1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Room for improvement

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Wreybies, Nov 29, 2010.

    Please understand that in this thread we will talk about our own personal areas where we know we have room for improvement. Not your pet peeves or bête noires in the work of others. Since the idea of reviewing work is actually to improve oneself, I though it might be mete to acknowledge where we can improve.

    Mine are:

    1) When I reread my work I notice a horrible habit of missing little words like articles and conjunctions. I was thinking them. I could have sworn I typed them, but no. I am wrong. They are missing.

    2) I am too verbose. I pick long structures when shorter ones would be better. I let the length over quality dynamic get the better of me.

    Yours?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Lacking confidence even when I know the work is good. Causes me to overedit things that were good in the first place.

    2) Not a natural with SPAG it is never going to happen though between dyslexic/dyspraxic and my dialects - I will always punctuate naturally to the way I speak - however I can learn to edit it better.

    3) Tendancy to rely on a characters personality to drive a book and tell the story. (so far it has worked but it won't always).

    4) I get too obsessive once the story bites - my brain feels like it has a huge pressure on it. Need to find otherways than writing to relieve the pressure.
     
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  3. thesims
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    thesims Member

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    1) My vocabulary is extremely limited - I'm terrible at writing descriptions and using varied registries, so my stories are often repetitive and slightly bland. I KNOW the descriptions are bad but I can't come up with good ways to describe my characters/settings, etc.

    2) I'm overly enthusiastic when it comes to writing story plots but I end up with narrative schemes that make absolutely no sense because there's just TOO MUCH in there. And then, instead of salvaging ideas for other stories I simply delete them all. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^Don't let that evil editor inside get the better of you. I've struggled for years with mine. And I'm finally learning to shrug it off.

    1. Vocabulary. I'm a bit limited here too. It's irritating as well, because I know there's always another way to describe something, but I can't put my finger on the exact word.

    2. Heh, heh. Grammar mechanics. Yes, you've seen my punctuation at times. It's not the best. I'm too loose with commas.

    3. Confidence. I'm constantly on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. At the top, I think my story is the best and it could possibly be made into a movie. At the bottom, I think my story is just crap and that it's not good.

    4. Motivation. I'm such a loser when it comes to self-motivation. Sure I can do all kinds of other things that involve physical labor. But when it comes to the mental game in anything, I just lose out.

    ^Okay, the ratio for things I can improve here is 1:2. I can't exactly change my confidence or motivation. I just have to ignore my inner workings that tell me I can't write.
     
  5. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    1) I've got the opposite problem you do when writing prose, Wreybies. I've spent most of my time thinking and writting poetry, so I tend to be too terse in my short stories. After putting them up a while, I come back and say "whoa - slow down and pad it a bit. You've got lots of room to do so."

    2) I also miss little words on first draft, but it doesn't bother me much as I can pick most out on re-read.

    -Frank
     
  6. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    - I'm not really that good at SPaG.

    - I struggle to find time to write daily I might go several weeks without writing as I have lots of other interests I take seriously. This means that even though I might have the enthusiam to write I might not have enthusiasm for that particular story.

    - I use a lot of unnecessary words.
     
  7. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Grammar- In truth it never made any sense to me. I would sit in class and try and follow along. Try and understand what the Teacher was talking about. But I just couldn't get it.

    2) My prose. Sometimes I can get some great stuff going. It could use some editing and some words are either missing or I used a different word by mistake. Some of the stuff I can be happy with. Then I will write complete crap which brings up the question 'Why bother?' I also seem to struggle with the whole Showing and Telling thing. I will sometimes go either overboard with just Showing or just Telling. I can't seem to find that perfect balance.

    3) My Vocabulary. This leads to me reusing words far to many times. I sometimes find it hard to convey the actions going in within my story and what something looks like. I will often just fall back on the simpilist way. Which I suppose is better then eating a thesaurus(sp) and then retching it back up. That or I am not sure if I am using a word correctly.

    4) Confidence. Yup my Inner Critic is a complete hard ass. It keeps asking me 'Why bother? You are horrible." Sometimes I can ignore him and lock him away. But he always manages to escape. I believe there is a conspiracy going on within my mind. Either way I lack confidence in most things I write. When I finish something I can be like 'That was pretty good.' and then be all happy about it. I look back on it and start thinking the story over and I end up seeing everything thats horrible and maybe even exaggerating a few of the problems... then again maybe not.

