It's a pet peeve of mine when I see kids on here talking about their characters who exist just for the sake of having characters. (For this reason I also find "Adoptables" rather puerile.) If you're not going to do anything with the character, then what's the point of it?
(I was about to post a longer comment, but then I hit tab by accident ...)
I must admit that I am guilty of having acne characters (sounds like having a condition or disorder somehow ...). Still I haven't given up hope that it will be possible to write the story I have been wanting to read for ages. (It is not the only story I intend to write, of course.) To avoid misunderstandings: I never felt offended by your post. I realize that you *never* said that *all* writers with a character issue are lazy, immature dorks with one-dimensional characters and no idea of what they are doing. As the backstory of one of my characters turned out to be, as I said, a story I have been wanting to read for ages (and also is heavily inspired by classic literature and historical rather than typical fantasy), I just don't want to give up on it. I rather work even harder to make the transition as it has been called already. (I have been working on the setting, storylines and characters for far more than a year now, they belong together and are influencing each other.) It must be possible ...
One of the hardest things for me is to decide which advice to take and which to leave, because not everything mentioned in the forum is useful ... People also are different and what works for one person, not necessarily works for someone else.
I think sooner or later I will join your group, because I am always interested in learning/improving general writing issues and techniques.
One of the hardest things for me is to decide which advice to take and which to leave, because not everything mentioned in the forum is useful.
i can agree with this. however, here's my gauge: if the advice sounds like BS, it probably is. if the advice sounds like something that IF YOU IMPLEMENTED IT, it would work, give it a shot. however, advice doesn't work if it isn't given a chance. OokamiKasumi here has a lot of tutorials and of the two I've used, the quality of my writing and understanding of what I was doing wrong made me change my habits and not look back. i am about to, with my latest story edit, implement some writing advice that (in all honesty, wasn't intended for advice but was just an explanation of his habits) Troy Parker from South Park relayed in a documentary he was in. i'm not at liberty to say what that is because I haven't used it yet and don't want to pass on BS advice. but it sounds good to me and I'm gonna try it.
pros give shitty-ass advice. sometimes there's a new writer who has stumbled across a nugget of gold. i don't trust the teller, i trust the tale.
Normally when someone gives advice, I think about it, and in the end I take everything or almost everything. I rarely would question anything what you, Artaud or a few others here say. Even a 13-year-old with their gallery full of "diary poetry" might have some very good ideas. Yet sometimes there are self-proclaimed experts with tunnel view. (I mean people who are always right, know everything and don't accept any opinion besides their own.) Then, sometimes, something is simply a matter of taste. Most of the time it's easy to tell the difference, but sometimes ... it is the same with visual arts, by the way. Some tutorials say never do this, others say you definitely should. As I know far less about visual arts than I do about writing (in theory), this can be very confusing. So all I can do is try over and over again to figure out which method works best for me. It is not like I started writing yesterday, just that for many years I never really tried and also had no one to ask. Most people I know in RL either are not interested--or awestruck when I show them anything because they never tried. Not very helpful. For now, my main question is: what do I want to accomplish and which is the best (not necessarily the fastest) way to get there? It also still should be fun and not feel like a chore.
I have noticed that the threads here seem extremely character-centric. Honestly, I chalked it up to the background many of the writers posting those threads seem to have-- mainly role-playing. This seems to me to be a common issue when someone has spent years role-playing and then wants to transition into actual writing.
Before I get buried under a mountain of flaming comments, let me state that I'm not commenting on the merits of role-playing vs. writing. I'm simply stating that they are different. Role-play, by nature, is character-centric, because the plot is fluid, modified on the fly by the people participating. Which means the only thing that stays remotely solid are the characters themselves, although even that isn't always the case. It also promotes writing and creating for "cool factor," meaning that logic is thrown out the window and the characters start to read like stat cards in a video game.
This approach doesn't translate well into fiction writing, where the plot should come first, and characters are meant to support it. The result is too much time spent on character development and not enough on the more traditional elements of storytelling-- plot, setting, theme, etc. And then writers who don't understand why their work is falling flat.
I think that anyone genuinely interested in becoming a writer will learn to make the transition, but it takes time and effort. And that's something a lot of people don't want to do, hiding behind excuses and defensive anger rather than accepting critique and learning from it. I think that's a shame, personally. There's probably a lot of wasted potential because of that.
Why should anyone flame you? You didn't say that people who ever role-played are hopeless or that people who are character-centered can't write interesting stories. You spoke of transition. You never said it isn't possible.
In a perfect world, young writers would understand that the truly great characters are born from an original and heartfelt story, we live in an instant gratification society that values the shiny surface of a few likeable characters over the satisfying core of a great narrative. It takes a lot of hard work to accomplish a unique work of fiction, and sadly people don't seem to have the attention span to do it. Plus, the vast maority of the work you're reading are probably from hobbyist teenagers who will never really take it very seriously.
