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  1. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    Improving myself as a writer

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Naomasa298, Sep 18, 2019.

    I only recently got back into writing after a hiatus of many, many years.

    I've never taken any creative writing classes or studied writing - the last formal education I had in it was during high school English literature classes, and that was in the last millennium.

    I've been trying to write outside my comfort zone. I used to write fantasy, and that's what I feel most comfortable with, but I've been trying different genres, just to see if I can execute them - with varied results. My current challenge is an emotion driven story, where the characters' feelings and perceptions are the focus. This one is giving some trouble, particularly the female character's emotions. I've never experienced what I'm trying to depict her going through, so I don't know how effectively I can convey it in writing.

    Are there any good online resources for beginner writers? Not just in terms of the above, but learning resources for story structure, plot development, legibility etc?
     
  2. M.A.

    M.A. Member

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    I'm in a very similar situation. I used to write alot in my teens, but by the time I went to collage I had more or less stopped. Now, nearly two decades later, I've picked it up again - and now I don't understand why I ever stopped.

    Writing an emotional driven story from the point of view of a character very different from yourself sounds like a challanging task. I don't have much experience with that myself. But whatever your character has gone through, I assume it's something that many women (and perhaps men) have experienced. Perhaps there are books written by people with first hand experiences, movies, documentaries, articles etc. Anything where someone shares their experience of something - not just about what happened, but how it felt. Without knowing exactly what you're writing, I think that is one way to draw inspiration.

    Since I began writing again I have used YouTube alot as an online resource. There are countless videos and channels devoted to writing, made by more or less entertaining and talented people who know their craft. And the good thing about those 10-15 minute youtube-videos is that they serve as a nice break from the actual work of writing, but it's still educational and productive.
     
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  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    An "emotional driven story" just sounds weird to me.
     
  4. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Agreed. I'm actually a little more concerned about a story lacking emotion as a driving force.

    I find that's kind of a rabbit hole. You'll find an endless road of methodologies that may or may not work for you, and might not actually end up writing anything at all. My suggestion would be to read. A lot, and specifically in genres or types of stories you are trying to work on. Critically look at the work. Ask questions about yourself while reading it. Does it achieve the same sorts of things you are attempting? Do you enjoy the style and structure there? Dig deep into the work.

    Then I would suggest to critically look at other people's work, the non-established lot like myself. I'm simply a hobbyist, and I know I have faults int my writing. A good lesson for you, and for me, is for you to dive into my work critically. I'm not talking about SP&G, I mean the structure and story. What worked for you? Was it too obvious? Where was the general glow disturbed and lost? Where did it shine? Asking similar questions about someone else's work let's you look into what they are missing, and sometimes see likewise flaws in your own work. This forum is pretty good for that. Work shouldn't be up here for sale, it's here to be examined critically and torn apart for educational purposes. Experiments are welcome.

    Also if you want some online resources, check out the resources tab on the main page here. You will find a lot of useful places people placed on here.

    Lastly, as far as your perspective concern, ask questions. Talk to women about things you are trying to portray. Read books and stories written by women with a woman's perspective. Feminism in literature is an evolving thing, and the voice changes with the decade of publishing. You can post questions in character development or general writing on here for more specific bits. Many will be glad to answer, I'm pretty sure.
     
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  5. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

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    http://kalbashir.com/Oscars-2019-Winner-And-Nominees.html
     
  6. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    KM Weiland's blog has lots of articles that cover those very things.
     
  7. Richach

    Richach Member

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    This is what works for me, appreciably it might not work for everyone.

    I too am learning about writing (as are we all) but I am only three years in so I am at the early stages.

    I think it is really important to maintain balance in everything we do. Dont lean too much one way. For example; getting feed back and critique from forums like this is great, but also consider finding beta readers that just love to read. That way you will get balanced feedback from both writers and readers.

    I think we all need to be careful when we turn the spotlight back on ourselves. We need to remember to trust our own judgement too. Whilst I value and trust the advice I recieve, I am mindful to develop my own voice as my opinion matters to me too.

