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  1. blueshogun96

    blueshogun96 Member

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    Writing with the doors closed?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by blueshogun96, Apr 19, 2017.

    This is a phrase I picked up from reading one of those articles based on interviews from Stephen King. In short, he means "write for yourself first, then worry about your audience later".

    This is one I never thought of in depth... at least, not when it came to writing novels. I'll explain the reasons as to why why in a moment. While I'm not someone who seeks everyone's validation or approval, I have a terrible habit of going to other people about my novel idea or first few paragraphs before I even finish the first draft. Lately, I've been taking King's advice and allowing my vision to manifest itself to my own liking first. One mistake I've already carelessly made was start sharing segments of my novel before it was ready. While I did get positive feedback from some, I did get mixed reactions from others. While the feedback was absolutely necessary, it did make me feel as if people weren't going to like my novel to some extent (even though that clearly wasn't the intent). I've improved it since then, but I'm going to wait until this first draft is finally finished before I seek any further critique.

    Now, one bit about myself. Writing is one of my other hobbies. While I enjoy dedicating large amounts of time to this hobby, my other one likes to demand equal amounts of attention is programming. Mostly games and visual stuff for MacOS (and no, I'm not the basement dwelling type who plays first person shooters and MMORPGs while eating pizza and mountain dew all night; God no). Usually in the software world, we tend to focus on the practicalities of what we're working on with others before diving too deep into it and waste time on a project that will be ultimately fruitless. This is where I believe I get the habit from. Writing is quite different and while has a few similar rules, in turn has many different ones.

    So I will continue to take King's advice, considering he has far more experience than I do at writing good novels. Plus his novels become movies, and I could only dream of my novel becoming a movie.

    Do you all follow this rule for yourselves? If so, how well has it worked for you?

    Shogun.
     
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  2. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I absolutely follow that rule, @blueshogun96 . While everybody is different, I find it disheartening that so many people seem to want validation at the start of a writing adventure. It smacks to me of people who are afraid to strike out on their own and do something that's original to them.

    I've always felt that writing (for pleasure and possible sales, as opposed to fulfilling an assignment) is one of the most risk-free activities you can engage in. So ...why not do what you want to do, instead of what somebody else wants you to do?

    I have always liked this advice, but I can't remember who originally said it: Write what you would like to read yourself.

    That's it, in a nutshell, really. Write to please yourself. If you love reading formula Romance, write a formula Romance. If you hate reading formula Romance, write something else. Write what you'd like to read yourself.

    "They" say you'll never know till you try. I say you'll never know till you've finished it.

    After you've written your story and edited it to where you've solved all the problems you can see, THEN, by all means, get feedback. This will tell you whether or not your story touches other people the way it touches you. Then it's just a matter of communication, and learning to communicate your ideas more efficiently. Maybe you'll also discover a few flaws in your story concept that could use some work. Or discover a better way to open it, or end it. Writing well is an ongoing project, but it has nothing to do with your original idea.

    You get an idea for a story, have basic SPAG skills that make writing possible—then go for it. Write your story in whatever manner works for you. Nobody else should have input at that stage. Relying on others to shadow your every move is like learning to ride a bicycle and refusing to ever take the training wheels off. However, unlike falling off a bicycle, writing carries no risk. If you make a mistake, so what? It can be corrected. Inching along, terrified of making a mistake? That's not the way most real writers work, I imagine. I've read many books on the working methods of jobbing authors, and I've never once encountered that one.

    Do painters stop after every few brush strokes and ask people whether they think the brushstrokes are any good? Do musicians write a bar of music and then go around asking other people what they think of that bar, and should they keep going, or should they change the second note, or whatever? And yet people who write a few paragraphs of a story often can't seem to resist the urge to show them around and garner approval or criticism before they can move on. Yikes. Why is that?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    @jannert : I respectully agree to disagree. I think you mix two different things up: Insecurity (looking for validation) and looking to learn the craft. These two are hugely different and shouldn't be lumped together.

    Yes, every writer first and foremost should write for himself—though there are also writers out there who write for a living, and they may have a refined opinion on how to include writing for the audience as well.

