1. History_lives
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    History_lives New Member

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    Does anyone else compare their writing to a famous published author?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by History_lives, Jul 6, 2012.

    I know I do. I often compare it to JK Rowling or even Anne Rice. Of course Rowling had a lucky and HUGE breakthrough, which saved her life and Rice has been publishing novels for years and has new ones every several months. (I am not judging either) but I feel so small compared to them and often hate my writing for it. Recently I deleted 5 years worth of writing due to this and still yet I do not regret it. Does anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. noodlepower
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    noodlepower Member

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    I can understand the sentiment. I suppose I do compare my writing to other authors, particularly those authors who inspire me. But I don't feel small compared to them. I compare my writing to theirs to judge if I have grown as a writer. Does my writing come close to their level or do I still have a ways to go? This is what I think when I compare my writing to others.

    I never, ever hate my writing. I might be embarrassed by older works but I hate nothing that I have written because my older works are physical proofs of how much I've grown as a writer.
     
  3. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Not really. If I did, it wouldn't come up smelling like roses. I leave the comparing to others, and concentrate on trying to get into pixels what I have in my head.
     
  4. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    My writing is very much my own, as annoying and frightening as it is. No one with an ounce of sense would even attempt to write a chaotic 30,000+ word epic about a lost unicorn horn. I never claimed to have an ounce of sense, so yes, I wrote it...Is it like anything I have ever read...Nope. So, I would have to say my writing is different...Not really sure if that is a good thing, but it keeps me busy and amused.

    - Darkkin
     
  5. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Darkkin, its been done I assure you, but then again Ponies are in. The My Little Pony Fallout stories are examples of what should not be, yet is, done by people with way too much time on their hands. As for me? Not really, my writing is of a really weird style.
     
  6. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    J k Rowling would never have had that luck if she was sulking because she can't write like Tolkien instead of continue writing what she can write. You feel small when you compare yourself to famous writers, but if you have the right mind set you'll also be inspired to do well.
     
  7. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    My Little Pony fallout, I have standards. I went epic poetry...As for too much time on my hands, yes maybe, but not of my choosing. I started the project to while away time during my apheresis appointments. Because of my size it takes a bit longer. But my writing style is distinctly my own.

    - Darkkin
     
  8. noodlepower
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    noodlepower Member

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    A lost unicorn horn?? 30,000 + epic poem? Over a lost unicorn horn? Heheh, I'd love to read that! Is it anything like the movie Legend?

    But actually, to add on to what I stated earlier... after thinking about it, I don't think I've ever compared any of my short stories, novels, etc... to any other author.

    I have my poetry though. I'm always comparing my poetry to others. I think I have more confidence in my works of fiction than I do my poetry.
     
  9. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    No. My writing is very much my own. I have my own voice as they say. And if my writing was like anyone else's I wouldn't know even how to compare them. But I do know there are other authors out there who's voices I absolutely love - Piers Anthony for a start.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  10. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I think it's human nature to compare yourself to others.

    For me it doesn't have a negative effect though.

    Often when I read some awe-inspiring piece of writing, it makes me want to write and do better. So I guess my writing has a mish-mash of influences imbedded into it.
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Yes. All the time. I test myself against them.

    To me one of the hallmarks of a good writer, and a strong person, is constantly placing yourself against writers you like more, or are better than you. There are some writers who I have read and became very depressed over, because they said a lot of the things I wanted to say, only better than I felt I could ever say it. Some writers, like Nabokov or Pynchon, are almost too good, and others like Murakami and Orwell inspire because they are good, and make you want to be that good, but are not too good as to make you despair. Excellent rather than god-like.

    Now I recognize that this is largely subjective opinion. Some people don't like Pynchon or Murakami for example, saying they are too weird, and that's fine. The world would be an exceptionally boring place if we all had an objective standard toward things of the highest quality. But for my Murakami you could have someone else, for my Pynchon you could have someone I don't really care for.
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    For me, it is Christopher Paolini... I love the Inheritance Cycle. It is my favorite series... I am a huge Harry Potter fan, but Inheritance just has a little bit of an edge because Paolini has a distinctive voice and does a great job bringing his ideas to life-- and staying consistant. Rowling does too, butevenin a world of magic, the earth they knew was ours as well. For me I've taken on a few of the descriptive habits of these two titans, but on the whole I am developing a voice of my own and I compare to see how my grammar, structure, or verbiage measures up, as well as the level of vocabulary--simple technicalities like that... as well as techniques to show readers the story rather than tell it. I'm sed to telling, but was never taught the difference until it had become a bad habit. And I do have a bit of a bad habit of flowering up descriptions a bit more than they should be, taking a paragraph to set the scene then moving into the action or dialogue [usually dialogue].
     
  13. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    No, I don't compare myself to other successful authors. Every writer is different and has their own style. Just because they're published doesn't mean they're a better writer than me. Not to offend anyone here, but I look at Twilight and Fifty Shades and think to myself, if that crap can get published, so can I.

    And hey, no dissing MLP! :p I love that cartoon....but then I have a six year old daughter as an excuse to watch it.
     
