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What is your biggest writing "sin" or writing fear? (1 Viewer)

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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Right now besides the obvious. Pacing and including action, a goal in every scene, conflict, and stakes. Sometimes I throw away scenes without putting nothing at stake. I am then afraid of holding the reader's attention. A good example of this is having a character not deny a desire of a character thus creating a roadblock for that character. Readers want danger, conflict, troublesome situations. The decision a character makes should almost always have consequences. I argue if you do not include these parts, maybe the story will be stillborn to readers because they must care for what happens. To read the next page and make them turn it, you need danger as well. I also had for my shortest story more attention-getting devices and wondered why those replies were spot on. I felt they were more heartfelt. After not reading it for 1 year. It reminds me that the story is full of action. By action I mean worry. It was my first published short story. It had little feedback and yet it clicked as in it worked. Also to have cause and effect you must have danger. A chain of events that creates more material for a longer story than a shorter story. Of course, when you decide to end the story you tie loose ends. But the central conflict must be important enough so as to write a long story, that complicates itself because of the different kinds of conflicts: society, character, inner, and the others if possible.
 
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Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
As an Indie my greatest nightmares are more macro than micro.
I have fears like writing a great book but having it sell like crap because I didn't write an exciting enough blurb, or the jacket was a turn-off, or I just don't have the marketing savvy to push that genre.
I feel like I create a pretty good product, but I have had books completely belly flop because of other factors.
Worse yet, I am often blind to things like cover design. With Calizona I couldn't see how ugly the cover was until it got panned on uglybookcovers.com.



I have a fear of bad reviews too. Nothing hurts worse then getting a string of great reviews, only to have it knocked down by a 1-star.
I had a few people who actually complained about the racy content in Calizona (drugs, hookers, guns, firetrucks...)
The whole time I'm thinking "What did you expect from an author named RALPH ROTTEN? Nursery rhymes?
Mebbe it was Jack Gantos who posted those reviews. I wouldn't blame him for hating me.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
If marketing is indeed is more important by all means sending free books to people to spread word of mouth is important. You need the reviews so give free kindle samples to someone with a novel in your genre, if Amazon allows you to promote your books. That way gradually you can reduce the underserved one-star review. Since writing a review is an art, get some writer to read it who is believable. You could say a writer who has been published with a novel who has a review will be weighted more. If you are worried about their reaction give them to people who could be helpful reviewers. Since I found a market for environmental dystopia. Think of reviews as personal recommendations. Send it to a magazine editor, they may be generous or curious. Also, social networking is common for businesses, promote your work with social networking. Supposedly in line with statistics here, a small business can fail with social networking being ignored. I got that from a cousin who studied business. I don't know if I'd include facebook in that group but since I never use it. I wondered if there were people who can buy advertisements and promote books within a select group. Advertising helps, maybe a reader's club in facebook can be found, as a suggestion to improve the visibility of your novel. I am also thinking amazon does harm indie, because there is too much competition. So maybe exploring other markets as well to sell your work could be helpful.

But anyways I am open to how people can reason my fears regarding writing. Specifically, the post that was above written by me. If sharing different fears helps writers cope with their situations, by all means, share them.
 

Guard Dog

Senior Member
I dunno what "writing sins" I have, other than the fact I'm writing at all.

But as far as fears or concerns go, it's when the time comes and I'm not just wrangling words, but having to learn about and deal with all that other stuff that Ralph and others have talked about.

And since I'm not very good at dealing with the arrogant and the pretentious, agents, editors, or publishers are gonna be a real challenge for me, and I know it.

Force me to deal with a stupid one, especially in person, and there could be jail time involved.





G.D.
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
My fears in writing are time lines. Most of what I write happens over a period of time, so I am almost fanatical about when events occur. I can't have someone who was ten in 1946, for example, having children in 2015. I also try to incorporate historical events at times - like someone escaping the potato famine in Ireland in 1902, when it happened in 1845. Makes me nuts! Hopefully I have no sins in writing. Unless I misspell "potatoe." (Sorry Dan Quayle)
 

kaminoshiyo

WF Veterans
Conversations and social relationships...

The social aspect of characters in a story is the part I struggle with the most- particularly those things that are not contributing to some greater plot, action, or event in the story. I have trouble with the casual back and forth between people and providing that display of everyday humanity. A recent story I wrote had barely any dialogue or interaction between the characters and I realized a story feels a lot emptier without it. I'm clinically quiet and timid in real life so the social aspect is something that's a bit foreign to me and it scares me to write about it a little because it always feels like I'm pretending to know about something I don't.
 

kaminoshiyo

WF Veterans
As an Indie my greatest nightmares are more macro than micro.
I have fears like writing a great book but having it sell like crap because I didn't write an exciting enough blurb, or the jacket was a turn-off, or I just don't have the marketing savvy to push that genre.
I feel like I create a pretty good product, but I have had books completely belly flop because of other factors.
Worse yet, I am often blind to things like cover design. With Calizona I couldn't see how ugly the cover was until it got panned on uglybookcovers.com.



