1. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    How do you know when you've improved in writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Youniquee, Apr 10, 2011.

    Kind of quick question here before I go off.
    I was looking through my first chapter of my novel which I wrote in Nov 2010. It's clearly crap and I know this, yet I can't see the difference with my writing now and my writing then. I know I have a long long way to go, but I'm wondering, does this mean I haven't improved?
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sure you have, you just don't know how to practice what you've learned yet. Sometimes knowledge and ability doesn't go hand in hand. I went through the same thing for a period, I knew my previous version of a novel was crap and why but I still couldn't master the technique of producing something better. It will come, just give it and yourself some time.
     
  3. ProwerGirl
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    ProwerGirl Member

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    When you get ideas that aren't near replicas of already done works?
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Without seeing your writing, How are we to know if you have improved or not?

    All I can say is keep writing and keep reading and your writing will most certainly improve.

    And no doubt 'no matter how long we keep at it or how good we may become' I think we will always feel there is room for improvement - and I'm sure there will be.
     
  5. dnsralg
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    dnsralg Senior Member

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    Though I do believe we are constantly improving in some respect, I think you can attribute your findings to something else. When you are writing something, you have this bond with it - you are excited about it! Why else would you invest so much time? You finally finish and you feel this overwhelming sense of achievement. You read over your piece and you think it's perfect.
    Months or more later, though, you re-read the story and wonder what you ever saw in it. This is because of a few things. First, the story is no longer in the front of your mind. Little details you forgot to write down, but had in your head have since disappeared and you don't understand why Johnny decided to punch Rosie in the mouth...
    Of course, you have written since writing this piece so there is a degree of improvement. The reason I suspect most, though, is very simple. You loved that piece of work. You saw no errors and lusted for approval. Now, you've moved on to a different plot and a new set of characters. Compared to these, the old piece can never match up. You are now in love with a new beast.
    One of the worst things to happen to a writer is for them to fall in love with their piece. They can no longer be critical. They decide not to edit something because, though it is grammatically ambiguous, it sounds so damn cool.

    Dig?
     
  6. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    I am here for validation only, all I want is for everyone to like me, as soon as I can fit my square peg in the round hole of peer pressure, I will know I have improved......was that the wrong answer ?
     
  7. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    4-5 months is kind of a small window for improvement.

    Eight years ago, I wrote the first draft of my novel. In the completed version, I didn't even use a single word from the previous edition. To be honest, it was garbage. From the plot development to the dialogue, everything about it sucks. But, when I was writing it back then I thought it was gold. It seemed like this was an ingenious idea destined for greatness.

    How silly I was that long ago.

    But anyways, if you want to get feedback your best bet is to post your stories online and have people review them. One of the sites I used back then was Fictionpress.net. It's a great way to receive simple critiques from other writers just like yourself. Someone else is more than likely to find the problem you're having if you can't see it. I'd definitely consider at least trying it out.
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Feedback, feedback and feedback. Writing is communication. To really understand how and if you improved you got to examine how you writing works on other people then yourself. It might be scary, but to really improve this is the way to go.

    If some of you work is to sensitive to publish or show to people, keep a blog, write a lot on forums, write things you feel you can show people and get that feedback on that writing.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you can see the flaws you couldn;t see before, that is an improvement, even if you haven't quite figured out how to fix them.

    Go through and revise your current work to fix the flaws you can see before you try to judge your progress as a writer.
     
  10. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    If it's all the one project you're working on, and it's not "perfect", it's sometimes hard to differentiate between what you wrote then and now.

    It may be that you're too invested in it, you want it to be a masterpiece, and that's not working for you.
    I guess I'm saying more or less the opposite of what dnsraig did, and that could be because I'm a perfectionist. But when I finish a story, I hate it. Then I go back to it a month later, and I see that it's not as bad as I made out, it actually has potential. So try that. I got from your initial post that you have been working on only this novel for the last few months. So I suggest taking a break for a month or 2, maybe work on a couple of short stories (using completely different characters, and then going back to your novel.

    Looking at the whole thing with fresh eyes can make a big difference, if you are being too hard on yourself.
     
  11. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    I couldn't say it any better.
     

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