1. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    I can't do it

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ILaughAtTrailers, Jun 26, 2016.

    I know how many threads like these you must have read, but I can't do it. It's been four years now and while I know what the story is I just can't write. Period.

    I've tried doing a novel but I'm just too bland and use nothing but simple words.

    I've tried comics but that just never works.

    I've tried doing script but then it just ends up turning into a novel again.

    I don't know what to do I'm so frustrated. It seems like the only way I'm going to be able to tell this story is if it's replayed in my head and projected onto a screen, because with words I can't do it. Maybe around a campfire I could do it but then the story would be over in like 3 minutes. I don't know what to do. Do you see the words I'm typing here? That's my entire vocabulary. I'm too stupid. I'm 24. I'm going nowhere with my life. I can't do this.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Why do people feel they need to dive into the polysyllabic deep-end? I'm re-reading Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama at the moment and what always strikes me about Clarke's work is the very straightforward clarity of his writing. It's a rare moment when he makes me reach for the dictionary. It's not a flaw. It's clarity.
     
  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    This reads like you are stuck in a deep dark hole of hating your own words. Try writing a scene - just one - and give it to a trusted friend to read. See what he/she says. Speaking from personal experience, I can't judge the quality of my own words too.
     
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  4. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    I posted a shitty the most stupid chapter of the most boring and predictable story ever in the novel section if someone wants a taste...

    ...of how much I'm never going to amount to anything.
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'd rather read a book that doesn't make me go for the dictionary every five minutes. Lifeline also makes an excellent point, we're our own harshest critic so our own opinion of our own work is really rather moot. :p

    Challenge accepted!
     
  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    More than anything else: Take a break, do something else for a while. Everything else I'm about to say is secondary.

    One of my beta readers has actually complimented my writing as being very accessible, as opposed to a lot of writers who use flowery language that takes too long to decipher.

    Perhaps it might help to try: picking a novel that you love, flipping to a random page, and copying the entire text from the beginning of the first complete sentence to the end of the last. Verbatim, word for word. Just to give yourself a feel for what a novel should look like.
     
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  7. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Ohhh, I love this advice! Not that I myself need it, but I think this could really help! :)
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    @ILaughAtTrailers - I'm looking at your story now by the way.
     
  9. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I use nothing but simple words and I consider it one of my biggest strengths as a writer.
     
  10. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    It's a big difference if you have a choice.

    And I did the verbatim thing with Lonesome Dove for 20,000 words for one week. No joke.
     
  11. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Why does that make a difference?

    I don't know what the verbatim thing is, or Lonesome Dove. :D
     
  12. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    Because I can't not use simple words.
     
  13. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    But I don't understand why that matters? For me, and many other people, simple writing is the best writing--or at least, just as good as purple prose done well. We don't all have to be Nabokov. :)
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I hated reading back in public school; the books I was forced to read all reeked of a pretentious odor and there was nothing realistic or engaging about them.

    I don't know who this Nabokov was, but I assume his writing were just as pretentious.

    @ILaughAtTrailers - Where was it said that you must only use grandiose words? I spent a lot of my youth on various writing sites and none of them ever said to use words that would make even college professors reach for the dictionary. People who write books aimed for toddlers have to use simple words.
     
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  15. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    Are you saying I'm writing for toddlers? Because that would be exactly what I'm talking about when I say I don't have an expansive vocabulary lol....
     
  16. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    @Link the Writer Nabokov wrote Lolita, among other novels. IMO he's one of the very few authors who does 'purple prose' well, and I adore his writing. But I don't think many authors are capable of writing purple prose well. Most of us are better off sticking to simple language.
     
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  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Now where did I say that? I don't believe I said anywhere that you are writing for toddlers. What I said was that you don't have to write in long, verbose, grandiose vocabulary to get the story down. You just write in words the average joe would understand. This isn't a scholarly journal for some scholarly board who would expect you to use said long, verbose, grandiose vocabulary

    @Tenderiser - Oh, yeah, now I remember. I read some of his works back in college (that moment when you realize you've been out of college for nearly three years now.) I guess I kind of liked his works.
     
  18. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    If you think using simple words makes your writing suck, then you're also calling me a sucky writer. Sure, I'd like to be able to put in some fancy words, but frankly I'd rather understand my own writing, and more importantly, have the readers understand it. If ever I feel a need a new word for something (for the sake of needed variety or because the word(s) I know just don't cut it), I look for one in the thesaurus and then research it a bit to make sure I'm using it correctly. If a book has a bunch of fancy words I don't know, I stop reading it. I don't like feeling stupid for not having a huge vocabulary.

    As for the issue of not being able to just get words down, I had that problem for YEARS, and still have it quite often. I started taking my writing seriously longer than four years ago, and I still don't have a complete novel. It took me the first 1-3 years just to be able to write about fourteen pages of a novel, which, by the way, I had to scrap and re-plot. I had the same thoughts, the same doubts, and the same self-hate that you're now describing--and I still have to fight them a lot. The difference is, I no longer let those feelings control me. I remind myself that I'm determined to be a writer, that many writers feel this way and some point or other, and that daggone it, if I want to write, I'm going to write! I just keep forcing myself to keep trying and learning, which is the only way to get better. Heck, I joined this forum to learn, and I've learned a lot!

    Just worry about getting the idea on paper. After that, you can work on perfecting it.

    P.S. I read a little of your chapter, and so far you've got great writing potential! I plan to read more and give better feedback later (on the workshop thread, of course).
     
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  19. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    ^^ thank you :)
     
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  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Next time I want feedback in the workshop I'm going to post a separate thread talking about how crap I am and wait for the 100 critiques to flow in. :D

    Insecurity is a pre-requisite to being a writer. Fact.
     
  21. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Sod pretentious words. Pretty much every piece of writing advice out there will tell you to keep things simple. Long, flowery sentences with long, pretentious words just plain put readers off. I'll assume here that you're not trying to write literary fiction, and are aiming at a more mass-market audience, but the general feeling tends to be write how you speak.

    Nobody wants to read a novel in which "The prepubescent waif circumnavigates the platform, seeking the locomotive, picked out in its resplendent crimson livery, to embark on that peregrination to the matriarchal domicile", when it could just say "The young girl boarded the train to her mother's house" instead. It's jarring, it's difficult to read, and it's just plain unnecessary garbage.

    Put the words down on the page. If you don't like how they look, go back to them later. You can't edit a blank page.
     
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  22. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    What are you talking about? I get what you're saying but is that listed as fact somewhere?
     
  23. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Speaking as someone who has reviewed articles for scholarly journals, they tend to look down on unnecessarily flowery prose as well - they expect you to be precise in your language, not show off your vocabulary.
     
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  24. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's just how the human brain works: when you hear something, you believe it, and it takes a conscious effort to remind yourself not to believe it. It's like how the two-headed cats in the sky aren't actually two-headed cats, they're just clouds that look like two-headed cats.

    Likewise, many ancient cultures used to believe that the heart was the center of human cognition. Let me just repeat myself: the human brain used to think that the human heart was the organ that did the thinking.

    Don't listen to your brain, the human brain is stupid. You're smarter than your brain is.
     
  25. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't underestimate how powerful simple words can be.
     

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