1. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    First drafts, the most painful thing to read

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rafiki, Aug 14, 2012.

    I'm beginning to stall in my writing. I seem to have hit this wall, not a cliche'd wall of writers block where I can't think of what to say next, rather it is a wall of shit where every words that spews from my mind strikes me as the almost adorable musings of a second grader. I hate it, everything I write feels juvenile and I want it to stop. It's especially prevelent when it comes to writing the first draft, and yes I realize that first drafts are supposed to be terrible, but it's making it difficult to read and edit them when I can't even stand to look at my own work. I know I should just muscle through it, it will make me a better writer, but it doesn't change the fact that it is physically painful for me to look at the words I write. Is there something I can do to make this painful feeling go away? Someway I can convince myself that I'm not just a second grader trapped inside of a twenty two year old's body?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You are 22, and assuming that you have had even a moderately effective education, I can assure you that your writing does not read like a second-grader's. I'm guessing that you are comparing yourself to some established, published writer. That's a mistake. You need to understand what critiquing is. I would suggest that you get involved with the writer's workshop, critique the works of others and then, when you get the hang of it, learn to properly critique yourself.

    If you would like the opinion of an objective adult, PM me.
     
  3. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    Your first draft is basically your ideas on a page. It's painful because you can see what you were writing, the language just doesn't match. It's not painful, per se. You cannot think of it as "your work". Instead, I treat it like a friend asked me to edit it, that way I am less attached to it. You can ask a friend to edit it, but I would say do the second draft by yourself first.
    You are like so many writers, including myself. I hate editing my first draft because I want to change so much and I miss words. But, I know that I was so set on getting out the plot and would be able to work out the wording late. Just plug through it; it will get better.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, first, first drafts aren't 'supposed to be horrible'. No reason they have to be. Second, if you're that unhappy with your writing, maybe it would be best to set that project aside for a bit, work on something else, check out the workshop as suggested, and then go back and look at the first work with a less jaundiced eye.
     
  5. webghoul
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    webghoul Member

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    Hey, noob here. Just want to share some insights. One of my favorite authors always says that in order to enjoy reading, you'll have to read what you want to read, not what you think you should be reading. I believe this goes the same with writing. You'll have to write what you want to write, not what you think you should be writing. It may sound too cliche, but I strongly believe that not until you were able to master your comfort zone will you be able to hop into another platform. With regard to first drafts, I think they shouldn't be considered as pain in the three-letter-word-that-rhymes-with-pass. Drafts, in a way or two, serve as an outline of what you want to write, the backbone of your masterpiece. :)
     
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  6. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    This. Seriously. This.

    I strongly believe that if one is writing for some form of approval, validation, or prestige, then they are in the wrong business. Even the writers who achieve approval, validation, and prestige--indeed, especially those writers--don't write for those reasons. How do I know this? Because those writers--the ones who work at that level--achieve it by opening themselves up honestly, connecting with readers in a meaningful way, and telling their stories in a voice entirely unique to themselves.

    If you are working from some presumption that you need to sound "authorly" (whatever that might mean), then the result of your work will be stilted and lacking oxygen. Connecting with a reader is an adventure in personal risk-taking, and to make it work in a way that is true for you, you have to send the second-guessing into "time out." There will be plenty of time to iron out your rough spots and to ensure that as you do so, it will still be in your own voice.
     
  7. introspect
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    introspect Member

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    hey

    Your a warrior! get into the fight! this is where the fun begins The draft is where you learn your trade. now, with that said. "Go and earn your pay!"

    BASICALLY! YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO WRITE? Your a storyteller! What more inspiration do you need. When you have an imagination?

    Eccuse the typos :)
     
  8. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Ghoul,

    No offense but: "You'll have to write what you want to write, not what you think you should be writing?" Huh?

    How about what your target audience wants to read? Whoever that is, should be the PRIMARY focus of what you're writing. I know my target audience is the 18-34 age group, primarily male, who's tired of the vampire/werewolf/demons story. Throw in the one's who like a Space Opera, which is pretty to close to Weber's original writing. Your target audience is the key, not necessarily what you want to write. I'd love for my character to not have to run, shoot, blow things up, but that's expected in my target audience.

    Don't ever forget who you're targeting either.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I find this attitude a little strange. What's wrong with writing what you want to write? My assumption is that a decent-sized audience exists that wants to read what I like to read, and that means they want to read the sort of thing I write. My target audience is me and people like me. I know there's a huge audience for YA vampire stories (for example), but I don't want to read them and I certainly don't want to write them, so that's an audience I won't target.

    Why would a writer target an audience he is not part of himself? You don't want to write about your character running, shooting, and blowing things up, so why are you targeting an audience that wants to read that? Aren't you making yourself miserable as a writer by spending time writing what you don't want to read?
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Because, like all businesses, you need to know what your audience you're targeting is. Do you honestly think that all YA enjoy one block set of writing? If you do I have ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

    Finding you niche is all about knowing WHO you audience is and what they want. That's marketing 101. It's not about WHAT you want to read it's about WHAT the reader wants to read. Frankly, to be brutally honest, if you can't determine the difference then that's on you.
     
  11. wardwolf
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    wardwolf Member

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    captain,

    Maybe this is where the intersection of art and commerce meet. You're talking about "business", but I'd like to think a lot of the time even the financially successful writers are writing for themselves and not aiming at a target market. Maybe they wrote what they loved and the audience found them, and not the other way around. Plausible?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not really. People who truly write only for themselves don't share their writing. They write in a private journal. The truth is, every writer who is at all honest with himself or herself wants other people to appreciate his or her writing. And that is your market.

