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What do you think of your own writing?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Ban, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Inspired by discussions both on the forum and on the chat, I am curious to know what my fellow scribes think of their own writing. What parts of your writing do you like, what parts do you dislike and if you had to assess yourself on where you are at in your writer's journey, where would you place yourself?

    Personally I'd say I'm at a very comfortable level regarding my overall skill, but I'm still novice enough to see my writing improving by the day. I think I have a good knack for what words to use, which I have developed through my rhymes and poems, but I have more than enough room for improvement regarding my pace and plotting. Grammar and punctuation is of course still a hurdle for me, as English is not my native language, but I'm improving little by little.
     
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  2. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Depends on the day, to be honest. On the good days when the Muse actually bothers to show up for work, I am very confident with my skill. However, on the days when writing is a word-by-word slog and I don't get any more than 500 in a day (or less) then I become Queen Suck.

    Funny thing is, upon rereading it's impossible to tell the difference between the two.

    So, yes, I am very confident in my narrative abilities. I just thank the powers that be that I have a wife and writing partner who is a better grammarian than I am, because I toss commas around like bread crumbs and don't even get me started on my use of periods of ellipsis and em-dashes.
     
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  3. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I'm pretty hard on myself in regards to my writing. I know I'm a good technical writer (academia has taught me that much), but I worry all the time that my creative writing is lacking. Mostly I'm critical of my style--I don't find it engaging, and I'm always afraid that I can't properly capture the emotion/nuance of my stories and characters. When I'm writing, it's natural for me to default into an analytical style that I'm constantly fighting. When I do try to change it, I start overcompensating and end up with gimmicky stylistic quirks and overwrought emotions. It's a neverending balancing act that I always seem to fail at. I also drive myself insane with the amount of ellipses, dashes, and paired descriptors I use, the last one being particularly irritating.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm very confident in my writing. I'm not at all confident in my ability to judge my writing.

    Where am I in the writer's journey? There's a journey? I thought we were out for a nice walk. I was going to say: wandering aimlessly but amiably.

    >Funny thing is, upon rereading it's impossible to tell the difference between the two.
    Absolutely this and thanks for pointing it out. For all the fretting I do during the writing and editing, get the thing in print and give it a year's head start, and I couldn't tell you which parts were easy and which were hard. Moreover, I see things I'm pretty sure I never saw at the time.
     
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  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    My general self-perception is that I have a lot of skill and a lot of baggage. My writing keeps to that pattern. Sometimes I get carried away with myself for either the good or the bad, but most of the time I recognize that's there's always another layer of skill that I can add to my stories, and I try to look for it. And that I have to do so while struggling with baggage that makes it difficult for me to get through a lot of words at a time.
     
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I like it! In fact I love it. I love all the neat things that underlie every interaction and every scene. The stuff that is implied and the stuff that means more than what is apparent. I love the relationships, the conflicts, the magic, and human moments, the love, and the growth...

    But then, I hate it. I hate it with the fiery passion of a hundred suns (okay, maybe not that much). I hate that is never quite perfect, never quite a match for how I envisioned it in my head, hate that it gets bogged down with having to show details that kill the pace, hate that it does not quite reach the underlying message that made me want to write it in the first place, Hate that the words don't flow easy, Hate that it takes me days to write a new scene or a chapter and then I feel like, I will go back and fix that in the rewrite. Hate all the stuff I invent and think up that may never actually be in the story, or apparent to the readers.

    But then, I love it again, cause no one has my voice, no has made anything just like it before, cares about the issues the same way I do, and puts in the effort to try to make it relevant and art at the same time.

    And then I hate it again....

    I think that sums it up. Maybe I need a flower with a lot of petals to decide.
     
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  7. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

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    It's great as long as it stays in my head. As soon as it hits paper or a computer, it becomes horrible. I honestly sometimes don't even write stuff down because I'm scared of looking at afterward, it's that bad.
     
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  8. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    I did this in college a lot, too. Lots of writing academic papers and whatnot. Don't worry, you'll get your dazzle back after graduation. It might take a little bit to brush away the ivory tower dust, but your natural voice is still in there, waiting.
     
    Tom likes this.
  9. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Stylistically, emotionally, I doubt I will ever be published. Not that that is a driving force for my writing. I enjoy writing. I think in terms of grammar, I am good. My vocabulary and vision is more than sufficient to capture a scene well, but adding that emotional aspect is difficult for me.
     
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  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I hear what you're saying, A.E. Lowan, I really do, but I wanted to put in a marker in defense of academe. I spent seven years in graduate school, plus another two writing the dissertation, and I truly believe it made me a better writer, in a couple of respects.

    One, I learned to take criticism. The kind of critiquing done at that level (this was for history) is solely concerned with objective matters. Is the language clear? Is your logic sound? Is the research well-grounded? It was impersonal, and I learned to view criticism impersonally. Now, in part the criticism did not bother me because of my personality, but I also learned what an impersonal critique looks like. That was invaluable.

    Two, I learned the fundamentals of communication. I learned economy, clarity, precision. I know instinctively when I've introduced a flourish. I know a rhetorical device when I see one. In other words, I gained a useful kit of tools.

