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A few Questions

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Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:03 pm
kjr5horses says...



Hello everyone,

I have been on YWS for almost a year now and I have been seeing things on the site that confuse and/or concern me.

One of the things have noticed is the topic "Should I continue this story?" or "Is this idea any good?". As a writer I receive many ideas everyday most of which don't work or are simply just not any good but I don't know this until I start a few pages of the idea.After a few pages and it does not work I use the backspace button or throw it away. Because as a writer I know when an idea is not working or a story is going nowhere. I write for myself not for my readers, so my question is Why do so many ask if the idea is good or not even if its not working out for them?

Another thing that I have noticed is most people get a great idea but instead of just writing they spend months sometimes a year to plan everything out. But by the time they are done they have no muse left for the story. I suppose I like to let my fingers go and let the characters do what they want, I don't plan I write because I am a writer. A writer writes, a planner well plans. Why can't people just write? Why do you plan every tiny little detail out?

Also why do you as the writer have to ask, "How do I make the readers care about my character?"....My question for you is Why do you care what the reader thinks? and Do you care about your characters? The chance is if you care about your characters then someone else will, why cater to everyone else's needs? Its exhausting and there is no way on this Earth to please everyone. Its impossible and then you end up unhappy and stop writing and start on a new novel.

Anyways just a few questions, I would love everyone's opinions about these and answers. :D :D :D To help de-boggle my mind!

~KJR~
"Me I'm dishonest but a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly its the honest ones you have to watch out for because you can never tell when they are going to do something incredibly...stupid." ~Capt. Jack Sparrow




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Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:07 pm
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Rosey Unicorn says...



Heya! Thought I'd try to answer these questions for you. :)

Why do so many ask if the idea is good or not even if its not working out for them?


Because sometimes they're unsure! Not everybody has a good eye for ideas, and sometimes they know it could be better and want some feedback to do so. :) Some ideas are all in the execution and it's hard to tell how the idea will end up without reading any of it, but some look like they could be improved right off the start— but the authors don't know how. So they post here and we help them out, just like people would post a novel to see what the quality of the work is.

Why can't people just write? Why do you plan every tiny little detail out?


Different people, different styles. I'm one of the planners you mentioned— for me, my muse dies when I jump in not knowing where I'm going. My plot ideas come from having some idea where I'm going and figuring out how to get there. And writing it down/planning helps me remember the ideas, and working out kinks before they show up. Writers tend to revise anyway, so I just treat outlines like another draft.

Really, we're all different in what we need in order to create. Some people need a ton of planning. Others just need an idea. I respect those who can just jump into an idea, but for me, I really need to know where I'm going or else it doesn't work. xD

Why do you care what the reader thinks?


If you're just writing for yourself, you don't have to. But a lot of writers on YWS want to get published eventually, which means making sure a certain amount of readers like your work. ;) If you're not writing to be published, then it is true that you don't need to care what the reader thinks. (Although it's still nice to have quality writing so people are more likely to read your work, especially on a public forum.)

Do you care about your characters? The chance is if you care about your characters then someone else will, why cater to everyone else's needs?


Sometimes, you care about your characters but that care doesn't translate into the actual written work. You could absolutely love your character and get people really excited talking about them— but when they read the work they just don't love the character that much. Even if they're supposed to love the character.

Making readers care for your characters is actually one of the hardest things to do, and while you can't please everybody, you should really try to get your target audience like and care about your characters. Then your work is more likely to be published and stay in print, because readers will want to follow your characters along for the ride.

Yes, you have to care about your characters, or at least feel some emotions towards them (hate will do, although for villains, fascination is probably better. Then they are more likely to be human instead of pure black), but that doesn't always mean readers will care about their characters. Which means asking how to improve the connection between written work and reader.

In short: Most of these answers don't apply if you're writing purely for yourself. But for those of us who want to get published, these are rather important to get right.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

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Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:55 pm
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Tenyo says...



Why do so many ask if it's a good idea or not even if it's not working out for them?

For encouragement, I think. Usually when I ask what people think of an idea I want them to say yes, even if it's rubbish. Just something to kick me past the Page-Seven-Blues. Beware of the danger of starting and scrapping ideas, it becomes habit and you can throw away some of your best just because it doesn't work right away. You won't grow as a writer unless you push yourself forward and try or adapt to new styles. Like trying on new shoes not everything fits perfectly at first.


Why can't people just write? Why plan out every tiny detail?

