1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    losing that loving feeling

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Garball, Apr 29, 2013.

    Is it common to start questioning how good your story is, namely during the editing stages? I tell myself the doubt comes from reading the story so many times the luster is gone and that being my own worst critic doesn't really help in the confidence arena. Do any of y'all have similar feelings about your own work? Any ways you found to get over them?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    It's pretty common for me anyway. I've found a good way to keep some distance from my work is to stash it away for a couple of weeks
    - work on something else, do some reading anything to take your mind off my story.
    That way it won't feel like it's the thousandth time I've read it when I start editing.
     
  3. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    That's perfectly normal. Like Peach said, stashing it away for a while and leaving it alone can help to make it seem fresh again. When you come back to it, you might find that it isn't really as bad as you thought it was, or you might stumble upon something problematic and have a new idea about how to fix it.

    It's not always easy to decide how good or bad your own writing is, so if that's something you're really worried about at this point, you might want to let someone else take a look at it and ask what they think.
     
  4. jeepea
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    jeepea Member

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    I often doubt the quality of my stories. I'll finish a story and reread it and discover that I completely missed the mark. Sometimes I'll let it set for a while and work on it later, but other times I'll immediately rewrite it. When I do this, I usually make a major change in the story like start the story at a different place in the storyline or change the viewpoint character or even redo the storyline itself. I'm rewriting a story now that turned out just so-so.

    Part of feeling low when you're doing a rewrite has to do with how the editing is done. If you are critical of yourself and your writing and not the story, you can't help but drive yourself down. If you berate yourself every time you make a correction in grammar or style or find a character shallow or that your plot is unbelievable, then obviously you're going to begin to believe that your are a failure as a writer. I have fallen into this trap and seen my productivity go down to nothing.

    But if you edit the story without worrying about who wrote it, especially that you wrote it, you're more likely to work on becoming a craftsman and be too busy to dwell on your perceived failings as a writer. I write first drafts very quickly and when I finish the first draft, I see the story as its own entity with its reality and logic. I almost feel that someone else wrote it and its my job to whip it into shape. This means that I can do anything I want to make the story succeed on its own terms and I don't have to worry about whether the story failed my initial expectations. Because now I have an opportunity to fix it. I take rewriting as a challenge and find great joy in being the Fairy Godmother to a poor Cinderella of a story.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've never lost faith in how good my story is, but I'm still struggling with how well I'm writing it. I usually love the chapter I've just written and don't like it as much when I read it the next day Then I re-write and the cycle starts again. :p

    Overall for me, it's been two steps forward one step back so I am encouraged by my progress. It's hard to say what would help you, Garbell, without knowing what it is about your work you are losing confidence in, the story or the execution?
     
  6. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    Yes. After about a week to a month, I'll go back and edit what I wrote, and invariably, I'll think "what the heck is that crap? what was I thinking?" Just keep going, because you know deep down that you can do it, which is why you are doing it in the first place.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, you really can't go wrong by achieving distance before you start editing.

    Sometimes if you're writing to a deadline and distance isn't possible. But so often when you read 'old' stuff, you see flaws immediately AND figure out a way to easily correct them. You distance yourself from your words, so you don't have so much trouble dumping them, if they're not doing what you wanted them to.

    If you find yourself 'tinkering' - changing a word here and there, then changing it back - then walk away for a while. Stay away as long as it takes for the piece to feel fresh and new, when you start working on it again.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    In order to avoid feeling like my story sucks, I edit as I go, to make absolutely sure the story is actually readable and exciting. I edit for everything including pacing and content. If I ever looked over my entire novel and thought it was crap, that wouldn't be very good. So I fix it before it gets out of hand.
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    After writing three novels that ended up 80k+ longer than they really needed to be I've started doing this too. I used to think editing as I went along would slow me down -- and it does -- but it saves time in the long run.


    I agree with the majority - distance yourself from the project. I always come back enthusiastic after taking a long break from a novel.
     
  10. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    I write by the scene. So I'll edit and revise 'til it is close to perfect, then I go on the the next scene that I want to write--which may not be the next in the series.
     
  11. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I do this more frequently than I'd like with any project. Walking away for a bit helps a lot. Sometimes if you stare at something too long the entire thing starts looking horrible. I have no idea why that is I just know that's how it works. haha Try not to stress out over it. Channel your dissatisfaction into a drive to learn more. :)
     

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