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Should I be encouraged or discouraged?

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by BWFoster78, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I happened to read a forum where people discussed their opinions of popular authors. I saw posts criticizing Jordan, hating on Rothfuss, absolutely excoriating Goodkind, and tearing Meyer to shreads.

    Wheel of Time is my favorite series ever. Yes, it drags in the middle, but I don't think I'll ever match the richness of the world he created.

    Name of the Wind is one of the best novels I've ever read. It impressed me completely. I couldn't put it down.

    I can emphasize with people getting turned off the Sword of Truth, but I've seen heavy criticism of Wizard's First Rule, which I found to be fantastic.

    Twilight isn't the best example of good writing, but it's a page turner that's incredibly fun to read.

    In my wildest dreams, I'm not sure I'll be able to produce anything approaching 75% as good as any of the works mentioned above. Should I feel discouraged that, if even these awesome writers get so heavily criticized, what hope do I have? Or, should I feel encouraged because, not matter how well or how badly I write, I'm going to find some people who love it and some people who hate it?

    As far as introductions go: I'm a professional mechanical engineer who has read fiction voraciously his entire life. I decided over a decade ago that I was going to write a novel. I set about reading as much as possible about how to write and wrote some short stories as practice. Finally, last year, my wife told me to either start writing my novel or stop talking to her about it.

    Right as I got started, we moved to Southern California, and I found a writers meetup group. After writing and rewriting, checking and editing, stressing over a piece for weeks, I thought it was pretty good. I went to my first meeting and got it bled all over. It wasn't the most fun experience, but I think my writing has improved greatly since that day.

    I'm now working on chapter 19 out of a planned 30.
     
  2. Argentum

    Argentum Troubadour

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    Welcome to Mythic Scribes!!! :D We're glad to have you here!
    AH! The Name of the Wind! Patrick Rothfuss is absolutely amazing, even if a good deal of people disagree. I hope you've managed to get the Wise Man's Fear too! I just got the book in paperback a couple days ago and boy is it good! I'm really in love with the way he describes things in his books.

    You speak my fears out loud. I know my quality of writing will never approach the level of these other great authors, but my greatest dream is to be right there among them, with all my hard cover books and movie deals. Still, you are right. The people choose the books they like. People like the books they like despite the quality or status of the author. Twilight isn't the greatest story ever, but Stephanie Meyer found her audience.

    So yeah, you will get fans and haters. I have this suspicion though. My suspicion is if your book all of a sudden became famous out of nowhere, and everyone all of a sudden started reading it, my guess is that you'll get more haters. Example: Twilight and Eragon (Eragon wasn't so bad, but a couple years back he did have a huge amount of haters). But if your book fame slowly builds up before it BOOMs into popularity, they seem to have less haters than the first group. Example: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings.

    Having your manuscript ripped to shreds isn't fun most of the time. It reminds you once more that your writing may be good, but it will never be 'good enough'. And it sucks. Still, I kinda enjoy the butchering. It's like burning the impurities out of the book, leaving you with something that much closer to being published. So, yes! Be encouraged! Those authors got famous somehow!
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  3. Ah well, the thing is when you write a book, create a story like that, you make something which is very specific, its like an intense homemade cocktail with countless little things in it. Perhaps a more accurate analogy would be an album, an incredibly intricate arrangement of sounds. Naturally something so specific is going to appeal to a certain amount of people, but a specific group of people. People are different, therefore for everyone the book appeals to there will be people who don't like it. You can't please everyone, because what one reader loves another will find doesn't do it for them. So in other words do not be discouraged. Your book will be yours, a very personal story which will have its own group of readers.

    Sorry, that was deep, don't know what came over me. By the way welcome.
     
  4. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    Hi! Welcome. You bring up a good point.

    The more famous you are, the more people will read or will have read your books. Therefore it follows that there will be a higher population of people who could potential dislike it. It's all relative. Even if you're known to ten people, and two hated it, you could scale that up and ... well I'm not going to do the maths, but with the same percentage of "hate" many more people will seem to dislike it.

    Also, I don't think its fair for anyone to say I'll never be as good as x. You couldn't possibly know that you won't be as famous as x. The thing about those authors and books you mentioned is... they got lucky. Their books came out into a market that was ready and eager to digest what they were selling. At any other time they may not have caught the zietgeist and fallen into obscurity. It's quite possible however, with time and patience, to practice your craft and write "as well as x".

    I think so anyway.

    If we stick with this statistical bent, it "unlikely" you'll be a best-seller, known maybe depending on how big your publisher is, but there is quite honestly OCEANS of fiction out there. But what am I saying, it happens. What I mean is you should never be discouraged. You can't 100% predict how a book will be recieved, whether its a slow burner, or an overnight success... all we can do is write what we want to read. If we like what we're doing then at least one of the 7 billion people on our planet must surely like it as well :)

    It's all good. haha.
     
  5. Ice Spider

    Ice Spider Scribe

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    I empathize with you completely man, the same thoughts go through my head all the time. I posted another thread along these lines recently.

    I don't think I'm the most talented writer that ever lived, but personally I choose to look at these things in the other way...there are authors out there - who I don't consider very good - who have tons of fans. Haters too, but still. If they can make it...

    Even if, say, 75% of people didn't like your book, that doesn't mean your book was "75% bad" in everyone's minds. That means about 75% of people who read it didn't like it, but in 25% percent of peoples' worlds, your book was entertaining, exciting, moving... Focus on your fans, the fact that in some people's words your story was all those wonderful things, and respect those who don't like your work (you have books you dislike I'm sure ;) ), but remember...you're not writing for them.

    I also think if you're really a writer, you'll love doing it so much you won't care how much criticism you get (as much as it stings) you'll just keep coming back to it no matter what. Eventually, with enough practice and enough tries, you're bound to write something that's of at least halfway-decent quality. That can be the piece you show to the world. ;)

    One thing that's an issue for me (maybe not as much for you) is taking the criticism too personally. That's a big mistake. I think if the writing is important to you it can be a lot harder. Some of my stories, especially my more emotionally-driven ones, mean a lot to me and having someone tear them apart would be a lot like tearing apart me (since more of "me" went into those stories than the ones I just attempt to entertain people with). If you have a story like that there's nothing wrong with keeping it for you (if you can do that), and letting people tear the stuff you're less attached to to shreds. If worst comes to worst, you can say you're just practicing on it. (In other words, it's less difficult if you just want to be a writer than to tell a particular story, though in the latter case it can be more rewarding.)

    PS. I thought Rothfuss was really popular? Of all the authors you mentioned, he seems to have the fewest detractors...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  6. It depends entirely on what your goal is. If your goal is to be a published author and/or make a living at writing, then it hardly matters what any number of individually hostile people think. You write, you try to get published, and you either succeed or you don't. Letting yourself worry about how famous authors get excoriated by some readers will just discourage you, and if your goal is to succeed, then why let yourself get discouraged? You can't succeed if you give up.

    On the other hand, if your goal is for everyone to like your writing, then, well, you're going to be disappointed no matter what. :)
     
  7. Welcome to the space :)

    Hope you enjoy it here.
    ~BL~
     
  8. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    I think they all said what I would have.

    So welcome. :)
     
  9. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

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    Do whatever you want.
     
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