1. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    I'm angry at my writing, help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Albirich, Jan 17, 2014.

    I think it's my time of the month or something, but I haven't gotten down to really write in almost a month, I bet you guys might have noticed I've been a little off....or not, I have been though.

    This has many factors to be put in, I started showing up for school again, I just started working out a bit (hoping to get it regularly) and well....my friends haven't been as distant so I've not been in a dark room all alone (I usually get down to write then) and I...I suck at writing, I haven't been able to describe a scene properly or anything :(

    All these factors put together makes me a very angry person and yea... I need to improve my writing but its fucking hard, I'm frustrated and ugh, I have time to read as I know that helps my writing, but I just can't get to do anything.


    What am I gonna do? I won't give up, that is for sure, but I'm getting nowhere. I had my one year anniversary on the 10th of january, and I'm still hopeless.

    This is kind of emo talk, but as I said, It's my time of the month.
     
  2. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    A scene, on the page, is a unit of tension. You don't describe it, you make the reader live it. And as for the setting, why would you describe what you see in your mind, or what the protagonist could see were they to look in that direction. That's like narrating a slide show with no slides. And in any case the reader doesn't care what you see, because you're neither on the scene nor in the story.

    The reader wants to know what the protagonist finds important. It is their story, after all. And if we're to experience rather than hear about their life, telling the reader anything that doesn't matter to the protagonist, in that scene, and in the moment they call now, you need to stick to what matters to that protagonist, right then.

    This might sound like a silly suggestion, but if you suck at writing why not work on learning the things the pros take for granted? Writing fiction with the verbal storytelling tricks a reader can neither see nor hear makes no sense. And using only high school English limits us, given that writing fiction for the printed word is a profession, with all that implies, so far as required knowledge and craft.

    Instead or writing more prose that you're going to hate, why not devote a week or two to picking up a few tricks?
     
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  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Did you switch to writing in your native tongue?
    I know you want to better yourself at English but I think maybe doing some of it in Norwegian (Right?) might help.
    The flow might be easier to do than it would in a less familiar language.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Venting is usually helpful. :)
     
  5. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Nice rant 10/10 would read again. But more seriously I say you've got nothing preventing you from writing. Just make a little window here and there when you get the urge.
     
  6. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I suffer from concentration issues, and a short attention span. If I'm getting nowhere, I just change tack. I keep writing but focus on another aspect. For example, I usually write in 3rd, but sometimes when I'm feeling a bit of a blockage happening, I'll write a short story in 1st. Okay, so the novel gets set aside for a wee while, but at least I'm still writing, and it does no harm to expand one's repertoire.

    @A.M.P. makes a good a point. Although I speak some French, I can't imagine ever writing in it. I'm in no way fluent enough. My thoughts would spill out out as if second hand, somehow. Grasping to find an equivalent word or expression would really stall me. If it is proving to be an issue, perhaps writing up in your native tongue, then translating, would help with momentum while still improving your grasp on written English.

    It does sound like you have a lot of distractions atm, as well. I generally try to set aside regular hours when I can guarantee I can write without being disturbed. I mute my online notifiers, turn off my phone, and heaven help anybody that dares interrupt me. ;)

    Oh, yes. When it comes to negativity, better out than in. ;)

    @Albirich I've been writing six months longer than you, about a year and a half, so I'm a novice myself. I used to regularly feel as you do now. You're absolutely spot on—it is hard, but where there's a will there's a way. As long as you keep at it and keep learning the ropes, you'll eventually get to the point where the issues, rather than seeming insurmountable, are more pleasantly challenging. There's always a workaround.

    There's no better feeling than recognising that ones work is improving, but these things don't happen overnight. Hang on in there. Patience is a virtue, and all that. :D
     
  7. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It happens, but reading a lot when I can't write has helped me, so maybe you could find some other series to read than ASOIAF and re-inspire yourself? It inspires me, especially if I feel -- in my infinite arrogance -- that I could do this or that better.

    Like @A.M.P. suggested, you might try writing in Norwegian, though if it's anything like in my case, writing in your native tongue leads into an even bigger pile of shit. T.Trian and I actually have one Finnish "therapy" project. It's pretty hilarious, utterly untranslationable, and would probably get us exiled if it was ever published, but sometimes it can be refreshing to jump on a new project for a change and just get madly creative.
     
  8. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Really? Gosh... I'm surprised by that. I'd be very interested to know why you feel that to be the case.

