1. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    how do you know if its good?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wolfi, Apr 21, 2011.

    I know the "if it sounds good it is"
    but i find this not true, a lot of the books that i read i like, but i come to find that many others don't, which is fine
    as a reader but as a writer, or my type of writer, i don't want to write for me i want to write for YOU
    so obviously using the "if it sounds good it is" does not work

    so how do you know if the type of people you want to get to will like it?
    there are way to many type of pepole who like defreint types of wring for your friends and family to give a good idea, or atleast in my life
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I let people read it - I know my first book Mayhem is capable of making people laugh, cry and read it in one night. Some people are going to see it as trash, others won't read it because it is fantasy. However I have had people read it and get excited about the story and its characters.

    Socrates' Children another book had a wonderful, wonderful compliment when I had forgotten to warn someone about it being a gay relationship and they found themselves conflicted because they weren't uncomfortable. Also the ending has so far made five out of five readers at least get a bit misty eyed and that is in early draft form. This book I want to take my time with it deserves to be done right.
     
  3. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Put it up here and start getting some feedback. The longer you spend here, the more people you'll find who are on your wavelength.
     
  4. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    Well Iplan have this book publshied so i cant post this one up here, but i guess i could post others witht he same "vibe" and see if that works
     
  5. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Let non writers read it, when they want more, the next chapter blah, blah, blah your idea is good. However it would behoove you to post a sample of something. I am from Missouri, y'all need to show me. I tend to discount all the budding Hemmingways claiming brillance without a single 1000 piece throway sample they can share.
     
  6. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah if you want to get something published don't post it here. But you can use this forum as a place to meet other writers who get what you're trying to do.
     
  7. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    People do not often like my stories, even as a reader, so I might as well as like it myself, but does not mean that I will totally give up on it. My movie script, Invisible Hands of Love," might be a prime example for those who are good at identifying plot holes and character development, spelling, grammar, and lean and clean sentences. However, as a starting scriptwriter, agents would most likely throw The Invisible Hands of Love in the trash. My brother is a non-writer, and he honestly told me that the story is flat out boring, and told me nothing I should do to improve the writing. Therefore, I am not sure if I should continue on writing it as a writer and get further feedback on it.

    I also enjoy reading books as a reader, despite the author's writing condition. I do this for fun and entertaining purposes. However, the story, "Gone," is not really what it expected it to be. It has some good narrative description, but something about it tells me that the writer could write it better. The book, in my opinion, is clichéd. Other than that, the overall rating of the book is all right.

    Sometimes it can be hard to identify a bad book if you are not reading it in a writer's perspective. I think it seems a bit easier to do spot plot holes if you were to read these books as a writer and not just a reader.
     
  8. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    I agree with Reggie in theory about other writers reading. However I would consider the source in a snarky on-line enviroment that lends itself to cyber tough-guy-ism....I refer to it as writer on writer crime. The prerequsite of non writing readers would be contingent on the readers being well read. I am amazed how generally poor as a group inspiring writers are....Who would've thunk it?
     
  9. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing is communication. To know if it any good you got to test it on readers, hopefully you can find the type of reader you want to write for to take a look at it.
     
  10. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    great point a reader familar with your target genre will be much more effective than any old bum with a cigar and a pair of bifocals
     
  11. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Get people to read it... as many as possible. Everyone has different opinions so you should try to see what reading group you're aiming for (kids, young adults, men, women, sci-fi geeks etc) since ones outside the group probably won't appreciate it as much. Try and see your writing with an unbiased eye also... it's difficult, but learning how to review helps. If you like your work, it's likely that some others will. But the ones you really have to impress are the publishers. ;)
     
  12. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Screw getting feedback. It's seriously over rated unless you're in a very skilled crowd who are able to put aside what they 'like' and instead focus on the craft and editing based on what you're trying to do (which is rare).

