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Author Topic: Realization: My output is lacking because I feel too unworldly to write believab  (Read 778 times)
Lazaras
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Have Wierd; Will Travel.


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« on: January 20, 2017, 08:11:23 am »

I have a lot of reasons for not writing, more excuses than anything since I could poke out drafts even on a tablet five minutes at a time, and every other reason/excuse boils down to general lack of motivation.

However while being simi-productive I managed to look at my insecurities enough to shape what the biggest of these problems not related to finding an audience is. I'm basically a lifelong shut-in due to disability. I don't have a lot of 'normal' interactions in my adult life to feel like the people I write feel real to normal people. Sure there's 'well use TV/books/etc as a basis.' That tends to leave me feeling it's all ultra contrived and melodramatic.

Intellectually I know most people w't care overly (hell look st how Robert Jordan wrote women.) Emotionally 'oh god this looks like garbage and it's like a person wearing five different hats talking to themselves constantly instead of distinct people Hence the tough love request.
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 02:57:54 pm »

Nobody's unworthy of writing believable characters.  There's no board of censure, certifying if the author is to be allowed it.

The real question is are you capable of writing believable characters?

What usually goes hand in hand with that is having the characters be likable or relatable to the reader.

I've got a short story I am working on right now, where the protagonist is a bus driver.  But I don't give him enough personality other than appearing to be the kind of employee who keeps his head down and does his job.

So people aren't responding well to the story.  They just don't care enough to his plight or believe he would take a stand on something.

So I have to fix that by making his personality stand out more, be more active, and probably, be less of a "yes, sir!' man, which runs counter to my original plan.

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NoirMagus
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New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 07:30:41 am »

I feel that if you are writing steampunk you don't need to worry too much about writing normal people because your characters can quite often be larger than life. In fact why would you want them to be normal? They should be interesting and engaging, with quirks and idiosyncrasies and as Kensington says, there has to be something to make us care about their plight. (And if they haven't got a plight, you probably haven't got a story.)

What is important is that your characters are consistent in their actions and world view and that there are reasons for them to be and behave how they do. We (the reader) don't necessarily always have to know these reasons but sometimes the slow revelation of a characters motivations over the story can be interesting.

Most importantly, if you enjoy writing then write.

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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2017, 09:29:50 am »

People are just there to move the plot along.
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NoirMagus
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 10:00:41 am »

Quote
People are just there to move the plot along.

I'd have to argue with that. People are your story. Good stories are about the journey a character makes.

Obviously you need a compelling plot as well but I would say the plot is there to torment your character.
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 05:55:59 pm »

Quote
People are just there to move the plot along.

I'd have to argue with that. People are your story. Good stories are about the journey a character makes.

Obviously you need a compelling plot as well but I would say the plot is there to torment your character.

I think Atterton may be pulling your leg, in that his simplistic statement summarizes all that you just said.

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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2017, 08:27:12 pm »

No, I meant that. I want a good plot. Well-written characters are just a bonus.
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walking stick
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2017, 09:54:07 pm »

I think character creates plot.  In any case read more and write more.  It isn't just practice it's getting to the stage where writing is a habit.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 03:30:07 am »

Modern literature favors what is called an "organic" approach in which the story is supposedly dictated by the traits of the characters, but this is often actually artifact; the characters are given the traits required to drive the plot.
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pakled
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 04:39:10 am »

believable characters might not be that interesting...Wink Write what you can, when you can. Sometimes it's enough.
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MoonlitRain
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Canada Canada



« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2017, 10:49:10 pm »

As long as you are a human being and I'm 100 percent sure that you are, you're quite capable of writing believable characters. You have emotions, thoughts, feelings and ideas like every other human being so you can channel them! I also echo the comments that in steampunk, larger than life characters are totally acceptable. I reject the notion that authors have to have lived some kind of mad, wild life to produce anything of quality personally.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2017, 06:13:08 am »

If you read adventure and genre novels from the early twentieth century, they are full of exaggerated characters speaking in stilted dialects, with generally unrealistic characterizations. Dialect writing was heavy handed and invasive compared to what modern readers are accustomed to. Minor and even major characters were often "types" and not fully realized people. Dialogue was often expository to an unrealistic degree.

