1. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    Showing others your work.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TheSilverBeetle, Mar 21, 2012.

    I am usually very shy when it comes to my writing. I want to show others my work to get critiqued but I am nervous that they will destroy my confidence in my novel. Like how I want to post it here but I am terrified to do it. What do you guys do?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd suggest starting with writing that is less important to you than your novel. That's a bit safer anyway - you don't want to essentially publish parts of a novel that you might be hoping to get published someday; publishers don't like that. Try vignettes, short stories, related to your novel or totally unrelated.

    And I'd also suggest _assuming_ that people will have large, upsetting criticisms. If you haven't had a lot of criticism on your writing, that's pretty much inevitable, because essentially no one starts out really good, and essentially no one gets _to_ good without criticism from others. People who are geniuses without practice are vanishingly rare. ("Even Mozart put in ten thousand hours.")

    So critiques on your writing, no matter how negative they might be, do not tell you whether you can be a good writer. They just give you a partial map of the path toward being a good writer. I'd say, write a scene, polish it to a reasonable but not obsessive level, and put it up for review. (After you do a couple of reviews of others' work, if you haven't yet.)

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Being terrified of other's opinion or criticism won't get you anywhere. You need to know what can be improved and what doesn't need to be improved. That helps you identify your strong and weak points. Just don't post whatever you've jolted down in your attempt for a first draft, polish and try to figure out the mistakes you can see then let other's see. It's often different how we look at our own work and how others look at it, so get yourself some confidence and show it. What's the worst that can happen? Finding your weaknesses that is. ;]
     
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  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What Pheonix Hikari said is right on target.

    In the end, if you hope to be successful in publishing/as a writer, you're going to have to develop a thick skin. Even if you write an excellent novel, there are still those who won't like it. You'll get less than glowing reviews. It won't make you happy, but it's part of the business. Even during the process of getting published, submitting your work--rejections are common. Somebody read it, and said it's not right for us.

    Also, remember that you cannot please everybody. If you put your work up for review/crit--on the forum here for example, consider what others have to say. If there is a trend where multiple readers are commenting on the same concern (or strong point), then there may be something to it. But, in the end, it's your work and it'll be your name behind it. Even with an editor, while the publisher is paying for the rights to publish your novel, you don't have to agree with every change suggested--but often what an experienced editor suggests will make the story better.

    Good luck.
     
  5. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    Thank you for being so kind guys. I feel much better now.
     
  6. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    When you post here, be sure to keep it in perspective: our advice might be worth listening to sometimes, but truth be told, we're a bunch of nobodies on a writing site. I speak for myself, of course; I'm sure there are people here whose work has been published and know the trade. But there are many of us who don't really know what we're doing or are writing just for fun. Our opinions are just opinions, and almost invariably, critics are going to disagree. One will love your characters and hate your story, the other will hate your story and love your characters. Criticism is important, but it isn't everything.

    If you're new at receiving critiques, it's good to post something you feel kind of neutral or lousy about, as Chickenfreak suggests. That way, if people rip it to shreds, you won't be inclined to care all that much. It might also be a good idea to tell people in a little prelude paragraph that you're new to receiving critiques. That way, people might be more helpful in explaining their criticisms because they won't just assume you know what they mean. They'll also hopefully be a bit nicer and more forthcoming with positive suggestions.

    Good luck, but don't freak out. Nothing we say can hurt you. I'm a twenty-year-old with a laptop who's never been published in her life and probably never will be. So what if I don't like your story?
     
  7. LeMasterTJ
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    LeMasterTJ New Member

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    So, basically, they'll all agree?

    Might wanna correct that.

    But, yes, all these others said the truth. All true. Don't be afraid. What we say doesn't matter. It's what you think.
     
  8. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    That's what I think or at least try too.
     
  9. Whirlwind
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    Whirlwind Member

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    I kinda agree with this.

    It's the worst idea ever to post it online for everyone to chop to bits.

    If you want advice and critique, get it from an agent or publisher. You'll get plenty.

    Or at least get it from someone you know has the same "taste" as you.
     
  10. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    ^^^ Brilliance
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me my writing is there to be read and to entertain. So, I post it happilly and take the positive with the negative. A publisher or agent won't give me the fun feedback or actually in the early stages useful feedback. Feedback turned one of my character's black (it actually made a lot of sense) and last night helped me decide on whether not to cut a chapter.

    A publisher is unlikely to ask me how a character is doing or tell me off for calling him wimpy, ugly and pathetic (unless it was going to hurt sales). That is when my stories have the life it feels they were meant to have- when I cannot convince anyone that has read it my MC of my first novel is butt ugly.

