1. Tekenekalal
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    Tekenekalal New Member

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    I can't write for s***.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tekenekalal, Sep 11, 2010.

    Morning, guys.

    I read a lot of books, love it, I'd love to write as well, thing is: I got tons of ideas for a story, in broad strokes. But when it comes to writing it, the dialogues, the in-betweens, I just can't get it done, you know? I just seem not to have any imagination, although, at school, when it came to disserting about a subject, at first I'd be out of ideas, but once I began, I would go on and on about the story. Seems to me there's a problem.

    Thanks for reading my post!
     
  2. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    I don't understand the purpose of this post. When people post, it's usually to start a discussion.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, writing IS tough. Like lots of other things that are worthwhile.
    The good news is, the more you write, the easier it gets. But you have to start somewhere.

    SO even if it's almost impossible to pin down in writing the great ideas you have swilling around in your head, AND if you slave for hours and it still looks like s**t, write, write, write!

    As I intimated, writing is not for wimps.

    SO: GET ON WITH IT AND SHOW US WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF!

    P.S. Good luck!
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice ignore getting the dialogue right you can't until you know your characters if you expect wonderful things from a first draft you will never get it written.

    Once you have written it and you know your story and characters then worry about making it good.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There's no problem. At least, no problem that nearly every writer in the world doesn't face daily.

    Ideas are easy. Everybody has ideas. It's the writing that's tough. You say you have read a lot of books, but I bet you've never in your life read a first draft. Every book you've read has been revised, and probably revised several times. It's important to be aware of that. First drafts are generally dreadful, full of awful writing, wrong plot turns, huge plot holes, continuity problems, inconsistent characters, unnecessary subplots, boring exposition, laughably clunky dialogue, etc. etc. etc. Just bad writing. Even the professionals write lousy first drafts.

    First drafts are for finding out what the book is about and who the characters are. The real writing is done in revision. That means that what the reader eventually reads has been reworked, fixed, polished to a high sheen.

    It's easy for a beginning writer to get discouraged, because his writing isn't as good as the last book he read. But the beginner is discouraged about his first draft. You can't measure your first draft against a professional's finished work.

    So go ahead and write your awful first draft. You don't have to show it to anyone. Revise, and revise more, if necessary. That's where the hard work of writing is. And that's how you make your story stand with the best work professionals can do.
     
  6. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    No matter how hard you try the first time writing something will not be perfect. It's pretty much a rule of the universe that nothing ever comes out perfect the first time you do it. Even the great artists of history started off with scribbling!

    So have some compassion for yourself and just redraft it one thousand times if you want. Just know it's okay that it's not perfect the first few times. I've been writing since I was thirteen (well more seriously anyways). I'm twenty two and I feel like I've gotten to a point where publication is a real possibility when I finish what I'm writing now. Though I still see there is so much to learn and I will always be growing and changing as time goes by. So it's fine. :)
     
  7. white
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    white Banned

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    Sometimes reading great books can pose problems for new writers. I know when I read 1984 the first time I wanted to tell a story as great as that, and after trying and failing, I became discouraged. I feel the same way reading Denis Johnson's work -- absolutely wonderful prose. Great stories, great characters.

    Just let yourself go. Sit down with pen and paper and write. Don't try to be perfect because the first draft never will be. Just get the words out on paper.
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well. Thats okey. Most people do before they spent hundreds of hours practising.

    I cant remember who said this originally but some writer say you got to write about one million words before you write something of value. But if you write 1000 words a day that takes less then three years.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It sounds to me like your main problem is that you're writing with too vague a sense of where you're going, hence "broad strokes."

    I"m not one of those uber-anal-retentive people who plans out every single detail of the entire book before I write, BUT, you DO need to have your story plotted out more specifically than just a general idea of what will happen.

    First, you have to come up with a basic storyline, which it sounds like you've got. A one-to-three sentence summary of what the story is about.

    First, let me quickly say that a *plot* is different from a storyline. Plot consists of 4 things: 1) A main character, 2) A conflict, 3) A goal, and 4) A setting.
    Then, you have subplots that build up and supplement the main plot. All with the same elements, but reaching the goal will put the main character a step closer to the bigger goal or will further the storyline, you know?
    The storyline is the summary of what happens in the story and what it's about.

    Anyways. So first you need a general plot.

    Step 2, create and develop a main character. Give him/her a goal, setting, and whatever informatin is relevant to the story. DON'T try to develop stuff like their favorite foods, music tastes, favorite animal etc unless it's somehow crucial to the story. I've heard of lots of new writers who try to make "character profile sheets." Don't, they're a waste of time. What you might want to do is make a diagram with arrows and stuff:
    A ----> B ----> C etc, to map out where the character starts out, what motivates him/her, what obstacles confront him/her, what are the motivation change points, etc.