    Three, I learned to count. <wink>

    OTOH, grad school played hell with my reading habits, for it taught me to skim. My reading habits became ruthless, exploitative. I didn't care what they author had to say, I was after a particular fact or argument. Once I was done with school, I returned to reading fiction and for more than a couple of years I did not enjoy it. I took to blaming the authors, but I finally realized that the problem was me. I was still skimming. I wasn't giving the author an even break. I had to learn to slow down again, to enjoy the words themselves. It took quite a long time. Even now, if an author exasperates me with weak writing, I'll find myself revving up the engine again. I can make a badly written book fly by.

    Anyway, there was some benefit. Besides all the useless historical knowledge, of course. And those three letters. Musn't forget the three letters.
     
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  11. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    I absolutely agree with everything you said, Skip. Despite what many may say, a liberal arts education, even as light entertainment, can come in right handy. It taught me to research, as I wasn't always an English major (I was interdisciplinary Lang and Lit and History). But I also remember my mentor bemoaning that academia had ruined her for pure enjoyment of fiction, my mentor who had basically molded me into the driven academic that I was, and that was around the time that I looked at my thesis and really began to wonder what I was doing in the Ivory Tower.

    So I ran away and joined the circus, eventually becoming a fill-time writer.

    I still miss JSTOR, though. lol

    Even now, I still will read something and a paper topic will pop up in my head, just like any story idea.

    And yes, those three letter are very nice.
     
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  12. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    I like the parts making me laugh or cry when I reread them. I dislike the parts misunderstood by others. Sometimes these are the same parts.

    Where am I in my writer's journey? Wandering in the middle. Glad to have the beginning of the journey behind me. Unable to see the journey's end and grateful for it.
     
  13. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think I'm fairly typical. I have a love-hate relationship with my writing.

    In general, I think I can tell a coherent story. I think I'm learning to let my natural voice come through more and not to micromanage things as much. I have confidence that things make sense. No matter how bad things are, I think I can always make them better.

    BUT

    I think I have issues with finding the most compelling angles to my ideas. I have a tendency to over think some things and under think others. I tend to over complicate things instead of keeping them simple. I think I sometimes try to make things too heavy instead of just letting them be light.
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I really hope it is. The two projects I'm working on right now are both written in a conversational first person style, and I'm finding it difficult to get into that casual groove. I keep wanting to use formal language and academic structures and it's really frustrating.
     
  15. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    Usually needs work, due to grammar and spelling issues. I like to think I can tell it coherently enough and make characters engaging and somewhat likable. I will go back and edit and re-edit and find plot holes I hadn't seen before too. Usually hit or miss but since coming here I at least write again.
     
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  16. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I’ve progressed from “okay-hatred” swings to “love it-question whether anybody will agree” swings, heh heh. Basically, I no longer question whether I write well, I question whether it will resonate and reach an audience. Successfully reaching an audience can be done with 50 Shades of Awful Prose or fail to sell more than 10k copies while winning a major literary award... so, it’s a crap shoot. If I can pull enough readers through to book 3’s end and pull off that ending as well I as I think I can... I figure I’ll give at least a dozen readers a quality ride, LOL.
     
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  17. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    These days I'm quite confident in my technical skills. I know I can write beautiful, flowing prose if I set my mind to it. A lot of that is down to having found a style that I'm comfortable with and that works for me, and for knowing I can't please everyone. I think the readers who enjoy my style are likely to enjoy it quite a lot, and those who don't like it won't enjoy it no matter how good it is.

    I'm a lot less confident in my storytelling skills. That's getting better, but I'm still very uncertain about whether something will work or not, or whether my readers will understand my story in the way I want them to. I feel like I'm getting better though, and that's a really encouraging feeling.

    ...and at last, it's taken me a long time to finally acknowledge that I think I'm good at something. That's a lot tougher than I'm really happy with.
     
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  18. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Hm. I think my work will always need improvement. I'm at a place right now in my skill where I'm competent enough to write certain tropes and types of plots...but more complex ones are still a challenge. I sweat bullets but make it through somehow, and every book I finish makes me that much better of a writer because I'm usually improving on a certain aspect of my craft.

    Now, far as readers go? Idk. I've gotten two 5* stars, two 1*s, and a 2* on my books the past couple of days. It seems readers either love my work or hate it. Some are meh, but my writing provokes strongly one way or another. This tells me I need to keep honoring the way I write, which I refine more and more as time passes. At this point, I recognize my storytelling voice to be somewhat flirty yet serious, sultry yet dark and real, humorous at inappropriate times, and a bit melodramatic. I like my books to entertain and be emotionally charged.

    Edit: I must stop posting from my phone ugh.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  19. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I imagine that refinement of one's writing and story-telling are a constant. If a person ever stops improving, they're delusional and/or not as good as they think they are, heh heh. Or too easily satisfied. Several other possibilities, but none all that positive, LOL. But hell, one direction or another we're all deluded.

    I thrive on complex plots. I'm reading Silence of the Lambs right now after starting it months ago, and I think to myself... why the hell don't I write something so relatively straight forward? I have stories in my head that fit these molds, but they just never seem to be at the top of my priority list, LOL. In part, it's the challenge but... if being analyzed by Hannibal Lecter, he might say I take on complex stories so that if I fail I have an excuse... while I would claim, if I fail, at least I went for it! LOL. Damn you, Hannibal Lecter!

     
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  20. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    For sure. I'm writing a complex story right now and really struggling with it (still in the first part of the story). But challenges help us grow as writers. I say embrace the work. :)
     
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