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76133 No. 76133
I should be heading home, now, but I felt this was important enough to delay my trip.

Writers, whether new or accomplished, learning or learned, keep making the same mistake. It always leads to heartache.

Is it punctuation? Grammar? Spelling? Scene? Plot? Characterization?


It's failing to write for yourself.

Every time I see "If you don't like it, I'll stop", or "Person X said it sucked and I quit", or "This is too hard, I'm leaving the fandom", I die a little inside.

This is fandom. Nobody's being paid for this. Nobody's going to gain any lasting fame or following. There's nothing to gain by pandering, or selling yourself out.

Let me make it clear: If you're not writing for yourself, or for someone you love just as much as yourself, then you are doing it wrong.

Don't fret over the mistakes. Don't fret over the nay-sayers or the trolls. Don't fret if you can't get anyone to read your story. If you wrote it for yourself, and truly put your love and work into the pages, it will find an audience somewhere.

That's not to say you shouldn't seek to improve. Of course, that's a goal all writers should seek. But first? Before you climb the mountain? As Captain Kirk would say, you have to love the mountain. ;)

And that's all I have to say about that.

Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 76136
>Nobody's going to gain any lasting fame or following
they might
>> No. 76140
Aww... That's sad...

Personally, if the pre-readers (Or reviewers) don't like it, or person X says it sucks, I let the story mature a bit. I get second opinions, or I move on to another idea. But I never abandon a story. I'll try and tackle an easier project (or that other idea I mentioned) and work my way up to a satisfactory skill level before continuing the story.

"A Dangerous Bet" Comes to mind, and I am fixing it up with the help of another reviewer (After what? 2 months?), but enough about me. How about you other folks? How do you deal with a failure such as rejection?
>> No. 76141
File 132571588455.gif - (11.97KB , 100x100 , Big Macintosh by whiplashy.gif )

But that's not the point of this post. I totally understand Snarkle here. If you don't like what you wirte, it's really easy to throw the towel.

I know personal experience may not work here, but I've been working in this fic of mine for 3 months, sending it to EqD and them sending me here. But I like what I write, and I've put so much effort on improving it (not to mention how much I love both worlds I'm crossing) that I'm in no way gonna give up. Sure, I may have to change a few things that I liked, but ive wrapped my head around it.

What Snarkle says is that, yes, you might get some fame and following, but the top thing is writing what you like, the plot you love and the characters you prefer. Sure, EqD has quite high standards, and those may clash with your story, but you can always choose to post it somewhere else or just keep it to yourself.
>> No. 76144
but snarkle said you couldnt, im just pointing out that you could
>> No. 76145
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This is a good topic, but if I may say something...

>Don't fret if you can't get anyone to read your story

While I agree with this, you have to remember that it's only natural to want to receive recognition. Rationally, yes, you shouldn't really expect to gain a large readership, but it still kinda sucks when you write a fic you really like, pour a lot of time into it, and publish it for the world to see and maybe two people ever read it. I, unfortunately, do not know any advice or any comforting words for that, other than "that's how it goes." Writing for yourself will minimize the blow, but can't eliminate it.

Of course, I may be wrong so if others have something to say about it, go ahead. I just wanted to point that out.
>> No. 76146
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so goddamn true,

If you quit because somepony doesn't like it. It's a missed opportunity.

Writing is a wonderful thing to do, it should be done out of own pleasure not to please others. When you write a story that you enjoy yourself, you've done the right thing. Other people enjoying it? Consider it a bonus.
>> No. 76150
Love this thread already.

Pretty much everyone that i've talked to started writing fanfiction because they thought it would be fun. And it IS. Getting your ideas into words and sharing them with people who share your enthusiasm (which you may or may not be keeping a secret from the world) is what the internet was REALLY made for.

That being said, alot of people write not just to share their ideas, but because they want people to LIKE their ideas. Few people are as insecure as first-time creatives (I'm NOT speaking for everyone here). Sometimes its not insecurity, but a desire to please those around them, and thats perfectly healthy. What I can't stand is people who think that because they strike out once that they're awful writers.

Looking back at my first attempt at fanfiction, it sucked. But it was MINE! And thats what matters.
>> No. 76165
Redoing this. Posted a bit ago, but worded it in a way that could have been misinterpreted. Delete, retry.

I agree that writing for yourself first and foremost is the way to go. That said, I strongly doubt anyone here is writing ENTIRELY for themselves. If you write for you and everyone else can go jump off a cliff, then why did you post it in an accessible place? Why did you even bother putting it online at all? Heck, if you want to take it to the extreme why even write it at all? Let the story live entirely in your head.

