writer myself when I grow up, so I am very glad to have learned this incredibly useful skill thanks to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, even though you're writing is FREE, don't worry about giving it some gentle direction
you're writing is

DISAPPOINTING.

Time was freewritting when he wrot that - you dont worry about typoos. Or writoos - if you are an analogist, I guess.

;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I can't do anything but this. It's addictive.

But I guess it's back to brainstorming and plot development and all that stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mind immediately went to "I hope I can find a notebook that looks really nice" which seems totally beside the point. I'll just take a page from Tim's book (not literally) and put stickers all over it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man I know what I'm gonna be doing this summer!

Quick question though for you guys: how long do you write? And moreso, did you start slow and extended the period of writing every week or something like that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh man I know what I'm gonna be doing this summer!

Quick question though for you guys: how long do you write? And moreso, did you start slow and extended the period of writing every week or something like that?

Every day for at least an hour is what I try to do. I'm flexible though, so it's sometimes less frequently or shorter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This works great for music too. And with other people.

Before we became a full blown band (drum, bass, guitar, organ, singer, trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax, trombone) me and three other friends would just go to a recording studio, book 3 hours, and play. No stopping. Ever. Record everything and see what was good later. A lot of material for the songs we play today comes from those jam sessions.

Now its harder due to the size of the group. Technically its more complicated (the trick was learning how to alternate tempos and change keys - hard with four people, impossible with nine.) And the feel of intimacy we had as four friends was much more forgiving. If your idea sucked, you weren't bumming anyone out. Now there are eight other people in the room that want to play something, and when the groove dies down, its hard to get everyone on the high train again.

I'm studying for a first degree in musical composition now, and I often improvise around the themes and sounds I'm working with at the time on the piano. Reading this post and my reply made me realize I need to record these sessions. Making them a structural point in my day, every day, might be an interesting way to go. It is a skill building technique after all.

Will try.

p.s. - This is a wonderful idea for a present to give to a friend of mine who is going on a very long trip abroad. Just a notebook, with simple instructions in the front cover.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tim, this is excellent, I do something similar when doodling, and have been trying to do some writing so will definitely be trying it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tim! This stuff is fascinating and damn entertaining.

It's kind of funny but I think I invented free-writing for myself completely by accident when I was 19 or so. I had never heard of the technique but I did very much enjoy writing and went about it in a similar way. I used to sit down at my Amiga every night and write in what I used to call my Journal. I was very melodramatic so I would light a couple candles, the background of my word processing software was set to all red and I called my journal "Life's Bloody Scrawlings" (intense right?). It was intended to be more humorous than as serious as it sounds.

Anyways.. I'd literally write as you described above. I would type constantly and not allow myself to stop. I didn't worry about grammer or spelling or even making any sense. Whatever was in my brain just sort of oozed out of my fingers. After a few weeks though I noticed something strange.... after a certain point in my stream of consciousness I kept coming back to similar points and I'd drift away from stupid things like the girl I saw at the bank that day and moved into some serious philosophical and kind of science fiction sort of stuff. Right around that time the stuff actually started getting pretty good (maybe a little weird... but also very interesting).

Eventually the time where I would just vomit out word crap became a more intentional way for me to get to the 'good stuff'. Eventually what I got was a daily writing tasty treat buried inside a layer of useless fat. With a bit of editing (actually... a whole bunch of editing) I had the framework for a book/game/movie I would still like to create at some point.

I then met my wife.. got a 'real job' did all kinds of other stuff and threw my artistic self off a cliff to fall to his death (but he didn't fall far enough... and he's just kind of sitting there broken and starving slowly)... but still... while it lasted that was a cool technique and definitely did work very well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm tryinmg that just now and its completelly hard omg, you can't just stoopp and if you do lots of grammar erros its horrible ( principalmente ( more for me. that i'm not a natural english speaker) i can't go back there to correct the damn word because mr tim decided that DONOTSTOP was a rule , damn this is hard i cant make it haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa BLONEYU

I'll try it on paper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to poke in and toss out my thoughts. I've been "freewritting" ever since college, but not with the kind of diligence that you do, Tim. I usually have some random idea while I'm driving or playing one of my favorite games, and then write about that idea for a month or two. Something else usually comes up (work, school, friends - or enemies, or whatever), and I never end up finishing what I started.

Just before I watched your video about freewriting (whenever that came out a month or so ago), I had one of these ideas that I started playing with in a google doc. When you mentioned freewriting, it inspired me to actually make it more of a "job" than this thing I did on the side. I've now made it my goal to finish this story I'm writing by the end of August, even if no one else will ever read it (because I'm way too shy about my work). So thanks... :) I've actually found my motivation now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My mind immediately went to "I hope I can find a notebook that looks really nice" which seems totally beside the point. I'll just take a page from Tim's book (not literally) and put stickers all over it.

It's okay to be really fussy about your notebook. Like I said, I prefer 5-subject, with pockets in the dividers. I prefer a cardboard cover, so I can write on it, but these days they all seem to be plastic.