It's not that they don't care about the story, it's just that they think that creating characters comes before the story, and they haven't yet realized that they probably should let their charcters natutally develop and grow from the story. Try not to get so caught up into their writing, they're only children and are only doing whatever they're doing for fun, the instant that a critic starts to become so antagonistic and judgmental is the instant that yet another potential talented author will give it up, especially if they're so inexperienced. We should all try to honestly give them some thoughtful and intellegent advice and feedback whenever we can.
I gaurantee you that T.S. Eliot blew throaty chunks when he first started out, now imagine if the first critic had said ro him what you have just said here.
how often do you frequent the lit forum? i find your answer here irritating, pretentious and insulting. i'm not a fucking idiot, i know a new writer doesn't have the experience of someone who has been writing forever. sheesh, dude. give me some fucking credit and read EVERYTHING i wrote, not just what you don't agree with.
Your crude and immature language doesn't do much to convince me that you're not an idiot or that you know anything about the true spirit of writing.
You obviously didn't fully understand what I said, so I suggest that you try your very best to calm down and re-read what I posted. Then try to respond in a respectful and coherent manner.
If you know that a new writer lacks experience then why are you complaining so much? You kind of defeated the original purpose of this thread, then. Sounds like you are in need of a little more humility and little less of that self-serving attitude and it sounds like you just crated this whole thread just to complain.
You explode at the slightest sign of criticism and you're bitching about how people should "harden up" and accept criticism? I can tell that you have a very long way before you can judge others, you need to mature a great deal before you will be able to handle the real world if somebody dissagreeing with you on some forum sets you off into such a violent rant.
Anyway, if you're just going to hurl more venom my way, try to make it a little more creative, you're a writer, right? Make it a story, something epic and creative and prove that you actually know what you're talking about and not just waste my time.
This is very true, no denying that, especially having been through the one-dimensional/self-insert characters when I started out writing. Looking back they're just so stupid and the stories so dramatic/over-hyped that I just want to smash my head into a wall *sigh*
Although if you had seen my nano this year, you'd probably still think me a bit wrapped up in my latest OC - as it ended up being a means of exploring his history/relationships and developing his personality (since the outline I'd drawn up involved traits I was inexperienced with) - considering he's not the main character in the story I have in mind, I'm not sure how good this is. D'oh well. I'll gut it over christmas ^_^
But back to what I was originally talking about, a balance between character and story is always good though - in fact, when it comes to tv dramas for example, part of what keeps me watching is due to the character interaction which is often rather entertaining (it kind of makes up for the series being so long when it comes to american tv show in my eyes) as well as figuring out the overall plot to the episode and eventually series. Or to give another example, in a series like Skulduggery Pleasant the plot is very engaging, and the character dynamic entertaining.
When I was 15 or 16 i was very easy to impress. I liked fantasy and still do, but the things i started to write after reading Lord of the Rings and Eragon came out really dull, now that i look back at them with the eyes of a 23 year old. After having a talk with my twin sister, and noticing that her ideas help me to better my writing I finally decided to bring her into the picture, after a few good years of being left aside. Damn I wish I had been less narrow-minded. He opinions and also her knowledge in English helped me a lot with enhancing my fantasy story (ours actually because most of the ideas are hers). Before starting writing my novel, the 4th time, in English, I made a whole lot of documentation to see what is cliche in fantasy what characters should I go for, what narrative technique should I approach and so on. I've spent more time planning my novel than actually writing it. :iconteheplz:
Eh, I think characters are still pretty important, but yeah, certainly not more important than the plot. Nobody's going to read a shitty story just because the characters are intriguing... if there's no plot, or the plot is moving way too slowly, you lose interest. However, if you are referring specifically to one-dimensional characters, I totally get your point and I agree with you 100%. I've created one-dimensinoal pet characters before. I try my damnedest not to now.
And to any high school age writers out there who might read this thread past the OP--harden up. Harden up now. It'll make your life hella easier in the future. I can say that, and I'm only twenty. I can't imagine how much my writing will improve by the time I've been at it for 30 years. I can't wait to see. And it does take a lot of hard work, but it's totally worth it. Letting go of my old pet characters was the best thing I could've done for myself.
LartovioFeatured By OwnerDec 2, 2012Student General Artist
While I agree with your argument... This is a pointless statement. Any and all of those new writers in highschool are going to hate you for saying their characters don't matter, and keep doing what they're doing. It's going to take the shock of someone saying their story sucks (or their own independent realization) to get them to change their methods. I should know, too! It wasn't entirely to long ago when I was a new writer cautiously stalking the forums and thinking you were the most incompetent person in the world with every sarcastic, radical thing you said. I was thirteen, and I'm still only fourteen right now!
And in some cases, you might look at what they're doing and think it's their bare minimum, when it's really yours. You have to cut them at least a little bit of slack, because they are new, and it isn't their fault. The last thing any of us want to do is scare away the ones that really want to improve their writing.