It's okay to want to spread entertainment, or for the more selfish among us, to want recognition. Just make sure your primary driving force is that you want to write.

On the more silly side, I see the mountain. I want to climb the mountain. I do love the mountain. But Kirk tells me I must hug the mountain. Envelop that mountain. I don't think I've got the armspan to do so.
>> No. 76175
Very relevant.
Never thought I'd have context to link this XD.
>> No. 76208
9th reply. Hm. I am satisfied.
>> No. 76250
Good most, for the post part. I intend to write for a living, though, so things get a bit more complicated when you take that into consideration. Also, I'd say the second-worst mistake a writer can make is failing to stick to a schedule. Having to vomit out X number of words a day might seem like more of a chore than a hobby, but it will help so much in the long run. Also, I personally think editing is kinda fun. Like, you look back on your creation and you're all, "eugh, that's friggin' gross." Then you give it a good polish and BAM! Next NY Times Best-Seller.

And that's all I have to say about that.
>> No. 76252

The messages in these posts are part of the reasons I don't write the multitude of ideas I have.

I'm a no-name no-image no-presence guy, I would just be passed over by all, regardless of how good/bad the story would be.
>> No. 76266
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Nine replies until a tangent emerged?
Yes, I have been slow on the uptake today, haven't I?

But to make this one on-topic, I'll chip in too.
Writing for yourself is important, but listening to your readers can also be a great boon. They have different mindsets and thought-processes that can bring up amazing ideas that you could have never even conceived on your own. However, keep in mind that there's a point where you cross over from "listening to your readers" and "writing for your readers". Just because popular opinion goes against what you've laid out, doesn't mean you should change it. Many readers in this fandom hate tragedy, yet it can be a powerful and moving device. Sure, you could bow into pressure and give them a D'aww that'll keep the in a good mood for the day, or you can make a bittersweet end that they'll remember for months to come. A writer with an audience should know that, in the end, you're looking to make a lasting impression on the psyche of your listeners.

Not sure how well I maintained the spirit of the thread, but whatever >_>.
>> No. 76272
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> "This is too hard, I'm leaving the fandom"
Applies to me. It's not so much that writing and coming up with stories is difficult, it's just that I set the bar high for myself, when in reality I'm inexperienced as a storywriter and never cut myself any slack. I perceive that my vision won't come into writing in as compelling and beautiful a way as possible. Thus, due to me perpetually doubting that I'm succeeding in anything when I fritter away a day pounding my keyboard and dumping my brain into GDocs, or turning my brain inside out trying to resolve a plot hole, I give up and read someone else's fanfic.

I cannot write only for myself because I see that as masturbation. I'm far too self-conscious and desirous of others' approval (speaking of which, that's why I'm posting anonymously). I want others to be able to see the same beauty I see in my own ideas. The problem is, my ideas never seem to come to completion, because to give substantiation for them in the story and avoid contrivances/plot holes requires successively more and more work - and I get into a cycle of "fuck, this needs explanation/backstory" with each new thing added. Thus, my ideas sit around in my mind like unfinished statues slowly dissolving under the acid rain of job stress and day-to-day distractions/obligations.
>> No. 76274
>> No. 76315
Write them anyway. You're allowed to revise something as many times as you like, but if you never finish writing it in the first place you'll never have the chance.
>> No. 76341
One of my friends actually has this problem. He has great ideas but has a really hard time putting them to paper. What ended up happening is we would talk and form ideas. Sometimes I would point out what didn't make since or suggest something. After doing this a few times he found his voice and the angle to best present his ideas, now he is written far better than me. Maybe you need the same thing, someone to bounce ideas off of and some help learning to express yourself, then you could bloom into a beautiful writer.
>> No. 76344
Writing fan fiction actually made this easier for me. With anything else I find myself worrying too much about whether it's good enough to eventually publish. Ponyfic is informal enough I can get my brain to shut up about that and just write it, while still dangling the carrot of possibly getting it posted somewhere where people will read and enjoy it.

And for me the best part of writing is loving the story and scenes that play out in my head enough to try and put them into some kind of physical, ordered form.
>> No. 76347
I've been having quite a bit unusual troubles with this subject. I'm writing a non-pony fic about a character I made. It's a character I use for almost EVERYTHING I go on. My own online avatar.

However, I've been having a ton of trouble with the readers. I constantly get complaints that it's not "realistic". This is something that really ticks me off. I don't know why people do this. I'm just trying to write a story for a character I created but the readers keep getting in the way. I post a chapter and it gets rated a low score because it can't physically happen in real life.