It depends on the writer. I find planning out each scene carefully saves me sooo much time in the long-run because I can spot the major holes right away. Also, related to the previous point, you have a better scope on whether it will work in the long run, and having that goal to work towards will help. It also means you won't be starting and scrapping stories, but rather, developing plots and collecting ideas that can be re-used, adapted and merged to create even better works.

Why do you care what the reader thinks?

Two reasons. One, because I want to get better as a writer and so I need to know what my work looks like from another perspective, and learn different ways of seeing things with which I can look at other peoples works. Two; the page is an incredible thing. On a page is words, and those words enable you to see into someone elses mind and read the thoughts that they want you to read. If the writer loves their story they want to communicate it as accurately as possible, and if the readers are hating a character the writer loves then there is a problem in that communication - that's why it's so important to listen to what the reader thinks.

Sure, you can't please everyone. There are different styles and genres and all the what-not, but even a romance reader can understand why nerds like sci-fi, even if they don't. Someone who doesn't like the story will still be able to see why it is likable. However a romance reader would be disappointed in a cloudy character, whether that character be in their genre or another.
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Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:37 am
freewritersavvy says...



Why do so many ask if the idea is good or not even if its not working out for them?


Hmm…. Personal experience speaking, either a story picks you or you pick the story. While it is possible to pick a ‘good’ story it is impossible to pick a ‘great’ story. Great stories either pick you or they don’t. Many people pick their stories instead of having stories pick them. (And that is okay :) )

Idea defined:
1. opinion: a personal opinion or belief Do you have any ideas on how the problem should be dealt with?
2. suggestion: a thought to be presented as a suggestion It was her idea to plant daisies.
3. impression: an impression or knowledge of something We have no idea how much it would cost. They saw us leaving together and got the wrong idea.
4. plan: a realization of a possible way of doing something or of something to be done Watching the beaver building its dam gave me an idea.
5. objective: the objective or purpose of a project or plan The idea of the new program is to keep young people in school.
6. brief outline: a summary or the essential concept of something such as a book, report, project, or plan give you only a broad idea now, with a detailed outline to follow
7. thought: a thought about or mental picture of something such as a future or possible event Sometimes the idea of having to speak in public is worse than actually doing it.
8. concept: a concept that exists in the mind only discussing the idea of morality
9. mental image: a mental image that reflects reality

Take 1 = its personal. (So asking someone else what they think will not give YOU ‘YOUR’ personal take on an idea it will give you theirs… Are YOU writing the story or are those you ask writing the story?)
Take 2 = its just a suggestion… (Do YOU really want to do it?)
Take 3 = Again a personal impression. (So why are you asking someone else if its YOUR idea?)
Take 4 = A personal realization. (YOU get it by now I am sure.)
Take 5 = Objective. (What’s YOUR objective?)
Take 6 = What’s YOUR essential concept?
Take 7 = Thoughts aren’t anything but personal!
Take 8 =Personal
Take 9 = Personal

Idea = PERSONAL

It is fine to ask ‘Should I’ But perhaps you are asking the wrong people if you should work on this idea or that. Just a personal opinion here but you should first and foremost ask yourself if you should. If you think you can then DO IT! If your not sure if you can then perhaps ask if others would be interested in reading your idea. (Which I have seen many people ask this on YWS as well as other sites.) First and for most I believe you should write for yourself. If you write for everyone else you will become frustrated and will end up trying to please a world full of unappeasable people. If you love it, DO IT! And stop worrying about getting published. Published is at least 2 if not 3 drafts away and if you don’t love your own work or you start stressing it will show in your words. Relax, breath, write, and enjoy. If so and so doesn’t like this or that, take it under advisement and ask YOURSELF if it would be better the way they say. The world is not changed by those who follow everyone else’s advice. It is changed by those who step out and away from the norm. :)

Why can't people just write? Why do you plan every tiny little detail out?


Writing with an end in mind is the way I like to do it. If I was to outline every detail I would stifle all resemblance of creativity and loose my flexibility. The story would come across as well… planned out, instead of as a natural flow of sequences that live and breath unto themselves. My characters have room to develop so I don’t have to spend any time developing them. I meet my characters as I go.

Planners plan away, I am going to go write. If you need more of a plan then, it may come across as far to formed. (You have been warned.)


Why do you care what the reader thinks?


Addressing each question separately because this is kind of two questions in one.

The ‘reader’ is nothing more than one in billions of people. Every reader will have different likes and dislikes. Depending on age, gender, ethnic background… the possibilities are endless!
If you want to write for the ‘readers’ then you must decide what crowd you are going to write for. Along with that you have to make sure that your crowd is kept happy. (What a chore… and how stifling!!! I cant breath!!!)
However if you write for yourself you automatically attract the readers that are somewhat like you, that share your likes and dislikes… You attract people you really WANT to read your story!


