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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Next, Please Introduce Yourself » Who was that Masked Man?

   
Author Topic: Who was that Masked Man?
RLKnight
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One of my favorite quotes is "People get lost in thought because it is unfamiliar territory." Though I can not, for the life of me, remember who said it, it has always resonated with me. Maybe because all my life I have never had to struggle with school or learning a new skill. I graduated top of my class from high school, graduated from the United States Navy Nuclear Propulsion school in the top 10, and was sought out by Roger Williams University Law School. Then I found writing... and I found that, although I could construct an essay and write a 300 page legal brief (yup, lawyers actually consider 300 pages brief), I found creative writing a challenge. Especially when the story was more than a short story, more than just a grade school what I did for summer tale. That is what brings me here.

I have friends who are willing to read what I write... but they seem unwilling to give solid and unbiased critiques. Maybe they think I can't take it, maybe they don't want to hurt my feelings... whatever the reason, I come here to get unbiased opinions from people better equipped to write than I. So, my request to you all... be brutally honest. The only way to learn to do something is by doing it... the only way to get better is to learn what you are doing wrong.

Thank you for including me in your world... the world of imagination.

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Meredith
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Welcome to the treehouse.
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LDWriter2
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Hmmm, a name that goes with the greeting.

I didn't know the lone ranger was also a knight.


Anyway, you have come to the right place. There are plenty of people here who enjoy tearing up--- that is critiquing your stories and/or novels.

It may feel like they tear it your stories but it's actually an attempt at making it better. A lot of times their suggestions do a more than just attempt.

However as you explore the Treehouse please be careful, if you see a unicorn do not approach, she can be mean.

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RLKnight
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I do hope they help to make my writing better. At heart, I am a perfectionist... and at the same time, the most flawed individual you will ever meet. Hopefully, this is one flaw of mine that others can help with.
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Merlion-Emrys
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I think brutal "honesty" in critiques is greatly overrated, but we all know the frustration of friends and family that refuse to point out their perceived flaws in a piece.
But just bear in mind the opposite can be true as well...if someone "honestly" dislikes your piece for being what it is, that's not terribly helpful either.

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LDWriter2
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One defense of friends and relatives.

What has been said is most probably true, they don't want to say what they really think if the story and/or novel is bad but at the same time do they know what is bad and good. They know what they like and could spot some really bad grammar but do the know the difference between Show and Tell ? I didn't before I started learning about writing. I did even know there were rules to writing beyond some basics: good grammar and making sure there are no changes in the plot unexplained. I was a very uncritical reader-- I still am even though I have learned a few things so am now more critical than I used to be.


I say I knew about the need for good grammar but evidently I had forgotten many of the rules of grammar.

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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
What has been said is most probably true, they don't want to say what they really think if the story and/or novel is bad but at the same time do they know what is bad and good. They know what they like and could spot some really bad grammar but do the know the difference between Show and Tell ? I didn't before I started learning about writing. I did even know there were rules to writing beyond some basics: good grammar and making sure there are no changes in the plot unexplained. I was a very uncritical reader-- I still am even though I have learned a few things so am now more critical than I used to be
There is no good or bad. There is only taste.

If you ask 5 different people...including writers...the difference between "show" and "tell" you'll get 5 different answers, because it is a meaningless shorthand that is usually someone attempting to represent or express a deeper, more specific issue with the story without taking the time to do so.

And, there are no rules to writing beyond the ones you mention, and even those are often bent and broken. Usually, in my experience, a storytellers journey isn't about learning rules, it's about learning that there are no rules. The quicker you realize that, the quicker you can get on with developing your stories and your voice.

The useful part of in-depth critiques lies mainly in two things...learning what different techniques are and how to think of them in behind-the-scenes terms, and the opportunity they give you to learn if what you're writing is conveying what you want it to convey.

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LDWriter2
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Maybe I should have said "rules" instead of rules. There are differences in writing techniques and opinions on what is good true enough and guidelines we can follow but they are techniques that seem to work more often than others. Many readers do not like plot holes for one thing and many readers get bored if there are a lot of long, drawn out compound sentences or changes of POV when there isn't suppose to be any.

