How do you know if your writing is any good?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Ryan
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by Ryan » June 14th, 2012, 4:09 pm

Sharing your creative works is terrifying. Period. Even when there were thirty people at my most recent reading staring at me and laughing at my words, I'd have a tinge of self-doubt. I've never been so insecure in all my life until I started writing and SHARING! Now I know why so many musicians and artists are total wrecks who drink and smoke too much.

A few of your subject matters on your blog were very personal too so that makes it double-time. Like someone else said, it's pretty subjective. I happened to be bored to death by the Life of Pi while a good friend was raving about it. I know friends and family who have had my book for months now and not said anything and some people ripped through it a night. The few times I've visited your blog there is a lot of heart, humor, and voice in the posts. That stuff can't be taught and that is GOOD!
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.
http://www.withoutrain.com/

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CharleeVale
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by CharleeVale » June 14th, 2012, 4:17 pm

I was just thinking about this the other day. I was getting ready to send out queries and a writer friend of mine said "Who do you think your writing is like?" And I said "........"

I really value my work. I really like my story. After all, if I didn't like it, I wouldn't have written it! But I truly don't believe you can be the best judge of your own work You're too biased.

CV

Claudie
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by Claudie » June 14th, 2012, 5:39 pm

CharleeVale wrote:I was just thinking about this the other day. I was getting ready to send out queries and a writer friend of mine said "Who do you think your writing is like?" And I said "........"
^When I'm asked that question I go all-pretentious on people and say "No one's. It's my writing."
"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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Mira
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by Mira » June 24th, 2012, 10:22 pm

You guys are fantastic. I've been reading these as I go along, but I haven't had a chance to come back and thank everyone for the feedback.

I really appreciate everyone's wisdom, and Hillsy's analysis, which had my head spinning. And Ryan, you're right. Because some things I write are personal, that does make it double-time. And thank you so much for the nice feedback. It warmed my heart. :D

Thanks so much everyone, this was really great!

robertpiazza
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by robertpiazza » July 7th, 2012, 6:47 am

It’s difficult to judge my own writing objectively. Maybe tend to think our writing is worse than it really is. Maybe i tend to think it’s better than it really is.

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LurkingVirologist
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 10th, 2012, 1:16 am

First off, been some great responses already. You asked a very broad question, but I'll give it a go...

For me, it's critical to break down big, vague questions into small, specific questions. I can't really hope to come up with an objective answer to "am I any good as a writer?" However, I can usually come up with a pretty good answer to questions like:

1) is that sentence smooth or chunky?
2) are there any redundancies that I can take out of that paragraph?
3) does that dialogue work when I say it out loud?
4) did I telegraph that too much? not enough?
5) was that metaphor supposed to flow seamlessly, or clash violently, with the subject matter?

So instead of trying to edit or critique my whole manuscript, I just worry about editing and critiquing one tiny piece at a time. If I can polish up all those little bits, then I'm on the right track. I'm a bit agnostic as to whether one can 'teach' storytelling, but assuming you've got a tale that's worth telling, then most of the workload is going to be as a wordsmith anyway. For me, the big picture stuff just isn't worth the time and existential torment, at least not very often. Having said that, does it really matter? I'm not being rhetorical. If you are a crappy writer, but enjoy the process, will you stop? If you are a great writer, but hate every minute of it, do you really want to make a living that way?
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

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Mira
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by Mira » July 11th, 2012, 12:54 am

Lurking, some good thoughts! Thanks

Thanks to you, too, Robert.

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Rick Daley
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by Rick Daley » July 12th, 2012, 1:35 pm

I request critiques from a diverse group of people, and if the general feedback is positive, that's as good a sign as any. My critters range from kids to adults (my books are MG), and some are other writers but not all...reader input is just as important as writer input, and decidedly different. The writers I crit with range from MG writers to romance and literary writers. The literary writers may hate something the MG writers love, and I take all feedback with a grain of salt...but if everyone loves or hates something in particular, I go with the flow and revise accordingly.

Don't be afraid to share your work...just don't be hurt if someone doesn't like it. If you try to please everyone, no one will like it.

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sldwyer
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by sldwyer » July 20th, 2012, 2:14 pm

One criteria is if they ask to read more. Granted the total package may not be the greatest as far as technical ability, but that can come with experience and great editing. It's the story that is important. If that is coherent and interesting, takes the reader from the first page to the last, then the writing is good- maybe not great, but you told a story someone wanted to keep reading. The greatness comes as you edit. Don't be afraid to let others read what you have written - you can only learn from the comments.
Good luck and keep writing

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Mira
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Re: How do you know if your writing is any good?

Post by Mira » July 21st, 2012, 7:10 pm

Thanks, Rick and Thanks, SLD! :)

Good stuff to think about!

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