    5) Finishing. The longest story I have finished was a 26k fanfic. I was actually rather pleased how it turned out. Could use some editing... anyways. I will start a short story and then sometimes I will only write on it for a day or a couple hours. I take a break and it ends up unfinished. I have also restarted several of my longer stories and they end up being completely different. But I never actually finish. My longest story to date is just above 50k words(from last years NaNoWriMo) When November ended. I didn't continue writing. Oh I went back and did a little editing.

    6) Editing. I don't seem to do enough of this. I will read over what I wrote make some changes but often my short stories are left unedited. :(
     
  8. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Issue #1...see Wreybies first issue. Man, I coulda swore I typed that missing little word but danged if it ain't there.

    Issue #2...Using too much vocabulary and really long sentences. At work, I do company internal communications as part of my job. It's been quite a learning experience. Taught me how to be more concise. In the 'from the mouths of babes' department, a co-worker off-handedly made the comment that I seem to have too many extra words in my sentences. It's one of those things that hit me right between the eyes and stuck with me. It made for good advice.

    ..so there you have it, if I don't have too many words, then I'm missing some. Can't win for losin'.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I tend to wrote too much dialogue, and I tend to be too wordy in general. But I find that if I try to correct either problem when writing a first draft, it ruins my creativity. So, I accept that these are two things I need to address when editing.

    But a more basic flaw is that my writing can be somewhat uneven. When I am reading over something I've written, there will inevitablty be passages that leap up at me and I think to myself, "That's good!" But I won't find that same quality throughout the whole piece. And I know that's the thing that keeps me from being published.
     
  10. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    My tendency to draw conclusions and serve up philosophical arguments that probably should be left to the reader. Maybe I've got a dormant teacher gene, or preacher gene, since I have such an urge to teach lessons. I go back through my text and delete anything that sounds like I'm trying to make a point. But it hurts a little...I so wanna make a point. Oh, well. Kill your darlings.
     
  11. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tenses get me flummoxed. I keep correcting them and then I think I have repeated 'had' to often.
     
  12. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    1. When I proof read my work, I find countless places where I missed a word I thought I typed, or left an "ing" off of a word that needs correction.

    2. I have major problems with tense. When I proof my work I must meticulously go through it line by line and I find that my work is positively infested with lapses between present and past tense.

    3. My worst problem is personal motivation. Due to very poor health and the depression that tags along with it, it is very hard for me to motivate myself to write anything. Once I get going, I tend to get on a roll and crank out some quality stuff, but I have one heck of a time getting out of the starting gate.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I want to add coming up with titles,
     
  14. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fiction
    Can't be much bothered with character building. Bad at it.
    Don't care for dialogue. Bad at it.
    Too impatient to wrap things up. I press on at the expense of depth and atmosphere.
    Something niggles me about writing in the past tense. Not much happier in the present.

    Non-fiction
    Too enamoured of the wood, I pay no attention to the trees.
     
  15. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    tragic flaws :p

    1) I tend to stop and go back to change or edit too much before I have a draft finished. Slows me down a lot.

    2) I get numb to my own writing and my brain fixes stuff while reading. Causes me to miss stupid mistakes a lot.

    3) I am heavily influenced by old literature and sometimes neglect to look at the new styles and fads.

    4) As soon as I let someone read my work, I automatically start knocking it, and lose faith. When seconds ago, I felt like it was a masterpiece.
     
  16. natsuki
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    natsuki Active Member

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    1) I have the same problem. It annoys me because I spend pages and pages doing that, and then I have to delete the whole thing.

    2) Vocabulary - My vocabulary is extremely limited. Every time I read through my work it sounds too juvenile, even though I'm writing adult fiction. My vocabulary is improving as I write and read, but still...

    3) Spelling and Grammar - Can't write without spellcheck. If I do, i can write the simple words, but when i get to the longer ones, I do not know how to write. For example, I couldn't write "extremely" above. My grammar also needs a lot of improvement. I can't recognize most of my mistakes.
     
  17. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    • Dialogue. When it comes to writing, I tend to have unrealistic dialogue that makes it seem as if the character is narrating the story. I find that dialogue is the funnest part of writing, though I'm not good at it.


    • Punciations. I tend to write and skip commas on my sentence. I also find it hard to distinguish dialogue that indicate that the character is talking fast without violating grammar rules.


    • Narative Description is something I find hard to acheive. I normally "tell" rather than showing, and don't know how to paint the story with words.


    • Plot organization. I normally spread my plot around and forget to let the readers know that I switched POV characters.
     
  18. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    1- keeping the flow once I sit down to write. I'll be good for a page or two that I think are quite good, things are moving just fine, and then I get to a spot that makes me stop and think about what happens next. Before I know it, I'm off in daydream land and have a thousand pointless thoughts battling it out for my attention.

