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Good At Writing??? I Need HELP!!!

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posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 09:32 AM
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Hi ATSers!

Currently I am sitting here with my mind torn in three different directions. Part of me is absolutely intellectually overwhelmed and engaging in racing thoughts, another part of me is utterly frustrated, and the greatest part of me has simply gone limpid and blank. Let me explain what got me to this state and to the crux of why I am writing this thread. Basically speaking, I am overwhelmed.

About ten or eleven hours ago I had a "light bulb moment", while reading about some US history online. I've always had a talent for seeing things in an abstract - and for discerning patterns in that abstract, so "light bulb moments" are not terribly uncommon. I know how to deal with them ( Or so I thought ). With my abstract notion and a perceived pattern in mind, I fired up the Google, the Bing, and Microsoft Word. My plan? A title and bullet point based outline, complete with general ideas and links to base a rough draft upon.

This is my usual process, and it's never failed before.

The problem came when I began to find more patterns with nearly every single Google or Bing search. I had pulled on a single string only to discover that I was unraveling a tapestry. Suddenly I had a large pattern with several sub patterns woven into it. I found my outline, just a bullet point outline, with no specifics was already long enough to comprise a HUGE thread - in their own right - and myself struggling with a way to structure it all.

I feel like the John Nash, as portrayed in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" right now... Staring at a wall of pictures all connected with a pattern of strings. I can visualize and understand the patterns, but seem to lack the language skills to convey them.

I need a new system!!! Mine bullet point outline method is inferior to the task!

Knowing that there are some truly beautiful and brilliant minds on ATS, I come to you asking if there are better tools for structuring complex and interwoven ideas? Short of math, is there a linguistic or visual mechanism that might help me turn a one dimensional communicative tool into a two of three dimensional one?

If I cannot even effectively outline a concept, then surely I cannot structure a viable thread based upon it. So I need help in the worst possible way! Are there any experienced writers, genealogists, information analysts, or others who might have special education in this regard. And if so... Can you please point me in the right direction???

Before you ask... My pride almost kept me from writing this thread. I am stubborn and not used to feeling intellectually lost. However, the thought occurred to me that I may not be the only ATSer who has found themselves literally down a rabbit hole. So, pride be damned, I decided it was worth asking so that I could learn and swallowing my pride might help a few other folks out as well.

Thanks in advance for any contributions here.

Signed, one very frustrated and lost ATSer!

~Heff




posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 09:43 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I'll get back to this later Heff.

Sleep and..........takes priority.




posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 09:53 AM
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I have a suggestion. It's what I had seriously considered doing on my budget thread, in fact. I'd have had to, I decided, if I'd gone any further for size or scope. ..and oh that topic could have gone ....Oh err... nvm.

If you stumbled into a topic that is turning into a big Onion on ya for layers and layers which all bring the same strong reaction......take it to the next level.

Instead of a thread, set out right from the get go with the expectation of it running 2-3 threads in a multi-part release. Heck, finish and release over a bit of time to adjust the follow on parts as needed for reaction to what is already out and not seemingly spam everyone with a flood of what that would have for material.

You sure have me interested though and I can't think of much to carry that volume of material, but heck, I envy that you stumbled into something so good! So, instead of trying to abridge what probably has you interested in the first place...just adjust the format to fit the size?



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 10:14 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Thanks Wrabbit!

I thought about the installment idea, but I don't think it would work with this issue. It's basically a single concept, or plot, with several sub plots. The problem for me is the layering. The best correlative I can come up with right now is those colored circle charts used to show overlap both with the circles and with color combinations?

Unfortunately that mechanism won't work either because some of the patterns I am dealing with overlap in ways that can't be expressed in that manner. At least not in two dimensions, and possibly not even in three.


As for subject matter? Mix Masonry, Hermetics, The Founding of the US, Tecumsehs curse, Imperialism, Judaism, The Kennedy-Lincoln coincidences, and a few other factors into the mix.


~Heff



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 10:22 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


google stephen king gives advice for writers on how to write. He gives great insight on just how to start writing. Instead of stopping every other line to research a topic, just write. If the story is about Miami, but can't remember the street names, insert your street name, come back to it later. He says writing isn't about having all the details correct at the moment of writing, its about writing now.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 10:27 AM
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I agree with GreenFox.(I have Stephen's book "On Writing").

