1. Jesusfreak97
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    Jesusfreak97 Member

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    how do you know?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jesusfreak97, Jul 12, 2015.

    So I have a part in my story that is kinda morbid. I wrote it and it's either complete genius or just plain creepy and morbid and I can't figure out which one it is.

    My question is: how do you know if you have really written something good or something competently horrible without showing it to other people? Is that even possible?
     
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  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, it's basic common sense.
    "I have a YA novel about the struggles of finishing high school, love, and dealing the heroines pedophilia tendencies."
    That's probably not a YA novel at that point -,-

    Depending on detail and effectiveness of the scene, it can go either way.
    Just remember your audience, rating, and whether it's appropriate, really.
     
  3. Jesusfreak97
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    Jesusfreak97 Member

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    Alright! Thanks! :)
     
  4. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    I've had some moments like that in the past. Try to remember that those shocking events will flow as part of a greater story for the reader. Unless the audience is made of total prudes, they will be able to roll with the story. Hope that makes sense.
    Love the DC Talk inspired username, by the way.
     
  5. Jesusfreak97
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    Jesusfreak97 Member

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    You understand my username! *faints*
     
  6. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    At some point you need to show your work to other people. If it's really out of kilter with what you're trying to portray, why hang on to it? Why build your work round something like that?

    The fact you've asked shows that it's a problem for you. Bite the bullet and ask for feedback. May save hassle later on. And if it fits, then crack on with it.
     
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  7. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Outsider perspectives are great for something like this, but I think it's always important to write for yourself. People have different thresholds of what's "too much" and if you share it with someone who finds what you've written just absolutely repulsive and disgusting, that doesn't necessarily mean that another person wouldn't be like "yeah this is fine". And it is unfortunately usually pretty difficult to get like 5-10 people to read your work and get a nice consensus, so I think it's important to figure out how to judge for yourself.

    As for how to do that, I tend to think in terms of how I'd feel if I read (/watched/played) something with the scene I've written in it. Then I adjust for the fact that I know that I love creepy and gross things. I mean, specific things do squick me out (I'm a big softy who can't stand violence towards animals, for instance, and eye gore used to mess me up pretty bad), but my general threshold is pretty high - you need to be aware of that when you're doing this.

    So consider how you'd feel about the scene or scenario if you hadn't come up with it. You're some person reading a book, or watching a show, and you're confronted with the scene or idea, rendered in whatever amount of detail you put into it. It's new to you. Given the context of the story so far, would you wonder why the writer went that way, or went so far? Can you imagine your mom or your best friend watching it and disapproving or thinking it was cool? If getting into that objective mindset is hard, try to think of scenes that've impacted you before - what they were, how you reacted, what about them got to you. Does your thing share qualities with them, and if so, what?

    I also think it's important to determine if the thing you're wondering about really serves the plot and fits the tone. If your plot is reliant on it, say it's a story about a brutal murder and the investigation thereof, obviously there's no getting around it, it's integral. But if you're just throwing in this one scene of some weird fucked up torture for kicks, just for shock value, to try to make your reader feel ill when the rest of the story is pretty tame, consider dialing it back or even removing it.

    As far as dialing it back, also keep in mind that you can keep the concept in without describing the event. There's levels here. There's 'loving descriptions of the ways brains splattered on the wall and skull fragments clicking against it' and there's 'stating someone got shot in the head but focusing on emotional reactions and repercussions', you know?

    Anyway, I hope this was some help.
     
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  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Confidence. That's how. Every writer needs it.
     
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  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Very true. And that includes the confidence to show it to others, the confidence to listen to feedback you don't want to hear, and the confidence to decide for yourself whether or not to follow it. A lot depends on what your ultimate goal is, but if your ultimate goal is to be published, you need to grow a thick skin. :D

    One suggestion, if you don't yet feel confident enough to show it to others - think back over things you've read that you might think of in the same way - "kinda morbid". Go back and read those passages again. How is yours like them? How does it differ? Morbid writing has a place. Discomfiting the reader is something we occasionally want/need to do.

    Good luck.
     
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  10. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    If it's supposed to convey a creepy and morbid tone then it has done it's job; therefore, a decent piece of writing.

    You can never truly know if you're writing is good or not until you put it out into the world. However, you can compare your writing to others work and use it as a benchmark to determine the quality. Learning the techniques will help you to articulate your writing, but it won't dictate what you write, so you can only aim to be happy with your own work, which is more than enough in my opinion.
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Not everything in a novel is going to be sunshine. If it bothers you have a trusted person look at it. I'm not an offbeat person but I've written some offbeat fiction. Some of it creepy and weird. But I never show it to an audience that would dismiss it or accept it squarely on both levels - meaning I love because it is creepy or I hate it because it's creepy. I need to find someone objective to decide or I just set the section aside and finish writing my piece to see if I need the scene or not.

    I once wrote a scene involving an animal being deliberately killed. Hated writing it. Thought I needed it to show cruelty. But after finishing the story found I didn't need it and ditched it.

    Hard to say. I know you probably won't get any better at writing unless you start showing it to people. I've been writing since I was twelve and didn't show my work to anyone - with the exception of my mom once. When I joined this site I felt myself improving faster. Plus, the more you write and polish each work the better you are at judging your own work.
     

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