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Table of Contents
By Catrin Pitt
Advice for Young Writers:
By Elizabeth Chayne
Copyright © 2010, Elizabeth Chayne, All Rights Reserved
Is your story good? And if it is, just how good is it? Are there parts that could be improved? Does your hero seem fake? Is the plot tight enough?
Always think about advice before taking action. Is the advice fair? Could your friend be biased for some reason? (For example, perhaps his little brother is named Ben, which is why he hates your main hero Ben.) Do you feel the same way? Do you think that particular scene or character needs revision? Even if someone said they liked a character, you still have the right to question his or her feedback (in private, of course, not in front of the person giving you feedback).
It's always easier to accept compliments to your work than criticism. You shouldn't hand your story over to a friend expecting no negative comments, but neither should you view your piece as worthless trash. There are so many writers I've known who will accept criticism with the words, “Oh, yeah, well…it's okay, I didn't think it was that good anyway” or “Well, it's just trash anyhow.” There's really no need for you to be belittling your work to others. Speak up for it; maybe you can get into an interesting debate that will reveal something about your characters, or show you a flaw you hadn't noticed before.
Writing Exercise: May
Dig out some old stories you wrote and see how you feel about them. Have you changed since writing the story? Do you now find some of the scenes tedious? Or perhaps there's a scene you used to hate but now find endearing? Were you unable to come up with an ending for your story before? Can you think of one now?
If you want, you can put to discarded tales together and see what happens. (Tip: never throw away anything you've written, even if you think it's lousy. Someday what you think sucks right now could be turned into an award-winning book!)
Writing Exercise: June
Gather up five random objects from various corners o your house. (You can gather more or less objects if you wish; five is just to get you started.) Don't think about the objects, and don't deliberately pick objects with connections.
A good thing to do is to pick up the first thing you see in every room. Or the second thing. Or the tallest thing. Whatever.
Put these objects on your desk, or take photos of them if they're too big. Now write a story that connects these five objects together. There should be a character in the story; you shouldn't be just narrating from outside the story, there should be people involved in the objects and what happens to them.
Elizabeth Chayne works as a writer and writing tutor. She can be reached at email@example.com
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.