>>7695669 nobody is really MEANT for anything, anon. Few people go into something at a "make the cut" skill level. Most, like you and I, will start off shit, and refuse to leave until we aren't shit anymore.
At least you aren't one of the those who "have an AMAZING idea" but will never bring a pen to paper.
>>7695669 Put more thought into your ideas before you start writing. The more you develop them in advance, the less awkward they'll feel to write. Worry about how good the end result is after you've at least finished a few stories. There's an awkward phase you need to get over and that won't happen until you prove that you can at least finish something to yourself.
>>7695686 I agree with this. Mozart was made for music, my exgf was made for porn. The rest, less talented, need to put in more of an effort, which is not to say Mozart or my exgf did not put significant time into their "calling".
writing is useless, anyone can write garbage. only people who give a shit about their work can rewrite it, or at least look at with criticism. everything good started out as a garbage first draft, your english class deceived you.
Most of the time a good story can even be improvised along the way, it's like roleplaying: pick a character or two you like, and make them interact with the world in ways you deem interesting. I often found that the practice of having everything all planned out before hand takes away a lot of the fun of writing. Good stories can be made just about anything, it's the writer job to make them memorable. Suggestion: check out Aarto Pasilinna
OP, I am taking a fiction writing class this semester. I'm 26, but I'm a junior, and a couple of much younger classmates are a lot more competent than I am. it is disheartening, but when it is an assignment that is due, I have no choice but to churn out the shitty shit. normally I'd have given up by now—that is why I am a shitty writer.
however, there are a couple of decent moments in the story I have so far. 1 or 2 gems (if that) in your first draft, and the rest will be worse than the worst writing you can imagine—you will surprise yourself. that is how it is supposed to be.
I can see a couple of classmates dropping this course because they can't deal with the shitty shit they are producing. whether you are meant for it is a matter of constitution. the most important lesson I have learned so far is it is about the process, not the end result, and the process is basically you disappointing yourself into creating an end result that a lot of the time is just OK.
so if you can tolerate that then you are "meant for" this.
>The apple fell from the tree, the boy ate it, the end
>Jack wanted the reddest apple, but it was at the very top of the tree. He started to climb bit by bit. Just as he reached the apple his foot crushed through a branch. He fell through the tree and landed on his back with a loud thump. He was in pain, something felt broken in his leg, but Jack smiled at the apple still gripped in his hand.
>>7695894 I never had any problems coming up with ideas. Though if you mean actually developing an idea once you've decided to write it, then all I can say is think about it and use a fucking outline.
I used to think they were a pain in the ass back when I was a kid in school, but when I tried writing a novel on my own I realized how indispensable an outline is for anything that long. Don't try to do the Stephen King "by the seat of your pants" thing for anything longer than 1500-2000 words. You'll look retarded.
>>7696247 Expressing it as DCR is far more practical imo, since its the action of that characters that's brought into focus. With BME model its very easy to just describe events that you want to happen but they may not necessarily link together seamlessly unless you know your characters, which is what the DCR model is all about.
Further more, understanding it as "desire/conflict/resolution" allows you to play around with any kind of story at any length and complexity, since its all about the characters and what they're doing.
Practice with short stories until you feel you have the chops to write extended works
They're much, much easier to edit without all the headaches a novel can give you. And allow you to sharpen your teeth on effective characterization and description since you dont have alotta space to fuck around like so many writers do in novels.
Just write in short bursts everyday and shelve your first drafts for later
Come backt to your oldest writings in a month or two to glance at your work with a new set of eyes and rewrite them when necessary, link pieces of text together if they fit together thematically and shelve once more
Repeat the process periodically until you're satisfied with the result
Whatever you're writing try to ask yourself questions you really care about, without really stating them and be as precise as possible with the answers Don't imitate other authors, rather try to impress yourself with your writing
>>7696266 Any sort of formalized dramatic structure is for pleb fucks. As long as you've done a decent enough job with your outline, you don't need to adhere to any of that high school English class bullshit.
