1. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    New and frustrated

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by chicagoliz, May 30, 2012.

    Hello, All!
    I just joined this forum tonight. I found it while doing a web search in an attempt to ascertain whether I am insane, since I am writing a story wherein one of the main characters dies and I keep crying while I am writing the husband's thoughts/internal monologues and conversations about his wife's death. This particular story/novel is actually the third one I have written since November about the same group of characters, with each novel written from a different character's POV and taking place over slightly different time frames.

    My biggest frustration stems from the first novel I wrote. I finished it in December and it's about 375 pages long (12 point font, DS, roughy 100K words.) It's about a dissatisfied stay at home dad grappling with the realization that his wife might divorce him. I realize it's very dialogue-heavy, and much of the novel focuses on the main character's thoughts about his own relationship, career situation and family. My main concern is that the plot may be weak, or that the story is not as compelling as I think it is.

    My problem is the opposite of what many people seem to have (a not uncommon occurrence for me). I'm actually fairly happy with the story. I like it, and I like the characters I created. That's a problem, because I don't know what it is that other people seem not to like. I have no idea what to do to make it better, because I can't see what the problems are. Why am I worried that people don't like it? Because I've given it to over a half dozen people since January. One, my husband, says he likes it, but couldn't really give me much constructive criticism -- what he liked about it, for example. And he has an obvious incentive to tell me he likes it. Another was a good friend, who I was fairly certain would tell me she really liked it no matter what she thought. Part of why she liked it, though, was that she could identify parts of me in various characters and she felt like she got to know me better through reading the book. That won't be particularly interesting to anyone who doesn't know me.

    One other person said she liked it and it was a page turner. Her only comment was I misspelled "complement" on page 365 or something. Nothing else.

    Everyone else has not gotten through it. They say periodically that they're still reading it, and they'll let me know what they think. It's "good" so far. But, I'd feel better if they just hadn't started it at all. Because if they really liked it, wouldn't they actually just read it? Would it really take 6 months? They've read other books in the meantime. I felt like it was a pretty fast read, although obviously I can't objectively say. So, is it so boring and un-compelling that they can't force themselves to just get through it? Did they really hate it and just can't bring themselves to tell me or don't want to tell me? Do they hate the characters? Have they read it and find it okay, but that it just leaves them with no overriding impression whatsoever?

    So, I don't know what to do. Who can I have read a complete novel? I know there are people who do it for money, but how do you know if those people are any good? My problem is that I can't seem to let this go, because I still like it. If I also felt it was bad, maybe I could shake off this whole thing and move on with my life. But I can't. These characters are now my imaginary friends and I like spending time with them too much. If I could have some people just tell me it was awful, I also might be able to let it go. But I've gotten just enough slightly positive feedback that I can't force myself to do that. This is my daily torture.

    Thanks for reading my probably too-long introductory post. I look forward to participating on this site.
  2. Banzai

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Mar 31, 2007
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    Reading, UK
    Welcome to Writing Forums, Liz!

    I hope you find what you're looking for here, whatever your interests in writing.

    This forum aims to provide the best workshopping resources on the internet, and to that end we have a few rules which you should familiarise yourself with before you get stuck in. The main section of the site is the Writing Workshop, where members can post their writing in order to receive critique of their work.

    However, before we allow members to post their work, they must have met some basic requirments. Firstly, you must have been a member for fourteen days, and have made twenty posts on the forum overall (please note, posts in Word Games do not count towards this). This is so that members, when they post their work, have familiarised themselves with the forums and contributed to them (as well as hopefully learned something for themselves). Secondly, members must provide two constructive reviews of other people's work for each piece of their own that they wish to post. This is because we believe that the focus of workshopping should be equally upon giving reviews as receiving them, as they allow a writer to practice and improve their editing skills, which they can then apply to their own writing.

    Beyond the Writing Workshop, you will find that we have extensive forums for discussion of aspects of writing, as well as a community area for general discussion. We also run periodic short story and poetry contests, which are good for challenging yourself and expanding your skills.

    If you have any questions or problems, then the moderators (myself, Cogito, Lemex and Dante Dases) should be your first port of call. Any technical problems with the site itself should be directed to Daniel, the site administrator and owner. I would recommend you have a look over the rules so that you know what to expect, and what is expected. But aside from that, I hope you enjoy your time here.

  3. P R Crawford

    P R Crawford New Member

    May 25, 2012
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    Hi Liz,

    Based on your intro, I think you're in the right place! Welcome aboard. Get your first 20 posts out, and provide a few critiques of other people's work (click on "constructive" in Banzai's post above to find out about that) and then post your stuff so we can read it.

    Your novel sounds intriguing...!

    Best wishes to you,


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