1. Feral Inferno
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    Feral Inferno Member

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    From writer's to reader's perspective

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Feral Inferno, Oct 14, 2014.

    I was always a bit critical of my own work. Always wondering if it was any good. I've never had my work critiqued before, so I didn't know how good it was.

    When reading over my own story I always read it from my perspective; the writer's perspective. You, more or less, already know what's gonna happen and who your characters are. I don't know how to explain it... I just couldn't read it like I would someone else's story.

    A bit off topic but still related, I started reading a universally acclaimed fanfic (Fallout: Equestria), and, what do you know, reading really does improve your writing. I love the story and started writing mine better.

    But, there was still the problem of my reading perspective. I didn't know how much better my writing was. Until recently, I had forced myself into a reader's mindset: I had no idea what was going to happen, I didn't know who the characters were, I barely knew the setting. I read what I had written with a reader's perspective and found out... it was pretty good.

    This occurrence, which I hope I can duplicate in the future, certainly made me more confident in my writing.

    I know, I could have just given it to someone close to read and get feedback, but I'm not ready for that stage yet. Besides, the only people I'd be willing to let read my story at this time are my immediate family members, and I know they're not gonna be honest with me.

    I realize that I may have been rambling, but I just wanted to share an epiphany I had. Thank you for sticking with it (if you did). I could have probably made this into a blog.

    And, a question I guess I could ask: Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you ever had an epiphany about your own writing?
     
  2. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    You do cheat when reading your own work. Sometimes taking a long break from it will help.

    Maybe try joining a writer's group and ask them if they want to read your work.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, getting others to read your work would be great. There's no substitute for having actual potential readers read your work and offer some feedback.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it's possible to completely separate yourself from your writing and come at it purely as a reader might. That's why it's a good idea to have someone else read it. But that's not always a foolproof method, either, because, as a good friend of mine recently pointed out, writers who critique other writers may be more interested in what's wrong than what's right, and you need to know both. A good beta-reader - that is, one who understands what you're trying to do and focuses on how you're doing with that - is worth his/her weight in gold.

    Comparing your writing to that of others is a good reality check, especially if you don't yet feel comfortable having your work critiqued by others. You don't want to be imitative, but you can usually see where your writing isn't working compared to someone else's.
     
  5. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    @ Feral Inferno; Your topic thread is a great discussion topic at a book club or a writers club. The discussion will go on indefinitely because of the fact that we are all individuals. This speaks for people who read and critique your work as well.

    When I was starting out as a hopeful writer many years ago, I would tear myself to shreds when I would get a response from someone who analyzed my writing. At times, during those early years, I was ready to give up on a career in writing. Fortunately, and I use that word in the strongest terms, I attended an English literature course at the University of British Columbia where William Messenger was our professor. He wrote (co-authored actually) the best ever selling and now Canadian writer’s bible, “The Canadian Writers Handbook”. He said that we must always remember that an amateur who critiques is an individual who reads, for the most part, on an emotional level. That is to say, will over look many grammatical and structural errors if the genre of the manuscript relates to their personal liking. An amateur analyzer will do the opposite if he or she does not connect with the genre of the manuscript. Others will criticize just for the sake of feeling they have to pick apart the author’s work to give themselves credibility.

    A person who has been a manuscript critique at a professional level for an extended length of time will have learned to read manuscripts with the mechanics of writing at the forefront of his or her mind. The genre of the manuscript means little to a bona-fide professional.

    If you are looking for a serious response to your writing, spend a few dollars to have your manuscript critiqued by a dedicated professional who will critique the mechanics of your writing.

    When you do receive the response from the professional, it is critical that you, read, analyze, and be willing to accept his or her critique as a genuine tool to better your writing skills. Never think their response to your writing is a personal slam against you, the author.
     

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