More realistic characters and dialog are now in vogue, but to imitate the unrealistic style of these old books in new writing might be an interesting experiment.
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Amelia Harper
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 07:50:51 pm »

Have you come across the work of Rosemary Sutcliff, Lazarus?
She wrote historical fiction for older children, and was particularly good at Romans. 
She was also disabled from early childhood - yet her action sequences are brilliant.  When the boys in Warrior Scarlet go on a wolf hunt, you feel you are there with them, for instance.  She was also very good at character - the hero of Eagle of the Ninth and his relationship with the British slave who becomes his friend, for instance.
And many of her main characters had some sort of disability - Marcus in Eagle of the Ninth is invalided out of the Roman Army with a leg wound.  The boy in Warrior Scarlet has a withered arm, so has to fight left handed.
And when she was writing, there was no internet for research - it was a case of going to (frequently inaccessible) libraries to look at reference books.
So it can be done.
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 11:04:56 pm »

I got back into writing and been heavily working on it now for about 9 months.  That don't mean I know my stuff, but it ain't my first rodeo, I just hadn't been writing fiction in a while, and I been having my work reviewed and doing well at that.  And yes, I have actually worked at a rodeo.

Let's assume something is wrong with your writing, only because you imply that in the thread title.

It could be plot, it could be characters.  You surmise it's about you and your limited experiences/disability).

I think we'll all agree at this point, based on the other posts, if there's a problem, it's not you as a person, it's your writing skills

Now I haven't seen your writing.  Maybe I should.  Go hit up Writing.com for "proper" writing coaching/review space (as in your content is secured so it doesn't count as Published and damage your ability to sell First Rights.

Outside of that, the usual problems I hear/see during critiques:
bad editing: Basically, you need to fix mechanical mistakes
passive voice: using was is bad.
-ly adverbs: kill most of them
telling, not showing:  Don't tell me the hero is angry, make him do something that demonstrates anger.
dialog problems: clunky back and forth, using -ly adverbs, too many alternatives to said, skipping said, putting in movement every few lines.
description problems: over-describing or under-describing
action problems: what the heck is going on isn't clear.

Now at the bottom end of the writing spectrum is writers who are incompetent.  They suck so bad, they can't get better.  You can identify them because while writing in their native language (ex. English), even their forum posts are hard to read.  I can't see your OP from here, but I don't recall it sucking, so you are likely safely in the category known as "Competent Writer".

Welcome.  I'm here, too.  Competent writers can get better and become Good.  A lot of it has to do with mastering that list I posted above.

If you have something short to point me at, I'll be happy to review it, and give you some feedback.  PM me if you want to keep it private (especially if it is a piece you plan to actually publish).
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Lazaras
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Have Wierd; Will Travel.


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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2017, 05:27:18 pm »

I will say I have a long time friend who is in the 'incompetent writer' catagory. It isn't that they are bad at english. If anything they are better at the mechanical bits than me. It's more their material never seemed to graduate past 'pure wish fulfilment mary sue' material and mistakes that just... bug me 'person says a thing after doing a thing and then going 'said person' at the end of it' being a big 'why? that's... not needed? it adds clunk to the structure?

I bring that up because for every single one of their faults. For the fact I have asked them to never come at me asking for an honest review of what they've written because I will be brutal about the contents of the writing even if they are the better typist. However... they LOVE doing this. they are Happy doing this. They can sit crack a thing open they wrote twenty years ago and be proud of it.

For me there are precious few things I've written I feel in any way positive for and even those i don't go at it for the sake of nostalgia and can only see all the mistakes.
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Synistor 303
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Australia Australia


Zenyna Ironbracker


« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2017, 07:46:17 am »

For me there are precious few things I've written I feel in any way positive for and even those i don't go at it for the sake of nostalgia and can only see all the mistakes.

Seems to me this is a perfectly normal artist (and professional) attitude to have. I am also a botanical artist/illustrator in my real life, which means I need to produce work that is an exact representation of botanical specimens. I look at stuff I did 4 years ago and cringe at how bad it is, despite people telling me they love it. If you can't be self-critical of your own work, you can't progress. HOWEVER, don't be too critical of yourself. "I can do better", is a good sentiment, "I suck at this", is a bad sentiment. Know the difference.

(I will now take my mother apron off...)
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