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January 28, 2013
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How far we've come!

:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Writer
In response to *glossolalias's recent thread, "What can't you write?" it occurred to me pose the flip side of his question. Since joining :dalogo:, what perceived weaknesses or gaps in your writing have you managed to overcome?

:bulletgreen: Is it formatting? Or even just finishing something? Are sonnets less intimidating now? Have you written a villanelle, sestina, or even a ghazal?

:bulletgreen: Is writing prose no longer such a bugaboo? Have you tackled characterization? Nonfiction? Did you finally compose something longer than 2,000 words? 5,000? 50,000?

:bulletgreen: Can you edit your own work with more confidence? How about critiquing others? Has your vocabulary expanded? How far along the writer's learning curve do you feel you've climbed?

For myself, seven years ago I lacked confidence in my free verse (too unstructured) and microfiction (too constricting). Now I consider those areas to be among my strengths.

:ahoy: Your turn. Boast away.
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Devious Comments

:iconneopaladinoflight:
NeoPaladinOfLight Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know where I stand from a literature standpoint. I write mainly just so I can remember some ideas I came up with. Something of a "do it for me" kinda thing. Then when I go back and read over these ideas, I the problems with it technically speaking and strive to make it better.

One thing I've noticed with myself as I've grown is that before I used to really like focusing on the technical plot point. I liked more of what was happening as opposed to who it was happening to, but now those things are reversed. This is sort of in line with the TV shows and comic books I read now, too. I need to see why and how the characters react in the way they do instead of what they're reacting to. I guess that's a good thing.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
:thumbsup: Your change of focus means that you're growing as a writer. It's something to be proud of; and even more so, something to be encouraged.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I never posted so much of my work on DA (language barrier... not good with translating... etc).
I did, however, learn quite a lot from just hanging around at DA's forums. Not about writing itself, but about how many more writers struggle with the same problems as I do. And that I'm not that bad at thinking up story's as I thought I was. I guess I grew some confidence over the years :)
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
With age comes experience, and with experience comes confidence. This is true whether you're eighteen or eighty. :XD:
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... let's hope it'll be even better in 10 years :)
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
If you continue to work at it, it will. Have you heard of Malcolm Gladwell, and his book Outliers? His premise is that putting 10,000 hours of practice into any skill is enough to be able to call yourself a master, in part because nobody would stick with anything for that long without seeing some sort of incremental progress along the way.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah. I've heard about that theory.
I've been writing ever since I was 6 years old (Yeah... weird childhood obsessions) almost every single day. And the days that I didn't have time to write, I thought up new storylines in my head. It has become sort of an idle process for my mind. Something that it does automatically when I don't have to focus on something else. I guess with that, I've made it already way over that 10.000 hours limit, a few years ago. I kinda noticed my writing style stabilizing back then.
It's not that I haven't improved after that. I'm still thinking up story's and writing on a daily basis, but I don't hate my old work as much as I did years ago :)
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Writer
So would it be fair to say that at this point, you're a master at creating and plotting out stories, and rapidly closing in on the mastery of putting actual pen to paper (or finger to keyboard, as it were)?

Or do you consider yourself to have already mastered the process, and what's left is refining your style?
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... it's quite hard to determine for yourself whether you mastered something or not. I don't think one can judge himself so objectively. But I do know that, in the sense of storytelling and world creating, I'm at least very close. I've been talking with many people on the subject over the years, and I noticed how I can easily match up to people that are way older than I am and have created way more professional works, in that sense.
As for writing itself. I feel like I'm getting close. My style still changes, but it's a matter of years, not a matter of months, like it always used to be. There are still many things I feel like I need to, and need to try, in order to see what I'm actually capable of. But I've at least found a writing style that I'm comfortable with, and that has some emotional impact on readers.

