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I'm starting to wonder if I've grown beyond this website

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Feo Takahari, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Like every new poster, I arrived with questions. How do I write a good fight scene? How do I develop a flat character? Do you like my new race of totally-not-elves? Folks answered my questions, and I grew as a writer.

    After a while, I took those lessons to heart enough that I could explain them to other folks. Folks asked how to write a good fight scene, and how to develop a flat character, and if I liked their new race of totally-not-elves, and I felt like I was helpful for answering their questions.

    Folks keep arriving with the same questions, and I keep repeating the same answers. I clearly have a lot more to learn as a writer, but I'm starting to ask more questions that get few or even no replies, because I'm not asking common questions anymore, and folks aren't really sure what to say to me. I'm not really sure where to go from here--I don't think there's some special "advanced" community to graduate into--but I don't think there's much I can do on this site to keep growing further.

    This isn't a goodbye message, at least not yet. I just don't know what I'll do now.

    (And just so you know, I didn't like your totally-not-elves even back when they were called elves.)
     
  2. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

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    This sounds a bit silly to me.

    The basic idea of a forum is that multiple ideas and suggestions are better than your one head alone no matter how advanced that head is.

    I understand what you are saying and... some communities actually have "advanced sections" in the way of VIP log in areas in which only approved members by mods and admin. have access. However, the VIPs always come back to the general area because there is always a gem to be found among posts; you never know who is behind that PC reading your question. (And, to get into VIP sections, other long standing members and mods have to think as highly of you as you think of yourself!)

    Just control the time you spent reading if you feel you are "above the level" or something to that extent. You will always be able to find some value in a well run forum.

    If you are that far ahead of the forum, maybe contact the mods and admin. about getting a VIP section together here so you don't have to search through the noob comments you have heard over and over! :cool:

    (Sorry if that sounded harsh, I have no other way to respond realistically).
     
  3. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I find the more specific the request, the less comments it may get. The more general (or even controversial) topics are easier to get into because people already have strong opinions on more general aspects of writing/publishing. With something that's really specific, it's harder to give advice without actually reading what is being written. That's where I think the Showcase can be helpful in principle. Perhaps shifting your focus on the site, like I did, may help. I spend most of my time either in the Challenges or Novel sections (which reminds me I need to resurrect my 100 novelists thread...) Some like the Roleplaying sections or Chit Chat.

    That said, I'm with you in that I'd love to see more advanced discussion here. I like to help people out when I can, but I think engaging in higher level conversations would be interesting to try. However, I wouldn't know where to start with this. Maybe we can bat some ideas around here and see what might help remedy this kind of "forum fatigue."

    As a member that's been here awhile, what would you like to see?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
    Black Dragon likes this.
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I will make this observation:

    This site boast probably ten or twelve authors with published novel(s) among its ranks (I may be understating that). Yet, the published authors do not post that often, and the vast bulk of their posts are in the sub-forums dedicated to promotion and publication, not writing advice or brainstorming.
     
  5. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    I'm going to echo Phil's question. What would you like to see?

    We're very open to suggestions.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    There is going to come in time in every writer's development where you are beyond books, beyond writing forums, beyond classes or lectures or any other kind of how-to. You're at a point where you just have to write and you have to be able to rely on your own judgment to get through the process. That's natural. It doesn't mean the forum is not good for you anymore, for a few reasons:


    1. Companionship - writing tends to be a solitary activity. There is benefit simply from interacting with other writers, even virtually;
    2. Critique - no matter how far you've come as a writer, you may still want feedback on works-in-progress. For some people, a writing forum fills that role;
    3. Giving back - sure, you're beyond the beginning phases of writing, and you're seeing the same questions and issues arise time and again, but there are always new people who don't have any experience yet, and by interacting with them you are giving of your knowledge like others probably did for you when you were starting; and
    4. Feline overlord - there are only two places on the vast internet where you can be guaranteed to interact with Steerpike of the black cat avatar, and one of them is here. :D

    Don't be surprised that you're at a level where any kind of forum or writing group or book (or what have you) is no longer providing you with huge gains in terms of your development as a writer. That's natural, and inevitable for anyone who sticks with writing long enough. When it happens, just look at the site, and what it offers, and what you can offer, from a different perspective.
     
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  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Feo,

    I hear you. Really, I do. Sometimes we all feel like it's pulling teeth trying to get people to give you what you want. The last time I started a thread asking for help with a story, I got one reply. Just one.

    But I don't know. Is there somewhere else that offers more? What would be the next step towards doing better? I've looked at other sites. Competition is scarce.

    And I don't mean pushing content on the blog. There are a great many resources for posts tossing out writing advice. I mean here on the forums. In the community. What would be next?