Just sit down and start writing, and don't stop to analyze--do that later.
If you've got a house to build and the bricks are lying there, pick one up and get to work.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 10:36 AM
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Try a 'free write' format. Do your research with no planned outline. Sometimes a free write allows for amazing flow with more complex subject matters. I think this will aid your layering issue if you have no route for the information and are willing to let it evolve.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I would first write a "paper" of each subjects alone, and even print them. When you have all these subjects on the table its easier to organize them, also where to start and how to end it.

I know you love history, and making history essays were most fun part of it



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 11:02 AM
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I would bullet point the key elements.

Map the general plan, but expect to add + subtract from it.

Then fall back on the basics .......Introduction....Body......Conclusion.....References.

Make sure you're in the zone.....don't try to force it.

Good luck.


edit on 16/10/2012 by OccamAssassin because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 11:04 AM
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Grab a piece of paper/notepad, write down the main topic at the top in big letters, then write down the sub-topics in the order in which you think is of most relevance to the main plot. Then as you keep finding all this new info (the bits which might not be as relevant but still warrant a mention) put them into a 'further reading' type of section.



Then start typing


This will probably not help one little bit as I am to creating in depth threads, what Kim Kardashian is to a spot of nuclear fission.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 01:36 PM
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There's an Application called Mind Manager.

It helps to visualize ideas and relations.

MS Visio would also do fine to illustrate and organize abstract ideas.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 02:26 PM
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Some might say that the moment you become overwhelmed by your research project is the exact moment your research has reached a new level of importance.

That's what I would like to believe anyway since I have a project that has me feeling like I'm in over my head, too.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 02:31 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


What did I Tell you about getting ATS members to do your homework?

I mean really, it's embarrasing..



All kidding aside, I've done extensive writing and my way of hashing out ideas is to write the last paragraph and then work backwards.

~Tenth



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 02:42 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


LOL the writing isn't the part that snagged me. It was the intricacy of the narrative! Fifteen people, interconnected in various different ways, over a period of 232 years. And that's without the background or narrative.

I was vapor locked but the suggestions so far have given me inspiration. The tools provided by H1ght3chHippie are just what I need to create the visuals to help ease the word load burden. And the general writing advice from all others ( especially those who referenced me to Stephen King ) allowed me to realize what I'd been doing wrong!

Over the years I've gotten used to writing for an ATS format. Header graphic, greeting, synopsis, fact-source, fact-source, intermission, picture, fact-source, fact-source, music video, closing. A very linear approach. What I have to do with this one is more like writing drama or a screenplay. It has to be non-linear - setting the backstory and then proceeding forward with inclusions ( vignettes ) which will allow me to illustrate the various interconnections of the fifteen people in the story line - with intermittent narrative to keep the underlying plot moving forward.

Basically I need to write it like a script.

Seriously... I got so seized up conceptually that I went into the basement, found a box with Lego's in it and was trying to use them to create some sort of 3D approximation of the connections - thinking if I could just see it, I'd then be able to describe it.


Yeah, it's time to up my dosage.


~Heff



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by Hefficide
Seriously... I got so seized up conceptually that I went into the basement, found a box with Lego's in it and was trying to use them to create some sort of 3D approximation of the connections - thinking if I could just see it, I'd then be able to describe it.


Yeah, it's time to up my dosage.


~Heff


Now we need a video about that.. Did it worked out for you ?



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 03:13 PM
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reply to post by dollukka
 




Never did get what I needed from the Legos... but I did manage a really kewl spaceship.


~Heff



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by Hefficide


Hi ATSers!

Currently I am sitting here with my mind torn in three different directions. Part of me is absolutely intellectually overwhelmed and engaging in racing thoughts, another part of me is utterly frustrated, and the greatest part of me has simply gone limpid and blank. Let me explain what got me to this state and to the crux of why I am writing this thread. Basically speaking, I am overwhelmed.

About ten or eleven hours ago I had a "light bulb moment", while reading about some US history online. I've always had a talent for seeing things in an abstract - and for discerning patterns in that abstract, so "light bulb moments" are not terribly uncommon. I know how to deal with them ( Or so I thought ). With my abstract notion and a perceived pattern in mind, I fired up the Google, the Bing, and Microsoft Word. My plan? A title and bullet point based outline, complete with general ideas and links to base a rough draft upon.

This is my usual process, and it's never failed before.

