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Archive for June, 2010

Combining Two Stories

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Recently I came up with another storyline that I would like to work on. I have 5 or 6 story lines that I am working on right now.

After starting work on my new story line and getting about 10 pages into the story, I realized that this story could be combined with another story that I have plodding along on. This story had come to stand still and I have been trying to figure out where I wanted to take it.

The first story is a ghost story told in the first person and the second story is a teen drama story told in the second person.

I know these two story lines can mesh nicely together, but after I copied and pasted them together I realized that there are some MAJOR inconsistencies that I need to fix besides the different perspectives.

For example, in my first story, the heroine is finishing high school via the web and has not made friends in her new town, but has a potential love interest. In the second story, the heroine is in school and is working on a history project, has friends but no love interests.

However, instead of focusing on how these stories do not work together, I have been busy working on making these stories work together. I want to take the teen drama and blend it into the ghost story.

I think the process of combining the two stories so they will work as one will be a complicated process that will keep me busy for a few days.

Because so much work that needs to be done and the fact that I cannot edit my own work while on a computer, I have to print the story off and work on etching out a new story line and fix the inconsistencies, thus making a brand new story.

To Share, or Not to Share

Monday, June 7th, 2010

A moral quandary: Let’s say that you’re reading something written by another writer, and you find a significant problem.  Do you tell the writer about the problem, or do you keep it to yourself?

A friend and I talked last week, and found that we had a significant difference of opinion.

My opinion was that you should always tactfully tell your fellow writer about the issue.  After all, it’s easier to hear the feedback from a friend than receive a form-letter rejection and try to guess what caused the agent/publisher to reject your manuscript, article, or proposal.

My friend’s opinion was that you should never give feedback unless it’s solicited, and never rewrite something another writer has written.  This crosses an invisible unspoken bond that all writers should honor.

The case for avoiding feedback:

Writers often put days, if not weeks or years, of effort into making something look the way they want.  Finding problems within a work after someone has put in that much effort can be demoralizing for the writer.

If a writer doesn’t explicitly ask for feedback, they likely want the reader to simply tell them how good the work is. Giving negative feedback can crush the writer, such as telling them that the piece doesn’t work, has typos, or major inconsistencies.  This can discourage a writer from continuing on to write other material.

The case for providing feedback:

Many writers are relieved to get feedback and see ways to restate something in an easier way.  Many writers will send notes of gratitude stating that they were glad someone was able to point out problems and suggest changes to fix issues in a particular piece.

Since many readers believe all the writer wants to hear is how good something is, writers often don’t receive feedback they want.  While some writers are looking for an ego boost, most are always looking to improve.  A comment as simple as “This section simply doesn’t make sense” can go a long way toward helping someone identify trouble areas within their story or articles.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think giving unsolicited feedback is the right way to go?  Or should you hold back unless a writer explicitly asks for it?

Looking for feedback that’s both honest and helpful?  Check out WritAnon’s editing service (free 2000 word sample edit)!

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