    I've had a bunch of thoughts that I've mentioned from time to time, like putting together a variety of stickies that might keep things from getting repeated to much. But it's hard to look for an idea that quite hits the nail on the mark.

    I want people to tell me just what I need to hear to make my writing better and help me write more of it. That's not a high bar at all.

    :rolleyes2:

    Still, how can come a little closer to taking writers a little further?
     
  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    There's another factor in play as well, I think. I'm in a history forum (well, technically a listserv) of medieval historians. There, too, the specific questions tend to get few responses, but general comments can generation a ton of responses. The algebra is simple: everyone can comment on how bad a "historical" movie is, but relatively few can speak to the interpretation of a 14th century legal document. A similar dynamic is in play here at Mythic Scribes.

    To Feo I say this: don't leave unless you're going somewhere better. It may very well be you need to spend the time you spend here in actual writing. But I doubt you'll find a better forum, and the benefits Steerpike lists are substantial.

    To Overby I have a couple of thoughts. One, I'd say the Showcase is an "advanced" forum. That's where we get to ask specific questions. The only improvement I'd like to see there is some mechanism to facilitate the critiquing of longer works. Posting a string of 2000 word posts is awkward. I'm not sure this board software can offer such a service. Even there, though, I can envision graduating "beyond" such a forum, especially once one has published a story or three. By that time, one has acquired an editor and/or agent, and will tend to use them.

    My other thought is that I'm not sure there is such a thing as advanced topics in writing. Oh, one can talk theory, but that's rather like musicians talking music theory. They'd rather simply play music. At least musicians get to jam, lucky bastards. I think that's why we don't see "advanced" writing forums around the Net.

    For myself, I intend to stick. Regardless of where I am in my writing, for me Mythic Scribes has become my neighborhood bar. It's where I come for conversation. Now, if Overby or Black Dragon or Steerpike could figure out how to serve drinks over the Net, the place would be perfect!
     
    Black Dragon and Sheilawisz like this.
  9. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

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    Another forum i was on had a VIP section with an invite system, after you had proven yourself to the community on your skill level, you got an invite. The VIP was for "advanced" members only, there were about 40-50 members out of the 2000 signed up who disscused at their own level without newbs tuning in with something obvious.

    This forum is a long standing forum and one of the largest of its kind in Asia. That is how you solve the OPs issue if of course he is worthy of being a VIP, this would mean he has to prove actual success and accomplishment to the current VIP members, not just say, oh I need higher level conversation because I think I do.

    No offense OP, i mean for anyone of course.

    This is the only way, it works great, l've seen it in action for years, its not some suggestion i though of just to answer the OP.
     
    Black Dragon likes this.
  10. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Personally, I'd rather not go with any type of segregation among the membership. One if the hallmarks of Mythic Scribes, in my opinion, is it's openness and inclusion of all skill & experience levels.

    I for one, wouldn't care for any movement which might create a feeling of elitism or exclusivity.
     
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  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    . . . y'know, I suggested something similar once a while ago. But since then I've heard so many horror stories about elitism on other sites. There's a way to do it right. Absolutely. But there's no way to give everybody the confidence that you're going to be the ones who are doing it right. I think it's best to steer clear of that.

    On the other hand, you can always invite people to start your own critique group. Sometimes you've just got to create your own opportunities if you want to make the most of things.
     
    T.Allen.Smith likes this.
  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I couldn't agree more. I get a lot out of this community, but the biggest benefit to my writing has come from members I've worked with in various projects & writing groups.

    There's plenty of opportunity if you're brave enough to put yourself out there & proactive in your search for growth opportunities.
     
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    FWIW, that's how mediev-l works, too, and it's been a discussion group for medieval historians since about 1987. It is open to non-professional historians (often either retired historians or those with degrees who never got jobs) as well as to graduate students, in addition to history profs. There are other listservs that were consciously more restrictive. I'm on a couple. Their traffic tends to consist of calls for papers and announcements of conferences.

    I'm with T.Allen.Smith. Let a thousand flowers bloom.
     
  14. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Hey Feo. You and I met a long time ago and I feel your pain/ frustration. I'm kinda in the same boat, which is why I've become scarce here.

    Here are my thoughts. I've grown. I've gotten a lot of work done in the three years I've been here, but the community hasn't grown as a whole. it's still the exact same forum I joined. It facilitates green recruits getting their feet wet for the first time, just as it offers a place to share your published works' success stories. It's the same. it's me, that changed.

    I was sort of feeling lonely and unfulfilled by that for a while. Like I've been running the race so long, now that I got close enough to the finish line (of finishing a good novel and having it professional quality) that I learned the finish line is always moving back, out of reach. Now the goal isn't to learn how to cut the "tells" or execute every weak descriptor with a vengeance. My goals are different now. I have to accept nothing but the best from myself, and sometimes, when you push your own pace and drive into high gear for an extended period of time, you might start seeing those steps you've passed as...wastes of time, new-writer stuff, fill in the negative concept here.

