What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Ryan
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Ryan » January 25th, 2012, 6:50 pm

1. Internet: I can't seem to log off and write.
Totally!

I've been purposely going to places without internet to write at night. It's a hole in the wall bar up the street with specials on Bourbon on Tuesdays. Perfect situation! Even then, in the middle of a revision or when I have to stop and actually work through something, I find myself clicking on Firefox like a true addict.

A lot of my book was written in my van in the middle of nowhere miles and miles away from internet and cell. Still, I'd try clicking on Firefox. Crazy.

I wish I could work more linearly sometimes, but my collage style of getting stuff done sometimes helps my projects too.
My love of fly fishing and surfing connects me to rivers and the ocean. Time with water reminds me to pursue those silly little streams of thought that run rampant in my head.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Claudie » January 25th, 2012, 11:42 pm

Falls Apart wrote:It's only three years, so it's not that bad ;) And I've worked on three other projects at the same time. Thanks for the advice, though; I probably would've gone insane if this had been my only project, even though it wasn't as long a time as it might've sounded.
Oh, three years and other projects. You're good, then. In fact, it sounds a lot like what I've been doing! :D
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Nicole R » January 26th, 2012, 1:36 pm

Mine is deciding what NOT to put on the page. You know those amazing scenes that are so powerful to read because of what the characters DON'T say or do? Where they think one thing, but without any written indication the readers knows they really feel the exact opposite?

Yeah...I want to be able to write more scenes like THAT! ;)

I heard an interview with Kate Winslet once, and she talked about an experience where a director asked her to say a line of dialogue or take some action according to the script. She turned to him and said, "I can say it better with just my eyes."

I'm still trying to figure out how to get the written equivalent of that.

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Mira
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Mira » January 26th, 2012, 5:17 pm

Like Trixie, self-doubt.

Self-doubt, self-doubt, self-doubt.

Good question.

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Aimée » January 27th, 2012, 8:43 pm

I definitely have a motivation problem... I wouldn't call it writer's block, but it has similar symptoms and effects. I just can't seem to force myself to sit down and actually type!

And a writing weakness, when I've actually got words on the page? I tend to make my characters' negative traits a little too strong... Almost everyone has told me that my characters can be mean and selfish. I want them to have negative traits, but I want the readers to like the characters too!

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Rebecca Kiel
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Rebecca Kiel » January 29th, 2012, 1:24 pm

My writing weakness would perhaps be spending too much time thinking about my writing weaknesses as weaknesses! We NEED to be aware of our shortcomings or areas for growth if we are to create the best work we can. Perhaps a good spin on this would be, "What do you do well?"

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Sommer Leigh » January 30th, 2012, 9:09 am

Considering I'm having a crisis of faith right now, I've figured out what my weakness is.

I'm terrible about second-guessing myself. Is this the best plot? The best set of events? The best side characters? Is it the best or just something neat I thought up on the fly? How do I know I've outlined the best set of events?

These questions make me crazy. I'm currently returning to my outline to pick it apart because I can't be sure I made the right choices.
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Walker
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Walker » February 1st, 2012, 10:18 am

Sign me in as part of the self-doubt crew. It was so crippling back when I was in my twenties that I never finished anything, and gave up writing for more than ten years. Now that I am older and wiser, I am not so hyper-critical, but I still have many days where I read what I've written and say, "This is crap." But I keep writing, because sooner or later I'll have a day where I say, "This is pretty good!"

A more technical problem is description, particularly of setting. I'm not a flowery writer and sometimes I struggle to put some color into my descriptions.

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by amandalinehan » February 4th, 2012, 5:44 pm

I had a beta reader say that I kept slipping into the past perfect tense ("they had entered the woods") when the present tense was perfectly suitable (they entered the woods).

I thought it was interesting she picked that up because I don't know that I ever would have! I'm not sure why I want to add "had" before my verbs, but I guess it's just a writing tic I have. :)

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MattLarkin
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by MattLarkin » February 4th, 2012, 6:27 pm

amandalinehan wrote:I had a beta reader say that I kept slipping into the past perfect tense ("they had entered the woods") when the present tense was perfectly suitable (they entered the woods).

