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Old 10-02-2012, 12:51 PM   #1
uebyn
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The Discriminating Reader cum Writer's Dilemna

One of the members here said something to the effect of 'most writing are trash, yet the amateurs always think they have written something wonderful. The professionals know better.' (Sorry I'm lazy to find the thread.)

Anyway, he/she is so right. I hardly ever read contemporary fiction anymore, because I have this sneaking suspicion that most of them are not any good. (Sorry writers, but it's just a peculiar bias of mine.)

Now here comes the interesting question: then why am I writing? Am I not contributing to the ever-increasing pile of trashy stories? Really, as an aspiring writer, I often think: am I really writing something worth writing, or should I really just destroy what I have written? Coz' while I usually like what I wrote (after proofreading), sometimes I wonder if that's not just a kind of perverse self-congratulatory emotion at work. Like Hemingway said, what writers need, really, is a 'built-in, shockproof, shit detector'. It seems like I don't have one. But at least I do have a suspicious character (a good thing) that makes me think: maybe I really shouldn't write all this, or at least spare anyone else other than myself the agony of reading it.

Doesn't anyone here share the same sentiments? (Oh, and I am not fishing for comforting or encouraging words, not at all. I know I'm probably rubbish. I'm simply sharing my conflicting feeling as a discriminating reader cum writer.)
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #2
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I see this as the same as in other forms of art. Those of us driven to participate enjoy doing it, despite not necessarily being great at it. Besides, improvement is built on what you learn from making crap. If you don't make crap you won't make anything better. At least that's how most of us learn and improve.

It is a different question as to whether or not you show your work to anyone else. I'm the world's worst guitarist so I only play for myself. If your work is good enough to sell then one purpose of showing it is putting food on your table, more than enough reason to me.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:53 PM   #3
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Well, there is the coach's view.

"Practice, practice, it will come."

Perhaps more honestly, "let's see what you got."
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
VydorScope
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Who gets to call it trash? If it is selling and people are enjoying it, isn't that enough? I write books, people by them. More people give them positive reviews then negatives. (almost 2:1 actually). So am I writing trash?

I write because I enjoy writing. Will my writing be featured in an English class as a classic in 100 years? I doubt it, but that will not stop me from writing, nor my fans from enjoying my books.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
teh603
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I write because I like writing. That's the long and short of it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:56 AM   #6
mr ploppy
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Does it really matter? Some people like trashy stories, some don't.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:05 AM   #7
kennyc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penforhire View Post
.... I'm the world's worst guitarist so I only play for myself. ,....
Nope, I got ya beat there!
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:23 PM   #8
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Thanks for your comments guys.

In fact I just happened to be in one of those self-loathing modes yesterday. Today when I woke up, I just felt like what teh603 said, "Oh, what the hell. I enjoy writing, guess that's enough."

And Penforhire and frahse, you are right. If I think I am writing crap, then all the more I should keep writing - it will (should) get better with practice.

Once again, thanks everybody for your feedback, really appreciate it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:27 PM   #9
morriss003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penforhire View Post
I see this as the same as in other forms of art. Those of us driven to participate enjoy doing it, despite not necessarily being great at it. Besides, improvement is built on what you learn from making crap. If you don't make crap you won't make anything better. At least that's how most of us learn and improve.

It is a different question as to whether or not you show your work to anyone else. I'm the world's worst guitarist so I only play for myself. If your work is good enough to sell then one purpose of showing it is putting food on your table, more than enough reason to me.
Absolutely. There are a lot of mediocre painters, gardeners, and race car drivers happily engaging in their favorite pastime. So what? At least they are not out there knocking over liquor stores.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:34 AM   #10
Nancy Fulda
I write stories.
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There's an old adage that says most writers churn out about 100,000 words of junk before they start writing anything good.

That may or may not be true in any given case, but I do find that the most proficient writers tend the be the ones who have been doing it the longest.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:50 AM   #11
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When I was in Junior High, a history teacher had everyone write something about the world history we were reading. It was to be about a fictional character that was in those historical times.

Today, the first thing you notice if you look at those few sheets of paper is the bright broad blue ink lines from the fountain pen. The next thing is that my cursive was awful. (My mom's cursive was absolutely beautiful, and so was she, I will proudly add.)

The writing was pretty clumsy though the teacher praised it to my mother.

I have had a lot of practice since then, but I cherish that "first work."

The subject was about a young soldier killed in the trenches by a gas attack. My first published works were about soldiers and war though it was about America's Civil War, and not a World War.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:41 AM   #12
VydorScope
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Fulda View Post
There's an old adage that says most writers churn out about 100,000 words of junk before they start writing anything good.

That may or may not be true in any given case, but I do find that the most proficient writers tend the be the ones who have been doing it the longest.
Interestingly enough my fans all tell me my second book is far superior to my first which was just a little under 90k words.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy Fulda View Post
There's an old adage that says most writers churn out about 100,000 words of junk before they start writing anything good.

That may or may not be true in any given case, but I do find that the most proficient writers tend the be the ones who have been doing it the longest.
I like Malcolm Gladwell's idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get good at something, be it hobby or career.

I wrote five novels in graduate school, and they definitely fall into the "junk" category. Then I wrote about 2 million words of genre stories that I posted on a gaming Web site over a period of eight years; they were essentially fanfic but I got a lot of feedback and that helped me improve my style.

I'm not saying my current books are high literature, but I am comfortable posting and selling them; I never would have gotten to that point without going through the above.

I'm not saying every author has to go through such a gauntlet first, but like anything else writing is a skill that needs to be developed.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:10 AM   #14
M T McGuire
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For what it's worth, I write because I have to. It's like a bad crack habit. But you know what they say: "one man's spam is another man's jam." So a lot of people like my books, although they do have to be forced, practically at gunpoint, to sit down and read them. A lot of other people are never going to like my books because fantasy, let alone the humorous stuff, is simply not their bag.

I like my stuff, and it took me at least 13 years to get to the point where I could write a story that I didn't rather wish somebody else had written. So while I see your predicament, I think I've probably reached the stage, now, where I'm confident enough to believe that my stuff is good, even if it doesn't hold a universal appeal. I would guess that every writer reaches that point eventually and then the reader/writer dichotomy doesn't needle so badly.

Cheers

MTM

Last edited by M T McGuire; 10-08-2012 at 06:11 AM. Reason: Left a massive chunk off! (Doh).
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:40 AM   #15
Anna Drake
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I try to write the kind of book I'd like to read. Then, I close my eyes, cross my fingers, and hope there are readers out there with my same taste in fiction. But before those like-minded readers can "enjoy my work," they have to find it. Now, there's a hurdle. There are a lot of books out there. But I'm gonna keep writing anyway. I think that's the wonder of today. There are outlets avaiable for us to publish what we create. Makes my day.
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