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Writer Confessions (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I thought it would be interesting, and perhaps cathartic, to confess our inner most secrets, things that may make people think twice about your credentials. This is an exercise in complete honesty and transparency. Here's my confession:

I haven't read many books and have never read classics. In my teens I read about 10 Michael Moorcock books. This was followed by Lord of the Rings and of course, The Hobbit. After a long hiatus I stumbled upon Clive Barker. Of his work I've read The Books of Blood, Damnation Game, Weaveworld and Cabal. After another long hiatus, I picked up Dean Koontz and read three Odd Thomas novels. All in all, with the occasional book here and there, I've probably read around 35 books, many of which I never finished. The main body of my reading is my own writing.
 

Sinister

Senior Member
  • I hardly ever finish any of my writing. I conceptualize it, make a fairly strong beginning, know roughly 40% of the events that take place and never finish it. I read far more than I write and the little I write and complete usually amounts to short stories. I'd say I've only ever finished maybe 7 or 8 short stories and zero books.
  • I started writing in third or fourth grade and all my works from back then were HIGHLY derivative. Very monkey see, monkey do. My first original and only published work was in second grade where my story "The Alligator vs The Crocodile" made it into the elementary school publication. I mostly use the craft as a way to cope, relax and organize my thoughts.
  • Joining this forum is my last ditch effort to give my dream of becoming a published author some air. I don't care about being popular or widely-read. But my bucket list clearly reads: item #2: Publish a written work.
  • Most of my work is based off of other writers and their works that I admire and music. I have a particularly bad ear for lyrics in music. I generally only hear what I expect to hear, which results in a random element known as "mondegreen", which I will incorporate into my writing to give it a surreal quality.
  • Some of my best work is done with prompts, which when not handed to me on a platter, I will invent, myself.
That's pretty much all I can think of.

-Sin
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I DNF'd (did not finish) American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I always feel a sense of - I'm not sure what - failure? Inadequacy? Like everyone is in on something good and I've been left out, maybe? I just found it very rambly and long and kind of tedious. Neil Gaiman seems like a decent guy but I think he might be a little overhyped as a writer.
 

Sinister

Senior Member
I DNF'd (did not finish) American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I always feel a sense of - I'm not sure what - failure? Inadequacy? Like everyone is in on something good and I've been left out, maybe? I just found it very rambly and long and kind of tedious. Neil Gaiman seems like a decent guy but I think he might be a little overhyped as a writer.
It's not just you. I couldn't finish Anansi Boys.

Blimey, what were you expecting? To be the new literary sensation at the age of 10?:)
Well, it's weird. You know how you write something and think to yourself: "This is great and I like where it's going?" It's just a funny thing looking back on it years later and realizing what absolute trash it was. I mean, it felt so good to write, at the time. I sometimes feel that same feeling when I write to this day. Shows you can't judge by that feeling. Really brings into question your opinion of your own work. Brought out a lot of self-doubt that I feel as a writer even now.

-Sin
 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
While I have nothing but respect for Tolkien, I find his books extremely boring and could never finish any of them.
Me too. Actually I don’t care for fantasy in general, but got roped into reading the Game of Thrones saga by the wife of my best friend. It was ok... I guess, but anything with magic in it seems like cheating.
I don’t like Melville or many of the classics either. Shakespeare is a struggle due to the common language of the time.
I never got all the way through Atlas Shrugged- tho much repetition and the book is a frigging door stop.
I get ticked off when a story ends with then a miracle happened, or it was all a dream.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
I've almost completely given up on reading new fiction. The stuff I'll read now (and finish) are usually books I found in my twenties. Now and again I'll buy a new work by an author I like, but even that's a gamble.

My record for reading books to completion is atrocious. Mostly this comes from having interests either outside or tangential to mainstream fiction. Those few books I can find on subjects interesting to me are usually self-published and of dubious quality. Sometimes I'll make it to the end, but more frequently not.

I don't care about advice from famous writers.

I believe that school systems teaching 'classics' has put more kids off reading than videogames. If a kid likes reading pulp adventure, being disappointed and thinking he's somehow underachieving because he doesn't go for Shakespeare or Joyce or important authors is the surest way to set him on other pursuits. Because plainly, reading isn't a game for peasants.

