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shanan187 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shanan187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 12:56pm
Originally posted by mhelgens mhelgens wrote:

Originally posted by shanan187 shanan187 wrote:


1. I learned that I am not a one-trick pony. For the first 40 years of life, I called myself a "fantasy writer." Now I know I'm a "writer writer" and that I can turn basically anything into words. It's a level of confidence I might not have found on my own.


I kind of love that you said this because I’ve always dabbled in a little bit of everything. I lean towards creepy and psychological, most of my stuff is somehow supernatural, usually in a subtle “could that really happen?” way, but a lot of my stuff doesn’t fit that description either. I’ve always felt the need to pin down who I am as a writer and identify my niche— mostly because I’d like to apply to an MFA program someday and I feel like they like to know what they’re getting and I want to be able to easily convey who I am as a writer. So I’ve struggled with an identity crisis as a writer for a long time, but I’m starting to believe it’s a strength to be able to do multiple things. Even Stephen King writes more than horror! Thanks for this post. I think I needed to hear it! :) 

Awwww awesome! Glad to be of service <3 I remember writing stories in college that didn't "fit my mold" and thinking to myself, "Oh god! What if I'm NOT a fantasy writer?!" Here we are, masters of entire worlds, and yet we try to limit our own. LOL
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shanan187 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote shanan187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 12:58pm
Also, a bit of wisdom that the deadlines taught me:

Done is better than perfect.

Eventually, you have to stop editing and trust that you've done all you can with it. I've applied this principle heavily in my professional life. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jaamz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 1:03pm
There are a few stand out things I’ve learned here.

1. Is how to edit. I am better at figuring out what is important or what is just filler. It may be beautiful writing but if it isn’t serving a purpose, it has to go. Sometimes I keep it until the last edit but in the end I know I can let it go and the story will actually be better for it. This I learned simply from participating in flash but also by noticing what other writers here keep. Make every word count!

2. Utilize the forum for beta reads! You mother or husband are great for reads but will probably not be as honest or critical as they should when proofing your story. Get a writer’s eyes on your work! Usually you’re too time crunched to feel a sting of critique. You’re just so damn grateful they could help you kick it out the door in time.


Edited by Jaamz - 20 Jul 2019 at 1:04pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Mystic Platypus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 2:07pm
Not something I learned here, but it’s always been helpful: treat your story like a fish. Once you’ve caught it, chop off the head and chop off the tail. As writers, we tend to find our footing after a few sentences or even paragraphs, and then we sometimes let the end go on longer than it needed to. By trimming at both ends, both the start and finish of your story can be made stronger. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BarbaraFL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 2:46pm
Originally posted by Mystic Platypus Mystic Platypus wrote:

Not something I learned here, but it’s always been helpful: treat your story like a fish. Once you’ve caught it, chop off the head and chop off the tail. As writers, we tend to find our footing after a few sentences or even paragraphs, and then we sometimes let the end go on longer than it needed to. By trimming at both ends, both the start and finish of your story can be made stronger. 

Love this! Truly great advice. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 2:47pm
Just because I think something I wrote sucks doesn't mean I'm right.

The contests in general are good for learning to trim the fat. Pare down, pare down, pare down!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LadyReeseKightkens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 3:00pm
Originally posted by Mystic Platypus Mystic Platypus wrote:

Not something I learned here, but it’s always been helpful: treat your story like a fish. Once you’ve caught it, chop off the head and chop off the tail. As writers, we tend to find our footing after a few sentences or even paragraphs, and then we sometimes let the end go on longer than it needed to. By trimming at both ends, both the start and finish of your story can be made stronger. 
OMG, I never realized how true that was until you said it outloud. Every story I write usually starts off wonky and sometimes they take too long to finish up because I want make sure I've got everything in. I love this!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 3:12pm
1. Don't be afraid to write in a genre that terrifies you, or doesn't interest you, or that you wouldn't normally read. You may surprise yourself.

2. Find your writing tribe. It may be a writing group, or a few trusted fellow writing friends, or some combination thereof. They'll get to know you more than you know yourself as a writer (and sometimes even as a person - I've made some amazing "real life" friends here).  They'll know your strengths and weaknesses, where you tend to fall down and can give you just that lift you need to make your work the best it can be. They're also the ones who pick you up when you get rejected and cheer loudest when you succeed. They're beta readers, yes, but far more than that. They're the ones who walk side by side with you on this crazy journey.

3. Be efficient. Don't be a commitment phobe. Land on your idea and stick with it. Write the story, even if it looks godawful on paper. Most of your time should be spent editing. Putting the blob on the page is the quick part. Chiseling and cutting and getting it just right is what takes a lot of time.

4. Remember to have fun. This is what my husband tells me in every single contest. Every time. When I'm crying about how much my work sucks. And why do I bother. And I may as well just pack it in. He asks me, "But are you having fun?" And I want to kill him at that moment. Because I know he's right. 

5. In NYCM, sometimes you'll succeed. Sometimes you won't. And that's okay. Don't give up. Just keep playing the game.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote sootfoot5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 3:51pm
I've been on this forum since late 2008 when I wrote THE WORSE short screenplay ever.  

What I've learned on this forum is two-fold:

1)  Don't be afraid to post and to speak out when you don't understand something.  I had been hiding my fiction writing from everyone for years.  I had done well at some screenwriting comps (despite my short screenplay fiasco) and even had a Hollywood chance (not worth it), but mostly I hid my work under a bushel from my friends and family.  I had no writer friends.  But I saw the ad for NYCM on Movie Bytes and decided to give it a go.  It was really scary at first.  There were so many things people talked about that I was clueless about.  What were pubs- what were subs?  I mean SIMPLE things!  I had never taken a creative writing course, and it was really scary to post my work with all these MFA folks.  But you can't learn if you don't put yourself out there, and how do you expect the world to read your stuff if you can't present it to a small community like NYCM?  And we were small then - very small.  

2)  Even greater to my learning process was the giving of feedback.  Sure everyone loves to GET feedback, but it wasn't long before I realized that the GIVING of feedback was doing much more for me.  When I took the time to read stories with a critical eye instead of for pure enjoyment, and then took the time to put my findings/opinion down, I was learning what, in my mind anyway, what worked and what didn't work.  No longer was I making the same mistakes over and over.  By identifying problems in someone else's work, I no longer made those same mistakes in mine.  

To me, these are the two biggie's that I've gotten out of this comp.  Sure, I've gotten many of the same things that the others have said, but those haven't been as important to me as these two.  #1 became really important because I developed severe health issues and had to quite a job I loved.  I had sat, rather stagnant, for several years, before I started with NYCM and by then I had lost a lot of the confidence I'd had when I was working.  It was rather frightening to me to join a group of young people who all seemed to know so much.  But I got passed that and LEARNED.  

#2, well, after I figured it out, it was seemed like common sense.  

I don't know if anyone will take the time to read this or if it will help anyone.  All I can say is that my writing has improved 1000% since I started here ten years ago.  
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mhelgens View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhelgens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2019 at 4:13pm
Originally posted by GallifreyGirl GallifreyGirl wrote:

Originally posted by mhelgens mhelgens wrote:

some very passionate forumite (I don’t remember who—but thank you mystery poster) described the plotters vs pantsers situation.

I'd like to thank the academy for the nomination for Most Passionate Forumite, and of course my parents and Neil Gaiman and ...

Hahaha! After I posted this I saw another of your posts elsewhere on the forum and I was like hmm... that username. That might be the one. 
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