1. Captain Cat

    Captain Cat New Member

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    Not sure what to do.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Captain Cat, Oct 7, 2018.

    So, what brings me here today is that I'm not really sure how to go about developing my writing, in a few different ways. One of said ways is the "Leaving my comfort zone" way, and the other is the "I don't really wanna start with my biggest project right now" way. If the latter even counts as a way, I guess.

    I mention them both like that because I want to hit those two birds with one stone, I intend on starting off by writing a shorter story (at least shorter than a full series of books) and I'll do it in a genre I'm not really used to.

    Though, so far, I haven't thought of much, like, what genre I intend to tackle, and then what story to tell with it, all that extremely important stuff. For "context" or whatever the word should be in this case, the only genre I'm really familiar with and good at is, like, action-adventure, there's also horror, but that's to a lesser extent.

    So, uh, suggestions would be nice on what I could do in this situation.

    Thanks for your attention, see you all later.
     
  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Before you leave your comfort zone really ask why? There's other ways to leave your comfort zone than switching to a different genre that you're not familiar with. You want to write good stories. You want to write stories like the ones being published today. Read a ton in and out of your comfort zone. It's good to have a general idea about what's being done and what's being published. While reading (and I suggest reading a lot) look for things that call to you. Learn from the greats. There's always so much to learn, and I see reading as the best way to get a grasp on the kind of stories you want to tell. Also, if you've got a comfort zone, I would use that to your advantage. If you're good at something, why not work with that and improve your efforts there? Starting over in a new genre isn't always the best thing to do, but I would start be reading to help find that writing voice that's in there. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  3. Captain Cat

    Captain Cat New Member

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    I looked up some advice while I wasn't getting replies, and I came across the whole "read a lot" thing quite a bit, along with a video that's kinda encouraging me to go straight to a novel of sorts, though, I'm still not sure if I should go straight to my big book series project thing.

    Speaking of that, where could I make a thread or w/e talking about that story? Like, talk about the concept and see if it interests people. I really hope it'd interest anyone, because I honestly don't have that much hope for it, because maybe it's a bit derivative, maybe I won't be able to use the ideas to their fullest, etc.
     
  4. AbyssalJoey

    AbyssalJoey Member

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    I think you already have an idea of what you want to do but you're struggling with the genre, maybe it would help to not visualize the genre as action-adventure but as sci-fi, high fantasy, post-apocalyptic, etc... you can lump a lot of different books in this category after all, I mean, The Lord of the Rings is a massive adventure with a lot of action and the same goes for Harry Potter and Maze Runner but you would be hard pressed to find someone comparing this 3 books in terms of genre tropes or tone.

    But if you really want to keep thinking in terms of action-adventure you could write a political thriller, a murder mystery, a romantic comedy or... uh... another genre that lacks action or adventure???.
     
  5. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    @Captain Cat - Your question reminds me of my struggle to write. I like fantasy and sci fi genres so when I was young, I tried to write epic fantasy. It's not easy to write long stories when you don't know how to write.

    As a result of dealing with personal crisis a few years ago, I ended up writing romance. This half finished book was based on a situation I was involved in when I was a teenager. It was very cathartic. I now have nine unfinished discrete stories to write. As I work on the second one, I am learning what I got wrong. I must say thanks to feedback, my writing and editing have improved.

    When all is said and done, my mistakes now that I fix, will make me a better writer. I can stay with romance, switch to fantasy/sci fi or do both. The smaller stories will help my confidence to tackle the epic story.

