1. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    Writing skill. .

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Darkranger85, Aug 10, 2010.

    Hey all,

    When I was younger, like I'll say 15 or so I started writing. I was fairly good at it and it wasn't hard for me to come up with good dialog and such.

    I got away from it for several years and now I find that no matter what I try to write it just doesn't sound right.

    It can be the dialog not sounding real, or the scene not progressing right, or the actions not wanting to flow the way I want them too.

    I have to date tried to get back into writing about 4 or 5 times and I can never get past the first page because it just drives me insane that it sounds so bad.

    Has anyone else has this issue? If so, how do you get past it?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It may be that you've simply become more discerning over the years, and what seemed like it was really good at 15 (and what you remember as being really good) doesn't seem as good now, even if the quality of your writing hasn't actually changed or has even improved. Just a thought.

    I recommend getting active in the review forums. Once you start critiquing and critically analyzing the writing of others, you'll see things in your own writing that can be improved, and you'll become a better writer for it.
     
  3. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    No, I still have samples of my writing from back then and have had several people read them, including a published author. All of them were quite impressed and said that it was very good.

    But as far as reading and reviewing others writing, I will give that a try aswell.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Ah...I understand what you're saying.

    Well...yes, I think reviewing and critiquing is good in terms of learning the craft. Also, reading critically. Find novels that you thought were very well done and go back and read them again, but this time with an eye toward studying what the author is doing and how he/she goes about accomplishing the task of writing a great novel.
     
  5. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    Yeah, I've tried doing things like that.

    The first book I started writing was my own personal spin on the story of King Arthur.

    My absolute hero of an author is R A Salvatore, who writes fantasy, so I tried to analyze how he does a lot of things and tried to blend it to my own style. I think I did a pretty good job, but again that was back then.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Salvatore is particularly good at writing action. I've found myself re-reading some of his books and paying particular attention to action scenes to see how he handles them.

    I hope you get your "muse" back :)
     
  7. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    I feel pretty much the same. I started writing around 14 and wouldn't stop until I was around 20. Now I'm 27 and it's really hard to put up good stories that show passion for writing in them. It's like during growing up a person's got something that drives them to things with passion and spontaneously regardless of whether it's technically correct or not. As we grow up that passion probably goes away until just a cold calculated method remains. I'm still trying to hold on to the former one but I just find that people mostly judge stories by the technical point of view and not the emotional side.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it possible that you're just out of practice, and that as an adult you're less willing to get in practice by pushing yourself through the bad-writing phase?

    I'd suggest just writing the first horrible page, and the second dreadful page, and the third nightmarish page, and as many pages as it takes to start getting better. If you can't make yourself write lousy prose for some idea that you love, you could go with an idea that you don't love so much.

    Have you tried NaNoWriMo? The goal is to write "a novel" (fifty thousand words of fiction) in the month of November. It's a good motivator to just spit words out and not worry about whether they're fabulous or good or even particularly coherent. :) I'm not saying that you want a writing career of writing this way, but it could be a way to get yourself started.
     
  9. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    You shouldn't let yourself get discouraged. Keep writing and working at it. There could be all kinds of reasons for the change in product quality -- you're more discerning, you've read more authors now (so your writing is flavored with more styles, some of which may not mesh well together), you're old enough that producing a decent-ish story is less likely to make adult writers exclaim over your talents, you're tackling harder-to-explain ideas, you're building a whole fantasy world and having to explore the edges, you're out of practice...

    Put more hours into your writing, and you'll improve. That's just how it goes. Even if you write, and feel that the first page sucks. (I've been there. Many times.) Just bull your way through it, and gradually your writing muscles will stretch and grow stronger.

    Keep writing, keep reading, keep going. That's the only way I know of to improve your work over time.
     
  10. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    It probably is, at least in part, my not being able to push through it. I have OCD and so I see a crappy sentence and it just drives me insane till I fix it, but no matter what I do it never gets any better.

    @ChickenFreak. I have heard of it because my mother is a writer. But I have never attempted it myself because it seems like a very lofty goal that I don't think I could accomplish. I know, I don't necessarily have to "accomplish" it lol.
     
  11. Ragdoll
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    My suggestion is practice. Not only by writing, but by reading and reviewing. And use this forum to your advantage. You can learn a lot here^^
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first draft of my my first novel was truly awful lol I look at it now and three drafts down the line only two scenes from the original novel remain, and one has been edited beyond recognition.

    Based on my experience I would say just write, keep writing you can always edit it later and once you find your style again it will improve. I never intended to be writing first person present tense from point of view of a teenage boy:) or Young Adult Fantasy, when I first wrote my story it was a third person adult action/thriller. However the story told better if I moved it to a made up country and then the world made itself up, then I needed to explain where my Christian Puritans came from:) I know my story is good and I am getting increasingly good reviews, from a wide variety of people. Its about to get even better I have just embarked on a complete rewrite of my first novel having completed it and been happy with it, I had a new idea whilst writing book number 2, that is worth rewriting book number 1 and bringing forward one of my characters. Just write it'll get better.
     
