1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Best way to improve on writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Apr 29, 2012.

    I have been writing for quite sometime and my boyfriend gave me the unspeakable news. And I quote "No offense, you have amazing ideas but your writing sounds like a sixth grader."

    In support of my writing I had difficulties in the past with writing because the special needs classes I was in failed to sit with me and teach me how to write better or even help me improve (instead they focused on the students that did not want to do the work).

    How can I improve on my writing so I can evolve. I am not looking for an instant coffee resolution if you catch my drift.
     
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Like everyone else, you write, get feedback, make adjustments, then write some more. To some degree you have to put your ego aside during the process or grow a very thick skin. It can be mentally exhausting but that's true anytime you try and perfect any skill beyond just satisfactory.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two things. Read and study how other authors write. How they construct scenes and dialogue, word choice and structure. Select books that you really enjoy so that it's interesting to go over them again and again.

    Another method would be to dictate your story orally/record it. Then transcribe what you spoke. If you have difficulty writing, this may assist you in the story/writing being more complex.

    Another thing to consider is if your writing style is "6th grade" then maybe you're meant to be a YA author.
     
  4. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    My boyfriend suggested that I read more and more. That way it subliminally gets drilled into my head. I learned through college and art school on criticism and I get frustrated when my idea does not translate to paper. I have a hard time writing how I feel unless I am in that mood.
     
  5. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Join "writingforums.org" and ask a lot of questions. Then write write write. Then ask more questions. Then write write write. It looks like you've already done step one. So I would suggest going full force on step two.
     
  6. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I must have missed you as I was writing my post below.
    What is interested is I have an app on my iphone called Dragon Dictation. When I walk to work I will speak my ideas or speak the structure of my story. I find it somewhat helpful if I need to remember an idea or a section for storyboarding. Lol it also keeps the people away because they think I am koo koo.

    You also do have a point with YA.
     
  7. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Does your writing seem at a sixth grade level to you? Can you tell the difference in the writing between books you read and your writing? Are you satisfied with your writing?
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I believe that my writing is at a preliminary level where I do need to go back and refine my language and my structure.

    Sometimes I look at it and can see what he is talking about. If I could I would post a sample of it in the writing critiques, but that would have to wait for the future.
     
  9. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    You've been here longer the 14 days, you've got more then 20 posts. Whats stopping you?
     
  10. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Not to gear off topic but I still cannot post and I believe it is due to the complications that the forum has been having.
    (Never mind it works. I haven't been here in a week)

    Then again I am happy that it happened because now I can slow down and take my time with writing.

    So far I posted a blog of a "sketch" of a story but so far I do not have a piece that is ready to be presented.
    I end up collecting thumb drives, each one containing word documents of stories and pieces. My notepad in my iphone is filled with bits and pieces that I am either going to use or put them in the scrap pile.
     
  11. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    The Writing Workshop has been working the last few days so if you've reviewed to piece of work you should be able to post. When was the last time you tried. The reason I'm curious is your posts are not written at a sixth grade level, so I'm interested in seeing your work.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that your posts sound like your writing ability is just fine. I wonder if perhaps you work too hard when you're writing for an audience and that somehow makes the quality go down? Or if you make some fundamental change when you write fiction?

    I'd suggest putting up a piece of fiction sooner rather than later, rather than trying to make it perfect, so that you can get some early feedback.
     
  13. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    If I do post the snippet will be called "Ultranumb".

    Aside from writing I do believe that there are methods out there that one or many authors used to help improve on the structure, voice or storyline. As I said previously that I know it is not like instant coffee.
     
  14. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I look forward to reading it.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Am I the only one who finds this troubling?

    To say something like that to someone who attended special need classes sounds a bit insensitive. There had to be better ways to word it than to compare your writing to a grade level well behind you.

    I agree with others that, judging by your posts, it's not a very fair assessment.
     
  16. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I apologize that my wording and use of putting my words into text can be rough and throw people off guard. People think it is nonsense that what I have struggled with and tried to improve in school did not work out to the best. It may not be a fair assessment however, from high school through college I have been criticized that my writing is juvenile or terrible. I preferred the professors to use terrible over juvenile.

