1. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    How do you know if writing is for you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by victoria28, Mar 1, 2011.

    Hi, ive just joined the forum and need advice really. I love to write and have had several ideas that just dont get going. Only being 19 i sometimes feel i dont have enough life experience to write a novel? am i too young? Also is there a structure you should follow when writing a novel? Thanks for any advice in advance :)
     
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  2. Show
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    How do you know if writing is for you? Try it out! That's the only real way to know. As for whether you can make a career out of it, that requires more thought. But whether it can be a career or not shouldn't be a deciding factor in whether or not you write at all.

    Also, I just turned 19 myself. I wrote all of my novels(unpublished novels, but at least I finished a draft of 6 of them), before I turned 19. If lack of life experience is a factor, I'm probably at fault too. But I don't think you need life experience to be a good writer. Sure, it helps but how can you ever get life experience if you wait until you have it to do anything?

    So I just write and I hope that gives me experience. Certainly we'll grow better in time. But we'll never grow better if we don't write. So write! Try it out. If it fulfills you, keep doing it. If you find you don't like it, you can stop and there's really no harm done. And if you do like it, you may find you want to try for a career in it. Or you may decide it's just something to keep as a hobby. Either way, you'll only know by trying it out and seeing what you can do with writing.

    That's my advice anyway.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of my closest friends is only nineteen now - she finished her first 80,000 word novel at eleven. She now has about seven under her belt but has gone back and rewritten them recently. She is really, really good.

    I was thirty-three before I even considered writing, everyone is different but just write doesn't matter if your not good to start with.
     
  4. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    Thank you for both of your replies, i really enjoy reading and writing, i find myself thinking of plots and things to write when im doing various things and it just makes me want to go home and write. Ive wrote several beginnings to novels but i get stuck after that. I feel i am too critical of myself so i never get any further. I would love to make writing a career but i know it can be extremely difficult.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    First whoever you are, whatever age you are you got to build the skills to write a good novel, and thats mean practice, and that mean you need to o a lot of writing.
     
  6. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should start writing and see how it goes. Don't think about getting your stories published. Just write what you want to, even if it's boring or just really bad.
    I'm 20 and have been writing since I was about 8, but I still decided I wouldn't try to get anything published until I am 30, because I don't think I have the experience to make a really great story, but that doesn't stop me from writing every single day.
    Just do what you feel like and don't put pressure on yourself. Write stories for your own enjoyment.
     
  7. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    yea i understand that, obviously at the moment i'll just be writing as a hobby but maybe in the future i would love to be a published author!
     
  8. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    thanks for your advice, i think that's exactly what im going to do. How many words would you say you write a day? i go to college so im busy with doing coursework etc so at the moment im finding it difficult to find time to write.
     
  9. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    Was Marry Shelley too young when she wrote Frankenstein at age 19? How about Christopher Paolini who started his Eragon series at 15?

    No, you are not too young to write a novel. If nothing else, taking your writing seriously now will give you a strong foundation to build upon in the future.

    Structuring your novel ulitmately will be a very personal choice, but you can get an idea of how some people do it if you simply do a Google search on the phrase 'structuring a novel'. You can also analyze some of your own favorite books to see how they are put together. Some things to look at are;

    How does the book start?
    How are characters introduced?
    What is the primary theme of the book?
    How does the author transition between scenes?
    Whose point of view (POV) is each scene, or chapter told from?
    How does the author use language to convey the mood of the scene?

    There are many other aspects of structure which you can learn by studying writing that you enjoy reading. Just keep reading and writing until you find your own voice.

    By all means, have fun!
     
  10. Show
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    I'm quite overcritical of myself as well. You sound to me like you got the seeds planted and just need to cultivate them.

    As for getting forward with a novel, I think you really need to get inspired and attached to it. It can help push you to the finish line. I'd also set a manageable goal in which to finish a rough draft of the novel. (It worked for me anyway) I've found that having no goal makes it too easy to slack. Now don't go trying to finish the darned thing in a week or even a month. But try to set some reasonable goal so you don't slack. That's one way anyway; it might not work for you. But it's something to try if you find yourself unable to finish something.

    Another tip may be to try to build to a novel through short stories. It's not easy to write a novel right off the bat. I had to write several shorter works before I could take on an 80K novel. So don't expect results overnight.
     
  11. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I'm trying to remember what the average age is that they say supposedly you finally turn into the person you are going to be. Mid 30's? Can't remember. I don't even know if I buy that. Certainly as you go along in life, you change. Is this going to change the way you write? I believe it will. Is this what makes you an effective writer? I don't think so.

    More important than life experience is WRITING experience. Writing experience is the time spent actually writing and learning to write. No matter what age you start writing, you've got to build up time at the keyboard to get better at it. Just like anything else, when you first start writing, you aren't going to be that good.

    Why then, would it appear that a 39 year old is often a better writer than a 19 year old? If the elder is a better writer, it is probably because they have more WRITING experience than the 19 year old.