    Yes, even a commercial writer wants to be able to look at her or his work with pride. So writers balance market appeal with self-fulfillment. It's a waste of energy to pretend not to care what your readers will like. Also, it's dishonest, and if you cannot be honest with yourself, it will taint your writing.
     
  13. webghoul
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    webghoul Member

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    Hi captainkate. :)
    I agree that one should NEVER forget her target audience. Honestly, I've tried that before, but after quite some time, I realized I cannot even drag myself to write. Simply because Ive already worn out the passion I have, the reason I was writing in the first place.

    I am not saying that I am right, or somebody else's opinion is wrong. Maybe it worked for you, maybe it just didn't go well with me. I believe though that when you write what you want to write, you tend to pour a lot of extra effort in it. You want to write what you want to read. And when uou do that, you don't lose your audience -- you actually gain them. Because for me, you're first fan should be your self.

    My idea of writing is not primarily targeting my audience, but creating my audience. In terms of marketing, that imho, is actually a good form of investment. When you find this audience who reads what you write, they have the greatest tendency to grow with you, not outgrow you after some time. Writing what you want to write does not necessarily mean you will get stuck on that level. Time will come you will try new angles, new ideas. When you stick on what you think you think you should be writing, your once-targeted audience will outgrow you, and that's inevitable. But when you create your own audience, you bring your readers with you. Long term investment? Most probably. :)

    In the end I think it all goes down what motivates you as a writer. :) cheers!
     
  14. wardwolf
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    wardwolf Member

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    The two are not mutually exclusive?
     
  15. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely not. They co-exist, that is if one wants any success (of whatever measure) in publishing. I would disagree that the target audience should be the primary focus. The primary focus should be writing down a story you want to tell, and writing it in a way which will also please your audience.
     
  16. Warp Zone
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    Warp Zone Contributing Member

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    Urgh, first drafts... they tend to come out awfully for me unless I have a written plan for every detail. Which sucks, because planning it is horribly meticulous and I have all the details in my head anyways; why I need this written plan is beyond me.
     
  17. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Of course. And, as I said, the audience I'm targeting is people like me.

    No, I don't think that (if "one block set of writing" means what I think it means). That's why I included the phrase "for example." That means I do NOT think all YA enjoy "one block set of writing."

    As I've already said more than once, I know who my audience is and what they want. They are me and people like me, and they want what I want. Of course it's about what the reader wants to read - and because that reader is me and those like me, it is very much about what I want to read. What my reader wants to read is what I want to read and is therefore what I want to write - they are all the same thing. There is no difference.

    (end of threadjack)
     
  18. wardwolf
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    wardwolf Member

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    Fair enough...makes sense. I guess I have a lot to learn in terms of the business side. Another great reason to participate in this forum.
     
  19. Juganhut
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    Juganhut Banned

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    I agree a little with both from everyone.

    Write what you feel like you should, but keep in mind who will be reading it but now not focus on it entirely.

    With that said, your book could be something people actually enjoy, even if you did not focus on the readers. Not likely I assume, but you never know what may trigger someone interest or you bay ride a wave of a new fad in the future.
     
  20. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, get yourself some sticky notes, tape them to your mirror and write on them in bold letters - YOU ARE A WRITER , YOUR WRITING IMPROVES EVERYDAY, RELAX! Writing is hard work, but it should also be fun. You're creating something. Not everything looks like a gem
    when it starts out. A birthday cake doesn't look so impressive when it's a glop of flour, eggs, and sugar. Everything has a process.

    To the write with your target audience in mind - always good to keep them in mind, so long as you don't cliche your target audience.
    I'm a fan of 80's ya series - which was a big boom at the time - there was over 100 series to choose from - out of the hundred only
    about ten were truly successful. Out of those ten only four or five made it to reprints.
    A lot of them were ditched after six books. If the goal is get published - go with whats in style. If
    you want to be remembered write from the heart ( whose not to say the two won't meet up! )
     
  21. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Exactly, write, write, write and write some more. Writing is actually as much of a job as anything else; it takes discipline, knowledge of your market, and flexibility to move with it. I HIGHLY recommend people read the blogs from editors and agents to know what they're looking for. I know I've taken heat from harping the first three paragraphs, but it came directly from several blogs by authors, editors and agents.

    But remember: each novel you write, you learn something and get better at them. Of course, make sure you learn the rules also, which will allow you leeway to break them when necessary. Otherwise, don't pay too much attention to how "good" your first draft is, because you'll end up cutting, rewriting and changing/polishing in the first edit.
     
  22. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not picking on you in particular, ck, but this always bugs me. There's no reason a first draft can't be good, even excellent. Many writers edit as they go, and have only minor edits/polishing to do when they finish. It doesn't work for everyone, but it's just as viable an option as editing and rewriting after the thing is done. I couldn't possibly write any other way.
     
  23. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I respect your opinion completely on that matter. Each writer is different. I will scan check my stuff with writer's digest when I do my paragraphs of description. However, I do enough typos, wrong word in place on accident (then when I meant they for example) that'd I never go forward. But, the biggest reason I don't mess with my first draft when I'm going through is that I'm too emotionally invested in it. PR has been sitting, detoxing from my mind, as I write DAD. Once I complete DAD, then I'm hitting PR for editing and polishing. It allows me to look at it objectively instead of falling in love with my words.
     

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