    2- Getting the setting to become part of the story. My description often comes out as either forced and in the way, or completely non-existant.

    3- Overuse of one-three word sentences. I love them. They're great. They show suspense. Fantastic... It's choppy. It sounds cheesy. Too many. Stop it!
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I spend far too many words on stupid pointless transitions. Only after working on one all morning will I raise my head and realize that it's not even necessary. For example, if I wanted to write a scene in which Fred phones Bill to tell him Grace is dead, I'll write:

    ***
    Fred reached for the phone. Wait - where was Bill's number? He glanced around and found his Rolodex, and paged through it until he found it. Bill Welch, 555-8172. He grabbed the phone again and dialed the number. While it was ringing he tried to calm himself, breathing steadily, deliberately. After the fourth ring a woman answered. "Welch residence. Hello?"

    "Yes, hello, I'd like to speak to Bill Welch, please."

    "Mr. Welch is not available."

    "Please, I know he's there. Tell him it's Fred Ames and that it's very important. It's about Grace."

    "Hang on."

    Fred waited, hearing the maid faintly calling for Bill. He did his breathing exercises again. He didn't want to vomit all over the handset. At last:

    "Fred? Bill here. What's up?"

    Fred closed his eyes. "Bad news, Bill. Grace is ... she's gone. She's dead."
    ***

    Most of that is unnecessary, just extraneous padding. I should have just written:

    ***
    Fred calmed himself, then picked up the phone and called Bill. "Bad news, Bill. Grace is ... she's gone. She's dead."
    ***

    This is, of course, just an example. Often I'll write a whole page or more of my best prose about looking for phone numbers and dealing with maids and stuff that doesn't matter. I have to learn to cut to the chase BEFORE I do all that work! I can't even begin to estimate the number of hours I've lost writing these little transitions that I never should have bothered with in the first place.
     
  20. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. Action scenes. I consider myself good with dialog, description and character development, but the second something actually happens, it's just so full of suck...

    2. Commas of DOOOM!!
    Norwegians use a lot of commas, so I use a lot of them when writing English as well (I'm half British).
     
  21. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    My biggest flaw is probably the fact that I can go for a few weeks at a time without working on my current piece of fiction, although I've gotten much better at that - Nanowrimo kind of knocked me into better habits.

    Once I've gotten far enough into a WIP, I realize that there are tons of plot holes. There will be some huge gaping thing that needs to be addressed - like if it's a mystery, a likely suspect will pop out of nowhere and I'll have to go back and give the protags reason to be suspicious of that person. That sort of thing.

    Also, I'm overly obsessive about said plot holes. I have to make sure every little loose question is answered, even if it's something that readers won't care about. I.e. "why did this MC get sucked into dealing with this as opposed to someone else," "how did George Orwell's Room 101 come to be Room 101" etc..lol.

    I'm much more plot-driven than character-driven, and sometimes it can be hard to round out characters. I can develop quirks and satirical personalities, but developing a fully faceted character for a novel is much harder than just keeping a fast-paced plot with lots of events driving the storyline forward.
     
  22. thinking
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    thinking Member

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    1. Sentence structure. I often fall into repetitive patterns. When I read over my work, I realize nearly every sentence for half a page begins with "I"

    2. Two words: passive. voice. I use it a lot more than I should

    3. Overuse of "to be"

    4. writing for length. Sometimes I write to create filler between interesting scenes, rather than cutting filler and replacing it with NEW interesting scenes.

    5. Stale. My work can get very dull if I'm not careful.
     
  23. jardpole
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    jardpole Member

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    My biggest flaw is probably the fact that I can go for a few weeks at a time without working on my current piece of fiction, although I've gotten much better at that - Nanowrimo kind of knocked me into better habits.

    Once I've gotten far enough into a WIP, I realize that there are tons of plot holes. There will be some huge gaping thing that needs to be addressed - like if it's a mystery, a likely suspect will pop out of nowhere and I'll have to go back and give the protags reason to be suspicious of that person. That sort of thing.

    Hi Mallory, when it comes to appear a person or a suspect as you say my opinion is that is better to try to get rid of it other wise you fall to the trap of putting more and more thing to support his excistence. It is like adding one more problem to this you allready facing
    The fact that you are obsessed with details i don't find wrong or bad, as you long you don't lose your sleep about questions like why the room in "1984" is 101 and not 102. Some things are in the mind of the writer
    I am also a plot - driven than character - driven. I find it very difficult to built a character. But i found out recently that we must not look for the story in the story itself but on the characters who make the story
    i hope you understood my meanings, you have anything on the site?
     

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