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When did you know your writing had improved? And what did it? (2 Viewers)

Llyralen

Senior Member
There's a factor I included with my chief protag that I don't usually harp on, but which also underpins a lot of his world: nothing he owns is new. He lives in an ever-dilapidating singlewide. Most of his clothes come from the thrift store. His grandparents did provide him a secondhand vehicle, though it's not outside the realm of possibility he winds up living out of it sooner or later.

He doesn't think he's doing bad. Objectively, he's scraping the bottom of the barrel, and even if most readers aren't in quite as dire a situation I imagine more can relate to that than the inverse.
It's more relatable and more interesting! I'm just going to tie a few thoughts together here. There is this wonderful Machiavelli quote that I was reading the other day where he said every evening he would take off his muddy shoes and the 'fear of poverty" would slip from him and he would study with the great minds of the past for 4 hours everyday and ask them questions. I thought about that phrase "the fear of poverty" and I thought it's always been there for me, a constant threat, making my actions and choices a bit more critical for me and my family than they would be for someone who can lose resources and time on whatever they choose and bounce back easily. Reading about others in those situations means more stacked stakes. Supposedly most Americans live paycheck to paycheck never getting ahead really so I think most Americans relate more to poverty.

A total tangent, I was talking to someone who was writing about nurses in the 1930's and they didn't understand about working in demanding jobs for pennies and this whole area of fascinating world-building was not present at all in the character's choices like I knew they very much would be at the time. I really do find it strange when people don't understand the degree of problem-solving involved in getting enough food, etc... and right now I'm thinking in gratitude of a few authors who made it their business to know what poverty was about when they didn't have to.

So keep on, as you will, of course. =)
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
A total tangent, I was talking to someone who was writing about nurses in the 1930's and they didn't understand about working in demanding jobs for pennies and this whole area of fascinating world-building was not present at all in the character's choices like I knew they very much would be at the time.

The Great Depression/Dust Bowl mindset.

The current short has similar. Bad working conditions, lousy pay, indifferent or antagonistic management, and the knowing that sheer dumb bad luck can come screaming from left field and knock you down a rung or two yet. It's also a major difference in mentality between the protag and his girlfriend. Different circumstances, different worlds.

It took a tough breed to weather that kind of thing. I like to think John's got at least a touch of that.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
The Great Depression/Dust Bowl mindset.

The current short has similar. Bad working conditions, lousy pay, indifferent or antagonistic management, and the knowing that sheer dumb bad luck can come screaming from left field and knock you down a rung or two yet. It's also a major difference in mentality between the protag and his girlfriend. Different circumstances, different worlds.

It took a tough breed to weather that kind of thing. I like to think John's got at least a touch of that.
Am I recognizing John from your LM short? His love interest wearing a "dark wool belted peacoat," was indicative of her mentality for a more sophisticated life-style. Selfishly hoping so, because your story left me wanting to read on. The clashing of values/circumstances. I can never get enough of it...
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Am I recognizing John from your LM short? His love interest wearing a "dark wool belted peacoat," was indicative of her mentality for a more sophisticated life-style. Selfishly hoping so, because your story left me wanting to read on. The clashing of values/circumstances. I can never get enough of it...

That'd be him. Pretty much everything I write has him as a protagonist.

Different girl, though.
 
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