1. amble
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    amble Member

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    Do you ever hate your own work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by amble, Jun 1, 2009.

    This is really vexing me now. Does anyone complete their chapter and read it through and think it's ok.

    Couple of days later you read it again to fine tune some points, get a small way in and feel like just throwing it away and starting on something completely different??

    Is self doubt normal, is this high level of self critique normal? I know what I like to read and sometimes (maybe because I've read it so much), I just hate reading where I'm up to and think it's crap and the worst thing ever penned.

    It demoralises and demotivates me to despair :( Suggestions and opinions welcome.
     
  2. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    You can always fine-tune. Anything can be fixed.

    Some recommend going away from that writing and writing something else, then coming back to it.

    Another thing, I got myself into a rut that I'm only now getting out of, don't fall into my pitfall: Don't keep revising and revising and revising. Move on. If there's something you want to improve, make note of it, but keep pushing through the rest of your book. Then go back and make your changes.

    I spent months and months on one chapter, going over and over it again and again trying to make it perfect. Bad idea. Don't do that. Move forward!

    The author Richard Bach once wrote, "We teach best what we most need to learn," so I'm speaking to myself too.

    Oh, and don't throw it away. If necessary, pack it into a box, seal the box, and put it in the corner of your basement. Stephen King did that on two occasions I know of, and each time, he took it out years later. One was the very successful "Dark Tower" first book, and the other was "Pet Semetary." If he hadn't packed them away, we'd never have been able to read them!

    Charlie
     
  3. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    everytime i go back and read a piece i wrote, i end up hating it.

    so you aren't along, i guess in a way its a good thing for it means you want to improve and believe you can, but in another sometimes in reaching for that piece of 'perfection' you kill the origin of the story, that magic.

    writing can be a pain, but its what writers do lol

    best writing to you

    CoS
     
  4. Primitive
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    Primitive Member

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    I can’t say I have ever really “hated” anything I have written so far. I’m not someone who really turns out much material really though, I generally take my time and think things out (not as in plotting, but just general flow, mood). I do sometimes feel like I have a large chain and ball attached to me. I wonder if I’ll ever actually get to the state where I can close everything off and be at a junction where I can either close the adventure off, or if I want, try and send if off to an agent.

    But when I look back at all the difficulties, I actually smile, thinking to myself, well hey at least I know I can improve this. Spotting ones flaws is a good thing, no matter how big or how small.


    I do remember my first "attempt" at writing a story. I look back and wonder why i even wanted to write it. Funny though, my first attempt was much better then my second attempt (different story). At the time i had never heard of info dumping, and i had every plot set-up within the first chapter......I tried to read it once afterwards (a few years later), It was...painful. But the things i have learnt since really is worth those painful efforts of early attempts.
     
  5. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Yep. I do this all the time.

    I got so frustrated with the novel I was working on that I put it away. Sometimes it's the choices I made for the characters, things about them, or that happened to them that just didn't work.

    I had a new idea the other day, and am about 3k into it. Totally different characters, totally different genre. I just started writing it after I stalled out on my other story. I decided that I needed to file the characters away, let them stew a little more, and maybe come back to it later when a fresh idea hits me.

    I just let it go. Sometimes ideas just don't work out the way we envisioned them. I find it no reason to get discouraged, because it just means the story isn't done percolating. Maybe the characters weren't right for the setting, maybe the setting wasn't right for the characters, maybe the wording just wasn't clear enough, whatever the problem with it, the idea is what is important. You can't throw an idea away. It will still haunt you, even years later.

    If you can't feel yourself salvaging the story, save it to a cd, memory stick, or something and store it away. Maybe you'll want to dig it out some day in the future. Just move on to your next idea without giving the old one another conscious thought. Your subconscious will now do the work for you on your old story.
     