I have a fear of bad reviews too. Nothing hurts worse then getting a string of great reviews, only to have it knocked down by a 1-star.
I had a few people who actually complained about the racy content in Calizona (drugs, hookers, guns, firetrucks...)
The whole time I'm thinking "What did you expect from an author named RALPH ROTTEN? Nursery rhymes?
Mebbe it was Jack Gantos who posted those reviews. I wouldn't blame him for hating me.

Ralph Rotten is an AWESOME pen name, lmao :highly_amused:
 

Solus

Senior Member
My sin would be that when I write, I just pick a concept that intrigues me, and then I run with it. This would not be a sin in itself, however, I commit a mistake while doing this, which is painting myself into a corner. I write of things I have no clue of, especially extreme situations where I have no idea what an authentic reaction would be for the characters. (sidenote: knowing what characters should feel and think are probably what I am worst at when it comes to writing, besides as you above stated, pacing)
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
Editor reject and not get published.

Forget about being skeptical about my writing skill and story. Those two are my biggest fears, because the time I spent on them won't return.
 

Guard Dog

Senior Member
Editor reject and not get published.

Forget about being skeptical about my writing skill and story. Those two are my biggest fears, because the time I spent on them won't return.

KP, I've spent over 30 years developing a story that I may not live long enough to get finished... and even once it is, it may never get published.

And if that's how it ends up, that's fine. I still don't think the first second of the time I've spent on is wasted.

And I don't want the time back. None of it. The time I spent doing a lot of other things, yes, but not that.

The effort it's self, and everything it's brought with it have already been worth far more than I ever expected to get out of it when I started.

But then, as I've already said many times before, I guess I'm just weird.



G.D.
 

fschutt

Senior Member
My biggest fear is the Dunning Kruger effect - right now my writing is going well (besides procrastination) - too well. I don't know if my writing sucks or not or if I'm overwriting or using fancy words just for the sake of it. In my eyes I think that my writing is good, but thinking this way is dangerous, if not narcisstic. If you can't see how a story can be improved then something is off. On the other hand, I often don't see what I could improve, besides changing the wording slightly.

Also, fleshing out characters. Some people can just write 100k like it's nothing. If I can hit 25k, I'm like "that's it, I've said everything I needed to say". The most difficult thing is translating the characters as they are in my head onto the paper. But I'm never sure if I write the right amount of things - if I write too much action I end up with an Arnold Schwarzenegger character, if I write too much emotion I end up with Princess Peach, if I write too much world building I end up with Anna Karenina.

Someone once said (I don't remember where I heard this, it was about art discussion): When beginners start out in a certain task (art or music or writing, etc.) they often think they have "style", but in reality they just sploosh random paint strokes on a canvas and pretentiously call it "style". True artists learn their craft properly first, and then over hours and hours and hours their true style emerges. For example, Picasso learnt to draw realistically before he drew abstract - he could draw realistic persons if he wanted to, but he explicitly chose not to, which defined his style. But he didn't just go out smashing paint on a canvas and calling it "style".

So my fear is that I think I have "style", but I actually don't or I have beginners luck. However, in writing, I'm not sure how objectively you can judge something.. in art you often have objective measures like "is the perspective correct, is the shape readable, etc.", in programming you have very objective measures like the execution time of your program - which can be used to "measure" how good or bad your craft is. But in writing? How is good writing defined? Of course, repeading "I said, then he said, then I said" 20 times on a page can define bad writing, but what defines good writing?

On the other hand I think, "well shit, let's just roll with it" - however good or bad a story is, in the end having a finished novel is better than theorizing about how good you could make it, but never actually finishing it due to constant editing or fear of making mistakes.
 

JustRob

FoWF
WF Veterans
Writing something that others might enjoy but never giving them the opportunity to read it, or even having something to write that they might enjoy but not bothering to write it. I have never actually wanted to be a writer and I fear that others might see that as a sin.

Back in 2009 I wrote a short story just to get the annoying thing out of my head, my only piece of fiction writing then. It was almost two years before I eventually gave it to someone to read because he asked to. He was a university lecturer in English literature and he not only enjoyed it but told me that he saw potential in it for a longer story. Motivated by this I wrote an entire novel but still felt that it was just for my own entertainment. He read that as well and enjoyed it even more. Eventually I joined WF to discover whether I am denying others something by not writing and also by not giving others the opportunity to read what I do.

I am unlikely to suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect or the opposite impostor syndrome because it doesn't matter to me whether my writing is good or bad, only that others enjoy reading it if they do. Equally it doesn't matter to me whether my disco dancing is hilariously bad or amazingly good because people evidently find it extremely entertaining and even plead for me to go back on the dance floor when I stagger off it exhausted. I enjoy just being me but I am never sure how much of that I should share with others.

My advice to others here is not to doubt your abilities yourself but simply accept that others may and then convince them to accept that they were wrong. A psychiatrist once told me that I would never be the life and soul of the party but now I can fill an empty dance floor with happy people in minutes. Discover your weaknesses and make them your strengths.
 
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