    I've read that English has the largest vocabulary. Thinking about it, one of my friends is Swedish. He speaks English like a native, with no trace of an accent. He says since mastering English, he can't tell a joke in Swedish. His reasoning is that he likes to, 'beat around the bush,' drawing out the joke until it reaches the punchline. He maintains that, very often, his more direct native tongue lacks the nuance that English does, so much so that he'd rather converse in English, even with his family on the phone.

    You also make a fair point about expanding reading horizons. I've read ASOIAF, and enjoyed it for the most part but there is so much good stuff out there, even within the same genre, that reads very differently. Exposure is never a bad thing.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, the answer is simple - MAKE time for it. There're some times when writing should be pushed back, say when a family or friend needs you, or when health is a problem. But from your post, your life sounds pretty good - it's going uphill, if anything.

    For example, with friends - do you have to go out every time they ask? I'm not saying never meet them. I'm saying, instead of meeting twice a week, can you take it down to once a week? Instead of a 5-hour hanging out time, could it not be just 2-3 hours? Instead of spending the only time you have reading, can you not spend SOME of that time writing?

    My father-in-law is a doctor who works 24 and 48-hour shifts in the hospital. He works in England and flies home to Prague every Fri, flies back to the UK every Sun. Usually he lands late at 10 or 11 or even midnight in England and then drives 2-3 hours to get home just to get a 6am morning shift (and a 24 hour shift at that).

    And guess what? He's written 2 books already. They're short, but they're books. One's self-published and I think he's gonna self-pub the second one too. It's basically a hobby for him.

    And I think to myself - honestly, "a lack of time" is a poor excuse not to write.

    As for saying you suck at writing. Seriously, you just gotta get over it. If you never write, you'll never improve. You think the professionals didn't suck too at one point? I'm sure the first words Shakespeare or Kafka or Nabokov wrote also sucked - big time. You just need to practice. And stop saying you suck - take some pride in your work. Sometimes it's healthy, and the truth is, if we didn't believe in our work, we would never write. Always be open to criticism and change, but at the same time, you gotta balance that out with a healthy dose of "I believe in myself". And even when you don't, you just gotta keep going. No one's gonna force you to write. If you wanted to write, you would.

    Another thing, honestly, just have some FUN. Who cares if it's crap? Is it fun? Do you feel a thrill inside you when you write and you see the story grow? Just have fun and well, if it's crap, laugh about it. Some works are not meant to be published, they're meant to be utter crap because that's the free space you need to breathe and grow. So stop being so critical to yourself, laugh about yourself and your work, then get up and start again. You won't see progress immediately, but personally, I read some of my writing from a few months ago and I can see where I went wrong. Seeing my own mistakes means only one thing - I've improved. And you will too, if only you let yourself WRITE!
     
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  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think I consider myself somewhat trans-lingual. I've had trouble expressing myself in my native tongue as long as I can remember while English has felt like... a more natural conduit, it's like I can channel my creative force through it better than through my mothertongue. Finnish is like a piece of bubblegum loaded in a pistol. It's not gonna do crap, except mess up the gun. English is the real deal, the gun goes bang.

    That said, I like to write small stuff in French, kind of like flash fiction. I took this writing course last autumn and it was pretty inspiring even though my personal highlight was nothing more complicated than a story about a leaf and a hedgehog. Finnish is good for making fun of myself and my culture. If I want to write this wrists-slashed-wide-open and shedding-bitter-tears-into-moonshine kind of stuff, Finnish is the ticket. English is like the all-around tool. You can do everything with it, it's this moldable piece that goes through the round, square and star-shaped holes.

    Weird, huh? Luckily T.Trian is the same. I guess that's why we make a pretty productive writing team :)
     
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  11. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    @JayG I might have misspoke a bit, but when I write I like to write how the PoV character experiences the scene, richly with detail. I love the way George R R Martin does his, if you could just find a tiny excerpt online you'd get what I'm talking about. It does move the story forward, so it is not just blank descriptions.

    I'll try and look for tips etc. -- I don't exactly hate what I wrote, the story is there but the writing skills required are not, so I'll do as you say and look for tips.

    @A.M.P. I will never write in my native language, as said english has a broader choice of vocabulary, and I'm more stuck on words that I know in English but not Norwegian. Long story short, my English is better than my Norwegian

    @obsidian_cicatrix Yeah, lets just put it this way, if I want a confidence boost I'll look at the very first stories I wrote to my novel..hehe, but yeah, I don't know just how to learn the "ropes" if I do it wrong without knowing what is right then I won't get anywhere, therefore people say its best to read, but there are always so many distractions and I never get the sweet time to actually sit down with a book. Ugh I wish I lived alone.

