Tag Archives: craft

Haters Gonna Hate With Terrible Arguments

In a world where everyone has become a critic, writers, especially beginning writers, instinctively turn to fellow writers for comfort. Meeting other writers, you assume they understand the struggle that comes with the field, and can share in the triumphs you have made in your personal/professional writing. However, there are some people even inside the writing world that do not grasp the purpose of writing.

That was me–angry at work while having this discussion!

At work, I had the pleasure of meeting another writing, and I enjoyed quite a few satisfying conversations with him. That is, until I began explaining my graduate program, and this acquaintance quickly turned into a vicious monster attacking the way that most of the writing world works. For some people, there is a vast difference between genres, but I will give credit to anyone willing to better themselves through writing. So, when this gentleman told me he wrote movie scripts, I took it as an opportunity to learn how a novel writer can differ from one who writes scripts. While I found no huge difference in our discussion of favorite genre or the passion of a new idea, I found that our ideals, and viewpoints on writing differed greatly.

I am going to share my conversation with this fellow as a way of showing how some writers view the purpose of writing, and how it can be skewed by some fantastical idea that it does not require work or discipline to create well-written stories.

The conversation begins with a complaint that I have not stayed true to my goal of 1,000 words a week (made by my mentor and I), which I need to catch up. The response was as follows:

“First of all there should never be no dead lines in writing, cause a true story should not be rushed by any means. That to me is not writing, that’s journalism.”

If you forgive his not so blunt stab at journalism not being writing, which I do not agree, his statement is still incredibly offensive. Mostly, he lacks the understanding that life requires deadlines, which I later explain. However, the underlying problem in his statement is that no matter how long it takes a “true” story  (true=good) it will be good if there is no deadline. Yet, some people live by the thrill of deadline pressure to spin the ideas from their head or give them a chance to plan and organize their thoughts. Either way deadlines are a necessary, unavoidable part of a writer’s life, which this man clearly did not understand.

I proceeded to explain that deadlines provide motivation for a writer even when the ideas are not there or your Muse is on vacation. Sometimes, the deadlines are all you need to get the story written.

His next offensive statement: “To be honest if writing is your life then that’s the only motivation you truly need. Without writing then you should cease to exist.

While I agree full-heartily that I would cease to exist as the person I am today without writing, the motivation to write is not always enough. It never will be enough because if you have nothing to show for your time aspiring to be a writer, you will never become one in reality. The will to become a writer is only the building block. After that, one must acquire the tools and the skills to become a better writer. While this person didn’t seem to understand to basic rules of making yourself into any professional in any field, the next comment is ever more hurtful and difficult to answer.

“Goals to me are obstacles; they blind the mind with deception.  A writer dreams about writing, wakes up and writes, goes to sleep and writes. This not something that can be trained into somebody. If you have to tell someone that they should make writing routine then to me there not a writer, it’s just something they choose to do. “

Most of the above passage is just clear misunderstanding of the craft. It is not some free spirit floating around in your own head until something pours out because as most of you know–that almost never happens long enough to get an entire book out. You get that burst of energy, and write for long periods of time, but what about those days when you get up and you just don’t want to write? What about those days? Those are the days where a writer’s discipline forces him/her in front of a chair and makes the writer write even when they don’t want to do it. It’s sad because the man actually described the discipline life I was speaking of, but in his twisted imagination he thought that the writer does it “because they love writing” sounded better than a writing routine. He doesn’t want it to be work. He wants it to be a playful, imaginative hobby that he does to escape from the world. Newsflash, kid. Writers work, hard! They don’t just write for themselves. A writer who does it to escape their life and only for that isn’t going to get very far. Why? Because you should be writing for other people to read.

I have to wonder why this man has not been published, and yet his scripts make money. I don’t know the real difference between script writing and book writing, but I can tell you this. Some people who write DON’T understand the work it takes to putting your dreams in action. My goal as a writer isn’t to learn how to write 1,000 words a week.

My goal is to write one piece of fiction/non-fiction/whatever that helps the world get to know me. I want people to know me, but not by just telling them about my life. I want them to know me by getting to know themselves, to understand parts of me because they have experiences what I feel through the eyes of my character, and the places I imagine in my mind.