  6. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Very true. Much bigger problem when you can't spot 'em.:)
     
  7. Primitive
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    Primitive Member

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    If you read as much as possible and Critique (like on this site) and read peoples critiques of others, you'll spot them trust me ;)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Flaws may be too strong a word. A piece of writing may be uniformly good, but not great. Even so, some word, sentence, or paragraph will still be the weakest link, because it's just a bit more ordinary than the rest, or just doesn't add anything new (not elsewhere covered). That;s where you start picking. Could it be juiced up a bit? Could it be deleted entirely?

    Or maybe it's something missing. Maybe when you read it, you keep mixing up which one is Gary and which is Greg - suggest changing one of the names to make them more distinct. Or perhaps the characters themselves are simply not distinct from eac other (try to keep straight Merry vs. Pippin through the early parts of Lord of the Rings).

    Maybe the prose just rolls along smoothly, but it can't hold your interest. Is that a flaw? Maybe, but that's where putting your finger on it can be difficult. Sometimes, all you can do is say, "Try as I might, I can't tell you why this paragraph drags for me, but it does." That might not directly help the writer, but it might make the next reviewer focus on that parargraph, and come up with some possible reasons why it doesn't work. At that point, everybody wins.
     
  9. daydreamer
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    daydreamer Contributing Member

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    I never much like what I've written when I go back to it weeks or months later. Sometimes I cringe at what I wrote and wonder how I could ever have thought it was ok.
     
  10. Forde
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    Forde Member

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    Very often do I end up tweaking or rewriting things that I've already written. If I really hate a section I've written it is generally because it is not yet finished. I can't recall parts of 'finished' text that I hate. I might have disliked writing it though.
     
  11. cutiekid
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    cutiekid New Member

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    no matter what people say about my work even if they say its the best thing they have ever read i always think its rubbish!
     
  12. Primitive
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    Primitive Member

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    Haha, i'm the same. That said, the people that have read mine is my wife and my mother-in-law

    The former is just bias. I mean hello to the rule of letting family and friends read your work.

    The later - She must have been having a good day, or something!
     
  13. amble
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    amble Member

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    Thanks for the comments :)

    I guess what I'm trying to see - how do you separate the internal criticque from making you rewrite your stuff, constantly striving for perfection or dumping it in a box for years to a place where you know you will never be satisifed with it but sending to an agent because other people have said it's good.

    aaarghhhhhhhh!!!!
     
  14. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every minute of every day! And this isn't just in writing. In my eyes, there is nothing I am good at and I am doomed to fail at every single thing I try. Yeah I know, HORRIBLE mentality, but hey, I confidence issues. lol
     
  15. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I'll bet you'd find (if you could see deep inside) many exceptional authors (maybe most, even all) whose exceptionality arises out of exactly that kind of inner conflict. Imagination is a fabulous antidote. The kicker is the skill every writer learns as he goes, never knowing for sure when he's nailed it. But somewhere along the way--if you're lucky, persistent, and patient--you may discover your niche. If not, you'll at least uncover the enormous rewards and benefits of the creative journey itself (and the real truth may be there are more of those than the rewards and benefits of commercial success).

    That's just my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
     
  16. lazerus reborn
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    lazerus reborn Member

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    Always, never,

    ethier way, to see something as perfect, is not to see an improvemnt..,

    my two pence
     
  17. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Sometimes I'm pretty dissatisfied with my stuff, but a lot of the time I'm pretty proud of it. Just depends on how motivated I am.
     
  18. SingToMeMuse
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    SingToMeMuse Member

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    I will usually jot down my idea for a scene like a list. "So and so does this, and then this happens, so and so feels this when this happens and this makes him/her do this," etc. etc., and then I mull it over for a few days, working it into a more structured form that is ALWAYS crap and then I just continuously revise and revise it molding it into a scene until I'm happy with it.
    So I kind of begin with the expectation that it's going to suck at first but the more I keep going back to it and elaborating, the better it becomes. Editing like this is a never ending process so just keep going back to it and in time the right words, descriptions etc., will come to you.
     

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