Okay, here is my problem I try to learn every freakin' detail about my main character before I start writing. I am very afraid of criticism and allowing others to read my work. I wish there was a way to make myself completely anonymous. Should I seek advice or criticism before I start writing? I keep asking my family about if my character makes sense and I feel like I am not going anywhere. Thank very much for all your advice. Meaning, should I develop my character then ask for criticism? or should I receive criticism as I write?
If you want to be a writer then you are going to have to accept criticism, especially if you are writing fiction. Accept the fact that you are going to fail when you first start out and that with each criticism you can build on and fail a little less. With enough practice and a little thicker skin you will find your successes will outnumber your failures. That's not to say you will never fail again, only that nobody gets it right the first time out of the gate.
I suggest learning how to write a character sketch first, then do it for your main character. Write a scene, or two or three, then and only then submit them (either to family, friends, or a writers group - online or in person) for a critique. Keep writing and don't give up. Not everyone will respond the same, and pretty soon you'll learn what works and what doesn't.
Use writers groups as suggested- family may not be objective enough or they may be too objective. Trust yourself.
I agree with you, but family means more than parents or siblings. For example, my daughter doesn't like my stories but my ex-sister-in-law does. (and usually we don't get along!) So, it takes a bit of practice to find the right trusted readers for an honest critique.
A friend of mine who is a fabulous writer maintains that though he knows his characters and plans out the story-line, once his writing starts to flow, his characters often "surprise him" by heading in a different direction - as if they start writing the story instead of him.
I find that happens when I am "in the zone" - my characters start acting in ways that totally fit their characters, but that I didn't consciously plan out.
It can be very freeing to allow yourself to not completely plan absolutely everything. If nothing else it will lead you in some unexpected directions.
well hon you are pretty anonymous and all, but some advise from someone without a clue;
first bravo for putting your fears out there and trusting no criticism even in your post
second whatever way you play to publish is open to criticism, write true to your heart, there is guaranteed to be criticism no matter what, just like me and all of us, and for what it is worth I write very personal issues and from all my loving comments only few disagree. They have that right, as do you to delete the comment. I personally leave them and not respond, peoples criticism, if not done in a caring honest way shows that characters true colours. Let it be.
Maybe you don't realize it but you are not alone all writers like any creative outlet have our insecurities, use that to your advantage
I'll shut up now
ps I am going to follow you and count on the fact I will only support you
good and bad
this community 99% of the time embraces each other, 1% can f@uck off
oops didn't shut up
It is very easy to join online critique sites using a pseudonym. I would recommend critiquecircle.com or critters.org.
I agree with Richard, as a writer you need to get accustomed to criticism. At some point in the future your work will have to be critiqued and not all will be flattering. Practice makes perfect.
Getting critiqued now in the developing stages will help you to improve your character.
I agree with the general consensus that constructive criticism is essential. The good news is that it does get easier with time.
As a side note, I notice how you mention that you try to figure your characters out before you write. Many writers do this, and it works very well.
I recently wrote a novel and found that I work much better when I only have a very general sense of my characters when I start to write. I get to know them as I follow what they do through the events of the story. I have to go back later and make adjustments, but I find it kind of exciting to see what they're going to do next, and honestly not knowing.
Perhaps it might help to become more comfortable with not knowing your characters when you begin. Just go and see what happens!
Good luck with your writing and remember, even Cormac McCarthy needs to revise once in awhile. We all suffer from it.
I agree with Wayseeker in the regard that for me, my characters develop as I write and that is exciting.
To answer your specific question I would suggest writing first and then seek the criticism. What you have in your head may or may not translate into the written word, moreover, the final product may come out completely different than your initial plan. And finally, remember that character development is essential to any good writing. Become that character completely and then let the pen speak for the character. If you become the character, then the words should flow easier.
I have found that the best way to start a truly good novel is to just START. Right off the bat, with no planning other than a very general plot or idea. NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writers' Month, just in case you didn't know)is a great way to get a novel going.
The idea is that all of the editing and thinking and details can come later. The most important thing is to just get it all out. There's a great big mess of fantastic in your head, and if you try to sort through it right away, you're going to run it down into a toothpick before anything gets accomplished. So, just go with it. If you can't wait for NaNoWriMo to start in November, then just start your own writing month. Set a goal of 100 pages for one month, and get as much of the genius out of your head in those 30 days as you can.
I wish you luck in your future endeavors!
Ah yes, starting is always the hard part. Don't worry, I've been there before myself.
I also agree with Richard that criticism is needed to be a good writer. What I recommend most is practice whenever you can, too.
I also wish you good luck for the future.
It bothers me to read your posts when you admit to expressing fear over writing and what kind of negative reactions you plan on getting. If you are beginning writer, I can understand that. But when you write, you will need to learn how to blow off the insecurities and just write. What you are experiencing now will not get you anywhere, so be prepared and take baby steps for learning and growth.
Writing was never meant for those who constantly fear, but the rewards can't compare to any other career. It is a highly competitive business where a tough outer shell and the ability to bounce back is what will get you through. If you have a stubborn streak and plenty of ambition, use it. Write for yourself and put your readers second. Don't rely on family and friends as critics. My people like everything I write. Or so they say because they don't want to hurt my feelings. I don't count on my husband reading everything I write, either. As far as I'm concerned, I am open to opinions. Like my work or hate? Then please tell me because I can take it.
I have done both research and even some "ghost writing" in the past. At whatever level you want assistance, I'm sure I can help, from providing links to research topics to a synopsis with references. Let me know. 'DeX'
I am surprised how prescriptive people are being on this thread about what a person should feel. I have published a textbook and 5 novels and I am just as insecure as ever about it and prefer to use anonymous critique sites. You don't have to have a certain temperament or set of emotions to be an author. You just have to write, edit and submit to publishers.
I have been writing and publishing for years - go with your heart, your gut, then follow up with critique and then an objective reader! And when I need help or a boost, I go here (of course) and to Agent Query (www.agentquery.com). Don't give up, keep writing and have FUN! You're already WAY ahead of the pack!
I have realised that when it comes to creating something in writing or in paint the best course of action is not to offer it up to friends or family to critique. They cannot be as objective as other writers or readers, simply because they know you already and that influences their opinions.
I would say write for yourself, share it here or elsewhere for feedback and comments (but not your 'one day great novel', keep that off line in case you want to publish it one day). Gain confidence and courage by writing under a 'pen-name'/profile name.
Mostly enjoy writing and good-luck for here and with the writing.
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