    I don't mean that I look down on new writers, because I don't. I just have sort of run out of steam I used to have, for reading really rough work and explaining how to improve it. I've done it hundreds of times. I mean, my job every day of the last year, was to do just that, to my own work. I don't have the same interest in reading a showcase entry and spending three hours writing detailed comments on what the writer could do to make it stronger/ tell them what I felt about the piece.

    And once you aren't giving advice, asking research questions for your own new novel (because I'm firmly in edit mode, I don't need answers to much anymore), or playing the games to avoid getting your writing done, there's sort of a "What do I do now?" moment. That's what I had and it's where I am now.

    I'm not sure what to do with myself here anymore. I love this community. The folks here truly inspire me. They're my friends and this is my virtual home when I'm writing. But all the beds are made, the dishes are done, floors swept, and even the cat bathed and brushed. I don't know what to do with myself anymore. I've had to go it alone through this last phase of my journey because I don't know how to share it. As T.A. and Devor mentioned (I think, sorry), most of the published writers don't visit for long periods and post mostly in publishing forum, and all the new faces sort of aren't in a position to really offer me advice. I'm really lonely. I feel like a "tween" and it's been a long time since I've found myself in that kind of situation.

    I think your work is unique and has merit. I think you have been a valuable asset to this community. I'd hate to see you go. But I really understand.

    Personally, I tend to look at new posts, read the titles for anything close to what I feel like talking about, and I even (don't hate me) look at who posted the question. I know that sounds terrible, but I don't mean to sound hateful or selfish, but I've spent hundreds of hours, just donating my assistance to people on this site. I need a break. If I see a subject I really feel like talking about or something that resonates with me (Last one was Gurkhal's Mind or Heart), I write. Sometimes I write a ton. BUt I'm choosy which threads I respond to now, knowing I spend less time in general playing here. One factor is the new chat. I hate it and since I no longer come to chat, I don't tend to hang around. I just post and run. But I selected Gurkhal's post because it's a serious situation, not something I've responded to a hundred times like, "What should I name my new elf race?" or "How many adverbs are okay?" Those topics don't interest me at all anymore. I picked Gurkhal's because he's given me some really sound advice when I've asked for it on small things in the past. We're friends here, and I support my friends whenever I can.

    I don't know why your posts haven't been hit frequently, but I never get tons of responses, either. I think that every time I log in here, there are ten new names in the Introductions section :) It's crazy, how few people I know here now.

    I hope you stay. I think what might do you a lot of good is to ask yourself what you receive from this site and what things you need that you don't. Then, take that second list, and see how you can fill that void. My list is this: I need crit partners who can read my first drafts and also ones who can read polished work and do really advanced crits. I get both those things through people I met here, but not on the site. I need occasional advice on plots, logistics, pushes through sticky scenes, and general motivation. I have friends on speed-dial for those, but I met them here on this site.

    So, my needs from this site are very limited. Mostly, I like to write occasional articles, compete in the challenges, and when I'm bored, have a stab at whatever piques my interest in the showcase or new posts. I'm not as active as I once was, but that's just me, personally, right now. I just moved across the country, my life is in boxes and encapsulated within a small apartment, and I'm not really at a high point in life at this moment. I'm sure I'll feel more social in the future, but right now, I'm sort of shutting the doors and windows and keeping myself company. But it's really lonely and I probably need to take my own admission and make some changes. Like tomorrow.

    :grouphug: Hope you stay and continue to receive what you need from your friends here on Mythic Scribes. I'm going to take a step forward and get back into living a little. It's time I pulled out the books I've not been speaking to and maybe get back to it. Writing has been such a big part of my life, and when I think about writing, I inevitably have to hang out here and distract myself from getting too much work done.
     
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  15. Alyce

    Alyce New Member

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    Howdy All,
    I'm new to the group and this is exactly what I wanted to find out. You see I have been away from the forums for the past three years trying to establish myself with short stories and novelettes. I did a good job and my name is out there but the publisher went belly up and I'm starting from scratch once again. So I've gone back to the basics and am joining forums just like this one.

    I see that there are a few disillusioned with the site. A few mentioned that they put questions on threads and no one answers. That you think you have grown beyond this site. Another commented that maybe an elite group needs to be created. This my friends is the way it works. I've been from zero to hero and back to zero. Writing sites like this one need to be seen as ladders to the top of this craft. You are going to grow into and out of groups constantly if you want to be relevant in this industry. There is no one size fits all answer to every question asked. And to be honest it would do you a disservice if there were. Let me just qualify that.....