I have read different explanations of Show and Tell that agree. And editors sure do know what they mean when they say there's too much Tell. I have had a couple tell me that.

I have also had a few tell me that I need to leave out details and scenes that do not push the story onward.

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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
I have read different explanations of Show and Tell that agree. And editors sure do know what they mean when they say there's too much Tell. I have had a couple tell me that.

And I've had a professional editor tell me I should have been telling instead of showing. ~shrug.~ Its all about 99% subjective. "Show don't tell" is usually a catchphrase people say to mean they don't think your emphasizing the things they think you should be, but by itself, with more detail and specificity its largely meaningless.

And believe me...we've had several large discussions about it here, and the definition of the two words varies, quite a lot.

All of the "rules" and "guidelines" people go on about are neither. They are tools and techniques, like the many colors on a painter's palette or the assortment of chisels used by a sculptor. Once you figure that out, things get a lot easier...and more enjoyable.

My experience is that the largest obstacle for many writers is fear of not being "good enough" for publication, anxiety about whether their work meets some phantom objective standard of quality. But there isn't one...and editors usually don't know what they want till they see it. So, to me, the wonderful thing being critiqued does is not to offer brutal honesty about how "flawed" your writing is...it lies in being able to know how your work is perceived by others, so you can get it to where it's perceived as what you want it to be.

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LDWriter2
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First of all I want to apologize to Knight for taking over his introduction If we are going to continue this discussion maybe we should take it elsewhere on the forum. More people could express their viewpoints if we do.

It is partly subjective no doubt about it but I don't believe its 99 percent. I have read some of those discussion on Tell and Show here and I believe a lot of the different explanations are saying the same thing with different words.

That is why we have tool boxes some things work better than others for a certain job. I know one pro editor who says there are no rules but at the same time he says beginning writers do not know what makes good writing good. You need to find what works for you true but at the same time there are certain ways of writing that are more attractive to readers. Usually putting in more sensory descriptions works for every writer even though it isn't a hard and fast rule and every scene doesn't need all five senses. For most writers using only hearing and sight will make their writing less attractive.

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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
That is why we have tool boxes some things work better than others for a certain job. I know one pro editor who says there are no rules but at the same time he says beginning writers do not know what makes good writing good. You need to find what works for you true but at the same time there are certain ways of writing that are more attractive to readers.
But who defines "works better?" And, what readers? There are many different readers with many different tastes.

That, in the end, is what it all boils down to. Taste.

And yes we are hijacking a bit, but essentially my point is not to become bogged down by fears of not being "good enough" or in concerns about the "right" or "wrong" way to do things. Figure out the stories you want to tell and how you want to tell them, and focus on making your work into the most effective version of what you want it to be, because the only view you can know for sure is your own.

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RLKnight
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LOL... I never expected this much from a simple introduction. However, I am pleased that I have sparked some debate here.
See, I have this dilemna... its a simple one, but one that has me thinking and that can be dangerous (all smoke from the ears and fire from the eyes kind of dangerous). I have an idea for a novel... I am 65 pages into writing it to be precise. Here is a brief Synopsis:
The Main character, Sebastian, is contemplating his life and how he became what he is today. (In the present, he is a mutant whose mutation has been augmented through artificially intelligent computers that accelerate and enhance mutations.) The prologue shows Bastian as he is today but the subsequent story, the main chapters, concentrate on his back story as well as the backstory of his father. It is the father's backstory, in truth, that is the cause for most of Sebastian's problems. If anyone wants to read what I have thus far... and totally tear it to shreds, lol... please let me know.

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LDWriter2
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Hmm, sounds kinda up to date and contemporary so it would work.

As to me tearing it apart or criting it, I'm sorry I am criting one right now and trying to get two novels revised of my own. But there are others here who love doing that type of thing.

But there is a forum for that here,

Try Fragments and Feedback for Books. If you haven't already that is. If you want you can place what you said and the first 13 lines of the novel. No more than thirteen however. Someone will most probably respond to the 13 lines and maybe ask to see what you have so far.

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anarresti
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Welcome! That is all.
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