1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    When you write one idea and it turns into another

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Jun 2, 2013.

    I started rewriting one of my stories. I thought of turning into another direction or evolving my story. After I had a friend read the first chapter. I got this response.

    "I think you should take the idea of the 'people living lives without sleep' part and make it into a story if it's own."

    I said I would take it into consideration however I do find it an insult. Especially when the reader could not understand why the character cannot sleep.

    I guess the main problem is my description of writing. If I write too much, the reader gets trailed off and confused. If I use just the initial description necessary, readers say they want more. It frustrates me to find the balance between the two and honestly it makes me feel like I should give up on writing. Yes I understand that criticism is great and all but how do I break out of this mentality that everything I write is going to be a failure to the audience anyways.

    I do post some of my scratch stories and it does make me happy that somebody likes it and then tells me it needs a different voice, different wording, grammar corrections, plot corrects etc. Even if somebody hates it and sees what needs to be fixed it makes me happy.

    I am just tired of people reading it and then refusing to offer suggestions. I tried asking people who read the type of genre and they just say "it is okay" or "it needs work"

    What should I do! I am taking into consideration using the dream drug story but how I do tell the reader that it is only part of the character not the main story.
     
  2. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    My best advice is to see how authors you liked convey what they want to the reader. I like Tim O'Brien,Raymond Carver, and Anton Chekhov, so I strive to write similar to them. If the reader cant understand why your character cant sleep, then put more emphasis/give more clues as to why the character cant sleep. If you want, there's a story by Raymond Carver called 'The Student's Wife' that's about a woman who cant sleep. See if that helps you. And if I wanted to show why a character cant sleep, I would a lot of soda cans in a waste basket(caffeine) Noise from a neighbor's party, a nightmare,etc.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It seems that you're asking several questions, and not very clearly.

    But I think the first thing you need to understand is that one reader does not speak for everyone. One reader didn't understand where you were going with your story; so what? Maybe they're not part of your audience. The audience is not one big, monolithic thing that thinks with one mind and speaks with one voice. Find the readers who understand you - or, rather, let them find you.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This.^

    In my writer's critique group I used to get my cockles up at people whose comments centered around changing the story. "It's my story, not yours!" were my thoughts about their comments.

    Eventually I learned, they were not skilled critiquers. It wasn't my problem as long as I didn't let it be.

    There's a difference between saying something could be written better and saying, "you should change your story." Your post sounds like you had a similar gut reaction to the critique as I did to people suggesting ways to change my story. It's personal. ;)
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    What minstrel said.

    I also wouldn't be so quick to seek opinions of my writing until I had it as well-scrubbed and complete as I could make it.
     
  6. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    Remember the phrase "You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all of the time" is always true.

    Basically it's fine to get input from friends but don't constantly change your work based on their views. Who knows maybe da Vinci's friends told him he should get a better looking muse, or paint her topless, but look who’s laughing now. Writing is no different and so while you can listen to opinions and maybe take on board some of them you should still stick to your guns in the end. You'll always get some that would do it differently, will hate it or love it, but that’s the price of expressing yourself to the public.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Blackstar is spot-on with this advice. If the sleeplessness is a mystery to your readers—and you don't intend it to be—then more clues earlier on will certainly create a stronger focus, and let your readers move forward, rather than leafing backwards, wondering what they've missed.

    Minstrel, and the others posted above, got that point across very well.

    One of the tricks of being a writer, I've discovered, is identifying your target audience. Hard to do that till you've written, and let people read what you've written. Then gauge the reaction. Let lots of people read your stuff. Concentrate on the people who 'get' your story. Push them for critical advice. They are the people who would buy your book, if it gets published. (Just thank the others for their effort and time, keep smiling, and don't throw crockery at the walls!:))

    If you can be specific in your request for help, so much the better. Some people are avid readers, but don't understand squat about the writing process, and will need your help to focus on what actually needs work. Ask them if there was any spot in the story that confused them. Were there any spots they wanted to (or did) skip over. Did they see plot point A coming, or was it a surprise? Did they like character B, dislike character C. Can they tell you why? This kind of direction from you, the author, should produce the results you're after.

    Don't worry about turning yourself inside out to please people who don't really like, or get, the kind of story you're writing. But DO pay attention to the people who do like your story, and give serious thought to making any changes they suggest.

    I've always counted my writing a success when the people who are my target audience want to discuss my characters! When he did this or that, I was really upset. I was hoping this or that would happen, because she's the kind of person who needs a person like that in her life. Or whatever. Specifics. These people 'get' your characters, and that's so satisfying! (Hug them, if you must...:eek:)

    Think of it like this, if you will : you go into a large bookstore—are you going to WANT to read all the books in there? Probably not. Well, they've all been written and published, but you aren't the target audience for a large number of them. But other people are.

    I feel it's extremely important that you write the story YOU want to write, and get it into shape so that the people who want to read that kind of story will enjoy it!

    Incidentally, I still remember lots of details about your Amber story, and am eager to read more. I AM your target audience! So much going on, even in that short thread you posted a while back. I was very intrigued. Amber's strange, possibly prophetic dreams, and her reliance on prescribed drugs to keep her from dreaming, the odd, possibly toxic relationships within her family ...and now they are under attack from outside... hey. Cliffhanger. Can't wait for the next installment.
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Everybody made great valid points. I think you are all right about my target audience. When I think about it, people are telling me what they want to read not what they think of my stories. For now I am going to set it aside until I am completely satisfied with the story.

    This has become a huge bump in the road with writing stories that are not considered the mainstream genres. I am going back into the drawing board to see what I can do to fix some of the plot holes and some of the gray areas in the characters.

    It is a challenge for a writer to please an audience. Looking at it now, I am going to the wrong audience.
     

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