    A lot of it also depends on your determination and will power. When I was 19, I didn't have the patience to write a novel. I also didn't have a good idea for plot, but then, I can't say I pondered it all that much. Now, at 39, I know what I like, what fascinates me, and all that. And that is exactly what I'm writing about.
     
  12. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've had some great advice so I'm not sure what else I can add. :)

    Just to reiterate, try writing something. Short stories are excellent vehicles for honing your skills. I wrote many before I attempted a novel, and even then, the first few attempts didn't get anywhere near finished... which is ok. I learned a lot anyway.

    I was 24 when I started my first 'serious' attempt at a novel, and 25 when I finished the first draft.

    That was a good feeling in itself because I wasn't sure I could stick it out.

    Good luck.
     
  13. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    That's a real good point about the sense of accomplishment. It's a great feeling to finish a rough draft, and it was a great feeling when I finished the first revision. Even if I don't get published, I can always say now that I've written a book.
     
  14. Silver_Dragon
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    Maybe you could try doing outlines for your work to keep you from getting stuck if you aren't already doing so...I get stuck if I work with absolutely no outline.

    Even if you're young, you still have things to say and stories to tell, so there's no reason to wait until you're older to start. As for knowing whether writing is for you, I say it is if you want to do it.
     
  15. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep. So many people say they will write one, but never do... or never finish.
     
  16. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi there,

    First of all, don't ask for people's validation, permission or support to start being a writer. If you want to do it, do it. Take charge yourself.

    Second of all, I started writing when I was in elementary school so you can write at any time you want to start -you're never too old or too young. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. (Even if it's a publisher -- find a new publishing company).

    About sentence structure: there's different types of structure for different types of writing. Short, choppy sentences help foster a chaotic tone. Long, multi-claused sentences can help create a meandering tone. Active voice makes your writing sound dynamic and easier to read, and is usually the voice you want to use when you write. The exception is if you want to create a detached tone and then you use passive.

    Plus, there's other types of rhetorical devices and the list goes on and on...you should get the book "Elements of Style" to help you with this.
     
  17. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I feel like that too. To complete a novel - with as many re-writes as is necessary, is a great achievment. Most people don't ever get that far.

    The aim should be to have a work that you are proud of, whether that's a short story or a full length novel. To have it published is the icing on the cake.

    To make a small fortune - well that's the dream. And I found that the dream wasn't anywhere near as important as the writing.
     
  18. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    I'll never know about the small fortune part, but the day I received the proof copy of my book I stood there in the kitchen looking at it, feeling the heft of it in my hands, seeing the clean crisp type (my words!) on the bright white paper, and I said to my wife, "It's just like a real book." To which she replied gently, as if speaking to a slow child, "Terry, it is a real book."

    Wow. What a feeling.
     
  19. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I had my first short story published in a magazine - Christmas issue - so I was dead chuffed! I stood in the supermarket as a woman picked up a copy and it was all I could do to stop myself from giving her a nudge and saying - 'Guess what! I'm in there!

    I spent all day thinking she'll read that story and never know she'd been standing next to ME! Soon came back down to earth. But you're right - what a feeling!
     
  20. RightBastardWriter
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    RightBastardWriter Member

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    Write. Write every day. Even if it's just a free 15 minutes. Write.

    Write write write write.

    And read. Read as much as you can. Read the classics. Read contemporary. Read westerns, mysteries, sci fi, fantasy, horror, everything you can get your hands on.

    Learn the craft of writing. Point of view. Characters. Plot. Pacing. Dialogue.

    Then write more.

    Always go back to the writing.

    That's the start.
     
  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree with the others, there's no such thing as too young or too old to start writing - unless of course you're fingers are too small to reach the keys or your eyes too dim to read the screen!

    I think the only thing age of itself can help you with is life experience, and so its hard to write about the pain of a divorce if you're nineteen and never been married etc. But that just means you can write about something else. Let your imagination run wild and save the biography for when your hair turns grey.

    Cheers.
     
  22. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    There are many things you can write with the life experiences you have had so far. Also, you don't have to really experience something to write about it as fiction. You just have to make it believable, and your ability to observe and absorb is the key.

    Yes, there are traditional structures for writing a novel which are often broken by experience writers. As a novice you better stick to the rules and structures before you try breaking the rules.
     
  23. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    thank you this really helped, i already feel as though when im reading other books i ask questions to myself which i feel is a good start. I just need to get motivated really. Thanks for your advice :)
     
  24. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    I think this is true, i havent set myself a goal, i guess because im too afraid of not sticking to it. I like to write when i feel in the mood, and sometimes thats not as often as i would like. Do you find you need to be in a particular mood to write? Thanks for the advice :)
     
  25. victoria28
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    victoria28 Member

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    Just another question, do you start with a plan to your short story/novel or do you just start writing? I know a plan would probably be a good place to start but i find just writing helps me develop the plot further?
    Thanks
     

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