    Yes, seeking validation through showing pieces of work to fellows will only work to heighten insecurity and is counterproductive. Sadly, lots of aspiring writers do it anyway.

    But NO, showing pieces of the current work to others CAN also be a great step forwards, if done for the right reasons and with the right goal in mind. Other writers can point out fundamental flaws in POV (when learning a new one), sentence structures (run-on's or stubs, I'm speaking of personal experience here ;) ) or other general issues (pacing, SPAGs, mix of setting/action,...). If someone tells me these issues before I've written the entirety of my story, chances are that while going forward I'll learn to write better with each little piece of advice, which makes my editing process much easier I suspect. Am not there yet (not by a long shot), but there's a world of difference between how I wrote a year back and what I produce now. If I'd just barged ahead back then, I'd be now sitting with the bulk of a written story, and I'd not even know how it could have been.

    edit for a side-question: is it 'counterproductive' or 'contraproductive'? I'm confused ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I agree with lifeline

    It's counter.. by the way
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Your instinct was right. It's counterproductive! :)

    Yes, I agree some people can benefit from some feedback early on. Like I said, everybody is different. If a writer truly doesn't know if their writing makes sense—on a comprehension level, not on a 'does this plot make sense' level—or is concerned about SPAG issues, how to work with POV, etc, then fair enough. Ask for feedback on those issues.

    However, when it comes to the plot itself, character development, pacing, story flow, etc—or even writing style—how on earth can anybody tell what ultimately works and what doesn't until the story is completed? Or what will be important to the story and what won't?

    If you're an inexperienced writer, you may be swayed too far by opinions which can be just as mistake-prone as the writing itself, if based on snippets of the writing. For example, if the critique-givers dislike the story's beginning, the worried writer might spend a lot of time rewriting and rewriting that beginning, rather than just continue on writing the rest of the story as they would otherwise have done. They may well discover later that the story should have begun with a different scene, a different character, a different time-frame—and they've spent ages, in essence, polishing a turd which they will actually discard altogether. That's time-wasting, in my opinion.

    No, I still maintain it's nearly always best to write your story first, before you start asking for opinions on it. It's too easy to fall into the trap of writing what somebody else thinks your story should be.

    Here's a bit of a challenge—and one that I might well lose. Find successful (ie people who actually sell their fiction) authors whose writing method consists of getting ongoing feedback on every sentence, paragraph or chapter they write, while they're still writing their first draft. Not to mention garnering multiple stranger's opinions on their character names, settings plots, eye colour, etc, before the story is more than a couple of chapters along. I might be wrong, but I suspect these writers are few and far between.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  6. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Pardon my British but WHERE IN THE BLOODY HELL WAS THIS THREAD THREE YEARS AGO?? :p

    Seriously, y'all have any idea how long I tortured myself over trying to please an invisible audience with questions like, "Is this offensive?", "Am I allowed to write this?", "Is this cliched?" I spent too much energy not writing for myself that I made myself sick of my stories. So sick that I had to quit writing for a year and a half. It's only now I recently returned to the hobby with this in mind. It's easier to write, but damn that was a long struggle. :C It's still kind of weird to me that I could in fact just write for myself. There's still that voice in my head wagging its finger going, "Too cliched! Too cliched!" and trying to restrain my story when it really shouldn't.

    It's gotten better (my writing without the worries), but the years of self-torment still lingers. :read:
     
  7. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributor Contributor

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    I think the common thread here is that we need to know exactly what sort of feedback we're looking for before we ask for it. You can want feedback on mechanical issues, the way you write--do the sentences flow together, do I have any bad habits that distract the reader, any SPAG errors I keep repeating, etc.--or you can want feedback on a specific story qua story--does action X seem plausible for character Y in situation Z?

    To my mind, you can get feedback on the first set of issues from any random sample of your writing--it has to do with your overall style, which I assume remains relatively consistent across your body of writing. You can only get feedback on the second set of issues if it's done holistically, ie you present the beta reader or critique group or whoever with a specific, completed work.

    It's important to be clear, because as others have pointed out above, in the absence of directions to the contrary most readers will give you both kinds of feedback.
     