  14. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I loved MLP when I was little. I still have my ponies at home in the garage somewhere. Let's here it for Rubbermaid...;).

    I have to agree on Twilight and Fifty Shades. That is pop culture, not a literary standard. It breaks my heart knowing what is considered good writing; it is also the reason I avoid mainstream fiction and stick to the genres. The writing, personally, I think is better. The authors, outside of the Harlequin serials, seem to care way more about the quality of their work. If any part of my writing can be compared to a published work, I want it to be the quality aspect...The fact that I actually write because I care about my story, not how much it can land me.

    - Darkkin
     
  15. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    I was into Transformers, GI Joes and Star Wars when I was a kid. Oh and X-Men. I still have some of my original SW toys too. :D This is what happens when a girl has three older brothers though, and I was a major tom-boy through and through. My daughter is very girly-girl, but it's all good. It's fun painting our nails together.

    I fully agree. I only read them to see what all the hype was about. Twilight is one thing, but at least that was original writing. Fifty Shades was Twilight fan-fic and I just can't get past that. She said she changed it so it wasn't the same story, but I'm sorry, it was, blow by blow, Twilight. I won't get into the awful writing. My husband kept on asking me why I was reading it if I hated it so much and I still don't know why I read all three. It was So. Repetitive.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no... i don't and wouldn't...
     
  17. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    It would never occur to me to compare my writing to someone else's. It seems incredibly egotistical to elevate one's self to the same level as one's role models, regardless the extent of one's own successes. And that is as with anything in life. I have had others make comments like, "This reminds me of ..." or "This is just like ...'s writing" or "This feels like ..." But I could not imagine doing so myself. Though I have been known to find comparisons between other writers' work, .just not mine. It is always easier to view things objectively when you are not emotionally attached.
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't compare my writing to that of famous writers. I have no desire to emulate their styles or techniques; I have my own. I just try to write like me as well as I can.

    This isn't to say that I don't admire good writing when I see it. I love reading outstanding prose. I savor it whenever I find it, and mentally tip my hat to the author. Lousy prose makes me want to throw the book across the room no matter how interesting the story is.
     
  19. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    I do that. It really helps with my ego, guys. But it's motivating. I want to multiply and hone my craft, so I ask myself if I can exceed my level of writing in comparison. The disparity between pros and my stuff should start diminishing. Ehh. I'll work on it. I think it's a kind of check-point, like the test answer after you're done with a test piece.
     
  20. Michipanda
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    Michipanda Member

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    I have to say I have never compared my work in recent years to other authors. I am often inspired by their works and sometimes aspired to write a story just as attractive and captivating as theirs, but I don't place my work besides theirs...it just seems like torture. Now, if I had the opportunity to have them read some of my work then I'm all gone-ho! Though, I'm sure I would place a sticky note in the front page asking them not to judge my work as their own, no one writes the same so no one wants their work judge that way either. But to the point, I have done so in the past, but not so much in the present.
     
  21. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    it is torture. really
     
  22. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    I'm having trouble interpreting what you're saying. Are you saying that Twilight and 50 Shades are mainstream fiction and thus mainstream fiction has low standards? Both books are genre books: Twilight is "paranormal romance" or whatever, and 50 Shades is erotica. Mainstream fiction can be very, very good.
     
  23. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Actually, I called them pop culture titles. Mainstream titles, puppy mill authors who have a new book out every three weeks, and are never off the bestsellers despite poor quality. Those are the books I try to avoid. A great many of them are in standard fiction by default. And while there are good authors in fiction, it takes work to winnow through the chaff. I look, read reviews and peruse. Occasionally I get lucky, but there are no major fiction authors I watch for, not like the genre writers.

    Reciped stories, yes, but it is the quality that counts, and they come through more often than not. The majority of my favorite authors are genre specific. Fantasy and historical romance to be more exact.

    You can dissect and reclassify books six ways to Sunday, but I know what decent writing is. Relatable, likeable characters, a decent story line, a measure of historical accuracy (at least for me), and a writing style that doesn't harken back to Dick and Jane. (No offense Dick and Jane, loved you when I was learning to read, but I've moved on...;) ).

    Call me weird but I require active intellectual and emotional investment in a story. My established genre favorites usually deliver, red herrings still crop up from time to time. Pop culture, must reads just don't cut the mustard for me. I don't read a book simply because it is the in thing to do; I read because I love the written word.

    I expect my own work to stand on its own merit, not because it is in. Which it probably never will be...:rolleyes: But I know my words, know the worlds I brought to life.

    This is the whole all succulents are cacti, but not all cacti are succulents conversation in its fiction incarnation.

    - Darkkin
     
  24. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    My thoughts exactly. I was just telling my mother this: If E.L. James can be published with such a lousy story, I can surely find someone to publish me. :p

    But to be fair to Stephenie Meyer, her prose is actually decent. Very good, considering she wrote the first Twilight in just three months. Impressive. 50 shades is atrocious...
     
  25. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    Yea, we all need to remember that James Patterson somehow got published.
     

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