I guess I'm on the right track :)
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional Writer
Since writing, like learning, is a lifelong journey, I'd say that "on the right track" is the best place for you (or me, or anyone) to be. 8-)
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(1 Reply)
:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I feel like my grammar and editing skills have improved. I used to abuse commas, fragments and run-on sentences so much. I've kicked my adverbs addiction but I'm very impressed with my improved vocabulary precision and voice than I was say five years ago. I'm handling critique and feedback with more grace, patience and perspective than I thought I was originally capable of.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
All valid gains! Adverbs used to be the bane of my own existence as well, until I borrowed a trick from Gabriel García Márquez: he would go through his manuscript, and remove every word that ended in '-mente' (the Spanish equivalent of '-ly') rewriting the sentence as necessary. He had to do it by hand; these days, tools such as Ctrl-F make it a piece of cake by comparison.

And handling feedback means having a willingness to learn and to accept alternative viewpoints. With a mindset like that, you can't help but go far! :D
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Adverbs in their own right are not evil; it is a writer's laziness or abuse of them that makes them malicious. My use of adverbs is sparse, but I do try to rewrite what I can and avoid using adverbs as dialogue tags.

Dear god, Feedback is a godsend. I wish many (amateur) writers and artists would realize that critique and feedback is not an insult or personal attack, neither is it to inflate their ego. Critique is meant to help them put their best work forward.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional Writer
You might get some enjoyment out of this Wikipedia article, especially if you've never heard of a Tom Swifty before. [link]

The issue is that critique, by its very nature, often fails to take into account the one thing beyond its purview: the writer's real intent in requesting feedback. A healthy attitude like yours is what we (and what we should) expect; but too many novice writers are actually looking for either an easy shortcut or a quick ego stroke. When they don't get it, they feel put out, and often try to recapture some of their self-worth by going tit-for-tat with the critic; and if they lose that round as well, they're like as not to swear off the whole criticism thing, in the same way that Aesop's fox swore off grapes.
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh god, Tom Swifty they can be hilarious as puns, not so in a serious prose, it comes off as idiotic and lazy.

Indeed, when requesting feedback. I ask what kind of feedback they are wanting. when they lie that they want to improve and I give them suggestions or point out I think they can improve and where things work well. Then they are at fault for wasting my time, efforts and opinion when they throw a conniption.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional Writer
"Should I keep mentioning Tom Swifties, or let the matter drop?" Tom asked deliberately. ;p

Of course, if it's not done on purpose, you're right: it can be a crutch which sometimes a struggling writer isn't even aware that she or he has.

As compensation, it may help to bear in mind that giving feedback is never a waste; even if it doesn't help your target (or falls upon deaf ears) it has still made you that much of a stronger writer yourself. That's one of the reasons they say that the best way to learn is to teach.
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:iconrequiemthefallen:
Requiemthefallen Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Professional General Artist
I've gathered a wide vocabulary over the years, I apparently sound like I'm 30 even though I'm 18, and I'm finally looking at getting my one book done.

I've also learned that a lot of what I figured out on my own, pertaining to writing, was actually pretty on the nose.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
Instinct, tempered by intellect, will often stand us in better stead than impersonal instruction. Congratulations. 8-)
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
My diction is good. My syntax is bad.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Writer
Rather, your diction is good and your syntax is a work in progress. 8-)

