1. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    My latest problems

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Space_Goose, Jul 5, 2010.

    I originally came on these forums to get advice and help with writing down and idea I have had for over 10 years. I have gotten lots of help and advice and I have to say that one of the biggest things I have learned is that I have a lot to learn and I need to practice my writing before I tackle this big writing project.

    So I decided to try to write a short story maybe several short stories that all tied together and who all had to do with my main story. That was I could keep my mind on the same track while practicing my writing. But I am finding that I have having one of the same problems with my short story that I was having with my novel/main story.

    I am a believer in making out lines. I mean I had this idea in my head for over 10 years, during that time, it changed was added, had part taken away ect. When I started my out line, the story was nothing more than garbled, random events and thoughts in my mind.

    I have also created an outline for my short story as well just to give my self a direction to head into while I am writing. But I am having real problems filling in the spaces between the events. For instance, my out line of course starts at the beginning and then lists and talks about major events and actions in the story in order that they happen. I am having major problems getting my main character from the beginning to my first event. It doesn't matter if I am writing the short story or the main story I just have a hard time writing what happens in between the main events. I have tried to just let if flow out of me but when I go back and read it, it just sounds so forced like I am just trying to fill space.

    Another thing about my writing which I am not satisfied with is the way I write the environments. For instance, I read a short story awhile back by a member named DanishMike. It was amazing. Not only did I like the idea of the story but his writing just had such a flow to it. Without over using descriptions of his environment, he somehow managed to paint a perfect picture of the world his characters were in and was even able to describe emotions in the same way. It was like I was watching a movie in my head as I was reading his work. I must say that I haven't been pulled in by a work in that way in quit some time. That is the exact same effect I would like to have in my story but I just can't seem to even come close.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe the problemn is your "transitional" scenes. Are you sure they are necessary? If you have "filler" scenes between your significant ones, that can make the flow as rough as a horsecart on a corduroy logging road.
     
  3. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    Cogito's right. Sometimes, you just have to let the fillers and transitions fall away if they're bogging down your writing.

    As for scenery, that's a tricky thing to write about. In my experience, authors have pulled it off best by trusting the readers a bit. For example, there's no need to constantly describe a forest that a character is walking in. The reader is probably smart enough to understand the concept of 'forest' and will fill in the blanks. Another example, there's no need to describe every feature of a street on a foggy night, lit by the not-quite-periodic-enough gas lamp. The reader, upon reading about the fog, will not be imagining that much can be seen anyway, and will more or less be most interested in the stones at the character's feet and the light of the lamps, possibly the faint sounds that would come with such a setting. A lot of 'scenery description' can be done through tone as well. After all, even the smallest nuance of word choice can change everything. A forest is different from a dim forest, and a dim forest is different from a dark forest. The reader takes words like "dim," or "dark," or others like "murky," "wild," "bright," etc. and applies a lot of their own imagery to that which you as a writer have provided.

    This is, of course, not necessarily the best course for everyone. There are some writers who love to show their readers lots of details, and it works with their style of writing. But who knows? This may be the solution you're looking for.
     
  4. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    Yeah, Cogito is almost certainly correct. But this particular instance I am stuck on definatly needs some kind of transition. I suppose this one that I will have to figure out on my own though, appreciate the advice.

    The descriptions are very difficult for me. The problem I find I have is that I am a very visual person. I see the novel or story unfolding in my mind like a movie. I then go back and try to write down what I have just seen. Sometimes I describe something too much, sometimes not enough. Sometimes I even spend time describing a characters actions so to speak, the way he reacts to a situation, that I probably don't need to describe at all. I'll give you an example of this.... In my main story which again I have pushed aside to pratice my writing with short stories. The Character wakes up from nightmare and is shaken. The nightmare had to do with something in the characters past. I wanted to reader to see how much this nightmare and memory was affecting the main character so I had a little sequence of him in the shower after waking up and I was discribing his actions, how he leaned his head against the front of the shower and allowed the water to run down his face. Stuff like that but when I went back and re-read this, it just didn't really seem like it needed to be there yet I really didn't know any other way to get the point across that the main character was in pain.
     
  5. OvershadowedGuy
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    OvershadowedGuy Member

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    I understand your point and it's a hard one. Perhaps the 'less is more' approach is something to consider. Instead of describing him as in the shower smacking his head against the wall, try something like.