  13. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    Yeah, I will have to try and push through it and see if it gets better lol.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?"

    "Practice, my friend, practice."
     
  15. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Oh, yeah.... I have this problem too. It's a hindrance, a chigger, and it can definitely bring down your self confidence.

    The only thing I can think of that would help is to read. Read anything and everything. This solution may sound opposite, and it did to me at first. But I think it will help you to adjust to writing. It will help you zone in on your own particular voice, and the points you want to make. Reading may just enable you to get a handle on the structure itself. And then you'll get a feel of what the next step is to take.

    It's kinda how you get used to driving to a certain place. The first time, you're nervous that you'll screw up and wind up in China. But after getting there the first time, you start to remember the way slowly but surely. Then in no time, you have the confidence to get there in a breeze.

    It's all about overcoming that initial fear and doubt.

    I do hope this helps. I explain things in weird ways sometimes.

    Taylee
     
  16. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)
     
  17. Karl C. Lewis
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    you might look into reading "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. It is really just a good book for all writers to read.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not lofty the way I did it. :) I just wrote. Full speed. Often using Write or Die. The goal isn't to end up with a publishable novel, or even the first draft of a publishable novel, or even scenes that might belong in the first draft of a publishable novel. I think that the goal is just to get you to shut your internal editor up for fifty thousand words. When I fell behind, I knocked off fifteen thousand words in two days. I think that will tell you how thoroughly my internal editor was suppressed. :)

    And I think that from the way you describe your problem, learning how to shut that editor up may be a very good exercise. You can always let him breathe, a little, later on. But I think it's good to let him know who's boss.

    ChickenFreak
     
  19. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    This is not true, if it were every person who has a master's degree or higher in English should all be published authors.

    Sound technical knowledge merely helps bringing out the best writing voice within you.
     
  20. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you've become more inhibited with age, and most likely more complex, and that reflects in your writing. I can think of many things that seemed easier, more natural to me when I was a kid/teenager. I know I'm gonna sound like an aged hippie when I say this...but the key could be to rediscover your inner child and that uncensored enthusiasm you once had. I bet you didn't worry too much about what an editor would think of your work when you wrote at the age of 15, but rather just wrote what you felt strongly about.
     
  21. Darkranger85
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    @ ChickenFreak: Perhaps you are right. Maybe I need to tell the little voice in my head to shut the heck up for a few pages. Perhaps I will look into that. :)

    @ HorusEye: Yes and no I'd have to say. When I was writing my first "serious" book basically my pattern was 1. Come up with good idea. 2. Write down idea. 3. reread and edit idea 100 times till it was how I wanted it. 4. Move on to next idea.

    I kid you not, I think I was on the first page of that book for almost a week and I went over it adding detail and fixing errors more times then I can count. lol
     
  22. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    Usually the best way for me is to write the 'skeleton' of the story, not paying much attention to details, just making sure that the plot is coherent. Then I go back and fill in what's missing to make the readers understand connections and spice it up a bit too. I usually don't bother with descriptions or other things that support the main plot. Guess that makes it quite easy for the idea to get laid down and out of the mind. You can have as many of these 'skeletons' lying around and keep coming back to them. If you get stuck on the first page until it's perfect you'll forget what you were writing about.
     
  23. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    I know exactly what you are talking about!

    My advice: don't judge yourself so harshly!

    Ofcourse you can't always get it right in one go! The most important talent of being a writer is allowing yourself to make mistakes! Allow yourself to write a first draft, no matter how horrible.
    Remember: you can delete it at anytime you like, without anyone ever reading it! So there's no haste in deleting it as fast as you can the second you wrote it down!

    Try to learn two different modes, the writing mode and editing mode. When you're in the writing mode you aren't allowed to delete scentences/paragraphs and as little words as possible! When you've written 2-3 pages or more, read everything again in editing mode, and then you'll find that it wasn't half as bad as you thought it would be!
    Polish the story a bit, and continue.

    The key is just to write write write, without looking back and thinking it might be wrong. You can always delete it afterwards!

    Happy writing! :D

    Xx Lola
     
  24. Darkranger85
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    Darkranger85 Member

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    You're absolutely right.

    My problem is turning off that "Editing mode".

    Because I have OCD it's hard to me to leave it be when I see something that isn't right or didn't come out the way I wanted.

    I will have to work on that.
     
  25. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK Have just posted this lol but can you meditate? I find it really helps with visualisation, and relaxing my mind, without it my story would never switch off.
     

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