Choice of improving - Page 3


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Thread: Choice of improving

  1. #21
    Really it's both, however you can pay (rather a lot, probably) to have the work edited. You cannot pay to have a good story.

    It's in your interests to work diligently at both and there's no reason why you can't.

  2. #22
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    Which do you feel you can do better? Judging from what you've said, maybe focus on SPaG more. If you can plot out a story pretty well and can convey theme but you think your grammar's not good, then that's a good indicator on what you need to focus on.

  3. #23
    I agree that spelling and grammar is secondary.

  4. #24
    Writing is the craft of effectively telling a story. Everyone has a story to tell, but the thing that sets the greats apart from the rest is how well they use the tools available to them. Yes, spelling and grammar are the most basic of those tools, but the way you construct paragraphs, portray dialogue, handle pace, and all the rest is far more technical (and far more important) than just the plot you're trying to tell.

    In short, a story isn't a story unless it has the proper technical foundation.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    Writing is the craft of effectively telling a story. Everyone has a story to tell, but the thing that sets the greats apart from the rest is how well they use the tools available to them. Yes, spelling and grammar are the most basic of those tools, but the way you construct paragraphs, portray dialogue, handle pace, and all the rest is far more technical (and far more important) than just the plot you're trying to tell.

    In short, a story isn't a story unless it has the proper technical foundation.
    It's why there's no such thing as show and tell, only degrees of telling.

    But it's not just the tools, but the sociocultural aspect too that needs mastering. Dickens' "Marley was dead" uses a relational clause and portrays the most basic method of telling. To the inexperienced, summary instances like that will be an example of 'bad telling', yet tie into the next part "to begin with", he shifts schema-reinforcing material (what's known to the reader) into schema-refreshing (what's unknown): Marley was dead... to begin with. He turns everything about death on its head with a very good example of when to use basic telling. Hauntings aren't so huge for our time, but back when it was written...? Perfection. One sentence, just one opening sentence, and Dickens has the reader in his palm. And it's this twist of schema-reinforcing v schema-refreshing and other tools that most times makes a classic novel: Wells and War of the Worlds (English superiority being turned on its head at the height of British power), Animal Farm... Nineteen Eighty-Four...

  6. #26
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Personally I can plow through a poorly written book if the plot and story are good enough. I would say focus on plot, story, and characters first. A well written story can always fall flat do to cardboard cutouts being passed off as 'characters'. A poorly written story with great characters can truly shine with a little polish and elbow grease.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  7. #27
    I'd say it all comes down to what stage your story is in and what steps you're taking. The draft phase varies for everyone, but I pressure myself to avoid becoming distracted. I commonly impair myself by spending a ton of time on the same scene or chapter of what I intended to be a quick rough copy. Not even so much as far as SGaP goes because it comes naturally to me, and it's a habit I think most people can pick up. More so, I try to work out all my story flaws in the moment only to realize one... or seven... "perfected" chapters later and against my "perfected" outline, there's a plot hole or my story would be well off taking another route. This is why I'm just an aspiring alcoholic- author...

    If you're working on your draft I'd tell you to focus on content because it's easier to solve SGaP issues than plot issues. For future's sake, keep SGaP in mind as you work. If you've realized any plot holes or you'd like to implement changes, move forward solving those as soon as possible, but unless it's absolutely game changing, rewrite things in previous chapters later on.

    If you're talking about a piece of work you want to declare completely finished, both are equally important in my opinion. Even in the process of finalizing- say you're sending it to a copy editor, it's courteous to have cleaned up your manuscript to the best of your ability. But it's not just courteous because cleaning it up yourself will help you develop your SGaP skills. There are writers who solely rely on proofreaders and editors to do that aspect of their work for them, but I don't see value in it personally. I see a professional editor as someone who adds a final layer of polish to an already fairly clean piece.

    Now, if you go sending an unedited piece of work which has SGaP problems and plot holes in to a publishing company and expect their editors to solve it before they hand you a book deal, or for them to look past those errors and see only diamond in the rough, hidden genius... good luck.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Personally I can plow through a poorly written book if the plot and story are good enough. I would say focus on plot, story, and characters first. A well written story can always fall flat do to cardboard cutouts being passed off as 'characters'. A poorly written story with great characters can truly shine with a little polish and elbow grease.
    I wish I could read poorly edited, awful SPaG stories... but I just can't. Closest I'm going to get is when the bad writing is in-character--like in Flowers for Algernon. Otherwise... I just can't. It physically, mentally drains me to suffer through a really poorly written manuscript. Nits here and there aren't so bad. I'm not a true blue grammarian--especially with nitpicky things like "Should a hyphen/parenthesis/comma be used to set off this particular phrase?" I play with wiggle room on that sort of stuff.

    Although, if a person has such a poorly written story, and still needs heaps of story advice, the best thing is to post a synopsis (as detailed as it needs to be to get the question answered). Much easier to proofread one post
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

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