How do I get readers to like my characters?

Let me tell you something that I guarantee will work every time if you truly follow through.
Don’t make your character, let your character make you. Let your character tell you his/her story. If your story is truly yours then your characters will develop freely. If your force them you may get a good story but it will never be great.
I call it… Following my fingers. If I question whether he or she would do this or that, I simply let the character go where it will.

Just my take on the questions, I don’t expect many will agree and that is fine with me.

Aiming to changes the world one 'out of box' comment at a time.
~FW~
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~When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world. ~ George Carver

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:54 am
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kjr5horses says...



Thanks for the answers you guys! :D But….now….I have more questions….*blushes*

~Getting published and writing~

If you're not writing to be published, then it is true that you don't need to care what the reader thinks.

But for those of us who want to get published, these are rather important to get right.

Spoiler! :
Mind if I quote you awesome YWSers and awesome writers? :) :)

I do want to get published Rosey Unicorn it’s my goal ;) But, I don’t have to care what the potential readers think or see how many like my work. Because if the story picks you and you go for it and love it, then the chances are that there are many other people in the world that will love my story just as much as I do! :D
Spoiler! :
To be honest the work I have posted on YWS is not my best nor is it even good or even internet worthy but I just do it for fun. My real work is hidden and no one will get to see it until it is finished.

If you take a look at some of the best authors you will find that behind it all they did not write the stories thinking about what the readers will think about their work. They simply had the right story pick them and went with it. Once they were finished they thought that they would send it off to a publisher and now look at them. They were writing for themselves and not caring about what others would think about it.
Spoiler! :
Writers such as, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Christopher Paolini. C. S. Lewis wrote for himself, for the enjoyment of his close family and friends, but his story (Narnia for example) got published and is now considered a classic. Same with Tolkien and his trilogy The Lord of The Rings. But I think Christopher is the best example. He was younger than 15 when he started on his first book Eragon and it was published when he was 15. He was inspired by the books he had read and got the idea for Eragon, wrote the story not for others but just for himself, and his family to enjoy. He did not think constantly about the readers.

So my question is…*drum roll please*… If you want to get published then why must you care about what the reader thinks? Why can’t you get published if you just write for yourself?

~On Ideas~

Beware of the danger of starting and scrapping ideas, it becomes habit and you can throw away some of your best just because it doesn't work right away. You won't grow as a writer unless you push yourself forward and try or adapt to new styles.

I agree, this is a bad habit but then again not all story ideas are not meant to be written. Maybe tried out but when a story does not want to be written then it just feels forced, and it shows in your words. I firmly believe that there is a story for every writer in the world, a story that sets the bar even higher for characters, development, and plot twists. But then again the story has to find you.
So one must scrape away and toss old ideas out. I have done this lots of times, until one day while working the story found me and I must say I have not stopped writing and have not lost my muse once for it or its characters. It’s just too rich, too interesting to put down.
However within this new story I am finding some of my old ideas are coming into the new story and making themselves better, I experiment with new techniques now. And yes I still write my random ideas down and try new things with them so I know if it will work in my novel.
I adapt, try, and push forward quite hard and everyone around me has noticed, but I did not start until the right story found me.
I agree it can become a bad habit, but keeping all of your ideas can also be a very bad habit. Because one will eventually not know how to tell gold from bronze and this is a dangerous thing.

~Goals and Planning~

…having that goal to work towards will help.

I must admit I do plan some, but not every detail as I find it gives me absolutely no flexibility and knowing everything about your character before you write him/her/it down…well makes them seem well forced and restricted and the character just well lacks character. :P
I have a goal and my goal is to get to the end of the book so I can start the next one in my series. I know very little about my characters when I start out, and as the story moves on you and I begin to uncover new things about them.
Think of a character like an onion. Each one has a back story, each one has their likes and their dislikes, their beliefs, what they show to the world and what they keep hidden. But if someone handed you an onion straight from their garden you would not just chop it right then and begin to devour it!
Of course not! You would first have to wash the dirt from it before you would be able to see the skin. This is the first layer, dirt.
The First Chapter= Dirt Layer
Let me explain dirt for you… In the beginning *aka chapter one or otherwise known as Dirt* you do not know your character at all. Okay well you do know some things like for example-
Name: Kate
Age: 10
Goal for Kate: Avenge the death of her family who was killed…and then lives happily ever after with the littlest elf.
*cough this is an example of a bronze story* Anyways….
But that’s it, because you just met Kate. When you meet someone guess what they don’t tell you hardly anything sometimes they won’t even tell you there age until a few years later!
So introduce Kate what is she doing? As it goes on Kate will tell you what you need to know.
Spoiler! :
Information on characters in on a need to know basis. Just saying…

