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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The best?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by deadrats, Apr 15, 2019.

    I've had two people very familiar with my writing read something I recently wrote. Separately, both told me it was the best thing I've ever written. Okay, I worked really hard on this one, but I have a hard time seeing it or believing it's the best thing I've ever written. I've written a lot. And if it is the best thing I've written, how do I make everything I write just as good? And why do I still feel unsure about this one? Do I just not know how to take a compliment? I was just questioning this one piece. Now, I am questioning everything.
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Was there anything different about it? Did you take extra risks, or fewer risks, or go deeper into the characters, or go shallower, or explain more, or explain less, or was there more focus on setting, or less, or more intercharacter conflict, or less, faster pace, slower pace...

    You see what I mean. Maybe it was like your other work and just extra good, but maybe it was different in a way worth pursuing.
     
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  3. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I mean, doesn't it make since that the most recent thing you wrote has a high chance of being the best thing you wrote since you have been working on craft?

    And if you thought you were all that good, then you wouldn't be trying hard enough to produce it, which means you can't see it in the moment.
     
  4. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    This seems likely.

    Writing quality is largely subjective. Did they tell you why they thought it was the best thing you've ever written? If they did, you've got some pointers. If they didn't, or can't, just take the win. Write more stuff. See if you can write something they like even better.
     
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  5. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, ask them why they thought it was good. They should be able to give you some helpful feedback. If they can't, I would ask for other opinions.

    Also, I'm assuming your reviewers don't read every single draft you write. So they're essentially comparing the final draft of your latest piece to the final drafts of your previous pieces. For them, the improvement in your writing is probably more apparent than for you because you are accustomed to seeing small improvements over many drafts, if that makes sense.
     
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  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Spitting .45 caliber grammar.... Contributor

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    I intentionally wrote the stupidest, most heavy-handed, most gratuitous, ridiculous story I could think of once. I was pissed off at writing and wanted to give it double middle fingers. My wife and mother both said the same thing: best thing I'd ever written. I was not happy. Audience, maybe?
     
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Interesting. I did take some real risks with this piece, but I hadn't thought about that really improving the quality of my writing. But this one was handled much differently to the extent that I wasn't sure I should have anyone read it. I felt kind of uneasy about it and still do somewhat. But that is the big difference, I think, that I did take a risk even writing this and continued to do so throughout it. Maybe that's why I couldn't tell if it was any good. It's a little different than what I usually write, and I'm not sure how or how often I'm going to be able to sort of copy my efforts made this time, but I feel like I have to try. I'm not the biggest risk taker, but does good writing call for such?
     
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  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Blinded by closeness, I guess. I would like to think each new thing I write is the best thing I've written, but, for me, it doesn't quite work that way. I usually have to write several things to have something decent. Even this so-called "best" piece took me three separate tries. I knew I wanted to write about something, but didn't really know how to pinpoint it down. I wouldn't say they were different drafts because I scratched everything and changed my spark of an idea each time. I also scratched everything each time and tried to take things in a different direction, telling a different story and maybe a different kind of story each time.

    I do tend to think the last thing I write is my best. Not this time, though. However, it has now been submitted for publication so we'll see how it goes. How hard is it going to be to beat my best? These two readers are my most trusted. I feel like I can show them anything. That's why they were the only ones I asked to read this last one. I was almost embarrassed to show it, but these two have seen some real crap from me and aren't afraid to tell me when I suck, but they do it so gently so it's okay. I was expecting that sort of response. I don't want to be clueless about my own writing and skills. There could also be a confidence thing getting in the way. My confidence has been quite shaky as of late.
     
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  9. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    @deadrats good luck with the new one! I hope it finds a good home
     
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  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    They did say a little about why they thought it was good. They both mentioned how the piece flowed and I did handle the flow of this one a little differently. I'm not really sure I know how to do that again or again but different. I guess writing is one of those things that continues to be a challenge no matter how long we've done it. Do you guys see it that way too?
     
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  11. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Even as your craft evolves, not everything you write will strike readers as equally good. Some might not even strike you as equally good. The question is whether it fits the story you are writing in the best way possible.

    I recently received a rejection from an agent who had requested the full ms. Naturally, I was disappointed. But her comments suggested to me that my story lost something in the middle, so I've halted querying and gone back to reviewing and revising. Reading through three scenes in succession moving from Act 2 to Act 3, I realized I had really hit the nail on the head, weaving together my mc's personal story with her crime-solving story in a way that builds tension in both. It's not possible to do that through the entire novel, because these three scenes rely on the foundation that's already been laid. But they set the stage for a rousing climax, a nice twist, and a denouement that (I hope) will launch a series.

    Time will tell.
     
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  12. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Makes me think throughput is maybe the most important aspect of writing. If striking the hearts of readers is part hit or miss, no matter how hard you might try on one particular piece, then you increase your chances by putting out more stories?
     
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  13. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think the key is that there is more than one way to strike the hearts of readers.
     
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  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm always weary of asking someone for more info about good things. I'm not sure anything said more said would actually help me. Also, they both took the time to read my work and got back to me quickly with their thoughts. I'm also not seeking other opinions on this one. I also don't see how that would really help me. I mean basically I'm being told to write like I did with this one and I think if I'm having trouble nailing down what that means, I don't think others can explain it easily. Thanks for the reply. As @NigeTheHat said. I think I'm just going to take this as a win and be okay with the compliment.
     
  15. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Can you think of a band that has only produced great songs? Or better yet a prolific author that has only produced outstanding novels? I think it's reasonable to expect that not everything we produce will be good/great.
     
  16. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The Chieftains come pretty close. So did Cream.

    Speak for yourself.*


    *Of course, I'm just kidding.
     
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  17. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Homer, that it comes down to the audience.
    Also that you have been working on writing new things,
    so you are getting lots of practice and exp. and that counts
    in favor toward to being a better written story teller. :)
     
  18. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes it's in the eye of the beholder. I once won a state-wide art prize with a print I made that was a piece of paper where I'd been cleaning my print block between prints. No, it wasn't my idea. My art teacher snaffled it, and insisted that I get it matted and put into the show. I felt like SUCH a fraud.
     
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  19. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Wish it. Want it. Do it.
     
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