Author Topic: Writers' thread  (Read 10712 times)

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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2010, 03:31:08 AM »
Good writing is all about good editing. If you can edit yourself, you'll be all the better for it. I realize some writers get paid to churn out 400 pages of poorly written, half-plagiarized crap about Dungeons and Dragons or Star Wars, but not everyone has an anonymous editor-slave to make their work presentable. Of course, if you can write 4 shitty novels a year one of them is bound to get accepted somewhere, so that's always an option. But I feel writing is more enjoyable for me when I work on something that I feel is really worth doing, even if it means I spend tens of hours per page.

Also, have a circle of writers you talk to and meet with somewhat frequently. I find that helps a lot. That said, if anyone here at DTF wants to start a private writers group, I'd be down.



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« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 03:37:00 AM by AndyDT »

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2010, 03:54:06 AM »
In my experience, showing-not-telling is heavily preferred by literary agents; telling is too passive.

I have some suggestions, but I wouldn't read if you're thin-skinned. I spend a lot of time reading and critiquing others' work (usually informally), and I've probably lost the capacity to be tactful rather than direct. So, apologies if I'm blunt; I don't mean it badly. :)

I found a lot of your sentences too long. Assuming this is a start to a novel, you're info-dumping early on ("the vast region within which they had eked out their ongoing livelihood and persisted for weeks with scarcity and hardship") - that's backstory and it can wait until later, if you need it at all. Offered too early, this kind of info puts readers off.

Some of the description wasn't needed, e.g. "The wolf observed the world stretched out before them, looking periodically in the different directions of still and receding vast landscape that presented itself. A look to the sky showed the direction of light and the position of the sun and let the wolf detect and breathe the wind." This is overwriting, really, and it's not focused on a very interesting part of the story - nothing is specifically going on. The best advice for introductions - which I assume this is? - is to jump into a point of action and grab the reader's attention right away. Where is the first gripping, exciting part of your story? Even if it's 5 pages in, have a good look at those first 5 pages. What do you really need to keep? It's amazing how often you only need to keep a couple of sentences, or even less.

Technically, I'd say your writing shows some promise, but this as it stands is about two thirds longer than it needs to be.

But hey, the great thing about writing is that it's yours, and you don't have to give a toss about my opinion unless you think it's worthwhile, so feel free to totally ignore me.  :P

Thanks. This is an extract from a late chapter of the book. The wolf is garnering information and I'm trying to describe the view across the landscape.

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2010, 05:09:19 AM »
Good writing is all about good editing. If you can edit yourself, you'll be all the better for it. I realize some writers get paid to churn out 400 pages of poorly written, half-plagiarized crap about Dungeons and Dragons or Star Wars, but not everyone has an anonymous editor-slave to make their work presentable. Of course, if you can write 4 shitty novels a year one of them is bound to get accepted somewhere, so that's always an option. But I feel writing is more enjoyable for me when I work on something that I feel is really worth doing, even if it means I spend tens of hours per page.

Also, have a circle of writers you talk to and meet with somewhat frequently. I find that helps a lot. That said, if anyone here at DTF wants to start a private writers group, I'd be down.



I'm down too.
Considering what you quoted, I lol'd at your edit. :P
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2010, 12:16:49 PM »
Rather than start a new thread, I figured I'd just post it here. This is a very short "story" I wrote after getting off work today.

My Walk
Quote
It's said that every cloud has a silver lining. I think for most of us, this is true. Sometimes, I think, you just have to look a little harder for that silver lining.

My cloud happens to be a transmission that I can't afford to replace. The silver lining is my walk to work. I've been walking to work for several weeks now, often agitated by both the time it takes out of my schedule and by the lack of climate control. Every day is the same. Make it to the first stop light. Wait for the “walk” light to appear on the pole, then rush to cross the street. Make it to the stop sign, to the next light, and the next, and so on.

Today was different. Today, I paid attention.

For the past few weeks, I was so encumbered by the weight of my situation that I never took advantage of the fact that the world slowed down. Today, I began my walk as any other day. Perhaps it was to alleviate the usual feeling of repetition that my mind veered from its usual course.

