1. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Why Ask??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by EdFromNY, Jun 19, 2013.

    I have come to the conclusion that one of the most oft-asked questions on this forum - if not the most - is any variation of "Is this story idea okay?" I've seen it asked in terms of posting synopses, screening for political correctness and all sorts of other variations, but it really comes down to asking for validation of a story idea. The most recent is over in the Review section where someone asked if they could post their plot for critique.

    And I just don't understand why anyone would do that. I've NEVER discussed an idea of mine with anyone while it's in the formative stage and not even once I've decided to go forward with it, not even with my wife. Because only three things can happen: 1) "I love it"; 2) "I hate it" and 3) "Who cares?" Number One is nice but I don't need it, because I've already decided I love it, too, else I wouldn't be wasting time writing it. And all Numbers Two and Three might do is piss me off, which will provide an emotional distraction to writing, which I don't need.

    In my view, nothing good comes from asking.

    Thanks, I feel better, now.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think some people are just full of doubt, they need someone to say "That's sounds great, do it - and hurry up I want it on my bookshelf!"

    I would be the same as you and just do it without a word from anybody but not everyone are as confident.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Followed by, "Is this character believable?"

    (Bio-sheet)

    If you had never heard of Hitler, had no idea of his existence and roll in history, and someone handed you a Hitler bio-sheet, it would present an utterly "unbelievable" character, no one would buy it, throw that shit away and start over. An actual, historical figure with one of the most intriguing stories in existence.
     
  4. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    It might be because some members are younger. I remember when I first joined this site I was such a nuisance asking questions like that. In fact, if I ever take a hiatus from this forum it's simply because of what you pointed out. I don't think critiquing other ideas for books is very constructive. I feel this way because almost every book I've ever tried to write has always deviated from my original plan. So I don't bother with initial worries -- I let it play out naturally rather than feel anxious about it.

    But yeah, there are many redundant questions when it comes to writing because there is no wrong or right.

    Also, I definitely do NOT mean to insult anyone who has ever asked for opinions on their ideas or books.

    I can see where Ed is coming from.

    The easiest way (in my opinion) is to just write what's on your mind and judge it for what it is when you're finished, rather than look for opinions on something that might eventual change dozens of times.
     
  5. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I think desire needs to be mixed in with that confidence. When I come up with a story I like, I have the desire, the want to write it, everybody else be damned
     
  6. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    I tend to agree this question comes from experience. I think most creative people that share their works tend to suffer a fear of how it will be viewed. Much like an artist may paint a masterpiece but only look on the work himself wondering why he bothered to put paint on the canvas in the first place. We tend to be our very worst critics, or I know that I am. I tend to think most of what I write is crap, and as the first response said there will be those that wholeheartedly agree with that, but there will be those that like it as well.

    The point is that with experience you tend to know that you should write your idea if you like it and then leave it up to the judgement of others once you are reasonably happy with your results. With less experience you tend to doubt yourself right from the beginning, or at least some do, which is why you get the questions.
     
  7. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    I say write it, without thinking.
     
  8. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    When I am pregnant with a story idea I hope, pray, and try my best to create a baby whom everybody would admire when it is finally born. What's the point asking how my baby looks before it is born?
     
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  9. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    What usually happens to me is that I understand that some aspects of my plot are subject to change such as characters, the story's POV,etc. Hell, when I was a newbie on this forum, I never introduced myself or asked "Is my plot good." It all comes down to the writing. I read stories with very simple plots and I loved them because they were well written. The only thing I can see why someone would post their plot is to check for plot holes, put then again, that's the job of the writer.
     
  10. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    How young we talking? I never did that and I'm 18 lmao.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Worse yet, there are a few members who persist in doing so, no matter how many times they are told (and not only by me!) that it is pointless. Those are at the top of my list of people I doubt will ever succeed as writers.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Interesting because I'm the opposite, like Ed, I've been reluctant to tell many people my story idea because I don't want it taken. I've even kept some things out of the synopsis I share with my writer's group. I don't know if I'll ever post more than a bit of it here, because online is much too exposed.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Or they could just be young.
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    My stuff is so secret I won't even tell myself!
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    *:D*
     
  16. AshleyFinn
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    AshleyFinn Member

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    The only thing worse than the "Is this an okay story?" thread is a thread complaining about "Is this an okay story?" thread.
     
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that "is this story/idea OK" threads are unnecessary.

    A close second are the "is this idea overdone / cliche" threads.
     
  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Variations on the same theme.

    I agree with Cogito. The ones who feel the need to ask will likely never make it.

    I also don't think that youth is an excuse. I knew when I was 11 not to ask.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Young" explains asking once or twice. But "young" doesn't mean dense or learning-impaired or terminally bull-headed. Some of the youngest members here have also been some of the keenest, most insightful minds around.

    No, the ones I'm talking about vary widely in age, but they all share one attribute. They hear exactly what they want to hear, and not one gnat's whisper more. High hopes, low motivation, and usually atrocious grammar, because improving that requires effort as well.

    Now, I'm not talking about every person who asks if their story idea has merit. For many, it's a new idea that the storyline isn't what makes or breaks a story. Nor am I talking about everyone whose grammar is rubbish. With determination and hard work, it's amazing how quickly they can improve.

    I'm talking about The Entiled. Life shall provide for them, and if you know the right people, life is all a Teflon-coated slide with safety nets and double-indemnity insurance.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My point is to not be so judgmental without considering other factors. If you learned at 11, that's great. But not every writer is you.

    It annoys me a tad to see people being so hard on new forum members without considering the fact we all come from different places. I'm a late start writer. There aren't very many of us, but there are some. My book may not be the next best seller, but it is good, I know it is, I know I'm not being stupid about it. I learned how to write, I wasn't born with the natural ability. If someone in the forum hasn't yet learned, so what? Doesn't mean they can't or won't.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Being so hard?" To some, that means anything other than telling the person exactly what they want to hear: "Yes, your story idea is the best thing since Velcro." Actually telling them they are focusing on the wrong thing is "being harsh."

    How, then, should they learn, if no one tells them?

    To someone who sees the same comment in several threads, it may seem like flogging with a wire whip. But to the new memberwho has never thought of it that way, it might just be the revelation that propels them forward.
     
  22. AshleyFinn
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    AshleyFinn Member

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    I wouldn't waste your breath. It is impossible for them to hear way up there on their high horse.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I still have hopes. :D
     
  24. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    I agree. When I first came here, last Christmas if I remember, I read similar comments from you and others that really helped me move from, "This plot is so awesome, no one steal it!" to, "How can I make engage my reader with a sequence of events?"
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are many ways to say the same things. You can even be frank, I do it all the time and I'm even offensive sometimes because of it, though I don't mean to be.

    So allow me to be be frank, since you approve of that approach. Maybe you think being overly harsh is doing the person a favor. But sometimes it has the opposite effect. You chase timid new writers away from the community. That's not separating the wheat from the chaff, that's discouraging some seeds from germinating in the first place.

    It's fine to tell people the truth, the question they ask can't be answered. But if you find the person asking again, maybe you should consider that your answer wasn't as helpful as you believe it was.

    Try adding a little empathy to the mix.
     

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