1. tyrus
    Offline

    tyrus New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chico, California

    Recruiting a Crit/Support Group Suggestions!!

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by tyrus, Jul 11, 2011.

    I'm a newer member here. I've been writing for 10 years now but never actually finished a work or publish anything (I've started 3 different long novel length plots but abandoned all of them). Recently the accounting firm that I work for hired an actual published author. I have been talking with her about my struggles (while building up a friendship) and have learned two things. I learned that I am an extreme plotter and that I severly need a support system. My writer friend however writes in a different genre (horror and I'm sci-fi) and has implied that other writers dont usually help other writers until there is an actual draft to review/critique (even if this is incorrect she is still implying that this is her line) however because I'm an extreme plotter I never seem to get to the point of writing because every story that I start gets stuck before that stage.

    I feel like every writer has a support group and I don't understand how they get that. None of my friends have ever been interested in helping me out and my wife (bless her heart) has tried to help but she is just a little to spacy/ditzy to help (constantly forgets the story and has to ask about key things that I've already told her about).

    So that gets me to my main question:

    How do you get/recruit a crit/support group?

    Do you spend years writing meaninless short storys (that you can never get published because you put them online) just to try to meet other writers?

    Do you take writing classes over and over until you meet someone who you click with?

    To me it just seems overwhelming and impossible!!

    The reason why I never tired a forum before was because I didnt want anyone I didnt know stealing my idea's but my author friend at work said she got her support group by writing short stories online. (I'm not really keen on using up a ton of my imagination up on stories I can't publish just to get a support group but currently that seems like the best idea) Anyways... Any suggestions or comments would be helpful because all the options I can think of to get a writing support group seem super tedious!!

    Thanks,
    Anthony Tyrus Bennett
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    You won't use up your imagination writing stories you will never publish. You will stimulate its growth.

    There is another advantage to "throw away" stories for critique. You can try out techniques and experimental approaches too risky to trust to your "money pieces," and thereby grow as a writer.
     
  3. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    There are two ways to share your work with others via this site in order to get some feedback on what you are writing. One is to post materials in the review section. To do this, you must first post at least two critical reviews of others' works in addition to having been a member for some minimum period of time (I believe it's 14 days, but the rules are posted). The other is to join in the general interactions on this site and get to know some of the more prolific contributors. Some of the members here will offer to answer questions via PM or review material you send them via e-mail. Each way has its pluses and minuses.

    As for your fear that someone might steal your ideas, it's highly unlikely. There are no original story lines that haven't been done already (as Cogito loves to point out). It's what you do with the idea that counts.

    I don't know what an "extreme plotter" is. Did she perhaps mean "extreme plodder"? In any event, it seems to me that your problem is neither plotting nor plodding but a lack of either stamina or determination to see a project to the end. A support group might help with that or it might not. You say you've abandoned three novel-length projects, but you don't say why.

    Did you lose interest? Get distracted? Do you have difficulty in conceptualizing a work of that length? Did you find yourself endlessly rewriting what was already done? Read a published work that was somewhat similar to what you were writing and decide you were precluded from the subject matter? Answering these questions for yourself will give you a lead on what the problem is. If you post it here, some people here will offer comments and suggestions. If you're not comfortable doing that, answering them to yourself will help you work through the problem.

    Good luck.
     
  4. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway
    I don't believe you need a support group to finish a work. You need disciplin. I love plotting out great stories, but actually writing them down can be a drag. That's when I really need to force myself and make it happen. Once you get used to that, it actually doesn't feel like forcing yourself anymore. You get used to it. If you do need support though, becoming an active member of this forum will help a great deal. Everyone here are happy to help you, as far as I have experienced at least.

    And don't be afraid of using up your imagination. If that could happen, mine would be dried out years ago from all the strange things I have written over the years. What Cog says is true. The more you use your imagination, the better it becomes.
     
  5. teacherayala
    Offline

    teacherayala Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Panama
    The best advice I ever read was that if you want to write a novel (and finish it), you just have to B.I.C. (butt in chair.)

    It helped me to outline my chapters so that I knew what was coming in the plot. If you get stuck, and certain things don't make sense right away, just keep writing even if you're not a huge fan of it just yet. You'll suddenly get an idea in the middle of the night that will wake you up and make it better. But if you don't find B.I.C. time regularly, it's just not happening. If you lose momentum, it's gone.

