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  1. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Improvement / Change

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by laciemn, Jan 6, 2011.

    Hello, I suppose I've been writing a good while now -
    I've written SO much as far as word count goes. There were some days when I had 4,000 words done on a failed attempt at a manuscript - which is, of course, failed. I was relieved to give up on it, because it seemed rather hopeless. Then my computer ate it:rolleyes:.

    The only thing I see improvement is my ability to write without "going blank" as often. I feel a bit stilted - the only genre I've ever had much interest in is fantasy. Not that I've never read outside of that obviously, but I haven't written much outside of it, except a few things about high school kids that were utterly boring. But I think I possibly could write teen fiction if I tried it a different way.

    Anyway I've had some urging to branch outside of the fantasy genre(excluding Twilight, and most urban fantasy), which is frankly uncomfortable. I don't do change. But I don't want to be limited to only Fantasy. I'm thinking of reading into Sci-Fi, which I've always avoided. I think it has something to do with my dad, who was ONLY into Sci-Fi.

    *I've never even attempted writing sci-fi. It sounds scary :x
    Not that fantasy is easy. It's ever so much world building.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't been writing as long as you but most of my successful writing is fantasy. I will have a go outside of it every so often. One thing I have found is fantasy requires skills that encorporate other genres. I have needed to learn good romance (I discovered the skills for good erotica made for good fight scenes as well lol), how to write about martial arts, action adventure, journeys, fighting, bows and arrows, how to fly like a bird, religion/spiritual texts, humour etc That is just three novels lol

    Look at what you can write well within fantasy.
     
  3. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    I'm not sure what to advise here... I know you don't want to be limited to Fantasy in your writing, but for me personally, I never have a choice, if that makes any sense at all? I suppose what I am trying to say is that I pretty much only ever write horror/paranormal novels, but that is just what's right and natural to me. It's all the seems to pour out of me.

    I recently had a friend tell me I should start writing for children, books like Harry Potter because "that will be more successful than horror." Like I have a choice. Writing is not always a calculated thing - it comes from inside you and I have to say, if I was told I had to sit down and write a children's fantasy adventure, I would be lost. It certainly wouldn't be my best work.

    You just have to go with your heart and your gut instinct. If there are other genre/styles you wish to explore, then go for it, but make it a choice of the heart and not the head - you'll find your writing is at its best when it comes from a real place. :)
     
  4. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    True - but what is practical is a selling point. I do want get something solid finished. I'm not a very patient person, and for me the 10 years of wanting to improve...well I'll try something else, if necessary. The "Twilight" thing, for example. I got an offer to ghost write for vampire romance novel. I thought of how it might be to write romance instead of fantasy(well technically both). It might not be SO bad.

    People say do what's from your heart but when did that ever get me anything?
     
  5. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    Well then I suppose it depends what you want and what you are aiming for.
    If you are worried about a selling point and and what your story will get you, you might need to think about what is popular and what makes more money. That is fair enough.

    I can genuinely only speak for myself here: I could only write if I felt passionate about what I am writing. I have to write dark stories. It's just me. And I would rather only sell a few hundred copies of something that was truly me, something I was proud of than be a best-selling author of something I couldn't care less about. But we're all different, that's just how I feel.

    Anyway - have you thought about writing fantasy but including a love-story? There are ways to cleverly cross-genres that might allow you to explore different styles within one book :)
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Could you be expecting too much from a first draft? Romance is OK but it has a lot of 'rules' you need to follow usually to get published.
     
  7. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    I agree that I have to have a certain enjoyment, or at least tolerance of what I'm working on. I think I could find some in other areas that I haven't bothered with. The cross-genre thing sounds like a pretty cool idea, one I would have not considered to be honest.
     
  8. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Probably :D I'm always expecting too much of the first draft. I realize I would need to re-write but somehow I can't seemed to turn off that little nag in my head trying to point out flaws. I don't know about writing romance. If anything it would be fantasy with a little romance, rather than romance with a little fantasy.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I live in a chatroom with romance/fantasy/erotica writers in order to be published there are rules to be followed and observed. My book has a lot of romance in it but it is not a romance genre book, it is centered around a relationship between two (four in places) men.

    If you expect too much of your fantasy first draft that is going to happen no matter what genre you write. Maybe try just writing only ever looking back if you have forgotten your place (like me this afternoon someone was shaking my character awake couldn't remember who).
     
  10. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Isn't that a rather specialised sub-genre of erotica? Or of fighting ... :D
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol lets just say when my main characters fight it can get steamy and may or may not involve rope :) Seriously though the idea of noticing the senses the feelings, the way the body reacts etc have made a huge difference to my martial arts type scenes.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you asking anything here, or just venting?

    i don't see any actual questions in any of your posts... did i miss something?
     
  13. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Maybe you missed the thread title? To be fair I didn't ask a specific question. But it is implied.

