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An Unfulfilled Dream

by Aaraju


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Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:50 pm
Lucrezia wrote a review...



Hi there!
Lucrezia here, for a very belated review. (Sorry about that!)

So, to begin, I'll get my criticism out of the way first. My main issue here is that this piece was very... dramatic. Dramatic's okay—even great some of the time—but when it starts to feel a bit melodramatic, things get weird. Another way of saying it would be that this piece did, at times, come off a bit overly solemn in its delivery. All of what you're saying in this is sad, but I think a clearer, straightforward approach to describing those sad things—rather than getting mired in woe and pity—would make the sadness stand on its own instead of becoming this mountain of gloom. The final lines are a good example:

You doubt your talent. You stop believing in yourself. You stop writing. And one more writer, who could give the world some of the greatest words of all time, dies.


This just feels really dramatic. It's not that it's not true, but it's like... the reader gets that this is a bummer. They don't need to be hit over the head with the TRAGEDY of it all, you know? Your word choice, for instance. I probably don't need to tell you that "dies" is really solemn, perhaps one of the gravest words in the English language (if not the gravest—pun possibly intended). Why not go for something that's a little more subtle? Like, instead of "one more writer, who could give the world some of the greatest words of all time, dies," try:
"You close your journal, walk away from your keyboard, turn off your computer. And you don't come back."
That's one idea which could, itself, use some work, but the advantage here is that you're allowing the reader—who is acting as the protagonist in this piece—to fill in the gaps themselves and imagine what, precisely, these lines mean. I think that sort of writing is best-suited to this piece. I wouldn't include the "who could give the world some of the greatest words of all time" bit because, while not bad, it just feels overly dramatic to me and hyperbolic, and I prefer the idea of allowing the reader to come to that kind of conclusion themselves instead of force-feeding it to them.

I do agree with what Feltrix said, about the assumptions. This piece was awfully specific—too specific, I'd say. For instance, the highs of the story—or the good things that happened to the writer—were very high (a piece of their writing moved an entire class to tears; their essay won first prize; their writing SAVED A DEPRESSED FRIEND). Now, I understand that you may've been going for an exaggerated example to really demonstrate what it is this piece talks about: the hardships of writing, self-doubt, and giving up on your dreams. That makes sense. And maybe some (all?) of this stuff has actually happened to you. But the problem is, you wrote this in second-person. By virtue of that alone, what the writer goes through should—in my opinion—be more relatable, something that most (all?) writers can immediately recognize and understand. I personally could relate to what the piece was saying, because a lot of the good stuff that happened to this writer has also happened to me (#humblebrag), but the same is not true for most writers I know. So, if you want to maximize the potential for the reader to relate (and I think that's a requirement for a piece like this), I would suggest toning it down a touch. Make the writer's achievements less grand, and not only will it be more relatable, but it will also make the protagonist's feelings of inadequacy seem more reasonable. Or, don't give specifics about their achievements at all: keep it broad, and vague. That's probably what I'd do with this particular piece.

BlueAfrica mentioned before me that the "blank sheet of paper" bit wasn't relatable to her since that's not what she fears as a writer, which was an interesting point. I think, the more specific you were, the less "real" this piece felt. To me, having writer's block and being daunted by a blank piece of paper is scary, but it's true that I wouldn't call that the scariest thing. When you get into the Land of Subjective Things, and start using your experiences and opinions as the end-all-be-all, it can definitely take away from how relatable the piece is. For that reason, I'd suggest staying away from sweeping statements and being careful to not present the subjective as objective fact: rather than say "a blank sheet of paper, that's the biggest fear of a writer," try saying, "a blank sheet of paper can inspire fear in writers, especially when they're lacking inspiration." Far more relatable and accurate that way.

The good news is that you captured the self-doubt and hopelessness that can come with being a writer quite well. Everyone has moments of writer's block and ugh-why-am-doing-this fear, but it's an elusive emotion and state of mind, something hard to describe. You, for the most part, have described it well. I think ALL writers will be able to relate to those sections of this piece, and that's what really counts.

Parts of the writing were really quite beautiful and well-worded. Obviously you have raw talent—but, like most writers, there's room for refinement, and smoothing out those rough edges. Still, this was a very good piece. Flawed, but strong. I like the fact that you packed all of these turbulent feelings into just three paragraphs. That's skillful.