Your writing tools should give you great pleasure.

BUT as counterpoint I will say that you should watch the Jane Campion film Angel at my Table, where young Janet Frame writes great poetry with a pencil stub smaller than the kind you get at miniature golf or IKEA. And she writes on whatever scraps of paper she can find, in a dirty room in a mental hospital. So don't use "I don't have the write materials" as an excuse!

Stickers, though. You can't write without stickers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your writing tools should give you great pleasure.

Oh man. So I used to use those 5 cent pens that weren't even BIC quality back in school. I didn't realize it at the time, but I fought more with getting the darn thing to write than actually writing notes, or essays, etc.

Now, I go to stationary stores and actually try out a handful of pens, finding one I love. It's terrible though... because I start to get super territorial over all my writing utensils if someone ends up borrowing one at work... <.<;; I also often try to return pens if someone leaves them at my desk or with me after a meeting. Some of my coworkers laugh at me, but other's are totally on my side of the good-writing-tool argument. Hehe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So... Will we get the chance to throw out ideas of our own? Obviously with a "legal disclaimer" about intellectual property rights voided and nullified if given and used as the idea would have eventually come from someone else anyways, and possibly did, so you can't sue me and I can't sue you kinda thing? Because I have to say, I'm quite the writer if you like to see a bit of brilliant storytelling that could be used in the game. Or even if not, it may inspire you in a weird way that has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but gave you that train of thought that never would have happened otherwise.

I totally want to throw out ideas to the legendary Time Shafer. Dreams can come true, right? Right!? RIGHT???!!!

So lots of ice cream, huh? Interesting. I like ice cream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your writing tools should give you great pleasure.

I play video games (adventure games and indie games mostly) on the same pc I do my writing on, in addition to "other" pleasures such as what at least 50% of the internet is full of. I'm fairly sure I've got this part down =3 I also find I have higher quality work when I am doing my writing on MY computer, and not someone else's computer. I almost always have worse writting when I write with a pencil or other writting tool, so I decided to use a computer whenever possible, and only use paper when I have no computer handy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been lurking and decided that it was time to chime in. The posts about free writing are awesome and very timely for me. I told Tim Schafer about this at Game Masters in Melbourne but I was probably a bit nervous and didn't get the story out quite right. Still I look at my signed copy of the event programme whenever I'm feeling a bit stuck. Thanks Tim!

I had completed a first draft of a novel for NaNoWriMo in 2011 and decided that it was time to revise it after letting it sit. One thing that became apparent was that the heroes had it too easy and it was boring, so I decided to kill off a supporting character to drive conflict between the two main characters. The problem was that the character I was killing became important later on in the story and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't come up with a replacement. After watching Tim's free writing video I tried it a few times and with a few tweaks I had a character walk off the page almost fully formed.

The main changes I made to Tim's method is that I type it rather than handwrite, my hand gets tired before I run out of time. I go back as I'm writing and bold passages that leap out as something I can use. It comes out as a stream of consciousness conversation with myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been doing it for three days now. I'm not in to writing in any way right now, but am into creative things (like music, as mentioned in my other posts). While I can see the full effect of this being for writers, it has a very pleasant feeling that has nothing to do with the written word - It really feels like brushing your teeth, but for your brain!

Thanks Tim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this Tim, I read the whole thing and I think I ca apply this to start gaining skillls when it comes to writing a new idea but also I think I can start using this freewriting and changing it to "freesketching" so I can left all the pressure of drawing something instantly meaningful, so.. Starting tomorrow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've now made it my goal to finish this story I'm writing by the end of August, even if no one else will ever read it (because I'm way too shy about my work). So thanks... :) I've actually found my motivation now.

Hi, I was wondering if you actually finish your story ?

I really have to thank you for the "writing is a job" note. I almost constantly forget that I'm not the only one who finds writing kinda sorta hard at times. As somebody who recently graduated with a degree in film, it's really encouraging to read. By the end of the summer, so help me, this screenplay is getting finished.

So, did you finish your screenplay ?

Personally, it's been 2 days since I started doing Tim's Freewriting and it's great. I want, one day, to write stories for games, novels, etc (It seems im only good with the writing part... I hate so much modeling or programming), in french and doing freewriting, I realize one thing... : I didnt wrote much before, keeping all my ideas in my head, I am afraid to start writing and to found out later that my ideas was bad.

But I have some questions for Tim, if he still look at his post :

1) Do you write recto-verso ? because I write with ink and when I go on the other side of the page, I get distracted with the writing on the other side...

2) I wrote on paper first than rewrite my story on the computer a bit later, it help rework some things (okay that's not a question)

3) I don't understand your draft 2-3-4, do you : freewriting for a few hours each day, putting stars for good ideas than after that take all the stars and form a coherent text on another notebook (or computer) and that is called draft 2 ? And than rework it (draft 3) and again until it give the final product?(draft4) Because it seems that you only have one notebook for an entire game and I find it small for the scale of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...