    Write stuff you enjoy, that makes you laugh and cry. Want to know if it's good? Then read good stuff that makes you laugh and cry. Hell, do what I've done for fiction assignments and take work from the best writers out there, and put sentences and paragraphs of their work right on the same page as yours and compare them, see what they're doing that you aren't, right there, no way to pretend it's all subjective, it's both work you want to make you laugh or cry, one from someone you consider and expert, and then your work which you hope can become as good.

    Then, you not only get a good idea how good your own work is by refining your critical eye, but you don't have do deal with a stream of 'I didn't like that part' that can prey at a writer and leave them second guessing everything and can just focus on what you like, what makes you proud, and not try to appease anyone else. Worrying about audiences and readers is for an agent and publisher to work out, not a writer (though many these days seem to enjoy putting that cart waaaay before the horse).
     
  13. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    well i like harry poter, ergoan, twlight (hate the sparkle part)
    ect and the pepole i know hate that
    its like bands

    sure i like the band but a lot more pepole dont

    unlike music and reading
    I'm not writing for me I'm writing for you
    so i have to do soemthing others like not me
     
  14. martial_wolf
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    martial_wolf Member

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    But the trouble with this is you being able to really get into your work. If your project is something that you aren't going to be interested in and love, there is a slim chance that people are going to like what you write because it's pretty obvious when a writer's heart just isn't in it.

    Seriously, write your first draft with you in mind. Then take a closer look at it and tweak what's there to fit whatever other people are looking for. Though I warn you, writing for other people is just trying to walk on water. It's impossible to have universal appeal.
     
  15. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    I not goign for a ebrey one likes it

    but i dont want a twlight or something
    where lots love it but lots hate it to

    I'd rather have lots love it
    most dont care
    some hate it

    i know some will hate it but i dont want to end up like the other writers (on a much smallar scale of couse
     
  16. Vance
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    Vance Member

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    What you are saying is like saying that as a boxer, you'd rather win most matches by a fairly good amount of points rather than split decisions, and wouldn't want to be knocked out cold.

    Well, that's nice. But it isn't possible. Writing and boxing are alike in that the moment you get into it, you have to be ready to be hit mercilessly. It doesn't matter if you are an out-boxer who tries to avoid direct confrontation, or if you self publish or just send one story to a magazine every once in a blue moon.

    When the eventual hit comes(and it will) it's gonna hurt like hell. Even if you don't go at it with everything you have, you'll still get beaten to your knees and will stay there forever if you don't do something about it. You can practice to minimize the times you go down, but in the beginning you will go down a lot.

    It doesn't matter if you are aiming low or not. Once you are inside the ring, even if you just tell yourself "I just want to end this match without getting injured" there is still a very good chance that you might get injured.

    People might hate your work, and that's a risk you have to be willing to take. To succeed in writing you need to pull off one lucky punch. That is not to say that succeeding is a matter of luck, despite what I just said. The only way to pull off a lucky punch is if you brace yourself for the hit, face the horizon and thrust your fists forward.

    There is no guarantee you won't be hated, and there is no guarantee you will be liked even by a small minority. You just gotta be passionate and throw your best uppercut.
     
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  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree with popsicledeath - there is limited utility (I won't say no utility, but limited) to getting feedback on something posted on the forum. For one thing, in order for the feedback to be useful, you have to have confidence that the person you're getting it from shares your values (i.e. you agree on what "good" is) and is capable of recognizing quality as well as providing useful commentary. There are some good people on this site who can provide excellent advice, but you are probably best served by getting to know who they are and them asking them to look at something directly, offline.

    Of course, his method means that you have to be willing to see where your work isn't up to par when compared to published work that you admire. You need to be tough on yourself. A lot of times, someone will ask for constructive feedback but really means, "Tell me how great it is."

    Good luck.
     
