1. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    What kind of writer are you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mr Sci Fi, Jun 19, 2008.

    For those of you who've read Stephen King's On Writing, a book I'd recommend to any writer, you might remember Stephen King's classification of writers: The bad writer, the competent writer, and the good writer.

    Which do you think you fall under? I think I'm merely competent, but most days I consider myself quite bad. I was wondering if anyone else looked into this.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't worship at the Tabernacle of King, sorry. Nor am I a fan of pigeonholing.

    In any case, I know I have a long way to go. I keep writing, learning, and rewriting. In truth, I haven't been at it all that long in a serious way, though, so I'm happy with my progress.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I guess, I'm the same as Cog.
    I don't want to class myself into any area or group as I see that as pointless.
     
  4. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Good responses, but I can honestly say that I'm nowhere able to classify myself as good or great, so competent is all I have to go on at this point.
     
  5. Samswriting
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    Samswriting Senior Member

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    I've never read any of King's writings none zippo nilch nodda... I would classify myself and my writing simply as me.

    Truly I'm growing I'm largely new to it, and my skill currently lays in nothing beyond the gifts I was born with. I would be likely a "bad" writer under this classification. I am unschooled and unrefined.

    However I love my writing, and find happiness and joy in it. Therefore could I not say I'm "great"?

    Again without reference it would be hard to classify one's self.
     
  6. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Ditto.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't consider schlockmeister king qualified to judge what makes a good writer, since he isn't one...

    as for me, i can say pretty honestly and confidently [if not too humbly] that i'm a better writer than most...
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Thank God someone had the-you-know-whats to say it!

    Some (I said some) of his early work was good, but his later stuff...wow...trees were cut down for that?
     
  9. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Agreed, he's starting to become R.L Stein to me now :mad:, very predictable and not that scary :confused:

    I don't think i'm a competent writer because I don't have much experience but i'm not horrible either, although that's the readers judgement :eek:
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ouch!

    King has written a few enjoyable books, but I too feel like he often phones it in to collect his income.

    But R. L. Stein? That is harsh! When my kids were growing up, we had a period where the nightly readings were from the Goosebumps series. That ended when none of us could keep a straight face through some of the narration and dialogue. My daughter was less than ten at the time, and she was saying things like, "Who talks like that?"

    I believe the decision was to switch over to the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and they were actually a big improvement.
     
  11. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Blasphemy! King is my favorite writer! Oh well, opinions... everyone has em. :p

    I don't see what's wrong with classifying yourself for kicks and giggles. I'd like to know what it means to be either of those 3 types of writers though...
     
  12. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Aww, I can't believe you're knocking R.L. Stein. So many fond childhood memories crushed.

    (Well, as long as you don't knock Shel Silverstein or the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' guy, it's cool.)
     
  13. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Lol, isn't it R. L. Stine? How ironic you all spelled it wrong. Or was it just a case of the bandwagon?

    Stine was my favorite writer when I was about seven. And I haven't read much King, except The Long Walk (Published under the penname Richard Bachman), which I thought was pretty good.

    As for my classification? Right now I'm a wannabe. Once I finish a draft--any draft--I might change that.
     
  14. ugu
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    ugu Member

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    Haha. I think I must have read 100+ books by R. L. Stein when I was growing up. I didn't like his writing style that much and I got annoyed by his formula after the first five books, but back then everyone else was into Goosebumps and Fear Street. I actually reread a couple of his books recently, and I find I have even more issues with his writing now.

    Like many others, I'm not a fan of King. I read On Writing a long time ago out of curiosity, and I still remember a few things that he wrote that annoyed me. I'll freely say I'm a bad writer. My grammar and sentence structures aren't that bad (at least compared to the things I've seen on the Internet), but the majority of my stories are just terrible. In fact, I just finished a short story I worked on four days and I find myself not liking it at all. It sounded so much better when it was only an idea running inside my head.
     
  15. BlueR
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    BlueR Member

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    For me, I like making the readers find the story out for themselves. All my writing usually takes place in the same fictional universe; character development may take the whole book to complete, and sometimes a whose series of books to finalize it. I'm not straightforward at all in my stories; they lack overall story and character description, but over time I expect my readers to come to realization with the plot of the story.

    But I do need work, which is mostly why I joined this forum!!
     
