1. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    When you know what to write, but you hate the way you write it

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mallory, Jul 20, 2010.

    I'm not having writer's block or anything of the like (yay!) but I'm having a new type of problem -- I have some scenes mapped out perfectly, they really accelerate my plot and I love them, but I hate the way I write them, or the way my writing style looks with them I suppose.

    I'm not asking for help or anything. I know that the obvious solution is to just go back and tweak the writing so I like it better.

    But can anyone relate?
     
  2. Garfiun
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    Garfiun Member

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    I get the same. In my head I can imagine very vivid pictures and scenes of what I would like to write, then ill write them down, read it back and it reads comnpletely different to how I imagined it.

    I just keep re-writing it untill im happy.
     
  3. Fantasy of You
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    Fantasy of You Banned

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    I can completely relate. Often I'll write & think I'm doing a horrible job, like nothing is clicking and my writing is sloppy. Sometimes it will just be a case of stopping until later, and sometimes I'm starting my thought process in the wrong place. A very frustrating thing, when it happens, being too critical of yourself...

    Though, I think there's a fine line between being perfectly critical and too critical.
     
  4. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    It happens, and you rewrite it and move on.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I cant relate personally but i can relate as a know people who shared the same sort of problems in writing and drawing. I think the problem inside mostly and not in the text. Write more, learn to understand and love your strength and understand and wok on your weaknesses.

    And learn that the first sketch of any painting looks like some blurry gray lines that isn't particularly fantastic but they still is the foundation for any finished painting that might look fantastic.
     
  6. MissBelle
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    MissBelle Member

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    I agree, problem is that moving on is a learned skill. You need to learn to be able to just move on.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Is there a writer whose work you particularly like? Read some of that writer's work. Preferably aloud. Get those rhythms and sounds into your head. That will influence your own work in a positive direction.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Glad it's not just me. :) I did make some major headway tonight though, so I feel better about it.
     
  9. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    And no better way to learn how to move on, than to actually move on, yes?
     
  10. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can totally relate. I actually really like a lot of my stories and their characters/twists, but hate the writing style. :p
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Move on for a while, and come back to it later. This is where your practice in critique can serve you well. With some distance (in time and emotion), you can try to pin down exactly what isn't working with what you wrote.

    By later, I would suggest weeks, if not longer. It could even happen thatthe additional writing experience you accumulate in that time will make it immediately bvious what you need to do to fix it.
     
  12. gabelpa
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    gabelpa Banned

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    I'll try to make this more than a me too post but..

    I too am having the same difficulty. I have a scene that I know certain events have to happen during it, as they are required for later parts of my story, but they just aren't fitting in with the current flow of the scene. It may take me going back a few pages and changing something so we can get a logical progression from point A to B.
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thanks for the tip, Cog. I'll just write new scenes and push forward for now, and go back to it next week or something.

    I actually just fixed a major scene last night, so for me it's not really a matter of time, but more a matter of having the right mood or whatever when I'm writing it.
     
  14. Zieki
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    Zieki Member

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    I struggle with this all the time. I can see the scene in my head and I know what I want to happen.... then I write it. It used to happen to me when I was little and liked to draw. I would have this awesome image in my head and start to draw it and just say, "Wow, that's terrible."

    Of course, I think I have more talent in writing than I do in drawing and I find that Cogito's advice really does hold true. I wrote a scene about six months ago that I found pretty ugly when I first looked at it and I just looked at it again recently and saw exactly what I was doing wrong. I was able to fix it up to sound much better. Like Cog says, you need to detatch yourself from your writing before you can really look at it with an objective eye and see what's not working.
     
  15. Earthling4Hire
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    Earthling4Hire New Member

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    I believe a particular issue you may be struggling with is your voice. Namely, the way you project yourself and your perspective through your writing. This is something I constantly struggle with as well since I'm often a very technically minded person who feels confident in accurately illustrating ideas but not expressing them with the desired emotional effect. I feel my writing serves a greater service to the intellect than to emotions even though I know that it is an emotional impact I'm often aiming to achieve.

    To overcome this I've tried listening to music that inspires me, getting outside, or simply distancing myself from the section in question for a while. I often find that if my writing sounds too precise or forced that it's often the result of subconsciously writing to impress. I have to frequently remind myself to write what I’d enjoy reading and not worry about impressing an unknown reader. Obviously, if you plan on getting published you’ll eventually have to concern yourself with the latter, but first and foremost you should write for yourself.

    If your problem is truly one of failing to describe your vision as you wish then I’d suggest what others have already said; continue to practice and revisit your work at a later time.
     
  16. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    If you have identified the problem, you just have to rewrite it..... it happens to every writer and they are lying if they say otherwise. I mean, every writer admits writing several drafts of a story even though they might not say their first drafts were horrible. The key is the ability to identify the mistakes and correcting it. If you got that ability then you are doing fine.

    But if you are unsure of what the mistakes are then it will help you immensely if you get a second opinion from someone who has the ability. It will help you identify your problems in future. And yes, as Cog said, critiquing other's work will help you too.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to have the problem, when I first started out the scenes in my head where never the same as the scenes I was writing.