    @KaTrian Yeah, I am going to order The Lies of Locke Lamora and Promise of Blood once I get someone to help me with this ebay thing ( I have NEVER used ebay ) I'm just slow and lazy

    @Mckk Lack of time is a poor excuse indeed, but I'm really good at self-hatred and that goes out on everything I do. But I do believe in myself and the novel, I have the sequence and a lot of the broad strokes in my head and the only thing holding me back is my writing skills. I don't want to waste the story that I believe is very good on my writing that is not.

    But yeah, as I said I need to know what is right and a few tips on how to make it better, which I will need to do some research (don't get me wrong I have done a lot of research) and I'll need to read a lot more. I've only read 2 1/2 books in my life and that is very little.

    I know one of my problems, I need to be the eyes of the PoV, his mind and his way of comprehending things that happen, then I need to make it flow and such. --Learning to do this is easily gained by reading much, I suppose...but I live in a big three floor house with family all around and a lot of noise.


    I actually had a plan for the summer to visit London alone, and maybe roam about the publishing houses just talking with a publisher or two or an agent, just getting pointers or anything. I have looked it up and they don't mind talking a bit to aspiring writers.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Hey, Albirich - one good tip I know for doing great descriptions is read poetry. It sounds crazy, but it really helps. Also fill your head with pictures. If you're doing something like Game of Thrones - start downloading lots of pictures of forests, trees, meadows, even old tapestry artwork, and learn the names of vegetation.
    It's easier to work from a visual standpoint.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Listen, seriously, you simply *won't* get better if you never write. It's that simple. You're not "wasting" a story on writing that is bad if you write it, because that's what editing is for. You can edit it to death if you like, publish it for real 50 years later. But seriously, you need to write. If you really don't want to embark on the novel, then it's time to think up another idea that gets you equally excited and write that one instead, so you can save the first novel for later.

    Either way, WRITE. It's true with only 2.5 books, you do need to read more, and I admire your diligence that you would go door to door to speak personally with publishers and agents, assuming they are happy to see you. But all that is in vain if you don't *write*. Writing is a lot more to do with intuition than it is to do with theory and rules. Think of it as like a recipe - why is it that some people follow the recipe to the T and still the cake comes out wrong? Why is it that others, having not followed the recipe very closely at all and BAM out comes this gorgeous cake not found anywhere else? Writing is similar, only your ingredients are dialogue, characters, setting, story (as opposed to flour and sugar and eggs lol) - it's different for every story and the balance of each ingredient would be different. Where's the fine line? You won't learn to see the difference unless you WRITE.

    Btw, you sound like you might benefit from a creative writing course, just to have a tutor to give you some pointers. Agents and publishers in the end are business people - they're looking for writers ready to be published. If you're looking for ways to improve your writing and learn the craft, you should first go to a tutor. The teacher is meant to nurture your potential - the agent/publisher is not.

    I have a friend who's similar - he has a fantasy series planned in his head, about 7 books in all, and he's written one scene. When I told him to write, he says he wants to learn how to write and write well before he wastes his novel on bad writing. Well, guess what? He's still not writing. There's only one ending for these people. That is - your novel will NEVER exist. It will NEVER be written. Is that what you want? Delude yourself all you want that "one day" you'll write - it's like the student who says "tomorrow I will study". Well, tomorrow never comes. And tomorrow is a lot more certain than "one day". Be realistic now, what are the chances?

    Do it now, or you never will. It's that simple.
     
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  14. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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  15. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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    Good. You feel something. Anger. Use that and write in the voice of an angry character. Do you have something you want to say about the world? Create a character and let your character say it.
     
  16. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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    Good. You feel something. Anger. Use that and write in the voice of an angry character. Do you have something you want to say about the world? Create a character and let your character say it.
     
  17. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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    Good. You feel something. Anger. Use that and write in the voice of an angry character. Do you have something you want to say about the world? Create a character and let your character say it.
     
  18. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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    Good. You feel something. Anger. Use that and write in the voice of an angry character. Do you have something you want to say about the world? Create a character and let your character say it.
     
  19. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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    Good. You feel something. Anger. Use that and write in the voice of an angry character. Do you have something you want to say about the world? Create a character and let your character say it.
     
  20. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    No wonder you're struggling. How do you expect to get anywhere as a writer if you don't read?

    There is more to writing than just simply telling a story. How you choose to write it has a huge impact on how the reader interprets it. The easiest way to learn how to do that is to pick up a book and see how the professionals did it. Read any scene from any book and then dissect it. Try to understand why the writer chose to write that scene in that way. Look at word choice, tone, pacing, etc.
     