It was thought-provoking, and compelling. The flow was mostly good. I think you did a great job at exploring some of these insecurities, and the fact that you were able to explore this topic as well as you did with such a short piece is very impressive. Were there things I'd change? Yes, obviously. But even still, it's a great piece as-is; it held my attention, I could trace parts of it back to my own real life, and it made me feel less alone in the "writing process" (for lack of a less pretentious term).

I also think the concept is solid; I've never read anything quite like it, so props for originality. I appreciate the fact that you saw it to its conclusion rather than having one of those copout endings that put a sudden, positive spin on things (e.g., "and then you found inspiration, and suddenly the words danced across the page while little bluebirds chirped and a rainbow blossomed overhead!"—blech). Even if it was a bit dramatic for my taste, you did execute the emotion very well. There was a pulsating feeling to this piece; it was real, and raw, and striking. That's no easy feat. And the decision to write it from second-person, while more difficult to navigate successfully, was an interesting one. I thought it worked, especially on a site for writers like this.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. With one thoughtfully-considered edit, it could even be amazing. You've got some admirable talent, and I think this sort of thing will really connect with people. (And already has.) Nice work!




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Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:59 pm
BlueAfrica wrote a review...



Well, that got depressing really quickly.

A blank sheet of paper.


A good opening line, but it didn't go at all the direction I imagined! A blank sheet of paper is my favorite thing as a writer! It's full of potential - you haven't written anything yet, so things aren't cruddy yet. It's once you've got some words on paper and realize how bad they are that the self-doubt creeps in, in my experience.

BUT ANYWAY, I think this was decent. You made good use of second-person narration, although what I would like to see from this is more dramatization. Show us that time you won a prize for writing! Show us what your teacher said when she liked your writing! You got a good start, but delving deeper into these experiences will make for a richer piece.




Aaraju says...


You've crumbled everything you've been trying to write and then you try to write again. There's your blank sheet of paper and you're having this writer's block. You can't think of anything to write. You just can't. And you just staring at this blank sheet of paper. Isn't that your biggest fear?



BlueAfrica says...


Nope. I like me a blank piece of paper.

It's the stuff I've already written that's crying out for me to revise it that's my fear. Well, not my *fear* exactly, but it does a number on my self-esteem.



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Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:52 pm
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Feltrix wrote a review...



Hello! Normally at this point I'd give an introduction, but that is unnecessary seeing as everything you need to know about me can be found there.
<-----

I like the first two sentences, those work very well. For the rest of the first paragraph, you start to go into the deadly pitfall that comes with second person: assumptions. You say that the reader does things, which, instead of including the reader, can actually alienate them.

The same thing starts to happen in the second paragraph. This actually gets just a little confusing. I mean, I understand what you mean, and I think most people do, too. It's at a deadly level of confusingness where people don't point it out, because they understand it, but it very subtly lowers the quality of your work.

To combat all the second person assumptions, I'd use analogies. I think that analogies are your friend in this case, because they can come from anyone and they can convey the point you're trying to make very well.

I actually love the last paragraph. This is the pinnacle, the high point of your piece. The last sentence in particular is very profound. I'm not sure anything actually needs to be changed here, except possibly cutting the phrase "You doubt your talent." That's pretty much summed up in the rest of the paragraph, and it hides a subtle and dangerous assumption.

Basically, the first paragraph was pretty good, at the second I struggled a little, and the third was FANTASTIC. This needs a little tweaking, but I thought you did a great job.

Feltrix




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Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:11 am
skylnn00writes wrote a review...



Hey! Sky here at your request :smt001 Please remember these are all suggestions.

I'm not sure where to start. I have to say this is brilliant. It's just so true and pure and oh my god I felt like someone read my mind. So I will start by thanking you for writing this and helping writers understand they are not alone when they get hit with writers block.

Ok moving on, I think this was truly amazing. You asked me to be honest and here I am being honest as I can. I really have nothing to critique here.

One thing:

"you forget every accomplishment that encouraged you to become a writer and start thinking that maybe you aren't just good enough.

So it wasn't until I typed it in that I realized what you might have meant by this but it was still a confusing sentence. I understood it the first time as you saying "...start thinking that maybe you just aren't good enough." Then I thought maybe you meant "you forget every accomplishment that encouraged you to become a writer and begin to think good enough just isn't doing it." I might have written that one wrong, sorry. You might just want to review this sentence a bit as I find it a bit confusing.