Incidentally, a significant chunk of literature deemed classic is either overrated or garbage.

I have no patience for readers who hunt for significance in every line. Sometimes the damn house is just painted blue because it was on sale at the hardware store. It bears no significance whatsoever to the mental state of the occupants.

I will not read anything where the author's politics are front and center. Left, right, way out on the margins...I don't care. If I wanted partisan screeching I'd turn on the news.

Free-verse poetry is just lazy prose. I don't care for most modern poetry in general. My thoughts on free-verse cannot be expressed in polite company.

Pretty much nobody outside my apartment knows I write. I'm not proud of it, and I don't really enjoy trying to explain either the plots or the characters to people around me. If I ever amount to anything, most of my family and friends won't know unless they figure it out for themselves.

***

Eh...enough whining for today. Back to the dumpster.
 

Sinister

Senior Member
I don't read as much new fiction as I'd like. Most of my favorite authors have passed away. Umberto Eco, Colin Dexter... It's kind of depressing. I do love a lot of Jeff Vandermeer's stuff.

And I agree with JBF. A lot of the "classical literature" is too slow or dense to be forced on new readers. It's like forcing theoretical physics down the throats of people who don't even really like math. And I had TONS of professors who tried to pass work off as all about sex in University, when I'm not even sure the professors were reading the same books that I was. Now things are being reinterpreted to be about class or race. These things that are being dredged from classical works say more about current times or the minds of the academia that read them now than what they were originally intended to speak about. Which is fine, you can always learn new things from old works. But at some point the analysis decays into pareidolia, due to how strenuously they're being examined. And at the expense of trying to find something new to examine, students who have never read the works before are being encouraged to miss the point of the work.

Another confession that I'd like to add(Possible spoilers for Harry Potter readers):

I really loved the Harry Potter series when it began. The first four books are amazing fantasy literature. The fifth and sixth book were okay, not stellar. By the final book, I think J.K. Rowling was fed up with the series and was killing off characters rather than resolving her own plot lines. The series just did not stick the landing for me. Another lesson in paying consistent effort in any series of works.

And my final confession:
I tend to think that short stories can hold more significance, tell a tighter and more bespoke message and on the whole be more enjoyable than books.

-Sin
 
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Cephus

Senior Member
Me too. Actually I don’t care for fantasy in general, but got roped into reading the Game of Thrones saga by the wife of my best friend. It was ok... I guess, but anything with magic in it seems like cheating.
I don’t like Melville or many of the classics either. Shakespeare is a struggle due to the common language of the time.
I never got all the way through Atlas Shrugged- tho much repetition and the book is a frigging door stop.
I get ticked off when a story ends with then a miracle happened, or it was all a dream.
I actively dislike most fantasy, mostly because I've read a lot of really bad fantasy in my life, where the authors simply wrote themselves into a corner with magic and then, instead of fixing it, just altered how their magic systems worked to get them out of it. In-universe consistency is really, really important and a lot of people do it really, really badly. If your work doesn't hang together and feel cohesive, you're doing something really, really wrong and there are a lot of people, even big-name, traditionally published authors, who just aren't good at it.

It's why I don't read fantasy anymore.
 

Sinister

Senior Member
One last addition(I know, I keep coming back with more things to say, but people keep raising great points), I despise the works of Ayn Rand. I'm as political as I'm not political. I'm as conservative as I am liberal. I'm a person of balance, which is to say that every time I see an extreme, I head in the opposite direction for the time being. Her Objectivism gives me hives. I understand why she developed it and I have nothing but sympathy for the circumstances she was driven towards. But it's definitely the cause of the argument to moderation fallacy.

Also, I miss Terry Pratchett. What a wonderful and colorful wit that we had and lost.

-Sin
 

KatPC

Senior Member
I thought it would be interesting, and perhaps cathartic, to confess our inner most secrets, things that may make people think twice about your credentials. This is an exercise in complete honesty and transparency. Here's my confession:

I haven't read many books and have never read classics. In my teens I read about 10 Michael Moorcock books. This was followed by Lord of the Rings and of course, The Hobbit. After a long hiatus I stumbled upon Clive Barker. Of his work I've read The Books of Blood, Damnation Game, Weaveworld and Cabal. After another long hiatus, I picked up Dean Koontz and read three Odd Thomas novels. All in all, with the occasional book here and there, I've probably read around 35 books, many of which I never finished. The main body of my reading is my own writing.
"... things that may make people think twice about your credentials."
I like this thread.