>>7696312 The difference between "desire/conflict/resolution" and shit like the 3/5 act structure is that one can be found in every single story existing as a matter of necessity, while the others are just intellectual models that can easily be replaced by something else.
The questions is which one would you rather master, the core essentials of narrative or some structure.
>>7696326 I should also add that its probably better to say "desire/conflict/outcome" rather than resolution. Resolution implies everything being neat and tidy by the end, a sort of artificiality, while "outcome" is merely showing you what becomes of the situation at hand.
>>7696326 >one can be found in every single story existing as a matter of necessity Nope. Read more books fampai. You don't need any of that shit. Not even what you've been taught to think of as "essential" to every story through your exposure to media of all forms.
>“People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.”
>>7696348 The fact that you've been taught it by what you've seen through lifelong exposure is exactly my point. You're seeing the same pattern in everything because the human mind is designed to see patterns even where none exist.
>>7696358 When he says "just outline man" he''s more than likely just working with the basics but on a more intuitive level. You really cant make an effective outline without knowing your characters and how they will be progressing, what incites that changes, etc.
Being aware of the principles only gives you more control over the process, so I don't see anything "pleb" about it.
You wouldn't dare hear a professional photographer saying "fuck lighting and composition just take the picture if you feel it man"
>>7696358 "Developing" your characters is contrived because they're all really just you roleplaying as something/someone else. If you don't understand your characters well enough to know exactly what they'd do at any given time and have that be consistent with what they've done up to that point, that just means you don't understand yourself.
A plot is a structure, for sure, but I'm saying you don't need the sort of structure you're taught to see in everything by life/media. Even the most basic beginning/middle/end arc isn't necessary.
>>7696381 >>7696392 >>7696397 You're taught to see those things as products of will but they can just as easily be interpreted as preexisting, nonsentient, or even entirely random forces passively building towards the outcome you see.
>>7696411 >Even the most basic beginning/middle/end arc isn't necessary. that's literally what ive been saying, its characters that create the plot. Everything I've been saying relates to understanding your characters better so they more or less write their own story.
>>7696411 >You're taught to see those things as products of will but they can just as easily be interpreted as preexisting, nonsentient, or even entirely random forces passively building towards the outcome you see. Not really, there's always action somewhere and in some form. Hell you already implied it.
>>7696422 Action isn't "willed" action. Unless you're talking about your own will as the author. If someone gets struck by lightning, that's a random event. It happens. Even your will is a byproduct of processes and conditions that occurred on their own for millions of years. It's a matter of perspective.
>>7696438 I guess we can agree to that. Things get much more different when we bring in the forces of nature.
Overall I see fiction as very focused way of looking at ourselves, or even sharing ourselves - picking some aspects to highlight over others. So for me, in putting things under a microscope its always a matter of action and outcome, nothing is left to chance in the final composition.
If a guy is doing something we understand why from the start, or at least will at some point, since every action taken by an individual does have a will and perception that permits it.
1. Pick a thing you like doing. Writing, music, painting, whatever. 2. Do it in your spare time because you want to. 3. If it reaches the point where you're good enough that people with no ulterior motives for flattering you say it's good, beyond the point where anyone says the same about anything else you do, then you may as well stick with it.
Total strangers like my writing. I like writing. I'm not amazing at anything else, I don't care about doing anything else, I'm lucky enough that I don't really have to do anything else. I am not a writer, I am writing.
>>7696411 >doesn't understand character development Of course I know what my characters are going to do in any given situation. The point is to make it so other people can see and understand their motivations.
>>7696454 Yeah, all the best fiction is an externalization of the internal, but as you've probably noticed, the exact form the end result will take depends on what materials you have inside yourself and how you want to arrange them.
>>7696468 That's what's contrived though. If you have to specifically structure it "so they'll see" that means you're forcing things. If you really understood them, they'd be self-evident to anyone reading without you having to consciously form "arcs" around them.
>>7696491 I never understood the "don't force it, just let it flow" mindset. Stories are by their nature artificial. They're constructed, for entertainment. There's a difference between "forcing it" as in making a strained and awkward story that tests the credulity of the reader, and "forcing it" as in guiding the narrative in a direction which will be interesting and satisfying to read.