I left my house and began to make my way down my street. I noticed things I had never bothered to care about. No - I didn't just notice them... I began to appreciate them. I saw the withered leaves losing their grasp from the trees they had known for so long. I saw dogs in their yards, burrowing into the ground, hoping to finally catch that elusive gopher. I saw my neighbors enjoying both their days off and each others' company.

I turned onto the busier street in town and noticed other things, as well. I saw the bustling flow of traffic. I saw drivers honking at each other because of the minor inconvenience of waiting more than a second at an intersection. I saw people who, through the wonder of automobiles, forgot about those things I was enjoying – those things that I had also enjoyed in my childhood. It was as if my attention to the smaller things in life was connecting me to that time that I yearn for so much.

When I was a teenager, I would be irritated by my grandparent's refusal to drive “five over” on the highway. I couldn't grasp the concept that they were “enjoying the drive.” Now, in my adulthood, I feel like I am connected to them, much like being awed by these little things connected me to my early childhood.

Today, during my walk, I became part of the world, rather than hurrying through it. It terrifies me to think that growing up is forgetting about everything between points A and B. You see, when the world consists only of destinations, the world has nothing to offer.

That really seems to work as a moral message. On a technical note - don't some people complain when you start sentences the same again and again?

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #39 on: December 08, 2010, 02:37:10 PM »
Rather than start a new thread, I figured I'd just post it here. This is a very short "story" I wrote after getting off work today.

My Walk
Quote
It's said that every cloud has a silver lining. I think for most of us, this is true. Sometimes, I think, you just have to look a little harder for that silver lining.

My cloud happens to be a transmission that I can't afford to replace. The silver lining is my walk to work. I've been walking to work for several weeks now, often agitated by both the time it takes out of my schedule and by the lack of climate control. Every day is the same. Make it to the first stop light. Wait for the “walk” light to appear on the pole, then rush to cross the street. Make it to the stop sign, to the next light, and the next, and so on.

Today was different. Today, I paid attention.

For the past few weeks, I was so encumbered by the weight of my situation that I never took advantage of the fact that the world slowed down. Today, I began my walk as any other day. Perhaps it was to alleviate the usual feeling of repetition that my mind veered from its usual course.

I left my house and began to make my way down my street. I noticed things I had never bothered to care about. No - I didn't just notice them... I began to appreciate them. I saw the withered leaves losing their grasp from the trees they had known for so long. I saw dogs in their yards, burrowing into the ground, hoping to finally catch that elusive gopher. I saw my neighbors enjoying both their days off and each others' company.

I turned onto the busier street in town and noticed other things, as well. I saw the bustling flow of traffic. I saw drivers honking at each other because of the minor inconvenience of waiting more than a second at an intersection. I saw people who, through the wonder of automobiles, forgot about those things I was enjoying – those things that I had also enjoyed in my childhood. It was as if my attention to the smaller things in life was connecting me to that time that I yearn for so much.

When I was a teenager, I would be irritated by my grandparent's refusal to drive “five over” on the highway. I couldn't grasp the concept that they were “enjoying the drive.” Now, in my adulthood, I feel like I am connected to them, much like being awed by these little things connected me to my early childhood.

Today, during my walk, I became part of the world, rather than hurrying through it. It terrifies me to think that growing up is forgetting about everything between points A and B. You see, when the world consists only of destinations, the world has nothing to offer.

That really seems to work as a moral message. On a technical note - don't some people complain when you start sentences the same again and again?
I haven't run into that yet. In this case, though, it was pretty much intentional.
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2010, 04:02:35 AM »
Got some good ideas from the writing group I go to. Even when you don't get to read your own, you see the criticisms or faults of others writing as much as their strengths.

Just need a couple more people and we can get a writing email list together. ..

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2010, 04:17:12 AM »
I'm down.
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2010, 06:02:18 AM »
Great. One more I'd say it would be worth exchanging some pieces of writing.

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2010, 12:22:30 AM »
Some published authors seem to advise to know which genre and audience you're writing for. But how do you find out genre? A lot of the books I've liked just say "fiction" on the side and are found under general fiction in bookshops. They might have spiritual theme but are labelled fiction.

How do you establish genre? Narrative?