So other than that it truly was flawless. It flowed really nicely, didn't include anything that was unnecessary, and it was relatable for the reader. You showed emotion without saying it and I commend you greatly for that. Good job :smt001 I hope this review is helpful.

~Sky




Aaraju says...


Thank you so much for your honest review. :)



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Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:06 pm
rosette wrote a review...



Ahhh, I love this!
You've totally captured the crazy emotions of a writer, simply by writing. Ironic as that may sound. Can I just - *sends virtual hug*

I'm trying not to get all mushy and gushy over here, because I am going to do a review, but this really got me. I hate it when people second guess themselves, I Hate It! This piece just goes to show we're all being stupid when we do that. We never know exactly who we may touch. But, moving on here...

Your first paragraph was perfectly fine, but I had a little bit of a problem with the second one. The beginning two sentences are going off the previous paragraph; we're angry and upset we can't write. Then, suddenly, we dive into the pros of writing, the passion, the praise, the love. ...Throw your pen away and think that you weren’t meant to be a writer. The passion you had when you showed one of your articles to your teacher and she heartily praised your writing skills. Those two sentences do not flow into each other. Did you mean to say something more along the lines of how we forget about that passion? It was, all in all, an awkward change of thought, and I suggest you fix it up a little. Maybe give us more hints of this passion/praise part, as you build up to it.

I like your picture. A lot. I actually might steal it. ;P But I fail to see why you stuck it in here. If this is an unfulfilled dream that the person did not end up accomplishing, and could never get past the blank piece of paper, why the non-blank piece here? You end the story with the person dying, and this picture kind of contradicts it with its Once upon a time.... Like something's beginning.

So those are my thoughts all out for you to see. Okay, so you did have a couple grammatical errors here and there, but it's nothing I'm going to freak out and wave my hands about. Overall, I genuinely liked this, and I hope to read more from you. Once more, thanks for sharing this with us!
cheers!
-TheKid




Aaraju says...


Thank you so much for the review. %uD83D%uDE01 In the second paragraph I just wanted to write that the writer had forgetten every accomplishment and listed out the things that inspired him to become one. Well, I guess I didn't put it that clearly.
I don't know what I was thinking while putting up the picture %uD83D%uDE02 So I deleted it. Or maybe it said something like 'once upon a time' there was a writer. Haha idk. Yeah, the writer inside him dies.
Thank you so much for the honest review.



rosette says...


You're welcome, I'm sorry if I seemed harsh in any way :O
Okay, then, so the writer in him dies. Whoops, for some reason I thought you were saying, the person died! XD



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Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:00 am
RavenBlack wrote a review...



*claps wildly*

THIS IS AMAZING AND SO RELATABLE!

I've been writing for three years now (i think) and I've thrown away so many pieces of failed work that sometimes I feel like giving up. I've always compare myself to others: "Why can't my work be like hers/his" "Why am I even bothering with this?" I thought I was the only one that felt this way so thank you for writing this and making me realize that I'm not alone. :-D

I love the use of rhetorical questions, I automatically started asking myself the same questions, remembering all the times I said the same words to myself.

Also the use of the short sentences was a great way to implement specific lines in my head. "A blank sheet of paper. That’s the biggest fear for a writer." I found myself agreeing with each line.

The use of personal pronouns made this very personal (sorry for using the word twice couldn't think of a different one xD) which made me engage with it more.

The length of the article was also genius. It wasn't too long and was the perfect length to imitate a conversation with one's self. Well done.

Keep Writing!




Aaraju says...


Thank you so much. I smiled all the way as I read your review. I'm so glad that you found it relatable. And, just remember, we all have a writer's block, we all experience times when we can't spill the exact feelings on the paper. But that's okay. Keep on writing! Good luck.



RavenBlack says...


Thanks for the empowering words and advice and again great piece :-)



Feltrix says...


It saddens me when a writer stops writing, not just because of the lost possibilities, but because writing is more a process than an activity. It's an endless cycle of creation and destruction, and a book can never really be completed. It can be (and often is) discouraging, but that's just part of the cycle.



RavenBlack says...


I agree. But I think we have to go through the trials and failures to improve, even though it may take a long time.




I'm not so good with the advice... Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?
— Chandler Bing