    EF Mingo is right, read as much as you can. Pick the best books by the best authors and just enjoy. It is important to enjoy your passion, it is not supposed to be all hardwork and no play.

    I have found a reaaly useful excercise is to copy paragraphs and chapters from your favourite books / authors. (Yes pick up a pen and blank sheet of paper and actually write it out!). This alone has allowed me to address dialogue, sentance structure etc etc. There is a huge section about this on our forum about this. I dont know how to post the link sorry.

    Listen to audio books if you can, a good book has a regular audible rythum. If you took the words away and left the syllables, they should make almost a regular rythum. For example Stephen King does this really well.Using your ears to read gives a totally different perspective.

    Learn when to tell, when to show and write good dialogue. I think that this is one of the biggest hardest discipline any writers need to understand.

    Showing has its place, it has to be done well and it is not required in every line. To much show can be just as bad as too much tell. Dialogue is a fantastic band aid.

    I think changing genres to try different things is all well and good, but nothing will advance your writing more than persistant hardwork. Good writing is good writing no matter what the genre. I try to stick to one main project and use short writing comps and other small seperate projects as a short term distractions.

    My whole writing journey has been a blast. I have loved almost every minute of it. I dont know if I will ever be published or self published but I have found a hobby that is free and if I might say a forum that is generally helpful and supportive.

    Just my thoughts that might help someone.
     
  8. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    There be some resource links on this site some where, right?

    I have been prowling around youtube of late looking for stuff. I reckon if there is anything of note it’ll be on university channels - never looked there, but will let you know if I find something engaging :)

    Even though I believe I’m more competent than the average nobody it doesn’t hurt to bruise the ol’ ego and look for pointers.
     
  9. Richach

    Richach Member

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    Copywork excercise for writers on the front page of this site I found helpful.

    and also novel-writing-help.com gives good basic help
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  10. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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  11. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Senior Member

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    Reading is an important step in learning skills because you wont just learn what works you'll learn what doesn't.
    Practice is important (as is learning to become versitle in different Genres. Most don't bother to do that and I think it's vital if you want to be a professional. It's like an actor who can sing and dance, you're the whole package)
    But it's equally as important to get your work proof read by others to pin-point your strengths and weaknesses. The truth for many of us is we are not as good or crap as we think.

    There are numerous books you can by from established authors on the subject and they all have a different approach and focus.

    There are articles and pod casts on the internet which just takes some researching. Pick one topic like plot structure and research it for a while. That's what I'm doing. But it's better for you to do the leg work yourself as you'll find writers whose style work for you and it'll improve your research skills.
     
  12. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I found that studying books or authors I want to emulate has helped me a lot more than some of the how-to-write books. For one thing I'm more focused because I like the book and the example is already there.
    For instance if you want to write emotionally charged characters find a book where you've seen someone do that and break it down as to how the author does it. Look at the verbs, sentence structure, the flow of the scene, motivation of the character, reactions of other characters etc.

    You've also picked a real challenge starting off - a change of gender and something you haven't experienced. That could be more the problem. It's hard enough to describe things we have experienced versus things we've never experienced - however since there are a lot of writers writing about things they've never done two things help - research if you can, and find the core emotion - even if someone has never been raped most have experienced fear, humiliation, degradation, loss of control, trapped, anger, pain. Once you can tap into core emotions of your characters it's only a matter of showing them and sorting them out throughout the scene.
     
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  13. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    What I'm doing at the moment is writing stories that are conscious imitations of my favourite authors - Jack Vance, Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, Poe and others. It's mote to see if I can successfully emulate their style and writing, which I think will help develop my own style - but I'm also finding it's actually a lot of fun. I have to understand what defines those authors, which builds an understanding of how to write.
     
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  14. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I applaud your effort to write an emotional piece of a female when it’s not your gender. I wrote about a female in first person—not my gender—and it was a big mistake. It took forever to get through the little nuances to make it sound close to being written by a woman. In the end, a bunch of female beta readers brought me in line and I was able to publish it after four years. I won’t say drop the female but I would write for a male until my skill set was semi pro.
     

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