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Author Topic: the "I hate my story" excuse
mithridates
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I wrote a rough draft of a story based on a theme I care about, but now I almost hate the story. This isn't some kind of Harper Lee hate; I think you might hate it too. Now what?
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Meredith
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Put it away for a while. Work on something else. Then come back to it and see if you still hate it or if you see where to fix it.
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Robert Nowall
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My stories always seem inadequate compared to what I intended---sometimes so much I put them away after the first draft and forget them.
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MAP
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I'm not sure if this is the problem, but it could be that you are trying to force the story to fit the theme. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it takes great skill to pull that off. Forget the theme, focus on the story. The theme will seep in by itself naturally.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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You could also just consider it a writing exercise and leave it at that. Then get busy writing the next story.
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Kent_A_Jones
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Hi mithridates,
BTW, nice handle. Please know that the following is only my opinion. If I am way off, I apologize.

Consider why you hate your story. Your hatred of the story obviously isn't objective, like grammar, or you wouldn't be in this quandary. So, it's subjective.

Since it's a theme that you care about, consider why you care, and keep on asking "why" questions that lead you to the emotional core of why you care. [Example: I care about walking my dog. Because he needs the exercise. Because exercise will keep him healthy. Because poor health can shorten a dog's life. Because my last dog was fat and died young. Because I think I killed my last dog.] The answers may try to branch out all over the place, but try to stay on target and get to the root emotions.

The core emotion might be hatred. I hate physical and mental abuse because I experienced it. I hate what I write about abuse because it connects me with being a victim again and I cry when I read it. But my audience cries, too. And my writing fills them with a desire to end abuse. A good thing.

The core emotion might make you uncomfortable to the point of hating your reaction to it. How often do we hear of criminals doing monstrous things and then hear peers enumerate the vicious things that they would do to the criminal?

Another thing that may be happening is that you are becoming emotionally immersed in your own story. You need to be emotionally invested, which is a mental step back. To avoid this, I think you need to put up a mental barrier between yourself (the writer) and yourself (the moved to hatred human being). When I mention a mental barrier, I mean to have you imagine one. Mine is a shining titanium shield.

Another thought on writing about a theme one cares about. When we care, we have expectations. Expectations are brief fantasies that move us. [Example: I expect that the elevator will arrive at my floor, going my direction as soon as I touch the call button. I get more emotionally invested the longer I have to wait.] The farther something is from our expectations, the less satisfied we are.

Could you need to explore your expectations of the subject theme more fully? In other words, could your story be far enough from your own expectations that you are experiencing cognitive dissonance? The hatred is not about the story or its elements, but kind of a meta-hatred about your reaction to the story?

Whatever the answer, asking, "Why do I hate my story," is a perfectly good question that deserves exploration. Discover yourself through your writing, and entertain the rest of us.

Apologies again,
Kent

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mithridates
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In summary whine whine whine.

Long version:

Thank you for such intelligent advice. People like you could write the Linux kernel.

This is really hard. I have written two rough stories that I despise almost as much as Moves make the man (http://www.amazon.com/The-Moves-Make-Bruce-Brooks/dp/0064470229), but not quite as much because the stories are short.

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TaleSpinner
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why do you call it an excuse? do you love/hate it? like a Partner?
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TaleSpinner
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have you tried posting fragments for crits of what works/doesn't? such can be surprisingly encouraging in my experience when they display insight into where you're going.
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mithridates
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No I haven't tried posting fragments in 13 lines. Is that the place?
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TaleSpinner
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you could try Fragments and Feedback for short works(usually short stories, first 13 lines) or Fragments and Feedback for books (first 13 lines) I look forward to maybe seeing you there.
hope this helps
Pat

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TaleSpinner
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"People like you could write the Linux kernel."

not recommended. Hal's kernel was written by an SF author--one who understood some science if I'm not mistaken;)

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