To use a poor example:  He was amazed that such things could happen (fantasy) vs He realised it was only a dream (realism)

« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 12:30:51 AM by AndyDT »

Offline Adami

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2010, 12:31:43 AM »
Just write whatever you want. Don't worry about what genre it is.
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Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2010, 12:31:45 AM »
Some published authors seem to advise to know which genre and audience you're writing for. But how do you find out genre? A lot of the books I've liked just say "fiction" on the side and are found under general fiction in bookshops. They might have spiritual theme but are labelled fiction.
I don't think that's what they mean, judging by the way you said it (I think). I think it means know what you're writing and write it. If you're writing horror, write horror. Don't have the protagonist fall in love with the antagonist in a horror story - that would be silly.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2010, 04:29:36 AM »
Some published authors seem to advise to know which genre and audience you're writing for. But how do you find out genre? A lot of the books I've liked just say "fiction" on the side and are found under general fiction in bookshops. They might have spiritual theme but are labelled fiction.
I don't think that's what they mean, judging by the way you said it (I think). I think it means know what you're writing and write it. If you're writing horror, write horror. Don't have the protagonist fall in love with the antagonist in a horror story - that would be silly.

No, never do that to a horror story...

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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2010, 02:04:50 AM »
I know you should probably just write what you enjoy but I'm thinking it should be clear what kind of world that's being described. e.g. if a supernatural thing happens then suddenly it's a fantasy and I need to make this clear.

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2010, 02:20:59 AM »
I know you should probably just write what you enjoy but I'm thinking it should be clear what kind of world that's being described. e.g. if a supernatural thing happens then suddenly it's a fantasy and I need to make this clear.
I think you're looking too deep into it. If a supernatural thing occurs, just establish a logical course of events that lead up to it. There are thousands of stories where supernatural events occur in a non-fantasy setting.
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writer's thread
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2011, 12:17:16 AM »
I started a second novel to work on alongside the main one I'm revising. However, I got bogged down in things I didn't want to write about and 4 chapters in, I haven't got to writing about what I really want to. So I want to re-write it so that straight away the subject matter and style I want to write and the reader to see is clear. The existing material I would hope to use as flashbacks. Any other ideas how I could use what I've alreay written, or any other tips?


P.S. I've re-titled this thread if that's ok? Should it be renamed "DTF official writer's thread"?

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Writer's thread
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2011, 12:11:23 PM »
I started a second novel to work on alongside the main one I'm revising. However, I got bogged down in things I didn't want to write about and 4 chapters in, I haven't got to writing about what I really want to. So I want to re-write it so that straight away the subject matter and style I want to write and the reader to see is clear. The existing material I would hope to use as flashbacks. Any other ideas how I could use what I've alreay written, or any other tips?


P.S. I've re-titled this thread if that's ok? Should it be renamed "DTF official writer's thread"?
Well, it should probably be "DTF offficial writers' thread" unless you're just being selfish.

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Offline SixDegrees

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Re: Writer's thread
« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2011, 03:56:54 PM »
.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 04:18:35 AM by SixDegrees »

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writer's thread
« Reply #52 on: January 23, 2011, 12:28:35 AM »
Ok, now maybe we can talk about writing.

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #53 on: January 23, 2011, 02:01:03 AM »
I started a second novel to work on alongside the main one I'm revising. However, I got bogged down in things I didn't want to write about and 4 chapters in, I haven't got to writing about what I really want to. So I want to re-write it so that straight away the subject matter and style I want to write and the reader to see is clear. The existing material I would hope to use as flashbacks. Any other ideas how I could use what I've alreay written, or any other tips?


P.S. I've re-titled this thread if that's ok? Should it be renamed "DTF official writer's thread"?
Are you talking about starting in media res, then using flashbacks to bring the reader up to speed?
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #54 on: January 24, 2011, 03:50:22 AM »
I think so yes otherwise I'm not writing about what I want to.

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #55 on: January 24, 2011, 03:57:55 AM »
If you have a concept that you want to use, just try and view it from a completely different perspective. There's always a way to make a story out of something that you want to write about - the hard part, sometimes, is just figuring out how. Stew on it for a while if you have to; the best stories come from authors who enjoy their own writing.
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #56 on: January 26, 2011, 03:43:02 AM »
If you have a concept that you want to use, just try and view it from a completely different perspective. There's always a way to make a story out of something that you want to write about - the hard part, sometimes, is just figuring out how. Stew on it for a while if you have to; the best stories come from authors who enjoy their own writing.
That's great advice thankyou. I heard about using the existing writing as mental background for the story and discarding it, starting at the end of it. But changing the perspective might help me write exactly what I wanted.

