1. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    Style How do you assess your growth as a writer?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Johncrawfordz, Sep 5, 2016.

    Good day to all

    I would like to ask for some advice. So I've been touching on writing for a while. I find that I have grown lots from when i started a decade ago, having a few stumbling blocks here before jumping onto the next level. Slow but nevertheless progressive.

    Nowadays, I find that my writing felt hollow, lacklustre, empty and I do not know why. I have read a lot of works (some good, some bad) and studied from them but I cannot make something that feels like them.

    Something feels wrong. Maybe because I've been covering fanfics a lot. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe I'm trying to make my own original. Maybe its because I'm medically depressed. I hope you ladies and gents can help me on a limb. Where do I fit in the group of writers? Bad? Average? Hopeless?

    I've included some sample of materials for context below (Optional to read, latest sequence of works from top to bottom)

    1) Battlefleet - Based on the Battlefleet Gothic of Warhammer 40k, something simple I worked on while working on my original.

    2) Colourwolf 2761 - A purely troll original story meant for friends with their names included and all the copyright infringement comics.

    3) Epilogue - A story based on the Familiar of Zero series.

    All files in the link below
    https://www.mediafire.com/folder/2g8j9c4z8jzun/Writing

    I'm a bit torn between whether this should be in the art of critique or this section. If it is in the incorrect area, please do let me know.

    Hoping to have your opinions / experiences on it. Appreciate your help in advance.

    Regards
    John Crawfordz
     
  2. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    It could be, as you said, because of depression, but (and I think this is far more likely) it might also be that you're ready to move away from fan fiction into your own realm of storytelling.

    I went through a period similar to this a few years ago and it's when I nailed down my preferred genre that I finally came out of it and ideas started to flow for me. Perhaps some soul-searching is called for, maybe not related to genre, but some other aspect of your creative process.
     
  3. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    It doesn't really matter if someone says you are good or bad or average. All that matters is what an editor says. And then all that really matters is if the editor says he wants to publish your work. I didn't click on any of examples so I can't comment on your writing, but what does that really matter? If I said I hated it, would you quit writing? If I loved it, sure, you would probably feel goos temporarily, but it wouldn't really mean anything. I'm just not so sure asking strangers to tell you if you are good or not is really going to help you or even help you know where you stand.

    You list a lot of possibilities that could be contributing to the lack of quality in your work. I'm not into fan-fiction, so maybe take Sack-a-Doo's advice and try writing some original work. And try not to worry about how you compare to others. There were times when I felt like I was one of the best writers in a workshop class or at a writing job, and there were times that I was pretty sure I was the worst. But I was still there and got better. Is it important to know where you stand? I would say only if it will make you work harder. And you really don't need an outside opinion to do that. I don't like to read with a critical eye. I just like to read and enjoy it. And I don't compare myself to other writers if I can help it, but I get that sometimes that's hard. A good read leaves me inspired, not envious or doubting my own abilities.
     
  4. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    I think I understand what you mean. That some of my skills have grown but are being held back by others, leaving a terrible mix of incompleteness. Cogs and square Parts that do not fit together.

    You are right about storytelling. I find the original realm scary for creating an original that people and myself would be able to enjoy is much more immensely difficult. Trying to publish it for real made it tougher on my expectations. I have switched from project to project, finding holes in my works that I find appalling that I rather scrap them than pursuing them further.

    I will try to follow your advice to find my answers. Hopefully I can share them soon.

    Thank you for your experience.
     
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  5. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    Honestly, I do not know if I would have quit writing if you told me it is bad. I had a bad experience with a beta reader once that I stopped for 6 months years ago. It broke up my writing will when I was still a 'kid' in writing. I suppose now I wanted a benchmark to know where I stand, to see the odds of making something that people can enjoy and not be a farce. To be at least decent and not horrible as a start.

    Worrying about my performance compared to others seems too ingrained to me. Its something I need to work on since its affecting my real life work as well. Heck, even trying to make this thread was giving me doubts of how I would be slammed for asking something I felt was rather idiotic and cryptic to it. Thanks for your encouragement.

    I don't know if knowing where i stand will make me work harder. I doubt that though. A good read especially for Brandon Sanderson's work does leave me inspired which then depresses me when I fail trying to create something that could contend with that level of works. My standards feel that I shouldn't write something simplistic like those light novels or novellas. Something not as complex as a 700 page book or an epic but something worth reading that would instill values / perspectives or understanding of the concepts. Am I trying to be too grand for a first book?

    In the meantime, I will continue trying to create an original and I hope to gather more advice & experiences from this forum to achieve that.

    Thank you for your experience.
     
  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    By usually falling to my knees and praying to the Gods of Fiction, that thou will be blessed with something that is not entirely shit. :supergrin:

    Honestly trying the: get feedback and try to apply it method. Seems the only real way to assess if you are improving or not.

    So far my sacrifice of many pens has not gained me any favors with the Fiction God Zlorch, so I am gonna say about a 2. :supergrin:
     
  7. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    There needs to be some sort of inverse proportion law to mastering a subject vs how you feel about your work.

    The better you get, the more flaws you can see, the worse things appear.

    It's like progress is the key to pandora's box, but the monsters were already there, you just couldn't see them.

    Every once in a while though, you see or make something that checks out. I'm not going to say it makes everything worth it, but its what keeps me going.
     
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  8. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    Is it a problem that I pray to the God Emperor instead? :D. I should get more shit written then and offer them to the God.

    Thanks for the experience
     
  9. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    That's true. At the moment, I don't know what keeps me going yet and some soul searching would help with that.

    Thanks for the experience
     
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  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The works I've learned from are works that I loved when I first read them and then went back and re-read, maybe several times. If it engaged me as a reader, it may have something to offer me in my own quest to engage readers. But studying a work to inform your own writing is very different from just reading it for pleasure. Ask yourself what parts of the story most hold your interest and why. What is it about the main character that engages your empathy? What goes wrong in his/her life that you want him/her to overcome? What pulls the plot forward? How does the mc change over the course of the story? How does the mc impact the events of the story? Ask these same questions of your own work and see where you think you fall short. And if you find you are unsure how to portray certain characters, maintain/increase tension, have your plot flow forward logically, introduce subplots, describe settings, or any other identifiable component of a good story, don't be afraid to go back and study other works you've loved and see how they did it.

    Suffering from depression is obviously going to impact how you see your own work. If you are being treated for it (and, since you used the term "medically", I assume you are) talk to your doctor about the effects both the condition and the treatment may have on your creative pursuits. As for the other three items you mention, only you know if you are trying too hard or trying to be "original". As for fanfic, I suspect that writing a story from within an established milieu is very different from creating your own milieu. Making the jump may be difficult, but is a necessary step in finding your own voice as a writer.

    Good luck.
     

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