I thought it was interesting she picked that up because I don't know that I ever would have! I'm not sure why I want to add "had" before my verbs, but I guess it's just a writing tic I have. :)
That's the kind of thing, if you force yourself to self-edit long enough, it should become less common among your writing habits. Good luck ;)
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amandalinehan
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by amandalinehan » February 5th, 2012, 10:44 am

MattLarkin wrote:That's the kind of thing, if you force yourself to self-edit long enough, it should become less common among your writing habits. Good luck ;)
Thanks. :) Yeah, since she told me that I'm already a little more aware of when it happens (and it's at least something to look for when I'm revising/editing). Nice to have beta readers!

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by writersink » February 7th, 2012, 5:55 am

Falls Apart wrote: Perfectionism. I've been working on my current WIP since I was fourteen. I just keep going back and deleting everything, then rewriting it, then going back again... I wish I could just be happy with what I write. No, scratch that; I wish I could write something I'd be happy with.
I've been working on my WIP for a while now. The idea first came to me when I was like eight, but I've chopped and changed it so much that is something completely different now. I'm on my 6th draft but I wouldn't call me a perfectionist. It was just so crap when I started it I NEEDED all those years to turn it into something half decent. For example, my 1st draft = 120,000 words. My last draft = 72,000 words. That's right. 48,000 words of rubbish.

Or maybe I am a perfectionist?

Is perfectionism really THAT bad? I mean, in the end wouldn't you prefer making sure you've polished your manuscript until it can't be polished any further or would you rather you sent it out too early and then get rejections left, right and centre. As long as you are actually improving your manuscript each time then I don't think being a perfectionist is a weakness.

Or it could just be a really good one that makes your writing better, not worse.

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MattLarkin
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by MattLarkin » February 7th, 2012, 8:14 am

writersink wrote:Is perfectionism really THAT bad? I mean, in the end wouldn't you prefer making sure you've polished your manuscript until it can't be polished any further or would you rather you sent it out too early and then get rejections left, right and centre. As long as you are actually improving your manuscript each time then I don't think being a perfectionist is a weakness.

Or it could just be a really good one that makes your writing better, not worse.
It's not really perfectionism if you're making substantial changes. If it's going to be rejected everywhere, it may not be ready for publication--in which case improving it is not perfectionism, it's craft. When we talk about perfectionism as a flaw, we talk about the danger that comes when you continue tweaking indefinitely and never publish because of it. There is no objective point at which your manuscript "can't be polished any further." And that's the problem, and the reason you have to know when the changes you're making are no longer worth the time it takes to re-read the novel.

A finished project should be very polished and professional. But at some point, you have to say, okay, it is finished. Some people say if you ever find yourself changing back things you changed in a previous revision, think real hard about if you need any more revision.
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Falls Apart
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by Falls Apart » February 7th, 2012, 8:29 am

The reason I think perfectionism is a flaw, for me, is that I can't seem to get the whole "don't get it right, get it written" thing through my head. It wouldn't be so bad if I just made a copy and edited it a lot. Instead, what I always seem to do is write 30k words, then decide that's all trash and start over again. I do think it improves each time, but it would probably be better for me to be able to pinpoint the problem and fix it, rather than scrapping a month's worth of work each time.

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Post by writersink » February 7th, 2012, 10:02 am

Falls Apart wrote:The reason I think perfectionism is a flaw, for me, is that I can't seem to get the whole "don't get it right, get it written" thing through my head. It wouldn't be so bad if I just made a copy and edited it a lot. Instead, what I always seem to do is write 30k words, then decide that's all trash and start over again. I do think it improves each time, but it would probably be better for me to be able to pinpoint the problem and fix it, rather than scrapping a month's worth of work each time.
I'd recommend getting a CP (preferably someone you don't know.) If you can't pinpoint the problem, why not let a pair of fresh eyes try instead?

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