1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    How has your writing improved over time?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by OurJud, Aug 16, 2016.

    Not sure if this needs to go in The Lounge. Please move if needs be.

    I'm not looking for a general 'it's matured' here, but rather specifics.

    I also hope this isn't interpreted as bragging - it's simply recognising where things have improved.

    For me it's definitely my punctuation, and in particular my use of the comma. Man I used to overuse that bugger to a ridiculous level, sticking one in whenever my brain heard the slightest pause in the narrative and sometimes even when it didn't (hear a pause).

    Another improvement is that my sentence lengths are now more varied. I used to try and limit the use of 'and' when linking elements or actions in a sentence, thinking it sounded wrong. Of course it can sound wrong but I'm far more confident in this area now and it's really helped the rhythm of my prose.

    Paragraphs. I used to ponder over these for minutes on end, arguing with myself as to whether I should be starting one or not. This obsession probably amounted to about 20% of my writing time back then. I still struggle, but their use feels far more instinctive now.
     
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  2. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    I've noticed my writing is a lot less pretentious and overly-fancy. I used to throw a tonne of descriptions everywhere and nothing went anywhere. Now, even though it takes a long time still, stuff happens in scene.
     
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  3. MarcT
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    MarcT Member

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    Being self critical is quite tough, but it has to be done.
    I think I'm better now at standing back, looking at what I've written and asking myself how it reads. Would I enjoy reading that? That kind of question.
    And I can really relate to pretentious and overly flowery.
    Over the years the nib just gets sharper, I suppose.
     
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  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Most generally, I suppose, is that I've learned to focus a lot more intently on my prose. I'm more precise and a lot less sloppy than I used to be. I've also become patient and careful in the selection of the imagery I use.
     
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  5. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    I've always struggled with active vs passive sentences. My major focus lately has been making my writing more active and I have definitely noticed the difference. I like to think I am constantly improving in all areas though (hopefully!)
     
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  6. OrangeGrape
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    OrangeGrape New Member

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    My writing when I first started (which wasn't too long ago, but I can definitely see change) was pretty much all fluff and no content. I had multiple POV switches per chapter and so much redundant uselessness.

    I tried to fix that by going in the exact opposite with having ONLY action, stuffing the description in some dark corner away from everything else... That was pretty bad in it's own right.

    Right now I'm trying to find a good balance. I'm still pretty meh at writing, but I can confidently say that I was not as bad as when I first started

    While some other people are trying to tighten their writing and refine it, I'm still trying to learn what it exactly is to write well, to properly convey what I want in a convincing manner, it's fun but frustrating.
     
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  7. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    My biggest improvement over the last year or so has without a doubt been finding the discipline to kill my darlings. I don't hesitate to cut material that doesn't fit the story anymore, and I've improved my attention to detail--which is saying something since I'm a fanatic editor.
     
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  8. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I get better in finding SPAGs, run-ons and stubs before they annoy my Alphas, and my conscious use of words has sharpened - I am more aware of imprecise statements. Not sure what else. Put like that, it doesn't sound like much.
     
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  9. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    Dialogue - I was awful at writing dialogue. I would read my descriptive stuff and be like "that reads ok" then I'd get to the dialogue and I would literally cringe at how stilted and forced it seemed. Now I am able to read it without putting my hand in front of my face - mostly.
     
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  10. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    Since starting out with (in hindsight) page after page of text suffering from a severe identity crisis, I've noticed that I am starting to have a voice of my own. It varies a bit between different characters, but the foundation is the same. I see this as a big improvement. Also, I no longer have the need to make sentences that don't need it more wordy than necessary. Some sentences should be told plain and straightforward, and I can now identify them when I write. Use of comma's is still a minor point that needs improvement, but I am getting there. Of late I also notice that my pacing seems to improve, mainly through a side project of practise with short-stories and off-track projects.
     
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  11. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Me too @karldots92 I think every character I wrote wore a suit and spoke in BBC English. Well not every character; my villains were little finger nibbling Dr Evils.
     
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  12. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    My dialogue was more like two 6 year olds fighting over a lillipop
     
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  13. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Do you find them in ponds? I want one... :p
     
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  14. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    As you can see my typing definitely hasn't improved
     
  15. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    This place affords one the grace to go back and fix typos. Can you see the little 'edit' link under each of your posts? It's not to be used for mischief though I've been warned.

    You can't fix your one up there though, you'll kill my joke and my pet frog will be well miffed. :meh: :)
     
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  16. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    I'll buy him a lollipop to make him feel better :p
     
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  17. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    My dialogue has gotten better, both in that it (probably?) sounds like real people talking now and the punctuation and tags/beats around it are less trash. My descriptions aren't flowery and overdone anymore, thank god. And I like to think I'm less melodramatic.

    I've also learned that planning and outlining is the best way for me to write - always thought I was a pantser/gardener but letting myself plan has improved every meta aspect of my writing.
     
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  18. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I also discovered outlining tendencies in myself *sigh*
     
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  19. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here we go, something else for me to worry about. What's a stub?
     
  20. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    A fragment, I think?
     
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  21. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    In short, abbreviated sentences which are not grammatically correct. I can get away with them when the internal/external action is real fast, but they shouldn't be used extensively - and surely not in casual writing :)

    Yeah, a fragment!
     
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  22. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Could I have an example please?
     
  23. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    A sentence fragment is just that, a fragment of a sentence (missing a necessary part to make a complete sentence; subject or predicate).

    I am a killer. (complete sentence)
    A killer. (fragment)

    Just like any other tool, they should be used to advance tone, ambiance, feeling, to make a point, etc. Also, like all writing tools, their use should be calculated. You should know why you're using it.
     
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  24. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    My deepest sympathies.
     
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  25. MarcT
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    MarcT Member

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    From what I've read, there seems to be a pitched battle between outliners and non-outliners, if that isn't putting it too strongly.
     
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