    Advice:
    1. read as much as you can in your chosen genre from top writers. You will not have success if you don't know what is expected in your genre.
    2. writing styles change with time. Know your audience. I am reading Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence. I find it horrid because the writer was angry and bitter due to WWI. Anyway, his writing style and word choice would not be accepted in a new book today. Different types of people are reading today than 100+ yrs ago.
    3. start small. Writing short story is difficult. You have to be able to tell a complete story in few words.
    4. practice, practice, practice. The more we do something, the more we learn.
    5. listen to other people. Without input from others, you will miss errors. Read writer blogs. Take courses.
    6. test your assumptions. There is a lot of good and bad advice out there. You need to know how to weed out the bad advice.
      1. In high school I was told, "Commas are bad." No, they are not. You have to learn how to use them right.
      2. Top writers don't make mistakes. I read a book last week where I found simple grammar errors. If you blindly follow someone because they are among the best, you will make the same mistakes.
    7. learn how you like to do the writing. Comfort and time management will determine if you actually put words down. Be considerate to yourself and those around you.
    8. most people will make nothing from their writing. Have a career (assuming you are not a dependent) that will pay the bills. Writing success is like winning the lottery. Do it because you want to write. Do it because you have to write. Success is a bonus.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think there is a difference between "I want to be a writer" and "I have a story I really want to write."

    I think if you do have a story cooking away in your head, you should get started writing it, any way you can. You will see what the problems are AS you write, and you'll be able to learn the craft and learn how to fix the problems.

    Starting with "I want to be a writer," instead can be a mistake, if you don't have anything in particular that you want to write about. Of course you can move from there into being a writer, eventually. But in my opinion, that's getting the cart before the horse.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
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  7. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    To add to what @jannert said, the former is what you want to be, the latter is what you want to do. Years ago, I coached my son's soccer team. I had a number of boys on it who wanted to be on the team, but they never worked at getting better as players. They skipped practices a lot and showed up for games when it was convenient. And every one of them hurt the team when they played.

    If you really don't yet have a burning compulsion to write a particular story, reading is the best thing you can do. But read with purpose. At your age, you want to expand your horizons, see as much of the literary world as you can. Read as many different genres as you can (and remember that "genre" is nothing more than a marketing tool, but an important one if some day you want to sell your work). Some will really grab you, and some will bore you silly. Pay attention to what kind of writing grabs you, and think about why. What kind of characters appeal to you? Not just protagonists and antagonists. Minor characters are important, too. Some of my favorite characters--both mine and those I've read--have been secondary to the protag.

    If you really want to write, you'll find you have to do it NOW, ready or not. That's as it should be. There's an old saying that the first million words you write are practice. In my opinion, that is an understatement. But the key is to learn from your mistakes, as with everything else. And once you've started writing, compare it to the favorites you've read and see where yours falls short. If you find yourself getting serious about seeking publication, there are some excellent books on craft out there. I recommend Steven James' Story Trumps Structure and Paula Munier's The Writer's Guide to Beginnings.

    Best of luck on your writing journey!
     
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  8. Captain Cat

    Captain Cat New Member

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    I do want to write a story as opposed to just being a writer, I pretty much always have a story or two that I desperately want to tell to some sort of audience, I started with crappy fanfics online but I, personally, feel that some mild online notoriety as "That guy who wrote X about Y on website Z" is far from the same as the possible success that comes with writing a full book, but, of course, as Ashley said, success is a bonus to doing what you want, a desirable bonus, but one nonetheless.

    Overall, I read through these replies and, to be honest, I saw a few conflicting pieces of advice, though, that could just be me, so I suppose I will take as much of said advice as possible, write as much as I can until something good comes out, read a lot to know what I'm doing and bring myself to rewrite whatever I need to until everything clicks together properly.

    So, in conclusion, thanks to all of you for the advice and encouragement, I guess I can try writing a smaller story first, to get the hang of things, maybe it won't get published in any way, maybe I could do it and maybe, preferably, it'd be good.
     
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  9. mykl ruby

    mykl ruby New Member

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    When im not in the mood, or aren't feeling it, I sometimes write a letter to someone I've had problems with, or write a thankyou letter to someone whose done something awesome for me.these exercises arent for anyone to see, and I dont obsess over the grammer and finer details, but it helps get that part of my mind in motion, and gets thoughts down on paper.one of these random mental unloadings become a chapter and then another and soon developed into a bigger story.write letters to significant people in your life that you never intend to post and see where it leads you
     

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