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  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    @jannert : Hah, I'm not taking that challenge! What you are asking is to find examples of published writers who write by committee. *shakes head*. I'm not stupid enough to take this bet :D

    I still maintain that to get feedback on what works for the storyline—and I'm putting it into the kindest possible words— (characterisation, plot, division in scenes,...) is a different kettle of fish than to learn the craft of writing. I'd never ask for feedback on my storyline. That's MY PROBLEM! Why would I want to take away the joy of finding the solution from myself?

    But to get back to the point: When we just analyse getting feedback on the storyline: It's a difference who presents the feedback, how it is presented, and how it is received. If the writer is begging for validation or is easily swayed, he'll get into trouble, I agree. [Sidenote: that's why I rarely comment on threads in the 'plot-subforum'. I don't want to be responsible for anyone's storyline: that's the job of the one asking the question.]

    But to learn writing? Yeah, this works. How else should I practice? Short stories are nice, but they won't get me anywhere in the long run, looking at my WIP. So I prefer to learn while writing my 'mess' :)
     
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  9. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I find, in both my technical writing and my personal writing, that when I am in the creative phase, I keep a constant vision of everyone being impressed with the story, giving myself positive feedback all the way through that phase. It motivates me. Thinking that you can do it is not just nice, it is essential to doing it.

    I will share a personal experience that was, at the time, acutely painful, with nothing to do with writing, but everything to do with self-confidence.

    All my adolescent life in the 60s, I wanted to be an astronaut, and in 1971, I was in the Navy pilot program, the stepping stone to my final dream. I had a technique for flight training... mental simulation. At night before the next day's flight, I would sit in a chair, visualize the maneuvers we would be flying the next day, the roar of that wonderfully powerful T-28 Trojan with her (leaky) Wright 1850 engine, her vibrations, the feel of the stick, the sight of the horizon rolling around me, leaning my head back to catch the horizon coming up back behind me at the apex of a roll, imagining doing it perfectly over and over. And the next day, it did. I had good flight grades.

    One night I was rehearsing a formation flying maneuver called the lead change, in which you are flying ahead and slightly to left of your wingman, separated by just tens of feet flying at 350 mph. You pat your head and turn around to look at your wingman behind you, keep your eye on him, back off the power a hair and drift back, stabilize behind him, still slightly above, then cut power and drop down, stabilize, and cross over to stabilize behind and to the right of him.

    But that night I had a nightmare. I lost sight of my wingman in the critical first step of drifting back, and backed into his prop. I could feel my aircraft bucking, watching pieces of my tail flying off. I woke up terrified, sweating.

    And the next day, it was that nightmare, not my mental rehearsal, that came to mind in the maneuver. I didn't back into his prop, but I did lose sight of him and swing dangerously back and forth in front of him, over-correcting. The instructor took the aircraft and I got my first down in T-28s. As I had good grades, I got a day off, two warm up flights where I did the lead change OK, then a retry on Formation 5 flight. Same thing, and my life forked at that point... I was not going to be a pilot. And it was the only things I had ever failed at that point.

    As I said, it was a fork in my life, I went on to have a great career as a Naval Flight Officer in airborne communications, doing work I still do and love today.

    The point of that story is that self-doubt is never helpful. Prudence, yes, common sense, yes... there are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

    Trust yourself, and you will do well. Don't second-guess yourself, in writing or anything else.
     
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I love getting people's thoughts on my novel-length stories before I've finished, but I never think of it as asking permission.

    Validation, sure: I absolutely thrive on being told that my ideas are amazing :p but not permission. Whenever someone tells me they don't like something I came up with, I always analyze their analysis to see what I agree with and what I don't.

    Though I never do this with my shorter stories, now that I think about it, just my longer works. Short stories, I always try to finish before sharing anything. Huh.
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    established authors may not get feedback while writing first drafts , but it is very common for them to get a structural edit once written (admittedly usually from professional editors)
     
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  12. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    After E&D was about half-finished, I began sharing it with selected readers, a chapter at a time... was very helpful. And of course my wife @K McIntyre is always a helpful critique.
     