The problem came when I began to find more patterns with nearly every single Google or Bing search. I had pulled on a single string only to discover that I was unraveling a tapestry. Suddenly I had a large pattern with several sub patterns woven into it. I found my outline, just a bullet point outline, with no specifics was already long enough to comprise a HUGE thread - in their own right - and myself struggling with a way to structure it all.

I feel like the John Nash, as portrayed in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" right now... Staring at a wall of pictures all connected with a pattern of strings. I can visualize and understand the patterns, but seem to lack the language skills to convey them.

I need a new system!!! Mine bullet point outline method is inferior to the task!

Knowing that there are some truly beautiful and brilliant minds on ATS, I come to you asking if there are better tools for structuring complex and interwoven ideas? Short of math, is there a linguistic or visual mechanism that might help me turn a one dimensional communicative tool into a two of three dimensional one?

If I cannot even effectively outline a concept, then surely I cannot structure a viable thread based upon it. So I need help in the worst possible way! Are there any experienced writers, genealogists, information analysts, or others who might have special education in this regard. And if so... Can you please point me in the right direction???

Before you ask... My pride almost kept me from writing this thread. I am stubborn and not used to feeling intellectually lost. However, the thought occurred to me that I may not be the only ATSer who has found themselves literally down a rabbit hole. So, pride be damned, I decided it was worth asking so that I could learn and swallowing my pride might help a few other folks out as well.

Thanks in advance for any contributions here.

Signed, one very frustrated and lost ATSer!

~Heff


I have to work with complex topics (genealogical, legal, etc...) as a matter of course...
Not knowing precisely what you're facing...or "why" it is boggling your ability to coordinate, my suggestion is...
Turn it into a flow chart. You can use Microsoft Word or any number of other applications...
I will often go a step further and identify each of the primary branches (with 1, 2, 3, etc...), and then each of the secondary-branches (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc...) and each of the tertiary branches (1aa, 1ab, 1ba, 1bb, 2aa, 2ab, 2ba...etc...), and on...
This doesn't entirely solve the problem for you (or - it doesn't write the essay/thesis), but, it does organize them into subtopics that can be easily/readily identified and associated with the appropriate topic... And, in the process of dissecting...your mind will begin to take better hold on "the whole".
May not work for you - but...might be worth the effort.
Good Luck!



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 07:32 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I cant give you much writing or structuring tips,,, but i sure would love to hear what it is your working on!!

any way you can hint at the overall significance? or explain a little about what it is you are "looking at"?



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 07:58 PM
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I get like this more often then I would like to admit, but I found an interesting system that can help me to keep on track, and off track at the same time, I hope this helps.

Most of the time people can handle maybe 3 important subjects at a time that are all connected. So I open 3 New Folders on my laptop, number them 1,2, and 3. This way I know what is the least important and the most.

I have, and if you do not have this , this is a ATS/Researcher MUST HAVE, almost all browser have a PDF extension that can turn any webpage into a PDF that you can store in the folder. So lets say your #1 folder is where you want to start, go to the page, download it and move it to the folder. Also screen capture if the page is to long, and you don't need the whole thing, you can just download the piece you want, like using a highlighter in a book and add it to the folder.

I also have VLC and a downloader so if there are any films, documentaries, etc,. that go with it, I also add it to the folder that it pertains to in importance. Also any pictures that are associated, can be downloaded separately and named according to folder number.

Last but not least, when you feel that you have all that you need, (btw, there is no need to smash them all together, as you may find something later that you might want to add), when you finally finish you can open a text document and have the info half screen to reread and write at the same time for references.

Also if you are going to use it for ATS, always remember to add the links to the pages that you got it from as they will of course be needed here, I once did this, I took all that I needed and forgot to add links, this was a very horrific incident as I couldn't add it to ATS because I had no links.

I hope this helps, I have used this technique in all of my very large threads, I waited till I had it all together, so that there was no disruption in the thread, as for people to interrupt the flow, so when I pressed continue, there was something immediately added.

Also if I didnt explain it correctly or it sounds complicated I could adjust it if needed.

I hope this helps


Peace, NRE.

Oh yeah, also you can after your done you can add all folders to one as you will be familiar after the thread as to where things are, you can name the folder what the name of the thread is, so that if anyone wants to debate your research, you can always go back, reread or recheck any info you added. You cannot add EVERYTHING to the thread but if it needs a bump I always hide a little treasure, just in case


Here are the links for what I mentioned.