  16. Flightlessfoofaraw
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    Flightlessfoofaraw Member

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    I haven't read "on writing" so I'm not sure which of the categories I'd fall into, as defined by King.

    However, on the broader (and completely unrelated/off topic) point of King as a writer: he's certainly one of my favourites. His stories are generally engaging and gripping, and his writing is visceral and vivid. And i do think he's a "great" writer.

    That doesn't mean he's never written a crap book, though. I don't know how many of you follow snooker, but Ronnie O' Sullivan has probably lost more pivotal matches than he's won. He still, however, might just be the greatest Snooker player who's ever lived.

    I am, of course, not suggesting that King is the greatest writer who has ever lived (i don't think such a person exists), but he is certainly very tallented.
     
  17. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    I have to agree with Flightlessfoofaraw. :)

    As for the categories, I have no idea. I just know that I have a long way ahead me. I'm nowhere near my goal.
     
  18. Flightlessfoofaraw
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    Flightlessfoofaraw Member

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    Wooo *high fives* :)

    I have to say, I'm always deeply suspicious when people get all "I just don't think it's very good" in reference to art/artists which/who have recieved both critical and popular acclaim. I know that's going to wind people up, and i'm not saying that everyone here isn't entitled to an opinion. I'm just saying that i distrust anti-establishment sentiment a bit.

    I'm also vehemently anti-nostalgia too. People are always going on about modern music sucking in comparison to stuff being made 20/30/40 years ago, and that all people are doing these days is ripping off the greats. This is of course, rubbish. Eddie Grant was on a politics show last night over here, and spoke with great wisdom on the subject. Bassically he said that everybody plagarises everybody else, even if they don't realise they're doing it. He said that nobody ever really produces anything truly original, because all we can understand things in terms of, is the sum total of our own experiences. He is quite right to say this. Imagine trying to explain the concept of colour to someone who has been born blind?

    The difference with older material (in this case, like the beatles or the rolling stones) is that the stuff those guys were ripping off is long since forgotton. It has the illusion of being original, becauase the context in which it was created, is gone.

    Anyway, i sort of feel that almost no "great" art is ever considered particularly great around the time it's produced and consumed. I guess that's because we require stuff to have stood the test of time, before we start thinking about it as "classic"
     
  19. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    I think Stephen King is a great writer. He's had some stinkers, sure, I doubt we can forget Maximum Overdrive, but has anyone even glanced through The Gunslinger? I don't know any 19 year olds that could write something half as good.

    Although I'm not saying King is God and his word is law. I just found his theory curious (The fact that you can't make anything out of a bad writer or anymore out of a good writer) and wondered what other writers had to say about it.
     
  20. Flightlessfoofaraw
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    Flightlessfoofaraw Member

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    I'm coming to the end of the second book in the Dark Tower series at the moment, and have really enjoyed both so far. I hadn't realised he was only 19 when he wrote The Gunslinger though. Very impressive.

    I actually have a copy of "On writing" which a friend bought for me (although i've yet to read it). I'll have a skim through later and try to leave an on-topic comment :)
     
  21. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    I can honestly say i am damn good for my age, but for the world I am borderline compitent at best.
    I keep learning, re-writing and enjoying my work and one day i hope to be GREAT to the world/.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Where you are is far less important than where you are going.
     
  23. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I'm just a hard-working writer, who gets a little bit better every day. I don't compare myself to others, but if I can read something I wrote a year or two years ago and say, "You know, I've come a long way since I wrote that," then I'm a happy camper.

    Pigeonholes are for pigeons; labels are for packages. I am neither.
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    *does gracious little asian bow of respect for wise words*


    This is the truest response yet to be posted in this thread.


    Categorization is just a fancy word for limitation. It is a predilection of our species to want a label for everything. We even give God a gender so that he will fit more easily into our need for everything to fall into a little box, every little box to fall into a line, every line to fall into a catalogue, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

    As a writer, I believe that when you label yourself as this or that kind of writer, you have consciously chosen to discontinue the growth process.

    Is that really what you want?
     
  25. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    I will have to disagree with that last point, Wrey. A writer works very hard to be exactly that. Someone aspiring to be something will work hard at it. That's why they work at it as hard as they can, the drive, the commitment is there, they want to be known as a Writer. Just the esteemed title alone... I don't understand how it wouldn't be an incredible honor to be thought of as a Writer, to someone whose passion it is to write.
     

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