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  13. Christopher Bliss

    Christopher Bliss New Member

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    I think it's a great idea, except in the summer when I want a bit of a breeze. Then I'd usually write with my door open, and maybe open my window as well.
     
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  14. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    The addendum to the King thought was that he writes with his door closed and edits with his door open. He may have intended the door thing to be metaphorical, but he also said that the moment somebody reads your writing it is no longer yours and never will be again. In essence, the world that existed for you as an artist and a creator is destroyed and you can't be revisited. Everything you write from that moment forward will be tainted by others. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Personally I think it's a bad thing and I don't let anyone read word one of anything that isn't already finished to an early stage of personal satisfaction. My door stays closed until I'm ready to open it. Fuck that noise :D:D:D

    It's different for inexperienced writers. Until you've completed a project or two you have no idea what success looks like, so anything that'll help you get there can't be a bad thing. Once I had a novel under my belt and realized that I knew what I was doing I insulated my creativity as much as I could. Just a personal preference. Everyone is different.
     
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  15. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I agree that there's no one-size-fits-all answer for this.

    I've written and published about thirty novels/novellas. When I started writing it was fanfiction and I posted every chapter as I wrote it and it was incredibly valuable - not so much for concrete feedback but for, yes, validation.

    I mean, what the hell is so wrong with wanting validation?

    Writing a novel takes a long time and a hell of a lot of effort. Having feedback along the way, encouragement and validation and the knowledge that people are being entertained by your work? That seems really valuable, to me. At least for some writers.

    When I started getting published and spending more time working with editors, etc., I stopped posting my work chapter by chapter. I worked totally alone until I was ready to send the work to editors.

    And it just wasn't as much fun.

    Having an alpha reader who gives concrete feedback but who ALSO just shares some enthusiasm for the project? I think that's totally valuable. At least for some writers.

    "Sharing enthusiasm" and "listening to feedback" isn't the same as "writing by committee".
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I find it hugely valuable to talk/discuss/brainstorm my ideas before I begin writing. I find it hugely valuable to talk plot/character issues through with someone as they occur to me. It's very rare that the other person will come up with a solution, but the act of talking it through and bouncing around ideas always leads me to my own solution.

    I also find alpha readers hugely motivating and they save me a lot of rewriting.

    It's not about validation or about being afraid to write, it's just helpful. I don't see any reason to stop doing it because some writers think I should work in isolation until I have a polished product!
     
  17. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Roger that, @Tenderiser and @BayView, there were a couple of enthusiastic beta/alfa readers whose help earned them mention in my acknowledgement; I likely might not have finished it without them, and not just cheering sections, but constructive story line criticisms.

    I also remember when I started writing E&D 20 years ago, I was commuting to DC with a car pool partner, Vinnie. We would brainstorm chapters, questions about why the various characters would do what they did, all while stalled in the interminable DC traffic jams. ANd my wife and I brainstorm each other's WIPs
     
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  18. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You've just said what I tried to say so much better than I did. "Everything you write from that moment forward will be tainted by others."
     
  19. Miscellaneous Worker

    Miscellaneous Worker Member

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    Everything has to be done privately at some point, and not just writing. If everything you wrote had the constant influence of the viewing public to where they suggested and criticized without you making your own adjustments at all, is it really yours?
     
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  20. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think the "tainted by others" and "is it really yours" ideas are pretty foreign to my way of thinking about writing. I mean, I'm not sure my work is influenced all that much by the people who read it at early stages, but even if it is... who cares? Is my work "tainted" because I listen to my editors' advice? Does having a beta reader offer thoughts mean that my work isn't "really mine"? Why would having advice at an early stage be more corrupting than at a later stage?

    And even if early readers do have a strong influence on the work... who the hell cares?

    My end goal is to produce an effective piece of writing that others will want to read. My end goal is not to produce something that's some kind of unique expression of self with no "taint" from the outside world.
     
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  21. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Everybody is different, and you and @BayView are experienced writers who have obviously enjoyed interaction with others during your creative process. You also produce work—lots of it—and I sense that you are both stubborn (in a good way) and won't allow other people's opinions divert you from the story you mean to write. You're using people's opinions as a sounding board, not as a crutch.

