Login   Sign Up 

Random Read

This 43 message thread spans 3 pages:  < <   1  2  3  > >  
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by debac at 19:11 on 26 August 2013
    Glad it's helped, AT. I hope you stick around.
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by EmmaD at 19:42 on 26 August 2013
    you all have intriguing usernames

    Well, some of us do. FloraPost, Annecdotist, Catkin, Shellgrip ....

    Others - such as me - had a total failure of imagination.
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by alreadytaken at 20:03 on 26 August 2013
    Ah, but Emma, I thought that was a cunning ploy - there's a slight 'Spice Girls' edge, which obviously is a deeply ironic twist on your genuinely thoughtful nature?

    Please tell me that was your intention :-)
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by Account Closed at 20:07 on 26 August 2013
    Please tell me that was your intention


    BTW, alreadytaken, did you choose that name because someone already had the username you wanted?

    Edited by Sharley at 20:07:00 on 26 August 2013
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by EmmaD at 20:35 on 26 August 2013
    Please tell me that was your intention

    Sadly no - as I remember (I've been a WW member since shortly after Noah launched the Ark), I tried on various other possible names which seemed either silly or self-revealing, had a bad attack of self-consciousness, and opted for what I was always called at school, because there were five Emmas in my year alone: EmmaC, EmmaD, EmmaF etc... and almost as many in most of the other years. Nearly 1 in 15 of the entire school population was called Emma.
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by cherys at 10:53 on 27 August 2013
    Hi AlreadyTaken.

    Do you think what you describe is pretty much part of the process at some stage? It's natural for anyone who tries to get good at anything to suddenly stand back and think: 'Oh, I'm useless' after the initial enthusiasm stage has worn off. That's a pretty healthy stage to go through when you want to get better. But only if you don't let it stop you or kill the pleasure. Taking pleasure in writing is key.

    Have you read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron? That's a great fun project to do while you are trying to build your confidence. Even if you get nothing else from the book, Morning Pages are a valuable life line in regaining strength as a writer after a knock back.

    If sitting down at Word brings out your demons, take a notebook to the coffee shop or park or some dusty corner of an old library. Write on buses or trains.

    Maybe you could take the approach: I'm writing to figure out how to write, how this putting words down on a page thing works. What happens if I add a lot of detail here or bare-bones it there? What happens when I write extremely long sentences in which the thoughts flow into each other without pause for breath? What if I keep them short?

    Think of it as finding out how words work, rather than having any ego-attachment (don't mean that in a negative way - you're not being egotistic at all) to what is produced. Write something and then consider it: What have we here? What might it be? Could it be flash fiction? A poem? A skit? If I developed it, where might it go from here? What would be surprising to me?

    Above all, one thing I've learned from the course I'm doing at Northumbria is something you already know: it has to be yours. It has to be what you'd love to read, how you want to write, not how others tell you you should write. Really own it. Do the opposite of people pleasing with it. If you love adjectives and everyone shuns them like bright party dresses at a cooler than thou beige silk shift event, add a fascinator on top. Go deeper and further into the stuff people say is wrong and it has a funny way of not only becoming right but also establishing a truer more powerful version of your voice than if you filter it through all the course-book 'shoulds'.

    Have fun. There has to be a sense of play and devilment about writing, a bit of a sticking your fingers on your nose and wriggling them in the direction of the oh-so-serious chaps with their tick lists of rules on how not to write. Let them be correct while you get on and have fun.

    It's liberating to accept that you write the way you write and others do it differently. I like Rick Moody's writing quite a lot (he's OK) but I think his list of rules sucks. Anyone who thinks the only tag for speech should be 'said' is a joyless, gutless rule maker who hasn't the grace and skill of Fitzgerald, who uses the tag 'she insisted' so brilliantly, it's like he'd just invented a new nuance for the verb.

    It was a liberating day when I realised that just because Moody was a better writer than me and a famous one, didn't mean I have to agree with him or follow his suggestions as gospel. (Moody's just a random example. You have your fellow students/tutors on the MA peering over your shoulder.) I love Emma D's insistence that any craft she offers up is a tool kit not a rule book. Use it if it's useful. That is the wisest way to grow into the writer you enjoy being.

  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by Alex29 at 11:37 on 27 August 2013
    Hi I find this place is great I can dip in and out escpecially when my confidence is low. For those brave enough to post their work I don't think I have seen any one say 'Go away you can't write!' I doubt I would either- some folk are clearly published and most are real triers and some are happy not trying to get published and you can also see the sheer hard work of every one bringing their ideas to life given their own demons and restrictions time and money wise and supporting every one else. But I think the thing every one shares is that they just write- you can bin it, delete it or you can stick it up here and work on it publically or when you think you feel it can be seen - this person offering such a stupid remark has no ability to get on and write themselves or they would be doing it- and if they are they should know better! It hasn't completely put you off as you are here so I would poke a finger in their direction and keep writing. Best of Luck MC
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by Catkin at 11:44 on 27 August 2013
    What a brilliant post, Cherys. I hope you don't mind, but I've copied it in order to save it.

    How lovely to see you back here.
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by EmmaD at 17:11 on 27 August 2013
    Fantastic post, Cherys!