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #57 on: January 30, 2011, 05:02:39 AM »
Went to a writing course this weekend and tried out starting the story from the other perspective. It was fantastic, really what I want to write I think.

Our homework is to write about a character. I'm wondering if this can be an AI character or an animal? This is my interest - I wrote a novel about the latter - and I've read it's ok to do this as all novel writing - until we discover aliens - relates to human and anthropomorphises everything.

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2011, 06:32:23 AM »
Here's my first chapter layout:

<snip>

I'm trying to add depth and motivation to his character rather than him just meeting the wolf. Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 06:42:57 AM by AndyDT »

Offline NecessaryPain

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #59 on: May 10, 2011, 02:18:04 PM »

Personally, I feel the best way to become a better writer is to continue to write.

I believe this here, is the answer to every question for those requesting feedback on their writing skills.

I'm in the process of writing a novel myself, and actually cannot believe how awful my first draft was. Just spending a few hours a day writing has really helped me in the learning process.

I'd love to hear from other people who have their own writing projects. This thread is worthy of a big bump.
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #60 on: May 10, 2011, 02:35:10 PM »
Here's my first chapter layout:

man has flashback about being outdoors with pet dog one day
goes to political campaign meeting and drives through countryside
goes to work the next day and talks to colleague about finding meaning
decides to go on a walk one evening, to rediscover enjoyment
meets wolf

I'm trying to add depth and motivation to his character rather than him just meeting the wolf. Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks.

My question - What's the conflict?  It doesn't have to be amped up and hyper-charged like in a movie, but something still needs to be there to drive the story and the character.
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Offline Bonham

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #61 on: May 10, 2011, 03:13:24 PM »
I'd love to be added to any e-mail lists floating around; I've just started writing casually, and have some decent ideas I'd like to throw out (and a couple finished short pieces, if anyones willing to read them). No plans for a novel, but I can share some stories from my Creative Writing course.

I was reading Kurt Vonnegut's "Hocus Pocus" earlier, and for some reason, the way the numbers were written out gave me a decent idea to add to my next piece.

It's written as excerpts from the journals of Sir Jacques de Molay, the last Templar grandmaster, and the anxiety and depression that he feels following the condemnation of his knights. My idea: at some point (either at the beginning or end of the story), de Molay mourns the loss of his "16 bases." That's a clue. Seemingly random numbers and out-of-place capital letters are scattered throughout the journal; arranged in order, they can be translated from hexadecimal, a "16 base" system, into a series of base 10 numbers. Those numbers are matched up with corresponding letters (1 is A, 2 is B, etc.), creating a message in Latin: caret initio et fine. "It lacks a beginning, it lacks an end."

I'm such a nerd. :hat

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Please rate my writing
« Reply #62 on: May 11, 2011, 06:24:49 AM »

Personally, I feel the best way to become a better writer is to continue to write.

I believe this here, is the answer to every question for those requesting feedback on their writing skills.

I'm in the process of writing a novel myself, and actually cannot believe how awful my first draft was. Just spending a few hours a day writing has really helped me in the learning process.

I'd love to hear from other people who have their own writing projects. This thread is worthy of a big bump.
Stephen King says reading is also as essential to writing to becoming a better writer.

Here's my first chapter layout:

man has flashback about being outdoors with pet dog one day
goes to political campaign meeting and drives through countryside
goes to work the next day and talks to colleague about finding meaning
decides to go on a walk one evening, to rediscover enjoyment
meets wolf

I'm trying to add depth and motivation to his character rather than him just meeting the wolf. Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks.

My question - What's the conflict?  It doesn't have to be amped up and hyper-charged like in a movie, but something still needs to be there to drive the story and the character.
The conflict is his own isolation. There isn't an antagonist other than his own own self.

Offline AndyDT

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #63 on: May 28, 2011, 06:36:58 AM »
If anybody knows exactly how to replace double quotes with single quotes automatically I'd be grateful.

Apparently UK books use single dialogue quotes and US double quotes.