    (As a matter of fact, the B.I.C. comment I read once helped me out in more ways than one! I use it to get my students in their seats. I write "BIC" on the white board and tap it with my marker until they get to their seats and are ready for class! lol!)
     
  6. tyrus
    Offline

    tyrus New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chico, California
    Thanks for the Replies!

    Cogito - I like your idea about stimulating your imagination and I agree that writing only stimulates better writing... but what if you write a short story online and after writing it you get another idea to add to it that totally transforms it into the best idea you have ever had and because you self published it you can't run with it? I'm not arguing to agrue I'm just spitting out real fears.

    I mean I started looking around to review some works and I saw this short story from an author on this site that was about snow turning people into zombie's (from scribbledhopes) and I thought man that's a great idea!! I've never read or seen any story where people are turned into zombie's from snow... now I know that is only a small piece but lets say 2 monthes from now scribbledhopes wakes up in the middle of the night with a great idea to add on to that idea to make more of a complete novel length story... wouldn't he be bummed that no matter how much he adds to that story it's frozen? I know I would be.

    EdFromNY -

    Not sure if I agree that no idea is unique or new... people are always stretching out and creating new things so why would idea's be any different? I mean 300 years ago cars didnt exist, flight had yet to be invented, tv was not even a notion... let alone the internet (went back 300 years just to be safe because I dont know exact dates on that stuff - so if I'm still wrong sorry). I realize that most idea's have been thought of but I can't believe that humanities imagination has hit its plateau. However since I have never came up with an idea that is so new and unique that I can prove it I will concede that 100% of my idea's are old so your arguement when directed at me makes sense...

    To conclude I would say that the thing that I liked from your response (thank you by the way) and take to heart is "its how I excute the idea".

    (On a side note... my writer friend at work said that every writer is either a ploter(plots everything out), a pantser (just starts writing with only one idea or character) or some combination in between... A ploter has to know the whole story, all the characters and how everything works out before they actually start writing while a pantser doesnt want to know how their story ends. A pantser wants to be entertained by his/her own story while a plotter doesn't care how much they enjoy the journey as long as they get what they wanted or where they wanted to get from the start.)

    I personally usually start with an idea I want to share with the world (or that I feel God wants me to share with the world) and I start creating a story line around that idea. Then I start creating characters to fullfill this idea.... however where I always run into problems is once I start creating really good characters and start writing outlines for chapters I find that the characters don't want to do what I want them to do because I make them to realistic and like real people the dont get alone or move the way I want them to move to reach the desired end... so then I start manipulating the plot more to keep the characters the way they are and in the end I abandon it when I get stuck and cant manipulate the plot any further and cant change the characters to do what I want them to do.

    The best way to explain this is by using a visual:

    Lord of the Rings is my example.
    Tolkin seems to have started his story with an idea - he wanted to show how a person (frodo) can go from being fun loving and almost innocent to being changed to the core by doing a very hard but great deed. So Tolkin starts creating a bunch of characters (that I'm sure he liked) to help frodo complete his task... then he gets to the part where Boromir tries to take the ring and he is confronted with a reality... there is no way Frodo is going to stay with the fellowship (it just wouldn't be true to frodo's character) but now the story is going to be way harder because how is he going to keep these other characters involved and how is frodo's realisticely going to do the deed with little to no support?... this is what stumble's me... unexpected dilema's created by realistic characters... it's my kryptonite.

    I feel like I need a support system to get past these spots because they happen in every story and no matter how I tweek them they almost never go where I want them to go after that point.

    Spklur & teacherayala -

    I like what you both said about discipline... I do feel like I need more discipline but discipline is hard to come by when you work 40 hours, are married and have a large family and large group of friends.... especially when you get stuck.... That's when I feel like I need support. It's much easier for a snowball to roll all the way down the hill if it keeps moving the whole time... but if it stops too long because its stuck no amount of discipline seems to be able to get the larger snow ball moving again.

    To conclude my writer friend at work suggested I write short stories for a while to get used to being a pantser to learn to go with the flow more... her idea is "if there aint a solution available now... move forward and one will present itself". So that is why I joined the site (and to find a support group)... however I didnt realize till I joined that anything you write here can never be published so once again I'm met with a road block on how to proceed and why I posted this thread.

    Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated... however if everyone said everything there was to say and I just gotta make a decision I guess I just better make it. Let me know.
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    if you don't want to go the 'group' route and want one-on-one mentoring, drop me a line anytime...

    love and hugs, maia
     

Share This Page