    So ...I see no harm, even though it's the last thing I would ever choose to do myself. Ever. I mean EVER. I'm very secretive when it comes to me creating anything. I don't like people hovering over me when I'm painting, or cooking, or any other kind of creative activity. I only show them the results afterward. If somebody starts interfering at the creation stage, my impulse is to just walk away. The fun has gone out of it. It's not my creation any more. It's a committee.

    Once I'm done, then I open myself completely to criticism. Those of you who know me from the forum know that I'm a huge fan of beta readers, and an advocate of taking every kind of criticism on board, and correcting anything that doesn't work. However, once my first draft is complete and I've reached the editing stage, I know what my story 'is.' And so does anybody else who reads it. It's my story and nobody else's. Now I just want to make it the best it can be.

    In a sense, that's what an editor does, isn't it? Your editor makes suggestions about your story—the one you've already written—to make THAT story work better. If you trust them, you take their suggestions on board—or argue why you shouldn't. I presume you don't ask them beforehand what you should write, though? Or maybe you do...? :eek:

    My concern is mostly for people who don't seem able to create anything without ongoing approval and feedback, and are too quick to surrender their own creativity to others. What shall I do here, what shall I do there, is this okay, is that okay, can I do this, can I do that? These are questions I think a writer should be asking themselves. These are decisions they should be making for themselves.

    There is a good reason for this. Other people—however well-meaning or simpatico or experienced—don't see your original vision. They only see their version of it, based on the ideas you've given them. Unless you are very strong-willed, their ideas will influence yours and your original vision will be altered. For the better? Perhaps. But you'll never know what your own story would have been, unless you keep it to yourself until it's done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  22. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    "Tainted" is a strong word. "Affected" would have been a better choice. That was King's open door/closed door theory mentioned by the OP and I find it works better for me than the alpha-reader route. It takes me most of a first draft to figure out the characters and what I'm writing about. I have to get there on my own. It's just the way my creative process works.

    I care. It fucks up my jam. Don't get me wrong, I love editors and beta-readers, but once they chime in a switch flips in my brain. It's like going from the art of creation to the more mechanized assembly of a novel. The book will always be mine but it's no longer a fetus in my head. It's out there in the open, ready to be influence by others and hit by proverbial cars. Writing is an organic process for me and I don't like people tasting the sauce until I've added all the ingredients. It's a little self-indulgent and sentimental, I know, but dif'rent strokes for dif'rent folks.
     
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  23. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Hmm. I find myself thinking of various creative hobbies and where I welcome feedback.

    In the garden, I'm happy to discuss anything with anyone at any phase, and then I do precisely what I want to do, and it's likely to be exactly what I would have done without the discussion.

    In sewing, I do seek advice to a fair degree. I certainly wouldn't let anyone tell me what to do, but if I ask someone's opinion about a sewing project, there's a good chance that the result will be an actual change in the project.

    In cooking, I have a repertoire, and the person I'm cooking for may influence which item I cook from the repertoire this time, but they'll rarely actually influence my choice of what dish to add to the repertoire, or how I cook the dish. If you want black pepper in my fried chicken, well, you can watch to see how I cook it and go cook your version yourself.

    In writing fiction, I seem to need a certain solidity of character and setting before I can let anyone in; if I discuss too early, it all sees to float away. Once character and setting are reasonably established, I can comfortably talk plot. I haven't actually finished enough things to know what effect that conversation has.

    I don't, however, feel that the audience in any way taints fiction. In fact, my earliest completed (but not published, aside from running them for my gaming group) fiction works were Call of Cthulhu roleplaying adventures, so by definition, the audience has a big contribution to the final story.
     
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  24. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Okay, if that's how you feel, but I don't think you should tell others they're writing by committee. A committee comes to a joint decision, using 'majority rules' if they need to. A writer asking for advice or thoughts or opinions is more like someone using a focus group (if we need an analogy), and focus groups have no decision-making powers.

    Okay. I have no opinion on the way you work because it's none of my business.

