Pretty good is not gonna cut it

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
danielle100
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by danielle100 » June 1st, 2011, 3:28 pm

Y'all know how to make a new girl feel welcome. So glad I decided to post here. You have truly inspired me today. Something I really needed. Great to meet you all and looking forward to being a part of NB's forum. :)

xoxo

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dios4vida
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by dios4vida » June 1st, 2011, 6:35 pm

danielle100 wrote:Y'all know how to make a new girl feel welcome. So glad I decided to post here. You have truly inspired me today. Something I really needed. Great to meet you all and looking forward to being a part of NB's forum. :)

xoxo
So glad to have helped! The Bransforums are a truly special place for us writing nerds. Just watch out for the parties - we tend to have some seedy characters show up. Last Christmas Cthuhlu Santa and some drunk reindeer wrecked Nathan's virtual office. (We throw virtual parties in the procrastination forum where our goal is to wreck Nathan's virtual office - make sure to pop in next holiday!)
Cookie wrote:Also, that post that Sierra posting is amazing. That has to be one of the most inspiring letters I have ever read. It also helped me through that phase.
You're looking at this all wrong! Pretty Good is GREAT. Especially if you aren't done.
I never thought of it that way. And I call myself an optimist. Geesh.
First of all, I second Cookie. That post was amazing, Sierra! It's saved to my computer for when I get the Am I Crazies next.

Next, I second Cookie again. Sommer, you are amazing. Way to take something we all struggle with and make it into something to inspire us. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by J. T. SHEA » June 1st, 2011, 6:46 pm

Oh goody! A pity party and we're all invited. Just change the '90s music to '70s and you're me, Danielle. Well, you'd also need a small operation...and you'd have to bump off your husband and son...

My situation is closer to Dios4vida's, yet I write even slower than her. And I do wish Neil Gaiman's elves WOULD come in the night and turn my jumbled notes into Chapter Nine.

So I second all comments, particularly Sommer's. Pretty good ain't a bad start.

Brenda, Cthuhlu Santa just needs better PR, and those reindeer were only tired and emotional.

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 1st, 2011, 7:09 pm

dios4vida wrote: First of all, I second Cookie. That post was amazing, Sierra! It's saved to my computer for when I get the Am I Crazies next.

Next, I second Cookie again. Sommer, you are amazing. Way to take something we all struggle with and make it into something to inspire us. :)
Awe, thanks :-) Finding something, even the smallest thing, that turns a situation around for someone totally makes my day. It comes from working in a hospital where everyone is stressed out all the time. I'm known for the Hershey Kiss piles I leave on people's desks when the day is at its bleakest and any lifeline will do.

And because the timing is perfect, one of my favorite web comics, A Softer World, posted a comic today that is just for us. I don't think it could have come at a better time.
http://www.asofterworld.com/

Image
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Chantelle.S.
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by Chantelle.S. » June 1st, 2011, 10:17 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:You're looking at this all wrong! Pretty Good is GREAT. Especially if you aren't done. Especially if you haven't given it several rounds of edits and rewrites and received serious full manuscript critiques. Pretty Good means you've got a foundation that needs a lot less work than other people's first drafts. I'm assuming you are on a first draft, but even if you are on the second or third, pretty good is freaking fantastic.

The end result you are heading toward is WONDERFUL. ENTERTAINING. ENLIGHTENING. EMPOWERING. POWERFUL. AWESOME. But that's the end result. The end result of a lot of editing and rewrites. Before that, you have to be pretty good and most people start out a lot lower on the praise ladder. Pretty good means you've got something meaty and full of potential. Pretty good means you've got some natural talent. That's half the battle. Polishing and moving from pretty good to outstanding is a lot easier to do when you start out with something that is pretty good.
I'm quoting this only because it was practically the same thing I was thinking (very eerie).
I know that if you've worked very hard on a MS for what feels like way too long, you kind of expect and hope that the feedback you get will be equal to the effort that went into it. It's a bit of a blow when you've made sacrifices (like being given the opportunity to do whatever you want one night, and instead of going out to see the latest blockbuster, you decide to lock yourself in a quiet room and write instead), and you've run through the MS so many times until you were satisfied, and you proudly show it to someone, and all you get is 'it's pretty good'. Sort of like a major anti-climax, you know? It's like you said, pretty good is not gonna cut it.

But you do have to keep in mind that this is YOUR perception on your work. If 'pretty good' is not what you're striving for, take it as a motivation to do better than 'pretty good'. It depends on what standard you've set for yourself. If you believe your writing is more than pretty good, then you will darn well show the world that it's more than pretty good.

Pretty good is not a negative response at all. For some people, pretty good is good enough. My own MS that I took a year to write, and a month to rewrite, won the praise of my family as 'pretty good' too. They keep nagging me to finish the next book, because they don't understand when I tell them that I need to rewrite my first book for a third time. As readers they can't see why this needs to be done as it is pretty good to them. I don't want to under-value my writing, though, so pretty good is not good enough for me. It means there's a vast space for improvement spread ahead of me to turn pretty good into something more.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

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danielle100
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by danielle100 » June 2nd, 2011, 8:18 am

Yes, Sommer's post was great! Sommer, you need to be a writing coach, or something!

Chantelle- You're right. Pretty good isn't sounding so bad, but I, personally, want more. I have a long way to go and this is just a part of a learning experience.

Thanks again, everyone!

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polymath
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by polymath » June 2nd, 2011, 9:49 am

danielle, I sense you've reached an impasse along your poet's journey. You have an aesthetic hunch your writing is not all it can be. You have some idea what to do about it; otherwise, you're adrift without a compass. It seems a daunting, insurmountable edifice impeding your progress. Every writer episodically comes up against impasses, repeatedly. We all wish we could do a little presto-change-o hand wavium and make them evaporate. But working through impasses is one of the greatest joys of writing. Globe Shaking Epiphany!

Not too coincidentally, impasses are like plot points where minor and major turns occur. They are the measures where tension increases incrementally. Rhetorical question: Where are you along your poet's journey quest plot?

The two biggest writing impasses in my experience are craft and voice. Craft, mostly in the vein of dramatic structure, plot, raises an impasse sooner than voice. Setting too, as well as the other SPICED attributes raise impasses. SPICED, Setting, Plot, Idea (theme), Character, Event, Discourse (voice and so much more).
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Cookie
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Re: Pretty good is not gonna cut it

Post by Cookie » June 2nd, 2011, 10:00 am

Sommer, I love that comic! I think everyone should look at the world that way.

Crazy straws ftw!

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