I have never read enough, struggling, blindly in hope that my creations will be accepted, wishing to give a glimpse, just a small one, to a reader, the chaos that swirls inside. I cower at many here, because simply, many of you are much better than I. Regardless of background, the lack of reading, the folding of unfinished books and writes, the abilities of many, many here deserve my full respect and ear. Some of us here, may dream that our story, our heart and soul, can capture millions of readers, throwing away all those years of doubts that 'You are good enough,' you can finally say 'You should always trust in yourself,' but, for me, this is all but a fantasy, for I know where I will stand in this world, with my stories, with my books.

I will forever hold this fear, yet it is this fear that drives me to be open, to want to learn, to do all that I can to make my stories the best I can and if I fail, which is what I feel, then I can at least say; 'let's enjoy the journey.'

Recovering Amateur
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Link from the engineers' forum, the physics & math forum:

'Actually guys, my equation Y = x + e (m/m) for which I won the Einstein Prize, also my 3 year blog-diary, building own house while sailing Pacific ocean using trig in a canoe? I made this all up. I am an 83 year old grandmother in a care home, you pricks. Yours, the chief moderator.'
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I read quite a few classics, but I don't anymore. However, books like Swiss Family Robinson, Little Women, most Shakespeare, any Clemens, Sherlock Holmes (is that considered classic? LOL), many others. I like the occasional pulp or juvenile ... I might read a Doc Savage each year, or a Hardy Boys or Three Investigators.

For several years, I've read two or three Tarzan a year, to the point where I've almost completed a lifetime goal of finishing the series. Burroughs was one of the first "world builders", and his imagination was on a different path for his day. But I can write circles around him, as can many writers on WF. His technical skills were basic, and he relied almost exclusively on coincidence to resolve crisis. The book I'm reading now was the last published during his lifetime, and was turned down by publishers. He finally published it himself. His earlier work was his best. After a while he started writing the same couple of stories over and over again with minor variation.

Confession? I wrote interrogation scenes in two books where the MC interrogator used the same tactic to get the prisoner to start talking. My shame. At the time I didn't think it made a difference, since not many people might read both books. It was a bad decision even at that. Now that prospects are possibly looking up, I recently went back and changed the scene in one of the books so they're unique.

That's one of the challenges of writing similar scenes ... coming up with ideas to make them unique ... and it's a challenge I've seen even name authors fail. Back to Burroughs--he could write battle scenes over and over again and make them live on their own. It was an important talent for his subject matter.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Inclined to agree about the classics putting more readers off than video games. Like joined-up, cursive handwriting, it is long overdue a rethink. Classics take time to prepare for. Stephen King was the author that seeded in me the desire to write; English Lit classes were the reason I put it off for decades.

Of course, some may say that's one point to English Lit.;)
 

Sinister

Senior Member
I cannot handwrite at all. I absolutely cannot manage cursive. But my printing looks like illegible scratches. I have a terrible tremor in my dominant hand and a pretty bad one in my non-dominant hand. You've no idea how much I despised on-demand writing assignments. Bleh, pure hell. I actually envy authors and writers who've sat down at a diner with a notepad or napkins and wrote out a story or outline. First of all, you can think creatively in public, which might as well be first-order sorcery. But being able to take your writing ability with you by only having a pen and notepad...what a thing.

-Sin
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I cannot handwrite at all. I absolutely cannot manage cursive. But my printing looks like illegible scratches. I have a terrible tremor in my dominant hand and a pretty bad one in my non-dominant hand. You've no idea how much I despised on-demand writing assignments. Bleh, pure hell. I actually envy authors and writers who've sat down at a diner with a notepad or napkins and wrote out a story or outline. First of all, you can think creatively in public, which might as well be first-order sorcery. But being able to take your writing ability with you by only having a pen and notepad...what a thing.

-Sin
Hand writing is something I always enjoyed but 20 years ago, I began to lose sensation in my fingers and now I can barely hold a pen let alone write anything intelligible.
 
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