    I am no talented artist quite the reverse lol put I find drawing my scene out on paper or using google images or creating a scrapbook of images helps me with my descriptions. Also my drawing is so bad that my written description may not compare to what is in my head but its usually miles better than my artistic endeavors lol
     
  18. constant scribbler
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    constant scribbler Member

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    I typically have the exact opposite problem, a wonderful scene that doesn't fit in my plot (I tend to go off and write in random tangents). Even for parts of my story that do fit the plot I sometimes rewrite them four times before I can even bear to call it part of my story.

    For you I suggust continuing with your story before your frustration becomes a writer's block (that has so happened to me). You seem to not have your style down. Do some exorsizes. Write in a journal. Describe items around you. Write an action scene in a movie. Just practice writing. As you write more you will find you are better able to express things. Good luck!
     
  19. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thanks for the tip!

    I can definitely agree with you on the point of just writing it, and not putting it off so it becomes writers' block.

    I've written lots of short stories and essays and stuff, and I have a writing style that I'm proud of with those. I've even had an essay win a competition. But on this particular novel, idk, I love my ideas and my plot but my writing style isn't as dominant the first time I write scenes. I normally don't have this experience, so it is a bit weird.

    I spent a lot of time today going back and tweaking some scenes, now I'm a lot happier with them.

    I guess sometimes it just takes some editing to get the voice you want to really show itself.

    I should just be happy that I don't have WB for once in my life, I guess. :)
     
  20. Fatback
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    Fatback Banned

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    I can relate to this. I tend to write in my head until completion before I ever type or pen one word. After this process I write whatever it is I had in mind. However, I tend to write frenetically causing my tempo and pacing to inhibit the piece I'm crafting. This is my style so I cater to it, by editing and polishing to an extreme extent, with a final step at a much slower pace. I believe this is the best method for me. As I think I must allow my thoughts to progress without interruption to produce the best results. When I write I do so quickly so as to not lose any information I have thought up. The most important parts must be laid out first like a solid foundation. The rest can be tweaked at whim.
     
  21. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I try to identify a few salient sensations or circumstances that are vital to the setting, and make sure that they are supported in the scene. I try to report the scene through a character's eyes, as much as possible. And if I can't really get a grip on the scene, I write it with the desired actions, and with a hell of a lot of details, and then when I rewrite I will strip the details that don't support the desired mood. I think of it as leaving a large chunk of rock as a placeholder so that upon rewrite I can chisel it into shape.
     
  22. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    I'd say this is my number one problem when writing. I can't get it on paper the way it feels in my head. I constantly feel the need to edit the passages which just feeds the vicious cycle of not progressing the story
     
  23. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I quickly skimmed through most of the replies, so, if something like this has been said, I apologize. But, I can really relate to the OP's experience.

    As a result of similar things happening, I've recently switched up my creative process, and found better results mentally, though I am still having the same mechanical problems come up (but the happenings are becoming fewer and fewer).

    I like to run through things, get things done quickly. So, this made me pause and analyze my process.

    I need to slow down.

    Before, I'd get hit with an idea that would seem great, make me laugh even, and then I would start to write. I would try to churn it out in one sitting. (As of now, I only write shorts... between 4k-7k words.)

    Every time, I would hit the 5 page mark and lose steam. The rest of the process would be agonizing. My sentences would feel shitty. The story would lose its fire, the characters and interactions would feel boring, the scenes bland. And I would keep trucking, with only the end in sight.

    Personally, I cannot write that way, at least, in this stage of my development. It fatigues my mind, depletes my creativity. Now, I write in spurts. I put down about 200-500 words, and even if I still have tons of things racing in my mind, I force myself to take a step back. I take a break, smoke a cigarette, do some other things, or jot some ideas regarding the direction/brainstorm the rest of the story. And then I come back and do the same thing. I won't do this all the way through. Sometimes, I'll do two sessions and take a break until the next day.

    I went from writing a rough draft in one night, to 3-4 days, sometimes an entire week.

    It keeps me connected. The story keeps its edge. I don't feel exhausted anymore, and I think as a result I was able to keep up the emotional intensity necessary for the story.

    Hope this helps.

    -Ghost
     
  24. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Everything I write is nowhere near as good as the potential I imagine in my head. Such is life.
     
  25. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    I wrote a 145k word southern fiction novel, Growing Pains in LA. The story wasn't the hurdle. Be it good, bad, boring or what the hell is this crap? It's the grammar and ongoing endless editing.

    When your writing is crap and you don't know your arse from a hole in the ground. Yeah, I understand, I hate the way me-writes. Is it better as "A 14 year-old boy" or "A fourteen-year-old boy? What's the magic ratio (if there is one) of action/passive sentences? How short can a short chapter be? How do I arrange chapters for maximum punch? Can I edit about 19k words so an agent might consider it?

    And with all seriousness aside, could I get a pretty face as the author? A Brad Pitt or a center-fold with her clothes on if that's a requirement. Develop a completely fictional author to market a fiction novel. Fiction, all the way down. It really seems to boil down to a well written story that a reader enjoys and a butt-load of luck.

    Growing Pains will probably be a home-made Christmas gift to our grown children. Not just because I wrote it. Glue, binding, cover, the whole nine yards. The new "limited edition." Now that I think about it, duct-tape. What self-respecting author from Alabama wouldn't use duct-tape on a limited edition?

    And when I ask the kids if they read it, their quick yes would be the same as the "did you brush your teeth" answer given years ago. Sure they brushed.....Just not all of them.
     

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