Where do you feel you're struggling the most right now: prose or poetry? And why?
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I am definitely struggling with prolonged prose because I like to shorten thoughts.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
By itself, that's not a bad thing; Hemingway carved an entire career out of being only as wordy as needed.
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:icontheblackbullets:
TheBlackBullets Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've learned not to put so much dialogue in my stories.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Writer
I was wondering whether anyone was going to bring up dialogue! There's certainly a knack to getting it just right; did you cut back because it didn't always work for you, or because you were over-relying on it in place of other story elements?
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:icontheblackbullets:
TheBlackBullets Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I started cutting back because the characters were talking, but the plot wasn't going anywhere.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Writer
That can be fine as well; I have one or two dialogue-only character studies in my gallery. But when banter gets in the way of action, then it's probably time to let 'em take a breather. :)
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:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
My writing has improved immeasurably since (re-)joining dA. The feedback you can't get here is invaluable. At the same time, though, I've had to start asking myself: are you writing this because you want to? Or are you writing it for dA? 'Cause when I try to impress, I tend to fail miserably.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Writer
Learning about a shortfall still counts as growth in my book. If you know that writing to impress is such a temptation, there's that much more incentive to overcome it.
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:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist
I've learned how to make better use of feedback and critique. A thicker skin is a nice thing to have. :nod:
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Writer
By better use, do you mean giving or receiving? Either one can benefit from a thicker skin.
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:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist
I originally meant in receiving - but now that you mention it, I could say both.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
Then twice the power to you. 8-)
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:iconmaxwellsmaart:
MaxwellSmaart Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
I've improved so much since joining dA, but I've been writing more free verse poetry than anything, so my prose has taken the back seat. Even to the point that writing prose is intimidating to me because my thoughts are so scrambled... :XD: I lack organization, really, which could be fixed if I actually planned my writing.
What I'm trying to say is, I've learned so much, but the learning process won't end anytime soon, or anytime at all.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Writer
And that's the right attitude. The day you decide to stop learning, you start dying.

IMO, the best way to tackle a known weakness is to meet it head-on. Go plan some prose, have it critiqued, then edit the pants off of it! :b0x0rz:

Experience is by far the best teacher: I look at stuff I was so proud of five years ago, and more often than not I go, "Man! What the heck was I even thinking?"
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:iconmaxwellsmaart:
MaxwellSmaart Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Absolutely. :nod:

I agree. It's something I'm planning to do as soon as I get a little free time. Definitely the right way to go.

I look at things I wrote last year and say the same sorts of things. Even some the pieces I've written in the last months I look back on and see only mistakes. :XD: Luckily, I don't get discouraged and try to learn from my mistakes. Whether I really take something from them or not is one thing, but I do try. I guess that's the only thing you can do as a writer! :)
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Writer
I hope you don't see only the mistakes; improvement consists of moving forward with the good, while leaving behind the not-so-much. And having a bucketful of optimism certainly helps!
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:icondrippingwords:
DrippingWords Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I learned how to inject description everywhere without over-describing stuff :D
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Writer
:clap: Good on you! Man, do I hate the info-dump. :poo:
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:icondrippingwords:
DrippingWords Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you :bow: I do hate that too! That's basically all the Hunger Games is :poo::iconlegaspplz:
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
And without meaning to weird you out, you probably have no idea how often it comes up in adult fiction. :facepalm:

It's like the author is insisting that you're only allowed to imagine the same characters they're imagining.
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:icondrippingwords:
DrippingWords Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:nod: Which is stupid, really.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Professional Writer
Still, reading it taught me where and how to under-describe, and to insinuate rather than explain. There's a reason why the Man With No Name is an archetype, after all.
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:icondrippingwords:
DrippingWords Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:nod:
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013   Digital Artist
I basically learned how to write. :U There ain't no teacher like trying to entertain strangers with your work.
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Writer
:thumbsup::D I think the reason I'm most comfortable with first-person POV in my own writing is because I became a storyteller first.
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013   Digital Artist
Do you ever read them out loud? I think stories are great read aloud. :D
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Writer
:nod: My stories, my poems; heck, I even just joined #Elocutionists!
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013   Digital Artist
oooo, I'll have to go listen to some stories there. :dummy:
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:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Joining dA has given me the courage to write, something which I have not done in years (for several reasons). So far it has only been fanfiction, but that has been my exercise before I branch out into more original material. Yes, I have experienced writer's block, but I've set myself a schedule or writing something--anything--each day and that has worked. Of course most of it is not worth printing, but the point is just getting the thoughts and words out.

I'm pretty tough on myself and even a short piece will go through several revisions before being posted. I always appreciate comments--I'm always looking for feedback and ways to improve! :work:
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:iconhavetales-willtell:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Writer
"A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one's feet." —Lao Tzu

That first step is often the hardest, because it represents a commitment to an unknown or unclear destination. Congratulations on your perseverance. :clap:
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