I agree wholly with what you said, but I don't think this is going to help anyone. :/
i'm not saying this to help anyone. i was asking a question. have you not noticed how many people are talking more about their characters than how to tell/craft a story lately? they can't do one or another and expect to have anything worth reading. i also don't think you saw the positive things i said in this first post. you're not looking for them. you're looking for negatives and you found them.
anyone who is scared away by me (or some other person saying words on the internet anywhere about writing) doesn't really want to do it in the first place. those who do will stick around. also, i am not responsible for what anyone does, i am not them. they will ultimately make the choice. it's easy to blame me because it's easier to blame than take responsibility. i won't feel bad for anyone who gives up before they get started. less competition. so be it.
the best revenge is living well. if someone wants to shut me up, they can try. be better than me. go.
why do you keep bringing your age into conversations? it's like a thing with you. it doesn't really add anything other than "here's another 14 year old who thinks they know what's what."
And in some cases, you might look at what they're doing and think it's their bare minimum, when it's really yours. what does that even mean?
You have to i don't HAVE to do anything. i'm telling them to learn what it takes to get better. are you telling them the opposite?
I agree wholly with what you said don't bullshit me.
LartovioFeatured By OwnerDec 3, 2012Student General Artist
I wasn't looking for negatives at all, but I will admit that I didn't find positives. I do understand what your point was, and I have noticed.
I wasn't talking about being scared from writing, though I do think that you could do that easily, I mean scared from the forums and DA's literature community. You talk about giving back to the community sometimes, but I really feel like you don't grasp the concept of it. To be part of a community, you need to work together with other people as a team, and you have to care. You can't be a proper member of a community if you don't give a damn. And maybe I'm wrong, maybe you do and just have a really messed up way of showing it.
the best revenge is living well. if someone wants to shut me up, they can try. be better than me. go. I'm not better than you, and I know you're a lot older and wiser than I am. That doesn't mean I can't try to make a point!
I didn't mean "look at me, I'm young and capable of intelligent conversation" I meant "Look at me, I am part of the age range you're talking about and I've been through all this crap recently. I understand." I don't bring my age into conversation very often at all, actually. Only when it's asked, pointed out, or helpful to my point. Also, why can't I know what's what? Maybe I don't here, but there are things I know what's what about. You make it sound like just because I'm young I should be stupid.
I mean that you might be overestimating some people without realizing.
Why is that bullshit? I do agree! Do you know what I agree and disagree with better than me?
however, i know the lot of you want to improve. in order to do that, you have to get out of your comfort zone. you can still practice but sheesh -- try harder. do better than the bare minimum. I know they want to improve. They should still practice ("don't give up!") but should do more than what they're used to because if they don't, THEY WON'T IMPROVE.
learn what it takes to tell a better story They are capable of learning. I know this because the majority of kids here want to get better. They're not all faffing about.
You should know how i conduct myself at this site by now. too many young writers are coddled and protected to the point where either they seem to think their first draft is their best draft and they don't need to edit or they're so nervous about making a tiny mistake that they don't do anything at all.
YOU CAN'T IMPROVE IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO PUSH YOURSELF. YOU CAN'T LEARN IF YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO MAKE MISTAKES.
I mean that you might be overestimating some people without realizing. oh really? are you sure? because it seems to me you might be thinking i am giving up on people and brow-beating them instead of telling them they can do whatever they want as long as they put in the work and know there is time involved.
you know what, i'm over you. take your wisdom to someone who needs it, maybe to a 10-year-old.
Good characters go hand in hand with good stories. Usually because the character resonates with the reader and has the ability to carry the story the writer wants to write.
Anyway as a reader I read stories for the stories. Simple as that. Dont have a good story no amount of character development will make that worthwhile. Also one dimensional unrealistic characters will destory a readers opinion of the story before they are able to actually get a chance to get into it.
No one cares about the story anymore; if you don't have engaging characters, a brilliant plot is not going to save you.
Once again pushing for a good balance here.
I think a lot of young writers aren't taught to read actively, and that's the real problem. How do today's best sellers hold up to the best sellers of yesteryear? In some ways, the popularity of things like Harry Potter, Twilight, yes even 50 Shades of Gray, are partly to blame. These are crap books by lazy, mediocre at best writers with mediocre, only slightly imaginative plots, and they have terrible, stereotypical, one-dimensional characters. Why are they so popular? Because they are easy to read. They are easy to read and people can place themselves into the stories because the characters are so flat. They require very little thinking. Ergo, the common person probably thinks that it takes very little to write a wildly successful book. Why do the work if they don't have to?
It might be a little cruel to include Harry Potter in there, but it comes down to how high are your standards. Harry Potter is no To Kill a Mockingbird, and it's no Lord of the Rings. I remember the popularity of witch schools in the 1980s; she grew up with that stuff and it's just a rehashing. If she improved with each successive book, that might be a different story (har har). But she didn't. I think the books actually got worse as they went on. But now I'm digressing.
The point is, I don't have an easy answer. People don't like to work. What do you read, raspil? What do you get out of it? You know things take a lot of work, but what kind of work?
As an author with very high standards, I'm writing for a dead audience. If I give up my values in that way to make a living, I would admittedly have to dumb things down. This is a moral question with no solution as of yet, at least for me. It's a major reason why I haven't been able to make myself write in a long time.