  18. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think so -- I don't think a boxing analogy is going to work. I think it's more a case of "you can't please all of the people all of the time". I think too many novice writers try to please everybody, trying to eliminate everything that anybody might dislike. The result is something that nobody dislikes but nobody likes much either. Bland, writing. If you manage a really high standard of vanilla writing you might find a place in pulp short-story periodicals. But the writing that gets noticed is writing that polarizes people; love-it or hate-it stuff. In the boxing analogy it would be knock out or be knocked out, no decisions on points, which makes for a lousy boxing career (why the boxing analogy doesn't work) but makes for more entertaining fights.
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I found this a very good advice, I will absolutely do just that. And I'd rather write something I love (both reading and writing) even if it will never get published, than something that lots of people likes but which I don't feel the same way about.
     
  20. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    And trust me, in the long run it's easy to handle people hating something you loved, than loving something you hate. It's best to never write something you hate, as invariably someone somewhere will proclaim it your best work ever, as you're quietly gagging inside.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Pops reading your own work should be almost more satisfying than writing it. I love reading my stories and seeing the bits I had forgotten its like wow did I write that :) After a couple of months it almost feels like someone else wrote it.

    I do also get a huge buzz when others read it and I get feedback though (not from writers that is different), for me it is when someone comes back and knows my character or has a view on them - they have laughed or cried etc I love seeing people call Socrates, Soc or the fact no one else seems to find Angus ugly (I think he has big features and is quite clumsy but intelligent). That ultimately is when my stories start to breathe on their own they don't need me anymore. One of my favourite moments is when I put a post on here do Men Flounce not mentioning who i was asking about and Mallory knew who i was talking about lol Men might not flounce but yeah Socrates does :)
     
  22. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I was editing my book, wrote without proper format, so I was puttting paragraph and spacing in, and before I knew it I had read four pages without editing anything.

    I do think I am strange, but I think alot of people like what I like.

    The same book, I get choked up when the girlfriend runs to help the main charater.

    If I can write it, edit it(at least 10 times completely) and still get pulled into the story again, I think it is worth reading.

    I am considering posting the first page or so and see if it starts to slow. But once it gets going I like it. My first book is terribly boring at the start, and will have to rework it.(It is the one suspense-borderline thriller I have written, my genre is Fantasy.)

    Back to the OP.
    If you don't enjoy it, you won't want to continue to work on it. So you have to write what you like, and then look to modify it so others will like it too.
    For the most part we write first for our enjoyment, and hope that others would like it too.

    At least in fiction,
    You can't fake writing imo. You have to feel it, and if you don't feel it, the reader won't feel it, and if they don't feel it, they will stop reading it.

    I think writing some non-fiction you can create an interestin yourself to make it interesting to others. I wrote four 500 word reports in a month to make up for the whole semester of messing around. I picked subjects that caught my attention and focused on what I thought was interesting about it. I got an A on every one. But I really did not have real interest in most of the subjects.
     
  23. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Wolfi, the fact that you're writing out of interest and passion rather than just to make money shows that you're writing for yourself. Someone who's writing just for money and not art will write whatever the mainstream wants, no matter how good, but then it's not yours, it's not real art. If you want people to take your work seriously, you need to start respecting your own artistic opinions and write something that you like, to tell a story that you want to tell. Of course you want to write something that the general public will be able to understand and appreciate, but you can't just throw away what you want in your writing so people will read it. To have people respect and admire your writing, you yourself need to respect and admire it.

    If you want an example, look at songwriting and the music mainstream--you said you write songs, didn't you? A lot of the songs that make money these days are crap, all clones of each other with no real musical innovation, just stupid lyrics and repetitive chords. But the songs that really register with the audience, that are remembered and admired and talked about, aren't like those songs--they're original, thoughtful, with strange sounds and irregular structures. The ones that are too weird are often just listened to by a few devoted fans and ignored by others--don't go too far in strangeness or abnormality--but honestly, in any art, I'd much rather have a devoted, admiring cult following than a big, shallow, stupid crowd that sticks with the popular crap.
     

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