It's my own character I'm writing about for myself, though I want people to read about it. I just hate people whining about how an average person wouldn't be wearing rubber gloves as a fashion choice or how ninjas can't be in the story because they don't exist anymore. I DON'T NEED TO EXPLAIN EVERY LAST DETAIL!

Seriously, what do I do? I keep altering my story to keep it as real as humanly possible but honestly, it's making me hate my character more and more.
>> No. 76352
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Don't post your stuff online then.
>> No. 76396
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Crack fic it. Make it so unreal that people simply accept the insanity of it and hop along for a delusional ride into the perverted mind of a self-insert OC as he gallavants around a temporally unstable dreamscape. Make sure to lampshade the self-imposed idiocy for extra meta points.
>> No. 76716
For additional reference, see this technique applied correctly here: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/3988/Hearts-of-Red-Ink
>> No. 76759
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Makes sense.
Why would anyone write if not for themselves?

Not everyone likes everything, but if they don't like something, they can just go read something else that they do like.
>> No. 76765
sorry for posting in a thread like this with something only related, but for some reason I have a few questions that I'm spurred to ask by this thread:
Okay, I have never written fanfiction, and I have one universe and one particular set of storylines that just won't leave my mind. I really want to turn these into the best I possibly can...however, first fiction always is bad as a rule. I keep trying to write alternative fiction for practice, but nothing quite inspires the same or really gives me the same motivation as these other ideas...
Now, what should I do? Am I being selfish by worrying so much on the quality and, beyond that, potential reactions?
>> No. 76770
Yeah, I'm the worst offender of this. Gained quite a reputation from it, too.

If this is the kind of thread I think it is, then fellow bronies, lend me your ears: "When put down about a story you write, or have your ass handed to you on a rusty platter, don't give up on writing, or this fandom. Keep goin', but keep it in your mind that this is not for fame, much like Snarky here said. Every story gets criticism, including stories like 'My Little Dashie' or 'Fallout: Equestria'. So, just keep going and don't give up."

I'd hope I didn't do all that just to repeat what you said, Snarky. That would be embarassing...
>> No. 76808
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You're only selfish if you unrightfully withhold something good from others. I think that rather, you're taking this too seriously: one writes as an amateur for one's own amusement, not because their lives hang in the balance. If you've got an idea in you and you have to let it out, then just let it out! There's nothing wrong with that, unless you demand that others call it the greatest novel evar and whine when they don't. Even if it don't come out pretty, that's okay - write some more, learn, come back and do n rounds of editing. It's the editing stage that hurts the most, but you'll end up with quality work if you (or your editor) do it right.
>> No. 76815
>>first fiction always is bad as a rule
Rules were made to be broken.
I got a 5-star fic on EqD and it is my first fic.
Its also my first writing project longer than 10 pages at that.
>> No. 76822
Well, rating doesn't always equal quality. The system's so skewed that it feels like 4/3-Star means "horrible", 5-Star means anything from "not too awful" to "underappreciated gem" and 6-Star means "might be worthwhile if you're lucky".

I have seen some messes get 5-Starred (and even 6-Starred). Nothing against your fic, of course (I have no way of knowing which one it is).
>> No. 76826
Not my point however.
Obviously, if it has maintained a high enough rating, that means that there are plenty of people who like it. The 5 star by no means makes it a literary piece of art, but if people like it, then it is a success to me.
>> No. 76827
Now that you put it that way... yeah, I get it. Well done on that achievement. I've done something similar, except I have written other stuff in the last ten years.

Just write what you want to write, and then if you feel like it's junk, submit to one or two of our many review threads. MLP has the most robust fanfiction workshop I've ever seen in a fandom here on /fic/
>> No. 76830
Thanks a ton, everyone! I know I sound like a bit of an overly serious and perhaps even pretentious poster, but I'm just worried; I've spent months of hard work creating a detailed setting out of a thought experiment, and expect more to come, but well-thought-out ideas don't mean a well-done fic. What if the Law of First Fiction kills my idea mid-air from pure poor writing (for some reason, the ideas being flawed or hated doesn't scare me that much, despite the effort)? Now, this sort of thinking tends to spiral rather quickly, leading to plentiful panicked posts.
However, in all seriousness, is it stupid that I'm taking months simply building setting, character, and plot, and risking so much so early, when I know I have few chances of success? I'm worried it might lead to emotional attachment or tons of wasted time, with plenty of frustration.
>> No. 76831
and I apologize again for the posting in this thread instead of in a correct one, I'm a little lost at the moment.
>> No. 76835
Like he said here,
"MLP has the most robust fanfiction workshop I've ever seen in a fandom"
Nobody ever starts off writing a masterpiece. Only after careful editing and peer review can you create something worth while. The brony community is one of the if not THE nicest communities I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Even if what you write isn't up to par, they will be there with constructive criticism to help you improve instead of telling you, "Boo you suck, quit... etc etc"
You've just gotta break out of that shell to where you are too afraid of the worst possible outcome to post what could have the possibility of being pure gold.
>> No. 76906
Ahh. Believe I know who you are now, since someone told me pretty much the same thing about a month ago. If so, you know who I am, too.

