1. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    How much have you learnt since becoming a member of this forum?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cazann34, Mar 5, 2013.

    How much have you learnt since becoming a member of this forum? I know this may be a difficult question for some who haven't been here long, but I'm sure there's something you've learnt in your short time here.


    I have been a member since September 2012 and I have learnt a lot. I've learnt not to over use comma's -I used them like confetti before, throwing them everywhere. The importance of a clear writing structure (A leads to B then to C) not only for my own sake but for anyone who reads my work- before I jumped scenes leaving my work confusing. And most important of all, to take my time editing-it shouldn't be a task to be rushed, it should be done with care and in intervals so I am able to see the areas that are in error or need more clarity. I'm not saying I no longer make these mistakes, I do, but I am now more aware of them.


    Now its your turn...what have you learnt?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I've been here since Nov 2010...that's quiet hard because I've learnt a lot. But the main things are:
    - Italics are apparently looked down by writers? But there's a split opinion on it. Some people think it's lazy writing. Some don't care.
    - People really don't like adverbs.
    - It doesn't matter if your idea has been done before...every writer has their own unique voice and the way they tell the story. That's what really makes your story original
    - Reading is really important.
    - If you review other people's work, you actually learn a lot.
    - Age doesn't matter as much as I thought.
    - I write boy character's very feminine.
    ...And a lot more lol

    Although, contributing to this forum helps a lot more than I expected, even though I've been on and off.
     
  3. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I haven't been here long, but there are little bits and pieces I'm picking up on.

    Adverbs - Normally there's a single verb that can be used instead of a verb+adverb combination.
    Character Voice - I need to pay more attention to the subtle ways that different characters use language based on gender, age, culture, wealth, aspiration, etc. A tough one to do because it's going to require much more study on my part as I'm really not very good at reading people at all.
    SPAG - A number of minor errors in the way I use punctuation or grammar that have come about due to the amount of colloquilisation of my everyday use of language. These need to be unlearnt and 'repaired'.
    Tense - Understanding tenses better. Past Simple, Past Continuous and Past Perfect all come into the mix, and I need to be in better control of them.

    There will be other things, but these ones I remember.

    PS: Oh, and Cogito doesn't like self-publishing at all, and most people here advise against writing book serials of any kind (certainly as a less established author). Both things I actually prefer! :)
     
  4. Khaelmin
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    Khaelmin Active Member

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    Oh, I've learned a lot of things.

    - Showing, not telling.
    - Identifying weak dialogue by reading it out loud.
    - Identifying and avoiding the hell out of cliches. Not that I always put this one into practice. :p
    - Writing with a deadline is generally a good way to botch or outright murder a good idea. Especially if you leave editing 'till the last moment.
    - On this note, I've also learned to resist posting something immediately after finishing it. Stories, like fine wines, need to spend some time in the cellars. Both your mind's and your hard drive's.
     
  5. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Not wanting to get bogged down in a 'Show vs. Tell' debate (there are other threads for that), I am reminded I've learnt that 'Show vs. Tell' isn't so absolute. It really comes down to efficiency and effectiveness in what is being put across to the reader. In general show is preferable to tell, but there are times when it's far more efficient to tell simply because the show would take up far too much space.

    'Show vs. Tell' also needs to be flexible in situations where there is a need to cover what a character is feeling and thinking when their body language is in opposition to those emotions and thoughts (which can happen frequently). Having a character always show their emotions/thoughts isn't a good rule (in my opinion).

    What that learning particularly has told me is that all these concepts are, at best, good practice guidelines and there are no absolute rules.
     
  6. thedarkknight
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    thedarkknight Member

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    I learned it's a lot of hard work to write a story well. Ideas are a dime a dozen and the "rules" are well known (i.e. show/tell, strong verbs not adverbs, passive/active, etc.) but the execution is difficult.

    The quickest way to learn to write well is to critique others and post your own work for critique. Above all be willing to edit, edit, and edit some more. “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings” ― Stephen King, On Writing
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've learned
    - Critique may sting but it never kills
    - Critiquing helps stop errors in my own writing - better than any writing rule book ever could
    - Be honest but kind ( okay I already knew this - lol - but for reviews you really have to let go of any snarkiness that can creep up. Being snide is never helpful.)
    - Verbs are the backbone of your sentence
    - Was can be a sentence killer
    - I can write a short story! - something I never believed iI could do ( I thought I was strictly a novelist and was quite snobby about it too. )
    - not to be so hard on myself
     
  8. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    - Every story has most likely has been done before but never by you
    - A good story can be marred by bad grammar
    - Character dialogue should stay in character
     
  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    -Tags can help your dialogue flow more naturally
    -You shouldn't worry about how good your writing is until you're done with your first draft.
    -Despite the 'rules' given in this thread and others, any of them can be broken if done well.

    I learn the most here, however, by critiquing in the writer's workshop. I should really do that more :)
     
  10. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    I learned much, even if I'm too afraid to post my own work.

    This forum helped me to focus on some critical parts of my writing, like dialogue and description.
    English is not my first language so it's always good to read some proper grammar and structures.

    I really need to work on my low self esteem issues now.
     
  11. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    I joined this forum in the summer of 2011 shortly after starting what has turned out to be a novel length work. I never considered myself to be a writer of fiction and I came here hoping to learn a little something about the craft. I've learned a great deal since I started my project. Some I've learned from here. Some I've learned from reading. Some I've learned from practice writing. I think it's the combination of those things that makes it work.

    I hesitate to make a list of things I've learned since I'm not sure which are important or which I've picked up directly from this forum. However I can say that since I've been coming here my dialog is better (much better), my settings are better, and my characters are getting better. I also have a much better understanding of info dumping and why it's bad and what can be done about it.
     

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