    "He awoke from his nightmare shaking with fear, covered in sweat, the events of the dream ran through his mind leaving a dull ache in their wake."

    That's pretty rough, but to me the character is clearly in pain and you don't even have to say it. Now there is no need to try and create a scene showing how deeply he was affected. You can sprinkle little reminders through the telling of how your characters life progresses to show the dream sticks with him....

    That's my two cents worth.
     
  6. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    If you have completed or written a significant portion of a story, post an excerpt in the review forum and let the people here comment on it. Perhaps you are too critical of your own work, comparing it with good published works.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I wrote my first novel that way, and when I went back later to read it all the way through, I found that it was way too heavy on dialogue, I was overly descriptive of everything, leaving nothing to the reader's imagination (I was too busy describing everything they would have seen on the screen), and the story was way too episodic (as I went from scene to scene). I still have it as a wonderful keepsake, and as a marker on my road to (someday, I hope) being a published writer. But that's all.

    My advice - if you really want to write that way, write a play, where you HAVE to envision exactly what the audience will see, and it will work for you.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    Well considering the genre and content of the story, I don't really think it would work as a play. All though I will say that if it were made into a play, it would probably the be the first of its kind. I don't think it would make it on broadway though. ;)

    And Manav,

    I have yet to satisfy the board requirement for post my work in the review room. There were two members of this forum that I was working with on my main story. One primarily due to them being in the Military and my main Character is a former Marine and a lot of the nightmares he has have to do with a war he was in. So this one member took at look at my military terminalogy and battle squences and stuff like that to make sure I was accurate in the words and actions taken by the military characters.

    I then sent my writing to another member of these forums. I asked them to be brutially honest and they were. But what I saw was that my writing was every bit as bad as I thought it was and I felt like I was wasting their time, that there was someone else who was further along in their writing that the person could be helping. So I stopped with my main story and started practicing with these short stories and have been doing lots of reading until I get to the point where I am happy with what I am doing

    I appreciate the advice guys :)
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    As far as your issues with over describing go here is my advice.. Is it something the reader won't understand without a lot of description? If not then don't describe so very much. Leave some to the imagination. Just give vague details. I'm assuming since over describing is an issue for you that vague will come out to just right. ;) I'm glad you aren't giving up. Keep working at it. :)
     
  10. Shadow Reeves
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    Shadow Reeves Contributing Member

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    over describing something is far better than under, as you can remove and not have to think of words to fill.

    just a quick example
    'Bill looked over his right, then left shoulder before stepping off the old cracked gutter and onto the street that was less road than pothole.

    would easily become

    Bill looked both ways before he ventured across the old delapidated street.

    Transitions i find are quite simple, and without a specific example of what events you want them to move from and to it is hard to give a decent example. but with the aid of a new character, be they a bullock driver, drug dealer, or creepy man in a ute, it can be an interesting trip to wherever the main character is moving to...the new character can disapear forever and may or may not have an impact on the main.

    if it is a mental transition you are looking for then i have no idea :D
     
  11. Joules03
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    Joules03 Senior Member

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    I would recommend doing some critiquing instead of just working on your short stories. By looking at other people's work, I find myself easier able to spot the weak points in my own writing. I also find it makes me more confident - that at least I found some areas of improvement in others' writing, so mine can't be ALL bad!

    So instead of short storying yourself to death, maybe get to the Review Room.
     
  12. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    She speaks the truth. :p Critiquing other peoples' writing or even reading other peoples' reviews has helped to strengthen my own writing. It helps you to learn from the mistakes of others so you don't repeat those mistakes yourself.
     
  13. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    I appreciate the advice. Believe me, I do visit the review room. I usually visit it at least once a day, more if someone has posted a work that really interests me. I just haven't gotten confident enough to jump in and start critiquing a persons work on the boards but I do go through and try to see what I find wrong and what I would do different. I then wait and see what others comment on and see if anyone agrees or disagrees with me. I am slowly working my way up to actually posting a critique. I just want to make sure that when I do post a critique that it is actually a good well thought out one, not a two sentence, just trying to satisfy the forum requirements, post. But yeah, i have been reading a lot of everything lately.

    Thanks:D
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
     
  15. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Sounds like you're doing things right then. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, so to speak, and things will turn out well I'm sure. It takes time and that's okay. :)
     

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