My first attempt at fanfic ever was also accepted at EqD on the first try. It definitely gave me a skewed picture of how hard it would be to repeat that.

Agree entirely. Over in the "Ask an EqD Pre-reader..." thread, one of them related an anecdote about a good fic that got shredded by the readers mostly because of a few unfortunate punctuation errors. I've seen another get hammered because of a naive choice of what tags to use.

You have to take EqD with a grain of salt like any other site. Yes, FiMFiction is a hugbox, and 4.8 stars there might not mean much. But the readers there are more likely to offer detailed constructive criticism. At EqD, you get much more "Dark. Ugh. 1 star," and multiple 1-star ratings before anyone could have possibly read it.

I might not bother with EqD, except that it really is the place where most people go to tell them what's good. I don't have time to search all the major posting sites, so I rely on them to tell me what's out there. I'd hate to think I was missing out on a lot of incredible stories because the writers gave up on meeting EqD's standards, but I'm sure it happens all the time. I'm also sure that sometimes meeting those standards actually makes the story worse in many people's eyes, just due to conflicts of personal opinion.

It's natural to want validation that your ideas are worthwhile, or, as it's been said, why do any more than keep it in your head? Try posting at a hugbox site first. It shouldn't be hard to find some people who enjoy your idea. Then, make liberal use of reviewers to refine and learn. The understanding that comes from that is a validation as well; knowing that you're improving is also positive feedback.
>> No. 76908
Good point.

This is the same Anonymous as in >>76906 by the way. Writing, like any talent, is not something that everyone can do well. If you've got good ideas but can't execute, find someone who can. There are definitely successful teams out there.
>> No. 76999
There is currently a problem with lone-star bombers on EqD that will mark anything down with 1 star that they don't like the look of, don't like the author of, don't approve of and don't actually read. I'm not sure what can be done about it, so take the star ratings with a grain of salt.

Personally, I feel very few 6-star fics deserve it and I am suspicious at best of how they obtained it. Of course, saying this makes sure nothing of mine will ever get 6 stars because it makes me sound like a huge arse.

If it's shipping and has 3.5 stars, it's probably been lone-star bombed. You're probably going to be in luck with something 5 stars, and I'd probably suggest those first rather than the 6 stars.

I say this because before you can write, you need to read. Find out the pitfalls, the plan and the something-else-beginning-with-p and then replicate.
>> No. 77013

Heh, 1-star bombers. The anti-hugbox.

I wouldn't outright dismiss the 6-star fics. This guy: http://onemansponyramblings.blogspot.com/ is going through the list, and his reviews are balanced. (Note that according to his scale 2-stars is good but not brilliant, the EqD equiv of 3~4 stars)

Interestingly but off-tangent, most fics with the 6-star tag aren't 6-star anymore. Just goes to show, writers can't take star ratings as a sole measurement, seeing as they're not constant.
>> No. 77108
Star ratings do get updated over time, but I'm not sure 6-stars do. They're the only ones I consistently see that don't match the actual rating. I think if you clear that initial 50 votes with a 4.9, then they never take it away from you.
>> No. 77110
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Once something hits a star rating (6 star) It can't drop. It's to protect from later star bombs.
>> No. 77137
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>writers can't take star ratings as a sole measurement
This, but for a different reason. If you write certain things happening (kill a CMC, ship ponies that people view as a OTP [LyraxBon Bon and to a lesser extent VinylxOctavia], etc.) then there is a certain part of the fanbase that will unfortunately bomb your fic, even if it is spectacular, because they don't like the content. Don't get me wrong, that is totally fair. But when the ratings are so dependent on the whims of the fanbase, I don't think they should be an exclusive indicator of whether a writer has done well or not.