>but if you have to guide it you don't understand your characters! Shut up, choosing your characters is part of that guiding, as is choosing the setting in which they interact.
Protip: If you follow the advice here you will just end up rewriting shit into something shittier.
You do not solve a problem by repeatedly doing the same thing that led to that problem in the first place. If you don't know how to write properly, repeatedly doing it over and over will just make shit writing into a habit.
That's why all 7 books of Harry Potter are complete shit. The author didn't improve at all from the first book because she just kept doing the same thing over.
>>Jack wanted the reddest apple, but it was at the very top of the tree. He started to climb bit by bit. Just as he reached the apple his foot crushed through a branch. He fell through the tree and landed on his back with a loud thump. He was in pain, something felt broken in his leg, but Jack smiled at the apple still gripped in his hand.
This is the kind of garbage you get if you follow the shitty advice presented in this thread.
my example was really just to show the progression of a persons actions against obstacles, which is kinda what fiction entails, versus the mere putting down of a beginning middle and end. By no standards a serious story so I'm not sure why you took it that way.
I guess I should just post materials that outline the same concepts in greater depth.
there is a very clear and obvious historical development since the reformation and enlightenment but especially in the last century or two of the "Author/Artist as Genius/Prophet" perception
it's not just a stereotype, it has become fucking fundamental to the way we perceive artists, especially authors. it structures and dominates the way we interact with authors. people don't want to read non-geniuses; you shouldn't write if you're not a genius. how do you know if you're a genius? well, innate or unique talent of course. there's a buzzfeed-esque cultural fascination with TOP 10 QUIRKY MEME AUTHORS WHOSE WEIRD BRAIN DISORDERS MADE THEM THE TITANS OF 20TH CENTURY LITERARY CRITICISM.
pynchon has to be an Event, he can't just be a guy; 98% of discussion about DFW is precisely that, about DFW, and not about his work (only dimly understood and rarely even read). the author is not only a genius or titan, he IS the work itself, in the modern paradigm. you don't read war and peace - you read tolstoy. you read ouevres. people who have no concept of historicism or lit crit in general understand that DOSTOEVSKY is to be appreciated. we fundamentally think in terms of lists of authors, not books, and those lists are fundamentally conceptualised in terms of these shining beacons of charismatic genius and insight rather than any factual enumeration of the merits of their work.
go actually read what books used to be like. essays were unpretentious and shitty and yet still seminal and massively important. authors had bad books and good books. authors had pulpy books they churned for money, and labours of love. authors with horrible prose and form became famous for their philosophical insights. authors conveyed insights over several mediocre works rather than ~defining an epoch~ with one big fancy one.
this mentality has filtered down into how you try to write. you sit down and grunt like you're taking a shit, praying that some natural genius will spooge out of your face and onto the paper. /lit/ poetry threads are filled with people who have never read more than five fucking poems in their life, let alone studied poetry, posting godawful derivative free verse kitsch because they have some vague sense that wordy pathos = art, and their lack of experience with the tradition allows them to squint their eyes until their poem gets all blurry and kind of looks vaguely similar to what they have some vague sense is Real Poetry. compare that to actual poets, who were steeped in the tradition. think of picassso, who busted his balls to be a great artist before doing weird shit, and compare that to modern deviantart retards farting onto wax paper. this is everything now. it's part of some post-prole hyperreality made 100x worse by the normalised narcissism of a culture that thinks every moron has to have a blog and a "voice."
go study until a) you have mastery of form, whether you want to employ it or transcend it, and b) until you have something you want to say.
I don't think that kind of formula would be able to describe every good story, let alone generate one.
If you really wanted to you could stretch "obstacle" to encompass anything and everything under the sun, which would make it worthless. For example, you could characterize the short story I posted as "the progression of the girl's actions against the obstacle of her rationality" which is really convoluted or you could just say it describes her descent into madness, which is far more descriptive.
People always talk about "conflict" as if it's a well-defined thing but to make it fit a story it has to be so vague and the definition made so loose that it's worthless.