    Yes, I've asked my agent if there's anything in particular her editor contacts are looking for that I might be able/willing to write. Many publishing imprints put out 'special calls' for the types of story they're particularly interested in buying at that point, though they're usually quite vague; tropes rather than actual plots.

    I also tell my agent what I have in mind when I come up with a new story, to see if she has any comments. I don't want to spend three months writing something that she knows she can't sell.

    I also talk through my ideas, in more depth, with my critique partners, and they do the same with me. One writer just sent me two plots using the same characters and asked for my thoughts on them. She's not asking me to make a decision, just to give her an external viewpoint to help her see the pros and cons from one reader's perspective.

    Why are you concerned about them? I signed up to this forum to ask a specific question about how to make something work in my first novel. I was stuck and had been thinking about it alone for weeks and it had stalled me. The ensuing discussion led me to a solution which ended up in the final product. I don't know why you would be concerned for me doing something that helped me finish a novel...?

    Even if somebody needs constant reassurance and validation, so what? I'm happy to encourage new authors. I think we all should be, and not tell them they must work in a certain way or else their story isn't their story and they're writing by committee and even if they finish that novel they've sweated over, it won't really be theirs.

    That's exactly what I want - someone who doesn't see what I see, and gives an external perspective.

    I could write a story and then find out everybody hates the MC (in fact, I did write that story!) and then have to rewrite it all, but that won't (and didn't) benefit me. I learned from that lesson and now use alpha readers. The difference is I don't tell everybody they must use alpha readers because my way of working is superior for everyone...
     
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  25. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Fair enough, @Tenderiser. That approach works for you.

    But how do you address @Link the Writer 's concern, from earlier on in this thread?
    This is what I was 'worried' about. There's a lot of this about. You're on this forum, and I'm sure you've seen this kind of torment from many writers, not only in the Workshop but also in the general writing threads. So would you tell them to go ahead, keep asking everybody all the time if something should be written or not?

    The original post on this thread asked for our opinions on this subject, and asked how we work this issue ourselves. I've given mine. In no way does it negate yours, but it is my opinion, and I'm entitled to it. I think there are pluses and minuses in each approach.

    Maybe it would be an idea to list the pluses and minuses of each approach.

    My pluses are:

    1) If you don't show anybody your work until you have completed a first draft, then the story you have written is totally your own. You are free to create anything you want, without interference or sanction, or waiting to hear what somebody else thinks of your ideas. The results may surprise you—and others—in a very good way. What is 'within you' comes out—and is unique to you.

    2) If you get in the habit of solving your own story problems on your own, then you aren't dependent on somebody else 'rescuing' you if you hit a snag. You learn to rescue yourself.

    3) You don't require somebody else to give you ideas. You generate your own.

    The minuses are:

    1) If your story is totally your own, and you are an inexperienced writer, you might make 'mistakes.' You might even have to spend time doing a major re-write. Whether this is beneficial or not, is debatable. As I said before, you'll never know if you can do it—until you do it. Writing mistakes are correctible, and you do learn from them.

    2) You miss out on all the ideas your 'committee' may give you, that you might not have thought of yourself. Two heads (or multiples of them) may be better than one, in terms of quality AND quantity. On the other hand, coming to a consensus or taking a vote or an executive decision at the end of the 'debate' is NOT the same thing as wrestling with a problem and making a decision on your own, without the influence of others.

    .............

    I found it interesting that many people, when they started reading my completed novel Brothers, assumed—because it was set in the American old west—that it was a 'Western,' and would develop that way. They were pleasantly surprised, in most cases, that it did not. (One or two had trouble letting go of Western tropes, and were annoyed that there wasn't a lot more packing of guns, flinty-eyed heroes, and shooting of bad guys.)

    If I had started asking for feedback and taking it on board after I wrote the first draft of the first couple of chapters, I am pretty sure my story would be a very different one now. I would have been influenced by these readers' expectations. As it was, I wasn't exactly sure where everything would go when I started out. I'm glad I persevered on my own. My story isn't like anybody else's—and it certainly isn't a Western—and yet many people seem to like it the way it turned out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
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