As for the topic at hand: everyone has a story. There is also a certain talent required to write. However, anyone can write with enough practice. Even those with the overwhelming talent (in my opinion, everyone has some talent) have to learn. That said, if you write exclusively for yourself it breeds arrogance and inflexibility. However, don't take that to mean that you should write for others. Quite the contrary, you have to balance the ability to take others' opinions and critiques, whether good or bad, into consideration while still ensuring that the story is the one you love and want to tell. That balance is the hard part. For myself, it is a constant battle (damned prefrontal cortex needs to finish developing [it regulates emotional reactions]).

I thought that applied to all star ratings. Probably read something wrong... again.
>> No. 77150
When does this lock in? Obviously if something has 5 stars after 1 vote, it doesn't stay there.
>> No. 77155
I think he's referring to the tag.
>> No. 77160
I write the plot and storyline for myself.

But I try to characterize characters to an extent for the readers, and I try to keep the writing and flow for the reader.

I want to tell a story, and as long as I tell that story I want it told in the way people want to hear it most.

I write with the goal of improving my writing, and making something people like, and I enjoy doing it with those reasons.
>> No. 77168

I was finally going to respond to the prompt when I saw that this guy said pretty much what I wanted to already.

While the OP makes a very good point, you still have to keep your audience in mind. If you write it only for yourself, then no one else is going to want to read it. If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it (because no one cares), does it make a sound?

I've worked with chauvinistic authors before, and I was one at one point because of proximity to a few of them. I'm sure a few people here remember that.

My advice? Keep your vision at the forefront of your mind, but don't shut out the perspectives of others, regardless of how cynical some may seem. Pay attention to consensus opinions. Work with your audience, either existing or intended, and come up with something you all can enjoy and feel proud of.

Logician out.
>> No. 77210
I don't take stars into consideration.

I'd rather read a 4-star story that sounds really cool than a 6-star one that sounds boring. There's alot of stories that I LOVED that had shitty ratings for bad grammar or poor use of a character. Fanfics are like flashgames; you have to play ALOT to find the great ones. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time to read every single story that sounds cool to them. And alot of people who do are usually anuses who will crucify you for your small mistakes that hardly take away from your story.

No matter how many people bash your story, there will ALWAYS be someone who will like it. And if you decide to discontinue your story, you WILL be letting those people down.

Side note: Not everyone who reads and/or likes your story will leave a comment or a rating. Too bad Docs doesn't have a viewcounter (as far as I know).
>> No. 77217
Under "Comment Stream," you can check the document stats and it shows visitors over the past seven days.
>> No. 77222
I take criticism personally, so there are times I'm crestfallen and question my abilities as an enjoyable or even competent storyteller. But, I step back, mull over it a while, and once my head clears I start thinking positively again.

When I first submitted something to EqD and it got rejected I was all "oh god I'm a sham of an author, I was never any good, boo hoo hoo." But, months after that, I managed to learn much about writing and even got a story posted on that site. It's all because I stuck around after that initial failure, and kept writing up whatever stories struck my fancy until one of them stuck (which happened to be the second story I sent them funny enough).

Though it's a shame there are people who give up writing because of a mistake, I say it's their loss. Various pursuits and crafts have setbacks to be overcome, but if you keep pushing on then you're only going to improve, or at the very least learn things you never knew before. I certainly did.

Forgive my rambling, but I'll just end by saying: Keep writing. You'll have your hits and misses, but it's a learning experience, and if you enjoy the craft, then it's good to keep at it.
>> No. 89412
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Bumping this thread too, because there are so many good responses and love in it.
>> No. 89419
I think one should go further and say that writing is just like any psychological human activity. Thus, it waxes and wanes. Your attitudes both as a writer and reader are going to change, but the important thing is not to worry about it.

Someone might go through a six month period of completing ten stories, and then they do no writing for the next year. And that's okay. They might look back and feel like they've accomplished anything. As long as they enjoyed writing back then, they accomplished something. They made themselves feel better.

Also, if you do choose to walk away from writing for a long time, there's no shame in that. Same thing if you haven't wanted to do it for a long time, but now inspiration strikes. Again, that's okay.

It irritates me how people consider writing to be the same thing as being the butcher, baker, candlestick maker, and so on. It really isn't-- past some certain similarities. At the end of the day, your writing is going to be as odd and unique as you are as individual. People are not machines.
>> No. 89420
>The worst mistake a writer can make
misspelling 'I'. Kid you not, this one girl in my 5th grade class did that, and I didn't even know her and I'm never going to forget about it.

I can't imagine how she feels about it. (actually, she's probably forgotten about it)
>> No. 127600
>> No. 127601
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There are worse things to bump, I suppose.
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