  21. Sarah Anderson
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    Sarah Anderson New Member

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    Sorry I am new here and I did not intend to spam. I thought the website wasn't working as I couldn't see my messages and so picked post reply again. I am very sorry.
     
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  22. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Sarah Anderson - you can delete your posts - just find the delete option at the bottom of each one.
     
  23. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    Along the lines of Mckk, there's been a new method of thinking that I've been trying to apply mainly to exercise, but really it fits anywhere that you want improvement. Instead of saying "I don't have time to X..." say "X isn't a priority to me."
    Because that's really what it boils down to, if you're not willing to make time for it. Same with all the other excuses for not writing.
     
  24. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Hmmm... I'm of the opinion you should just plough ahead regardless.

    I've been very pleasantly surprised, in the past couple of months, with how I've been progressing. I can attribute a lot of this to bouncing ideas off people, asking questions, and the critiquing process has been a real eye opener too. Writing has significantly reduced the amount of reading I do now. I still make a point of it, but there are only so many hours in the day. Prior to writing, I'd generally read two or three books a week. Now I still have 3 books on the go, but might take a month to finish them. Time is precious, I agree, but the onus is on you to prioritise.

    As for not feeling you have the skill set for the story, I'm in much the same boat myself. I recently had a flash of inspiration. This new project is still in the planning and research stage. It will be unlike anything I've attempted before—a contemporary revenge thiller kinda thing. I have the story mapped out in my head. My only reservation is pretty much what you said. It could be a great story, I think, but it's down to me getting the execution right. It occurred to me, it might be better just keeping on doing what I've been doing up until now, but I suspect this new project will take many years. I don't think I can wait for my skill set to improve. I need to get it down while it's fresh in my head.

    I made a post recently, where I mentioned falling into possession of a friend's old music demo. When I asked did he still have a copy, (this is going back over a decade) he said that he did, and sent me it. In the email he voiced his embarrassment, having listened to it again. Thing is, he recorded it in his bedroom as a 16 year old boy. His room wasn't soundproofed, so occasionally you can hear traffic noise when it comes to the microphone recordings of some of the acoustic guitar parts, and the whole thing is a little less polished than the studio album that demo turned into, mainly because he had no formal training in music or recording. Although I love the album, I love the demo more. Why? Because even though it's not perfect, the potential is almost overwhelming. All those little things he had gone about the wrong way due to lack of knowledge, the very things that made the recording tech shake his head in dismay, are the very things I value. To me these tracks are the musical embodiment of the idea that something doesn't have to be perfect to be worthwhile and of value. He might not see it at this juncture, but I do.

    It's worth saying my friend did a degree in graphic design. That's held him in good stead, but only in as much as he can do his his own artwork. He's now a composer... that early experience of recording his initial demo hooked him. He works mainly on feature films, providing ambient soundscapes. I bet he never thought as that naive 16 year old boy he'd be doing what he's doing now. He just kept plugging away at it, experimenting, seeking advice and inspiration where he could find it, until he had the skill set to follow his dream. If he had taken the stance you are taking, he'd still be working at the ad company, wishing he was a full time composer and musician.

    All the overdosing on info at the start of the writing learning curve can be confusing. There's so much to take in, but do.... take it all in. Then by reading, writing and, critiquing the work of others, you can start to cherry pick what you feel will serve you best. Then the fielding of opinion in the workshop and also finding those willing to beta read, will give you an idea of how your work is coming across, and what is working and what isn't. Also... you might realise that there are areas you are stronger in than others, and you can set about improving everything else just by tackling one issue at a time.

    What I'm getting to, is that anything you are currently working on can always be revisited, altered and changed, as your skill increases. Don't worry about the traffic noise bleeding through. That can always be 're-recorded' at a later date. Just because something doesn't seem perfect, doesn't mean there is no inherent value in it. Everybody has to start somewhere—nobody said it would be easy.

    I find this utterly fascinating, and more than a little humbling that you place such value in something I've always taken for granted. Nice analogy, btw. Your comments echo my Swedish friend's sentiments. He always maintained that once he started to get a feel for English, there was no going back. I would lay a hefty bet that you know your way around my mother tongue better than I do, having made the effort to learn it, rather than your kiddie brain sucking it all up like water into a sponge. I'm really rather envious of the linguistic abilities of many folks here. My retention is not worth a shit. ;)
     
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  25. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Well put it this way, you articulately put to words your frustration. And because you wrote it well it is easy to see the emotion going through your words. All the people here understand that you are mad, (not just from the title) so that proves to me and the room that you don't suck at writing, because you captured the emotion. Ok it might not be in the story you want so channel it into something constructive.
     
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