    You ask a question and no one answers. Happens all the time. BUT while you may not have gotten the magic answer you were looking for, there may be ten people lurking who were blown away by the question. And maybe, just maybe as many as five who had the same exact question and now see their way around the obstacle. You supplied a WOW moment for someone in a jelly jam with their story. That's what these sites are for. Not to give you a simple answer that will further YOUR story but to help YOU figure out what needs to be done to get over the speed bump.

    I know I may get flamed for my attitude but it comes from experience. I shed a lot of tears in the beginning because "no one would help me". But this is what all that blood sweat and tears taught me. You gain a network of friends who understand why you're frustrated. You may even find a few who are on the exact same path you are on. But unless you're meeting Stephen King, Danielle Steele or J.R. Ward in disguise on the site you happen to belong too you really don't need someone else to give you a pat answer to your question. Because that's the answer they used and if they were successful with that answer they wouldn't have time to comment on writing websites, they'd be too busy selling their MS.

    I'm back to get into the grove. Be among my kind who understand all the voices in my head, all the characters standing just behind my eyes waiting for their moment in the sun. I don't want or expect anyone here to give me the winning formula for a best selling novel. I'm just here to be immersed in the atmosphere that only fellow writers can understand so I can find another bestseller inside of me waiting to get out.
     
  16. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Thanks for that, Alyce. A sense of community is an underrated aspect of a solitary career.
     
  17. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    For the moment, I'm mainly posting in the "writer's work" thread. It's not really answering any of my writing questions at all - but then I'm not asking very many either. It provides me with a sense of community though and I can have a little rant about whatever when I post.

    Occasionally I get involved in the discussions about things, but it's a lot less often than it used to.
     
  18. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Hi, Feo. I've been following this thread and now am ready for a response.

    I hope you're feeling a bit less lonely here. But if you aren't, I want you to know that you're not alone. Writing is an activity which requires plenty of time in isolation. We come to sites such as this to not only learn about the craft, but to be around others who understand what its like to be a writer. As Caged Maiden so wonderfully put in her post, you grow and then need different things from your community.

    It seems that you don't feel supported. That's a legit thing to feel, and its admirable that you made a post about it to open yourself up and be vulnerable in your experience. That's you trying to reach out to your peers and its healthy. It means you do value this community and your place in it.

    There's been times when I've put up questions and received a handful of responses. I appreciate those and learn from them what I can, but there have been other times when I'm like "uh...no hits? What do I do now?" And that's where we have the opportunity to search for our own answers and grow in that aspect.

    Like Svrt, I also pretty much only post in the "Writer's Clock In Your Time" thread. Its been nice having a core group to be involved in. I invite you there to try it out and see what you think. Another suggestion for you: have you looked into any writer's groups in your area? I've been researching some in my area and have been pleasantly surprised. Its always nice meeting other writers in person and you never know who you might be introduced to. Having someone physically that you can ask questions to or share manuscripts with might help you feel less lonely. I know its not Mythic Scribes BUT it can be an add on to the social group you already have here.

    Also, there is social media and trying to connect with other writers that way. So, at this point in your journey, you may just benefit from a little extra company.

    And one last thing, maybe (if you haven't done so already) you could sit down and write about the ways you have grown from being involved in this community. Journal a bit of appreciation for it. Then ask yourself what it is that would best serve you from it now. What is it that you are looking to fulfill? Can it be found here? Identifying what it is that you need will help you receive it better. So, being clear and truthful with yourself. Which is always a good thing.

    Its also all right if you have truly outgrown the forums. It just means that you are further along in your journey and that's wonderful! You have grown! I wish you the best on your journey and I do hope you stick around also because your posts are insightful and enjoyable. :)
     
    Philip Overby and Ruby like this.
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I'm still not convinced it is possible to outgrow the forums. I suppose if you're using the forums for one thing and one thing only - namely, to learn how to write - then it is possible to outgrow them. I think most forum users use the forums for other purposes, and actually learning how to write is probably lower down on most people's list than one might imagine, with other reasons being entertainment, comraderie, discussions with people who share interests, keeping up on the industry, etc.
     
  20. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Some great posts in this thread. I'm especially glad to see two people mention how the Writers' Work thread has helped them. It's the longest running writing group on the site (I believe) and I think it's successful because it's not really us always helping each other with writing, but just being a support group or an accountability group. I know it's the main place I post now because I'm trying to get better at the act of writing rather than any certain techniques (although those are helpful, too).

    I agree that the site is more about camaraderie rather than learning any specific thing anymore. Writing is a lonely business, so any chance to talk with others about ANYTHING, let alone writing is good for many of us.
     
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