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I am beginning to suspect...

...that I am one of those people who tells good stories, but does not write particularly well, if that makes any sense. Alas. I wish I were one of those people who comes up with really fantastic stories bursting with geeky details and fascinating twists on mythology and at the same time delight people with my clever, pretty, elegant prose. I know people like this, but I think perhaps I'm not one of them. I often find myself struggling with doing both at once. I never have trouble with the story, but the execution...

I'm not sure if I find this discouraging or not. Especially as there are plenty of authors who are only good at one thing or the other who I like just as much regardless, so probably not. Just sometimes in the middle of a scene I'll think "gods, that's awkward and clunky, yes that needs to happen but it should happen BETTER." Like with dialogue - how to have conversations happen without referring so frequently to what they're doing with their hands or what their eyebrows are doing? Ack! I want it to be tidy and graceful, and I think it is neither.

Even more frustrating, I have this trouble so much less frequently in fanfiction than in original fic, which does not seem to make much sense.

Or maybe I just get turned around and muddled by certain turns of phrase and am sick of seeing them and never want to see them ever, ever again. Gah. Of course I can be no fair judge of my own writing.

Thoughts? Or, you know, opinions?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 10th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
It's hard for me to say as i honestly haven't read a lot of your work, but I think I'm picking up what you're putting down. I have a similar problem wherein I'll focus entirely too much on exposition and set dressing for every paragraph. I'll spend an hour fleshing out the scene to a tee but once it gets to the interaction between characters and environment I'm fucked. Seriously, ten lines for two sentences and then a new scene.

If you want, try not describing all their physical mannerisms unless they're absolutely necessary, instead focussing on the very human mannerisms people have in speech. Think about cadence, pronounciation and inflection :)

Again though, having not read enough of your work to really say, I'm just swinging in the dark.
Oct. 10th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
I think maybe you need to take a step back and take a page from what is around you, say, like a physical artist that works with lines. Watch and listen to how other people converse and generally interact with each other, then try to describe it with words as an exercise. Focus on tone and expression - practice makes perfect. The good thing is that you've zoned in on the problem and can now take steps to fix it.
You could also experiment with the writing you have already. Take a passage out and play around with different ways of writing it, even if it goes against the grain. Perhaps try to emulate different styles and look at how other authors write what you're trying to do, so to better understand the process and incorporate it into your own writing.
Its very possible that you have less problems with this in fanfiction because you have a better frame of reference on how the characters interact with each other. You have a very concrete example of how they speak and talk to each other - while you don't necessarily have that in original work.
To be honest I've noticed this a lot while reading Riverwend, that your characters roll their eyes a lot, I'm assuming to denote a certain tone of sarcasm - and it gets to be repetitive in your writing.

I wouldn't feel down about it - nobody starts out perfect, and even those authors that are already being published are still growing in their own storytelling prowess and writing styles. You've come very far already and will only continue to get better as long as you are receptive to change. I say take a step back and experiment with some other ways of writing, and you'll find a solution in no time.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Chandri MacLeod

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