>>7696605 >all 7 books of Harry Potter are complete shit. The author didn't improve at all from the first book because she just kept doing the same thing over. You're retarded. There's a tangible, quantifiable change from the HP books from beginning to end. I'm not saying she improved on her work, if anything the opposite happened, but if your advice is predicated on the perspective that she didn't change her style with time, it's wrong.
>>7696672 Its more like just illustrating how characters work, the formula on its own isnt 100% the answer, true, but it works well enough for beginners like OP who just need to learn the ABCs.
The best stories are always bound by a premise, an overall theme that guides the progression so it isn't a sprawling mess. You said it perfectly with the girls hyper-rationality sending her into madness. Thats the guiding principle.
>>7696689 >the formula on its own isnt 100% the answer, true, but it works well enough for beginners like OP who just need to learn the ABCs. >The best stories are always bound by a premise, an overall theme that guides the progression so it isn't a sprawling mess. You said it perfectly with the girls hyper-rationality sending her into madness. Thats the guiding principle.
Following a formula won't make you improve, it will make you get into a habit of following the formula and producing shitty derivative work. Coming up with new "overall themes" is what will improve your writing. That and being able to express the themes.
>>7696655 I am almost in full agreement. We've sort of regressed to this pseudo-Grecian idea of Genius as a physical being, a sort of demon that inhabits great artists. When in fact, a more consistent moral or aesthetic philosophy would be to say that great art is derived from dedication to the form in conjunction with what we call "talent" or "insight" (as in the case of Picasso). Nihil nube sub sol (he says knowing full well he is de-facto quoting a video game character as well as the Vulgate).
>>7696672 He gave Picasso as an example of someone who mastered the form before he began to experiment with it. I don't necessarily agree that one has to take that approach: look at Frank Zappa. One of the greatest musical "geniuses" of the 20th century, yet the older he got, the closer his musical form came to what we would call "traditional classical" or "romantic" music. Lumpy Gravy was released in '68, the Yellow Shark in '93
>>7696709 I only even call it a 'formula' for the sake of conversation, but like I said before its just a progression that appears in every story naturally as a matter of the character going about and acting in their characteristic fashion. Its not a forced thing, and exactly how the theme is even expressed.
Say the theme is the paint and the characters are the brush.
>>7696655 That's because the way things were in the "good old but not too old because I don't like things that old" days don't work anymore. You have to be an "event" or at the very least present yourself as one to even capture enough attention to be considered a viable artistic entity these days. There's so much noise that unless you're constantly being talked about no one will even consider what you're saying. You might not like the narcissism that these times have brought on, but it's essential to at least superficially affect if you plan on surviving as an artistic/authorial entity in them instead of just ejecting your work into the ether.
>>7696605 >complains about shitty advice >offers no advice himself >attempted to BTFO everybody in thread for the sole purpose of including a tower of post numbers in his post, thus drawing attention to himself, in typical tripfag fashion
>>7695669 the more you write the less precious you get about it. you'll stop trying to please your vanities and hopefully find your voice. Everything I did was an exercise in literary mimicry for years; takes time.
>>7698068 it would be rad if in the future historians and literary theorists study and make anthologies of "belittling posts" from the early 21st century...altho really 4chan is grub street hack tier and no one gonna read this shiite, but it's always fun to fantasize about anonymous literary immortality in between penning blasts of condescension
Writing prompts are kind of a shitty idea though. They're more of an academic exercise than one that'll help with your own writing. I agree that you have to write a lot before trying to write an entire novel or something, but unless you're also training yourself to come up with ideas, prompts will only make you write derivative shit.
>>7698104 yeah but in history the most popular mainstream shit always gets put on a pedestal so that fucking "what did u just say to me u little bitch" post will be studied in "21st century trolling and belittling" class, while all our shit will be overlooked
>>7698259 It won't make the writing itself worse on a technical level, because you're still practicing by writing based on a prompt, but it will reduce your ability to come up with non-derivative (as non-derivative as they can get, anyway) ideas, characters, and plotlines because you're inadvertently teaching yourself to rely on prompts for ideas.
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