  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by Annecdotist at 09:20 on 28 August 2013
    What an absolutely spiffing thread this is turning out to be – thanks for starting it alreadytaken.

    cherys – like others I was really inspired by your post. I've published lots of short stories but still get loads of rejections and often it feels like it's because my mind just doesn't work like other people's rather than necessarily the quality of the writing. But absolutely, you just have to plough your own furrow or whatever the cliché is. And I always have a soft spot for anything coming from Geordie land.

    Names, real and invented are so interesting. As I'm in the process of connecting with WWers on Twitter I'm finding these pseudonyms a tad confusing. I brought mine with me from my blog where I think it's a bit naff now (started as a combination of something to hide behind, as well as my life long disappointment at going around tagged by an indefinite article).

    there were five Emmas in my year alone

    I like the way names act as a marker for age (only old ladies and Jane Austen heroines were called Emma when I was at school, everyone was called Susan) which can be really useful when naming one's characters.
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by EmmaD at 10:35 on 28 August 2013
    Anne's a lovely name though - perhaps nicest with the e.

    names act as a marker for age

    So true. And what's strange is how it seems to be in the air - it isn't necessarily that you're aware of hearing a slightly unusual nice name while you're pregnant, and decide to go for it. It can seem to come from nowhere, and yet the child gets to nursery school and every other child is called Rebecca (1970) or Sam (1980) or Oscar (1995). The Archers' twins Freddy & Lily nailed it for 2000...

    I remember some arty friends of my parents' christening their daughter Daisy c.1980. And their very nice though unreconstructed great-aunt, born c.1900, said, "Such a pretty name. I don't know why in my day it was only housemaids who had it."

    Which I suppose makes sense, if you assume that names tend to slide down the social scale, and all the girls' flower names started early-mid Victorian - Rose, Violet, Ivy, Myrtle, Lily, Daisy, Dahlia - and your 1920s housemaid was born in 1890...
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by saturday at 11:00 on 28 August 2013
    I like Rick Moody's writing quite a lot (he's OK) but I think his list of rules sucks. Anyone who thinks the only tag for speech should be 'said' is a joyless, gutless rule maker

    I stood up, and I shouted 'hurrah!' at this.

    Following Elmore Leonard's recent death lots of people whose opinion I generally respect posted his 'rules' with a breathless reverence that I found quite shocking. These may well have worked as guidelines for his own writing (let's face it, they didn't hold him back), but that doesn't mean they will necessarily apply to everyone.

    Like Cherys, if I want to say 'Jane whispered' instead of 'Jane said' then I damn well will, and if I think a passage will benefit from having adjectives dripping from it like a christmas tree decorated by a bunch of over-excited 8 year-olds with a ladder then I'll do that as well.

    Nice to see you back, Cherys
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by Catkin at 13:19 on 28 August 2013
    I stood up, and I shouted 'hurrah!' at this

    I nearly did. I felt like it.

    Almost all girls were called Alison when I was at school. The ones who weren't Alison were Karen or Susan. There were some Angelas and a few Michelles.

    Have you noticed how many little girls called Ruby there are now? They're everywhere.

    By the way, does anyone know which social class a Sylvia would have been if born between 1965-1975?
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by SandraD at 16:13 on 28 August 2013
    Late, late to this, but thank you alreadytaken for starting it - and for telling it so well - and to all who've commented.
    I'd say I'm happy enough writing and self-publishing (so as to be able to have it in a book) getting a few folks to read and comment, but that's partly because the stress of pushing myself overwhelms me, although this year's resolution - to do something about getting an agent - is being addressed at the Festival of York next month.
    This site is the first time I've ever put my work up for strangers to read and comment on - it has, without exception been sensitively given, and though I've not agreed with everything, it has enabled me to improve. (As had Emma D's blog - 100% enabling common sense)
    A sideways step to confidence is to a) read a lot (which you doubtless already now!) and b) read reviews, e.g. on Goodreads - they vary hugely, pull fewer punches and underline that you can't please all of the folks all of the time.
    But I do hope you put more of your writing here for us all to read.

    Edited by SandraD at 16:14:00 on 28 August 2013
  • Re: Tips for a Writing Course Casualty?
    by alreadytaken at 23:01 on 28 August 2013
    This thread is frankly becoming a rather X-rated experience - with each new post, I'm saying yes yes YES!

    Sharley, 'already taken' is really a rather self-indulgent indication of how I'm feeling at the moment - that there are a limited number of 'places' for writers in the house, and I always end up going for the chair that's 'already taken, thank you'. I am good at self-indulgent, unfortunately.

    Cherys, a great post - I love the idea of taking what comes most naturally, and pushing it. We all know it's not helpful, but it's very hard to resist the temptation to squeeze our writing into what we think will be an acceptable form. It's a dead-end.

    For me, I am struggling with 'story' at the moment. I have 'ideas', 'themes', 'questions' - but characters and plots aren't coming alive. It's all a bit academic.

    That's really hard. It's like trying to make a sandwich without bread. I recall a tutor saying to me early on; 'Writers don't try to answer questions. They tell stories.'

    What do we think about that?

    An important aside - you have given me a wonderful welcome. I'm really glad that my fretting has evolved into something useful for all of you.

    Us? :-)

  • This 43 message thread spans 3 pages:  < <   1  2  3  > >