    I'm asking for ways to improve. I don't know what to do to improve besides write, then write, and now I don't think I'm improving enough.

    For example I've heard of some "writing exercises" I've seen but never bothered with. Do they have any merit? Is reading outside of my preferred genre really going to improve anything?

    *also partly venting
     
  14. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    It sounds like you're second guessing yourself a bit.

    If you like fantasy, then write it. You don't need to worry about doing SF or anything else if you don't want to. This may be affecting your writing flow too. For instance, I think I have good ideas, but do I really? Well, who cares, because at the time I'm writing I believe I do, so I go and go.

    Had I written this ten years ago I would have talked about my novel with a few pages written and at least one sentence produced per day. Honestly, that was my goal at the time. But, as of a few years ago I adopted a "F@ck it" nonperfectionistic attitude and have written three long novels, and I'm working on a fourth!
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...no, i saw it... but it's not a question and not even a sentence, so i had no clue to what you meant by it...

    ...i still can't see what question is implied... unless you were trying to contrast the two, as in 'improvement [or] change' and asking without asking which is which, or whatever... sorry to be so dense, but i still don't get it...

    .
    ...ok, that i can get!... the best way is to READ... read constantly... read the best works of the best writers of whatever it is you want to write, so you can 'absorb' what good writing looks/feels/sounds like... then, if you read some lower quality stuff, you'll be able to tell the difference... and read the best works of the best writers of all time in all genres, just for the 'foundation' one needs to have, to be a good writer...

    ...some do, many don't... i use some for my mentees who want to work on the quality of their writing and i'd be glad to send you one, if you want to try it...

    ...certainly!... it will still show you how words can be put together effectively [or not, if you're reading less than the best]...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  16. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    As well as the reason Mamma gave (which would be a good enough reason itself), reading outside your own genre will allow you to write with more depth within your own genre. Look at Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, which are high fantasy but which draw on everything from Thucydides to King Kong. As Pratchett himself has said to aspiring writers, "Watch everything, read everything, and especially read outside your subject -- you should be importing, not recycling".
     
  17. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the advice. I did read them carefully and consider even if I didn't respond.
    I'm thinking about trying some historical fiction. If anyone wants to PM me recs it would be cool.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ????
     
  19. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Private Message me recommendations".
     
  20. Angharad Denby-Ashe
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    Angharad Denby-Ashe Member

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    I would definitely recommend writing outside your established genre - even if its only a short story. Maybe you will find you like another genre better, find elements in another genre that you can incorporate into what you usually write or even just have such a bad time of it that you can better appreciate the specific things you love about your own genre.

    Perhaps we could know more about what type of fantasy you write? It help us recommend a genre that would be a smoother transition - like say if you wrote stuff like star wars usually I might suggest you try to write about medieval knights...
     
  21. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Please write a historical adventure featuring Voltaire, and I will buy several copies.
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine has Robespierre in it lol ? ooh Voltaire would have been fun.

    Lacieman have placed some suggestions for historical genre books on your profile.
     
  23. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    Frankly, I believe a lot of young people write fantasy because they simply don't know enough about life to write about it convincingly. Fantasy allows them to make up worlds where the characters can be or act anyway they want them to. I personally hate fantasy. So I'm glad to hear you want to break away from it.

    Why not try a historical romance? Why not try a story about a group of young adults (20 year olds) who are facing the hopelessness of our current economic plight? You can show how they overcome it.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a reason the most famous fantasy writers tend to be highly intelligent and well educated human beings. Enid Blyton, Terry Pratchett, Lian Hearne, JK Rowlling, CS Lewis, Tolkein, Shakespeare, Homer, Grimms, Tennyson, John Milton, Chaucer etc Even Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon a religion that places a heavy stress on being educated, and reading from all good books. It is almost the oldest genre with one of the most distinguished cast list of authors.

    It requires a high level of general knowledge in almost every area. To build a mythology, a world, religion, complete with recent and ancient history etc Not to mention it draws from every other genre. You can't just make something up, in order to be believable it needs context. I am inclined to think lots of young people write it because it is fun to read, and also they are still in a more varied education. To fully appreicate the reading of fantasy requires skill, good education and imagination.

    Just because you hate a genre does not make it bad. Lacieman like other people have said go with your heart. However from what you have written I think an exercise in writing without looking back might help. Don't read it back until you are finished.
     
  25. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    There's lots of really good fantasy, as Elg noted. However, I can also see Edward's point because truth be told, there's lots of really bad fantasy.

    Fantasy can be really, really great when done by a good writer. However, the bad fantasy tends to fall into 2 categories: 1) Inexperienced writers who have Mary Sue characters, fantasy settings that lack consistency, etc; and 2) LOTR ripoffs. LOTR was awesome but come on. It's been written already.
     

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