    This is why I asked the question how can I improve on my writing.
     
  17. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Yikes, your boy friend sounds like my mother. I think you've got other problems, the guy sounds passive-agressive.

    Look, I read your discourse, and I see a woman who can converse with a number of differing forum personalities on several continents. You even make sense to me, which shows you have some affinity with the "synaptically challenged" end of the gene pool! ;)

    Let me give you a little help in dealing with these kind of people. It's like my Aunt Clara used to say, "If you want to hit a guy on the back of his head, go through his nose." In other words, go directly to him, find out why he made the comment, and get the problem fixed.

    Look, many people here relate to you from a position of respect. There's a disconnect somewhere, and I think it's him.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Exactly my point. Does not your husband know better? Which term is informative and which is hurtful?

    I have just taken a quick look at your work in the Writing Workshop. Yes, there are flaws. You will work on them, and it will take time. But juvenile? Hardly.
     
  19. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    What mistakes do sixth graders make? What makes them bad writers? What a terrible way to describe writing. I would suggest taking your blog post and cutting it down. Here is an example:

    "A doctor had visited my office and introduced himself as a professor of specialized nano technology."

    What is "had" doing there?
     
  20. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    The juvenile is less then specific and not helpful. A professor using those terms is not a good teacher. Unfortunately the state of education today leaves much to be desired.
     
  21. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    L2W, we're all here to improve our writing. If you're on the wrong path, then we all are.

    I agree with 'Psycho on this one. You've run into a numbskull for a professor. My wife is a teacher, and if I could find a singular word to describe her beliefs on this, it would be "helper."
     
  22. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    Honestly, I would recommend caution in building your writing style off of dictation. I personally try to keep my narrative style as far away from common speech as possible. The written word can be like a foreign language compared to actual speech. Although, that doesn't mean the written word can't be read aloud. The ear is actually a great tool for learning how to write. Read aloud often enough and you can pick up on a certain candor or rhythm in writing. Not necessarily the metered rhythm, like a poem, but you can hear it in the writing of good authors.

    But as all things go with forums, that is just my personal opinion. As a counter point, Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors. He tends to have a very causal narrative style, but his sentence structure remains impeccably fluid. Whatever your style ends up being, I still recommend reading aloud. Your own words and your own ears can be just as effective as a "professor's" when it comes to learning. (and in some cases more effective :p)
     
  23. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I had a similar problem when I started writing. It sounded like a sixth grader was writing it! I was a senior in college! What the heck!

    It was embarrassing, and I couldn't show anyone. You might be different, but I'll tell you what I did. I wrote almost every day for a year and it improved to the point where I felt comfortable showing other people. Right now, it's not by any means amazing, but it's very far from 6th grade.

    I like TWErvin2's suggestion on recording yourself speaking it, then transcribing it. Just do a few pages. You can also try reading an author with particularly good tone and typing up an excerpt. It's kind of like a training exercise for your brain.

    Other than that, keep educating yourself on writing. This forum is great, but check out podcasts, blogs, and books on writing.
     
  24. marcuslam
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    marcuslam Senior Member

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    Read, write and seek feedback. In time, you'll get there :).
     
  25. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi L2W
    Judging from your posts, I don't see your writing as juvenile.

    Is the content of writing maybe better suited to a younger audience - is it the content rather than the quality of the writing its-self.

    Here is a question I think you should ask yourself and be honest;

    What does your boyfriend know about writing? Is he a fellow writer?

    As a loved one he should be encouraging you not disheartening you.

    Family and friends can give their opinions, but keep in mind that, that is all it is their opinion. They may be right then again they may be way off the mark, it is up to you as an author to look at what they say and then either take on board what they have said or dismiss their advice as uninformed or nonsensical.

    I repeat I can see nothing juvenile about your writing, you are concise, you don't waffle, I don't see a problem.

    As to improving your writing - we are all looking to improve.

    Good luck
     

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