    Once you have the MC, do the same thing for a villain or antagonist.

    Then, you want to fill out the general plot more. What specifically will happen to propel the storyline along? You want at a few key scenes picked out in your head before you write, and you want to know why these scenes are especially important to shoving forward the plot ("key points").

    Pick out any minor characters you might need , but if they're not crucial, don't worry about fleshing them out until it's time to write about them.

    You want to have a "scene checklist" of what will happen in each chapter before you write the chapter. This saves me from hitting brick walls.

    Characters will surprise you and develop some aspects of their own as you write them. Focus most on getting a better map of the plot/storyline.

    Good luck, PM me if needed.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    only a relative few have what it takes to be a writer... you may just be one of the many who don't...

    but you'll never know for sure if you don't make the effort to learn...
     
  11. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just take the plunge and get writing. No matter how cringe-worthy it is, or how useless it seems, just keep writing. Eventually you'll find a pace, and more importantly, a style. If it takes a while, then so be it - writing is an art, and it deserves time to perfect it. You'll make a million mistakes before you're happy.

    But, if you really want to be a writer, then you owe both yourself and the craft a little patience. In the end, that's all it takes.
     
  12. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    To be honest, this seems a bit harsh...anyone who wants to learn and who's willing to work to improve can be a good writer, imo. :)

    Good luck Original Poster! :)
     
  13. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tekenekalal, things like dialogue and characterisation are far from obvious. Just like you need to know about, say, cars to write a good car chase, you need to have a feel for people to write dialogue and characterisation.

    From what you're writing, I'm guessing that you're not sure what the point of dialogue is. That you're not sure what to put in it and why, just that it should be there.

    Read a few books while trying to figure out the purpose of each scene with dialogue. Is it to advance the storyline? Or maybe to tell us something about the characters? Or perhaps to give exposition? Or to build anticipation in the reader for what will come later?

    Once you know why you put in dialogue, it should come a little easier.
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only way you can get better is to keep on writing so don't stop just because you think the first thing you wrote sucked. Keep going... the more you do it the better you get.
     
  15. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Well, it's true that not just anyone can be a writer. But that doesn't mean that a person who desires to be one should simply give up the notion because they are struggling at first.
     
  16. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Sounds like you already know the solution. Start writing!

    Don't worry so much about the quality of your writing in your first draft. Once you have the story in place, you can re-draft it multiple times and make it better and better and better and better..... well, as long as it takes :)
     
  17. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Practice. Practice. Practice.
    Learn the craft.

    I am sorry I don't know any short cuts.
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anyone can learn to write, whether they can use that ability to tell their own story with flair and imagination is different. This is true even in non fiction and science papers etc it is the ability to make them interesting that someone may not have.

    Writing and storytelling are not the same thing. Either can exist without the other.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. Zombie_Chinchilla
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    Actually, I have to say I disagree with you there. I think, and this goes for any hobby, if someone wants to learn to do something and has the motivation, they could. Some people have more talent in some hobbies than others, but if they want to, they could. If I had the motivation to learn how to take apart a car and put it together again, I could learn, with practice.

    Anyways, I really couldn't give you any more tips that what everyone has been saying. Practice, study other writers, practice, write whenever you can, practice.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why did you only quote the first part of my post, mallory?

    if you'd read the whole thing and posted the second part, your charge of 'harsh' wouldn't hold up... fyi, here it is:

    you also seem to have ignored the qualifier, 'may'!
     
  21. SandraLSC
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    SandraLSC Member

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    I recommend you read 'Bird by Bird' by Anne Lamott, and then go from there.
     
  22. NyMichael20
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    NyMichael20 Member

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    I occasionally feel the same way. What do I do to lose that feeling? I write. I go back and look at other things I wrote that I was pleased with sometimes. But for the most part, just do what everyone else has already said. PRACTICE! It's the only way to get any good at writing. Try emulating a favorite authors style (just to practice.) Also, I recommend you read "On Writing" by Stephen King. Some very basic advice in there, but it's worded well and gives some great insight into how he writes a story. But the best thing you can really do is practice. There is no magic formula or secret besides that. Good luck!
     
  23. dreamstate
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    dreamstate Member

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    I'm somewhat in the same boat. I just got a few stories shot down, and as it was my first attempt to get published it was a very deflating experience; kind of like a "can I really do this?" feeling.

    But now that I look back on what I submitted, I'm starting to see what needs to be fixed, and am eager to get back to those stories and make them better.

    Definitely a learning process, and a discouraging one sometimes. but, in my mind, it's worth all the trouble.
     

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