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  1. essential life
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    essential life Member

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    Can I fairly judge my own work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by essential life, Aug 11, 2009.

    I've been writing this short story, since forever.

    I used to think it was good, and then I thought it was great, but now I've begun to hate it for some reason.

    Question is, do I hate it because it sucks, or do I hate it because I'm just tired of it, and I can't fairly judge it because I practically know it off by heart?

    I mean, it's easy to get sick of any story after reading it enough times, isn't it? Even a great one written by a pro.

    Has anyone else experienced this?
     
  2. Kathryn
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    Kathryn New Member

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    i cant say i have experienced it, but i good way to find out if you actually hate it is to put it away somewhere, start something else and come back to it later.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Yeah I get this. And no, I don't think you can overcome it on its own. You need someone impartial to look at it and see whether its just you or if its actually awful.
     
  4. Seppuku
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    Seppuku Member

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    It's difficult to judge it on your own and this is the trouble I've had recently too. You probably hate it because you've spent so much time on it...then again your writing might have improved and you're much more critical, however, I imagine it'd be easy to tell either way.

    My advice, if you can, is get somebody to read it, it doesn't have to be another writer, but a reader. Saying that, writing can be fairly lonely and you can't always rely on somebody to read it and give you feedback, and some people might wish to compliment you instead of saying what they really think.

    I think once you are happy with it, you should really edit it further unless an editor or publishers requires for you to do so.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who knows Essential Life. It could be because you're burned out on the story, or it could be because it really isn't a very good story...or somewhere in between.

    If it's finished and the best you can make it, why not seek a market and submit it for publication. And then start another story.

    That is one way to find out.

    Terry
     
  6. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    EL, Can you pin-point what you hate? Do you just hate reading it yet again? Do you hate the characters? Plot-line? Is something just not right?

    If you don't want to post it cause you want to publish it, PM me. I'll look it over for you and give you a brief critique.

    Sometimes it just takes fresh eyes. I know I've looked at something for weeks, or months, and just been sick of it.
     
  7. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    If you've spent so much time on it, then it's probably time to put it away until it gains 'stranger' status. Print it out and lock it away in a drawer for at least a month (or three). Only then will you be able to view it with the required level of objectivity. Even then, I'd suggest 'not' looking at it but immediately giving it to someone who'll give you an honest opinion - much better if it's a writer. Whatever happens, it'll be a good exercise in the developmental process. Good luck with it, and don't sit on your hands during the 'lay-off' time.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The more you critique other people's work, the better the sense you will have as to what is crap and what id good about your own writing.

    Ultimately, you HAVE to be able to evaluate your own writing. There is always a subjective element to such evaluations, but the more you focus on specifics, the more useful those evaluations become.

    You will never run out of things to learn, though, or ways to improve your writing.
     
  9. Elistara
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    Elistara Member

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    I have been there, exactly. I started my story, I loved it, then at some point, I began to hate it. Something just didn't feel right with it, there was something wrong, but I couldn't place what it was. So I left it, and simply mulled it over for a few days, thinking about what I could change to make it work better. I changed a lot of stuff, re-wrote a bunch of scenes, and generally made it more realistic, and deeper. More interesting. Gave it more depth than it had, and explained a bunch of stuff to myself - not that all of this stuff needs to go into my story, but it really helps to understand motivations, and the reasons for the things that happen.
    At one point, I left it alone, for 5 months before I got back to it again, and have been at it for the last 4 months since. Though I seem to have slowed down, I still find it fun, as my mind constructs new things that happen and why things have to happen that way. And by the way, I love my story again now.

    Basically, if you re-read something, and you really don't like it - re-write it. Take it one scene at a time if that helps. After viewing it with new eyes again (after a few months break), you can find out what you simply forgot to actually write onto the paper. Because right after you write the piece, you tend to (or I do, anyway) read stuff into the story that isn't actually there. I was surprised at what I had left out when I returned to my story, and have been able to add a lot more emotion to guide the reader through. A story is a journey to take the reader on, and if you lose them, you messed up somewhere.

    Have fun with what you do. =)
     
  10. tourniquet
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    tourniquet New Member

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    My girlfriend is a drama teacher and she says nothing stifles creativity like self-criticism. For the creative process to be complete, you have to turn off self-criticism. Cheeno is right, if you're done that stage, lock it away until you've forgotten about it, and then come back to it. I'm sure it's great.
     
  11. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I second that. By reading other critiques as well as being critical of other writing, I am becoming more aware of things that I do. My writing has evolved since starting my first novel so I'll probably have to go back and fix up a little bit at the beginning.
     
  12. Elistara
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    Elistara Member

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    I have heard this so many times before, that I have to say, I don't tend to agree with it - at least, not wholly. When I began my book, I was writing 3-4 pages every morning. Before I got started for the day, I would read through the day before's work, critiquing, figuring out what I had written, and how I could make it better. It got my mind moving for the day, got my head into the story, and I found after doing this, I could just spit the days work out really quick. If I didn't critique, I could have sat there for hours without thinking of anything to be able to write.

    I say not wholly, because if I get an idea, I do need to write it out without worrying too much about how it is written. But after I have written said paragraph, if nothing else readily comes to mind, I critique it, which triggers thoughts of what will come into my next one.

    So I turn the critique on and off on a paragraph by paragraph basis and not have my creativity be interrupted for the next scene when I get to it. Until I feel content with the happenings of the last paragraph though, I cannot move onto the next. I find it stifles my imagination to try - like it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, with an uncomfortable feeling. It interrupts my flow.... so to speak.
    And, if I had tried to continue writing my book when I felt like I hated it, without first addressing the problem, I would have quickly lost the passion to write, which makes it not as fun to do - and it's all about the journey.

    Just saying, different strokes for different folks.. we all work differently. If one approach doesn't work, try something different.
     
  13. k.little90
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    k.little90 Active Member

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    (Raises hand) I've experienced hatred for my story that I'm working on right now. A couple of months ago, I couldn't stand to read anything from it, put it away at the back of a drawer, and have only recently pulled it out. I've found that the time I spent away from it did me some good, because those icky feelings for it are gone.

    Now concerning us authors judging our own work.... I think that in general, we are all going to have a rather biased opinion towards our own writing. That said, if you really want to "know" (I say this because EVERYONE is going to have a different opinion) if it is good or not, I would have someone removed from your whole writing process (that means if you have a significant other that you've been bouncing ideas off of, you can't use them) read it. This is one of my favorite things to do because a fresh set of eyes can often see problems in my story that I've overlooked because I've become so familiar with it.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Self-criticism and self-critique are two different animals.

    Self-criticism:
    Self-critique:
     
  15. Elistara
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    Elistara Member

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    Oh, well given those definitions, that is a tad different, I suppose. It had never occurred to me to criticize my own writing like that, or that people do. I mean, of course people do, but it doesn't make sense to me why I would stomp on my own feet that way. Probably because I am having too much fun to care right now. :)
     
  16. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    Apparently not.
    I think my chapters are great, perfect. And then my manuscript editor reads through them and finds a billion mistakes. Grammatical error here, poor sentence structure there, a weird unintelligibile comparison every now and then.
     

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