    One advantage of putting it online is learning to deal with critics and harsh criticism BEFORE your book goes into print. These days with internet interaction a number of authors have got themselves into stupid situations arguing with their reviewers. Whereas letting online people at my work I now know to smile and say thank you even when they are ranting about my characters sexual orientation and foaming at the mouth. Also i tend to laugh at them. I know with a review that has me scratching my head to shout at hubby for a bit about it instead. I also know agents/publishers are wrong about the lack of market for it as I am building that market.

    Agents/publishers often give just opinions and learning to take them, work out what to accept and when to say stuff it (more politely) is useful.

    Also putting my work out there has actually gained some attention from publishers and editors.
     
  12. Rennie1989
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    Rennie1989 Member

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    I have this problem too which is why I started writing blogs. I was amazed with the praise I got back which is, in effect, boosting my confidence. I also got my boyfriend to read a few chapters of the novel (he doesn't have a long enough attention span to read it all) and he will tell me honestly how he feels about it. But be careful who you show your novel to.
     
  13. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    Orson Scott Card to the rescue.
    "Writers have to simultaneously believe the following two things:

    1. The story I am now working on is the greatest work of genius ever written in English.
    2. The story I am now working on is worthless drivel.

    It's best if you believe both these things simultaneously, so that you can call on Belief 1 when you're deciding whether to mail the story out, Belief 2 when going over the story to revise it, Belief 1 when choosing which market to submit it to, Belief 2 when the story is rejected (of course, I expected to get this back), and Belief 1 again when you put it back in an envelope and mail it again to the next-best market.
    Of course, believing two contradictory facts at the same time is sometimes referred to as madness - but that, too can be an asset to a writer."

    -How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, page 109, Writer's Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1990
     
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  14. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I love this perspective. If the advice works for you then use it, if it doesn't work for you just assume they don't know what they're talking about. haha :)
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i feel the same way you do. I desperately need constructive feedback but since I have never recieved critique for my writing I'm afraid it will bruise my self confidence, which is already quite low when it comes to writing. I'm not sure how I would react to heavy negative critique, but In the same time I need to get used to it I guess. I have showed my writing to very few people, two have read the entire first novel, and 2 have read the very first chapter of it (family members only) and only one of them have read the second one, but that one is still in need of a lot more revision and editing. I don't know where to find critique partners in my own language. I'm really afraid to let friends and collegues for example read it, It would make me feel so exposed!
     
  16. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    Show them your stuff.
    When I was in fifth grade, I wrote my first story that I actually cared about. That I finished, beginning to end. It only ended up to be about fifty pages, but I wasn't worrying much about length.
    It was my first story and I was unbelievably proud of myself. That story though, it was terrible.
    I can see that now, after I have had it critiqued by others, and rather than being ashamed, or embarrassed, I'm proud. Even if someone hates your story, nothing they say is worthless. Maybe you'll be upset, but it's better to show someone right off and get poor results than never show anyone, thereby ensuring you will never get good results, isn't it?
    It's like that quote - it's better to try and fall than to never try at all. Something like that, anyway.
     
  17. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    Yes. Every writer grows and improves. Your past is not something to be ashamed of; rather you should be proud of how far you've come, and you're always coming farther.
    I can laugh at my first stories and shake my head - "what a cute little kid I was! I thought I was so great" - and then I go and try to write something good, only to discover years later that it was nearly as bad. That's how it works. But while I'll show someone the story of George the duck and his girlfriend, and screech my head off, nothing hurts like being told you're a bad writer now. You'll agree later. But you have to brave it, if you want to improve.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately, a writer is unlikely to have an opportunity to discuss their work with an agent or publisher until they've improved it to a very high degree of quality, and to do that, they'll need advice and critique. So you don't have to get that advice here, but you're going to need it from somewhere.

    ChickenFreak
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Duplicate post.
     
  20. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Agree 100%

    I save all of my writings as a kid and while I now realize it was horrible, including my edits, it shows me two things. 1. How much I've improved and 2. I use to think I was the greatest gift to writing.



    For everyone else, if you haven't received critique before, either jump in and get the first one over with or do the fight to find someone who understands you're skin hasn't managed toughen just yet and will tell you the truth, but nicely.
     
  21. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    "It is not the critic who counts...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."
    ~TR
     
  22. Pchew
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    Pchew Member

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    The worst they can do is just say its bad. And if they do that, they will have a reason why. Just fix the reasons and prove them wrong! :)
     
  23. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just bite the bullet and do it. There's no other way ;)
     
  24. marcuslam
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    marcuslam Senior Member

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    My boss once said to me, "The day you stop chasing is the day is start rotting". Even the greatest writers can get better. So, of course you can, too! If the critiques end up making you feel like a bad writer, at least remember this. Being bad just means you'll improve faster than anyone else. Either way, you're going to be awesome.
     
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