Okay so we have washed our onion *aka Kate* now we can see the first of many layers of skin.
The in-between Chapters= First Layer of Skin and so on….
So now you have met Kate. You don’t know Kate, you have just met here. She is simply an acquaintance…or actually you just met her, only have the basic information now on her. Now in the second chapter you begin to let Kate tell her story and give you the information you need to know when and if you need to know it. Sometimes characters will drop a bomb on you and all of a sudden you have become friends with Kate and she begins to let you into her real personality, not what she seems to be on the outside….
As the story nears its end you will have reached the center of the onion. Whether the end is 6 books from where you started or 250+ pages from where you started you have begun to know Kate like an actual person.
[spoiler]Another way to think about it is like this-
You bump into someone in let’s say Wal-Mart or Target. *Cough, because we all know Target is better…cough* And you begin to have a conversation with that person. Well which of these two scenarios do you think is most likely to happen?
A) You give your entire life’s story in detail, from the moment you were born, your first steps, words, your first day of school, what happened to your parents, family members, and every minute thing you can think of…and then the person does the same. Now you both know each other inside and out and become close buddies and pals! You are now comfortable within a matter of minutes to tell that person your darkest secrets, and heart’s desire.
Or…..
B) You apologize for bumping into them then possibly exchange names. And if you are exceedingly lucky, begin a friendship. And over the course of many years you get to know them, and become close friends. Which after a few years you are comfortable enough to share your darkest and hidden secret. And/or heart’s desire.
You see what I mean? B is the most likely choice, and the most realistic. And even if you do create an extensive 40+ page *exaggerates here* character profile…you only know about them but you never really know them. You can never reach the characters core, you don’t know them.
Take Jonny Depp for example. You can know his everyday routine, what he eats, his favorite color, even what he plans on wearing that day. You could know every little minute detail about Mr. Depp. BUT Those are just things that you know about him. You don’t actually know him.
See what I mean? I like to get to know my characters, I see the end in sight and that’s all I know besides their name and age. Other than that I let them decide what they want to do, the choices they make to get to that goal is completely up to them. Not me.
Yes I am a writer, so I write. That is my second job. My first and most important job is to observe my characters and get to know them gradually like I would a friend. As writers our job is to let the story and the characters find us then our most crucial and important job is to….*pauses for effect…sssooorrrrryyy…..okay I’m done…maybe……* follow our characters around and observe them while scribbling down on a sheet of paper of what they are doing.

Writing is my second job, observing and following around *aka stalking* is my first and foremost job.

Sorry, I ask questions but now I have more…that and I kind of want to see what your thoughts are on these ideas?

MWAHAHAHHAHAhahahhaha……sorry…

~KJR~
"Me I'm dishonest but a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly its the honest ones you have to watch out for because you can never tell when they are going to do something incredibly...stupid." ~Capt. Jack Sparrow




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Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:49 am
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Kyllorac says...



If you want to get published then why must you care about what the reader thinks? Why can’t you get published if you just write for yourself?

In order to get published, you must sell your story to a publisher. Publishers need to make money to stay in business, so they're going to pick stories that, while not excellent, will sell well based on their target audience. It's less risky for them, money-wise.

Now, you can write whatever stories you'd like and send them out for consideration for publication, but if you do things that way, you had better be prepared to hunt down the correct publisher with the correct target audience, which is called placing your story, else be prepared to pay an agent to do so for you.

It's much less time-consuming, in the long run, to pick a target audience, find several publishers that cater to that target audience, and then write the story. You'll be more likely to succeed at getting published that way.

After all, it's readers who buy what you publish; if there aren't enough interested readers to make selling your stories profitable, then publishers won't want to publish them. Simple as that.

Going back to your first post:

Why can't people just write? Why do you plan every tiny little detail out?

Some people need to plan; that's how they write. With others, planning is the death of creativity. Yet others fall in between, planning certain aspects while leaving everything else to the moment they write them.

Different people: different ways. Just because it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean it doesn't work for someone else.

Personally, I'm almost entirely spontaneous. I'll usually start out with a character, a plot point, or even a theme/concept and just go from there, but sometimes, there are stories which require planning and refuse to allow themselves to be written without it, and so I plan them. Loosely. And the plans usually go out the window as the story progresses, but that's not important. >.>

Different stories: different experiences. Each story is unique, after all.
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