Offline MetalJunkie

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #64 on: May 28, 2011, 01:16:43 PM »
Here's my first chapter layout:

man has flashback about being outdoors with pet dog one day
goes to political campaign meeting and drives through countryside
goes to work the next day and talks to colleague about finding meaning
decides to go on a walk one evening, to rediscover enjoyment
meets wolf

I'm trying to add depth and motivation to his character rather than him just meeting the wolf. Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks.
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Offline MasterShakezula

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #65 on: May 24, 2012, 02:03:54 AM »
This is something I came up with off The top of my head.

  Michael trudged without resolve.  His attire had been soaked for some time now and did not intend to put an end to its absorption.  At some time this day, the wanderer had woken up in an empty cathedral.  Though it possessed a lone bathroom and a living room large enough to transverse in a couple seconds, Michael was the lone inhabitant.  His dwelling was an entire universe in which he could savor solitude.  There, his monarchy was undisputed.  Presently, however, the kingdom of the single-bedroom-single-bathroom was off in the Old World.  Or some ten blocks south of the congregation, the horrendously humid hootenanny Michael had vowed to attend some days ago, in search of an oasis to take refuge from the piercing fluorescent lighting fixtures and wild computer mice of the weekday safari.  He had bartered some of his well-earned greenback hide for a ticket to this auto show, and was determined to get his hunt's worth out of this day of gazing at rubber-hooved beasts of burden.  Somewhat of an admirer, if not a lover of automobiles, the gazer found comfort in observing Teutonic-made coupes he could rely on meeting again in the fall, sitting in his bosses' reserved spaces.  BMW territory was marred by Todd.  Michael slinked to the best of his abilities towards a 7 series no one seemed to be minding.  He proceeded to the Toyotas.  They were next to the one air unit that wasn't taking the Saturday off.  Some months later, Michael overheard Todd caterwauling to some fellow about BMW's lack of quality control.  Something about a scratch on the bumper.  Michael had no new Toyota, but that's not what he wanted, anyhow.

Offline Prog Snob

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #66 on: November 24, 2013, 10:00:25 PM »
Giving this a bump instead of starting a new thread.   Anyone still interested in sharing here?  I have a few things I wouldn't mind putting up. 

Offline Lucien

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #67 on: November 24, 2013, 10:14:04 PM »
Giving this a bump instead of starting a new thread.   Anyone still interested in sharing here?  I have a few things I wouldn't mind putting up.

I'm not really a writer as much as I am a poet/lyricist, but I have been complimented highly on essays, and my college application essay:

   On a dark, March night, I sat in my room, listening to the rain just outside my window. The breath of the rain that night was fresh. Suddenly, the crashing tear of a thunderbolt, less than a mile away, shattered my peaceful mood. The once soothing rain outside became an angry declaration of sorrow, pain, and destruction. Night became death and everything we fear. The safety of my bed was my only redemption. I wanted to be rid of this fear of spontaneous emotional change, so I looked for a way to overcome it.
   On a dark, September night, I sat in my room, listening to music, before going to sleep. The music was soothing, yet there was a dark, ominous, and airy atmosphere to the song. Without any notice, the song exploded and became an opus of monumental power. Yet, I did not fear it, as it could not harm me. Hues of purple, blue, red, and yellow filled my mind. A child, exposed to the song for the first time, might fear what he or she is listening to, or they may enjoy it, and it becomes a thing of nostalgia from then on.
   You learn to predict things like thunder during rain when musicians and composers of equal insanity implement such spontaneity into their music. Any fear can be extinguished with association; the death of night can become soothing, even while loud and angry. Fears, perhaps ones own imperfection in their profession, can be faced, associating that wall of perfection, impassable, with the concept of a tangent: you can always get better, but you can never become perfect.
   Any fear can be extinguished, as one can somehow associate any one thing with anything else.
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Offline WDADU

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #68 on: November 24, 2013, 10:20:12 PM »
I'll join in later. Currently writing the second draft of a novel. Been writing since I was eight-years-old.
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Offline Prog Snob

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Re: Writers' thread
« Reply #69 on: November 24, 2013, 10:25:42 PM »
I read through that three times.  Each time I felt more of what you were feeling and can certainly understand how correlations to something innocuous tame our most darkest fears.