Now I know that not everyone can understand my personal purpose in writing, and many people want to do it for the money. Yet, somewhere out there. Maybe not far from where I’m typing this someone will understand my side of this terrible argument, knowing they have felt the same pain trying to explain it to someone else.

If you want to read the entire story, and get the entire view on the horrendous conversation I had–please visit:

Conversation From Hell!

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

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Reading Towards Better Writing

Touching on the most fundamental rule for writers: reading helps make us better writers. Sadly, this simple rule has escaped many in their attempts at becoming writers. It is a mistake no aspiring author/poet should make. Below is a blog post that inspired my reaction on reading as a writer:

http://goinswriter.com/good-writers-read/

Some of the time, reading is what provokes the inspiration to write. I know that my first inspiration to write came in 5th grade, when I discovered the wonderful world of Bruce Coville. He is a young adult fantasy writer who specialized in writing about unicorns. Needless to say, his ability to create a world unlike any in existence lead me to my passion for writing. However, the love of writing never would have developed, if not for my love of reading.

For a few writers, their belief is that writing just happens. You don’t read the work of the competition or important authors before them. They don’t think that taking the time to read is beneficial because they don’t have a love for reading as a foundation. Just think of how many writers you have met that just don’t seem to “get it”. They spend their days sitting at their computer, talking about their ideas, but never seem to get it on the page.

If you've seen this scene from Family Guy, you know these guys don't read to help become better writers. They're tools!

They usually won’t be published, and they can’t figure out why. “No one understands my style, my voice,” they will chant. My response is– “You don’t have any of that if you don’t know what has been written before you.”

No, I’m not talking about the classics, or the stories we reading in high school. I’m talking about influential books for the craft. Authors who have revolutionized your particular genre are vital to understand your own writing. Take for example, my ignorance in the science fiction genre. I haven’t read nearly enough of the classic sci-fi authors. I recently picked up Issac Asimov, and I hadn’t heard of him in great detail before I began searching for great science fiction books to read. Pages into one of his books, I understood the complexity necessary to create a great science fiction book. Within minutes I learned a new facet of the genre I was attempting to write.

Some of the most important skills we can learn as writers come from the time spent reading. While the blog post above states that any reading can help, I’m going to focus on just reading in your genre can shape your writing skills. As I have mentioned before I can break down the types of reading into three categories.  Reading as a reader (for pleasure), reading as a student (for analysis), and reading as a writer (to absorb skills/ideas).

The three key elements of the influence of reading, according to the blog post:

1.) Reading with a purpose is useless- His first point is imperative to learning from reading. If you read with something in  mind (other than reading the book) you’re going to limit the experience. Reading as you would for pleasure is important because it develops your love of reading.

2.) Language is the key to writing- The easiest skill you can learn from other writers is how to handle language. As budding writers, we are clumsy (well I know I am) with language. We don’t have the experience to use our words wisely. So, to gain the experience we read what the best writers have done. At the same time, reading bad use of language teaches us how NOT to write, which is equally important.

3.) Read suggestions from other writers-This element is especially helpful is bringing variety to the normal type of books your read. It also allows you to converse and connect with other writers. This bond is crucial to learning not only from the books, but from the writers who recommend them.

I will add only a few additions to his list of how reading helps your writing.

4.) Read contemporary books, and ones in your genre of choice- By reading contemporary books (not necessarily on the best-seller’s list) you learn what books are being chosen by the general audience. You also learn what openings are available in the market for you particular style or ideas. Reading the books in your genre (competition) allows you to understand your audience in an intimate level. For example, werewolves and vampires are HOT in the fantasy genre. While they have always been fairly popular, it is because of one contemporary series (  :/ Twilight ) that has driven trends in the genre. It is vital to know where you fit now in the market as well as what readers look for in stories being published. Make sure you take the ideas of the competition in stride. It’s not meant to change your writing to what they’re doing. You can find the differences an advantage as well as what you could write differently.

So, go out and read. Read old books, new ones, and ones your friends tell you are good reads. Speaking of, Goodreads.com is a great place to compare books you’ve read, and get suggestions from people across the globe.

Happy writing AND reading!

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