VLC- www.videolan.org...

PDF downloader- addons.mozilla.org...

Screen Capture- chrome.google.com...

Sorry if its not for the right browsers but you can see what they can do.

Ok last edit.
Here is a must have for those that have issues with erasing threads, by accident, slow connection, etc,.

Lazarus: Form Recovery

Never lose anything you type into a web form again! Lazarus securely auto-saves all forms as you type, so after a crash, server timeout, or whatever, you can go back to the form, right click, "recover form", and breathe a sigh of relief.

addons.mozilla.org...
You can add this with a password as well, but you can never lose anything you write again

edit on 16-10-2012 by NoRegretsEver because: Adding Links



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 10:10 PM
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Originally posted by Hefficide


I had a "light bulb moment"


Do Tell. Life is kind of dark without them, no?. I had one a few months ago............I want it back please.

Anyway.......it sounds like your ideas are outstripping your abilities to convey them. To bring them into real time. This is a sign, I'm sure you know, that you're maturing as a writer. Just like real life really. Sometimes we're presented with things we're not familiar with. If you want to grow, you jump into it and learn about it. If you don't want to grow, you won't. The thing is, you're probably going to have to use methods you're not familiar with to get over that “hump”. The easiest way to start with trying new methods is to recognize what you're doing now, which you summed up quite well, and do the opposite. In your case of seeing all these different connections and going with that, I would stop short. You don't really need to complicate things that much.

For example, your original thread. You took a complex subject, your inability to deal with it, and pared it down to about 500 words or so. The whole of the topic was about abstracts but you expalined it in a simple way, and you did it without bullet points or charts. Maybe you should use that post as a template of sorts for the project you want to do. Something important to keep in mind though is that even though you might have 5 different concepts you want to write about in the same piece in an abstract way, that doesn't mean the process by which to so it has to be complicated and abstract.

You say you deduce things in abstracts and that it's always been that way. If that's the case, you should be able to do it in your sleep. Keep that in mind as you're changing up your methods. What you already know is going to be implemented into what you're doing even though you're focusing on a different method. That original method is naturally going to segue into the new methods you're trying. And if it all goes well, you may end up with something that, when you're done with it, you're going to wonder where it came from.

I've lost count of times when I would write something, even in my teenage years, and I would put it down for a few days, come back to see it through a “fresh set of eyes” so to speak, and wonder “who wrote that?” That's when you know “You got it”. When something comes so naturally through what you've done in the past, that it felt like someone was pushing your pen for you. You're kind of out of yourself, in the zone. One way this happens is through segue-ways.

You metioned wanting to write a piece that binds 5 or 6 different topics together. What you might want to do as well is find a connection between 2 topics, that will be your segueway, and let that flow. Then that second topic you segued with the first, find another between that and the third. Keep doing that all down the line and you'll find that you've written something that flows effortlessly through the mind of the reader. Even something as technical as a dissertation. And that's why you're doing all this to begin with. For the reader. To that end, keep your audience in mind throughout all these processes that lead to the “final cut” as it were.

So really, I don't know if you want to look for different tools to format your ideas in, so much as you want to find different methods to get your ideas out of your head and onto the paper. This isn't math, this is writing. Flow charts and such are for algebraic equations, not essays. With all due respect Heff, I think you're complicating all this more then it has to be. I can undersatnd why, I've been there, and I can tell you from experience that when you do this you might not be able to see the forest through the tree's. Even in abstract writing you can find simplicity.

An abstract is a short summary of your completed research. If done well, it makes the reader want to learn more about your research.

The best example of this I can think of right now is this. The line “It seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind” is a very short abstract, or analogy, of the line that follows “Never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in” This works in 2 ways. First, the summary ( the first line) of the research (the second line) is worded in such a way as to catch the listeners attention and keep it. This is what you want to do. Yours may not be in a lyrical style, but the concept is the same. Secondly, using analogies like that have a way of letting the reader, or listener, know that you know what you're talking about. You get it, and you want the reader to get it. That is what writers do after all. We want people to see things the way we do and writing is how we do it.

If you do it right, it will make the reader take action on what they read. You did all the work up to that point, you spelled it out for them and you might even have had to multi-task while you did it., but now it's their job to take action.








 
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