1. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    836

    Over Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by John Calligan, Sep 15, 2018.

    How do you fix the bad taste that causes you to overwrite the opening page and send it to people, thinking it is good?
     
  2. DK3654

    DK3654 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    331
    Location:
    Staying in my comfort zone
    Don't spend too much time dwelling on any specific part of the story.
    No reader is going to judge the whole story based on the introductory sentences. Worse case scenario, someone who is already skeptical of the story stops reading earlier on because of the start, but then they were quite likely in that case to not like it anyway. I reckon half of the audience doesn't remember the start in detail.
     
    Linz and John Calligan like this.
  3. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    883
    Location:
    London
    ...you can fix that?
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  4. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    115
    With Habanero Tabasco.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  5. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    224
    Except for the potential agent, when you send them sample pages. Or the potential reader at the bookstore, when they open to check the writing of the book they might possibly buy (or not). Or the other potential reader, the one from Amazon etc online stores where they can have a peek at the beginning of your book. And judge :twisted:

    Taste in writing is most often developed by reading. You can read books or you can read reviews, or stuff that teaches about writing (some of that you can even watch on youtube!). And then practice, practice, practice.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    2,120
    Likes Received:
    2,438
    Location:
    The great white north.
    The taste specifically I try to cover up with gin and various styles of tobacco. Coffee for the taste of imminent failure while I'm still writing. Ice cream to celebrate success.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  7. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    66
    Would you mind clarifying what you mean by "overwriting"?
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  8. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    836
    Too much happening. Too poetic. Too many big thoughts. Too clever. Too packed. Too good to be good.

    Overwriting is like ruining sugar cookies by baking them with too much sugar.

    Edit: and it makes it hard to get feedback, because people don't really know what to tell you. "Yup, that's a sugar cookie." Then they don't eat it, even though they love sugar cookies, and all they can tell you is they don't feel like eating that cookie.
     
    Alan Aspie and Bone2pick like this.
  9. prettyvisitors

    prettyvisitors New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    8
    if you do an exam (especially an essay one), they advise two things:

    1) bring a writing plan, focusing on structure and key points so you don't waffle on too much initially and run out of steam later on.

    2) read over your paper once you're finished. editing is easier once you know how the whole piece is written.

    Obviously your work isn't an exam, but planning ahead and going to correct yourself at the end, rather than constantly playing with one section for ages is better than getting annoyed with yourself for not having an immediate masterpiece.

    Or in short: concise with a decent enough hook that provides enough ambiguity in one page.
     
  10. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    241
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    There is a lot of value in @prettyvisitors point #2. First drafts are going to be a mess. You're trying to figure out a whole lot of things, and especially as a new writer, not all of it will click right away. Don't worry about making it pretty, worry about getting it done. Its the second drafts that you can come around and start polishing it up.
     
    prettyvisitors likes this.
  11. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    836
    Good advice above, though in my case, I'm not talking about first drafts lol. I'm talking about polished, best work.
     
  12. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    241
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    Well then, I'd say being proud of your work is a good thing. But it sounds like you're recognizing some things in your writing style to improve, so just get to working on that!
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  13. prettyvisitors

    prettyvisitors New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    8
    then maybe go back to the plan idea. if you set out what you want to reveal about characters, settings, etc, and what point of the story you want to reveal them, then it could prevent a cluttered first page or two.

    For example, I don't immediately need to know a character's age, gender, sexuality, home life, education, favourite music, and favourite ice cream flavour all in the first chapter. Maybe withholding things will provide a better hook.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  14. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,653
    Likes Received:
    3,410
    By letting it sit long enough that you're no longer emotionally attached to it before you read it again and send it off.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  15. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    836
    So riddle me this. Imagine someone says to you, "your writing is okay but I don't want to buy this. Show me that, and we can talk." So you show them that.

    Not knowing what the professional time tables are, how do you know if you are being hasty or slow? It seems like when someone bites, they might just be biting on a flavor of the month, and you need to hit them back quickly.

    It's just so hard to turn out a piece of writing in a week or two that's as good as something you had sitting around for a year, ya know? Even if you write, edit, polish, beta, edit, polish, beta, edit, polish, it still isn't going to be as good as your long term piece.
     
  16. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,653
    Likes Received:
    3,410
    I think then it's a matter of a standard level of skill really. A "bad" piece of work from a master is still gonna be a millions times better, and considered "good" by the majority of people, than a "bad" piece of work written by a newbie. So I'd say it's a matter of experience and skill level.

    No, a piece turned out over a week or two won't ever be as good as the one you've worked on for several years, ever. For anyone. But your bottom line would be way higher than a less skilled writer's bottom line. And you'd have the technical eye to make sure it's at least passable. Again, passable by a master's standard would be a fair bit higher than passable by a newbie's standard.
     
    John Calligan likes this.
  17. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    836
    Fair enough
     
    Mckk likes this.
  18. DK3654

    DK3654 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    331
    Location:
    Staying in my comfort zone
    But they're not going to be judging the whole story that way, they are going to be judging that part and taking that into consideration as to whether they are interested/think it's going to be good. And at that level of analysis, as I mentioned, some people are just going to lose interest anyway.
    Which is to say, I think you just need something good that gets people's attention. It doesn't need to be a singular masterpiece. It's not very different from the rest of the story.
     
  19. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    224
    I have no idea what you are talking about. But as a rule of thumb, you can't please everybody, so you just try to sell your book to the people who would potentially like that sort of stuff and ignore the other critics.

    So, Balzac, McCarthy, Pynchon ... :supercheeky:

    Then you take your cookies to the Oversugared Cookies Appreciation Club and everybody says wow, great, and they sell like hot cakes:pop:.
     
    Alan Aspie and John Calligan like this.
Tags:

Share This Page