Hey everyone I'm brand new here and looking for some advice.
I've always been apprehinsive about joining these types of communities, really I'm just apprehensive about talking about myself or my writing at all. I'm the kind of writer that never wants to talk about my work and never wants to share my work with anyone. I think it's because secretly I think it's all garbage and I'm worried that if I share it with others then the possibility that my writing is actually garbage could become a reality. As long as I keep it to myself then it doesn't matter how bad it is, right?
But I'm trying to move past all that insecurity and what not. After all, I can never hope to get published if I just hide my work forever.
Anyway, I've been working on a novel for the past 6 or so months, have done two substantial revisions, started working on a third revision but stopped myself because the more I read the words I wrote the more distraught I become, thinking that my god this is really terrible writing. And I've been thinking of more or less scrapping the 60,000 words I have now and starting over, same general plot and story just starting from scratch.
I know a lot of that might just be my familiraity with it and growing tired of reading the same words over and over. You always hear writers suggest taking time away from the work, my problem is I don't really want to. I want to keep grinding. But I know I need to either give my eyes a rest or let someone elses eyes take a look and either be like yeah this sucks or no there is some potential there.
So I don't know where the proper place to post or the proper way to go about it. I suppose I would need to post in the Writers Workshop area, correct?
Here is a brief Synopsis of my novel - which I've titled No. 1 Party Anthem
NO. 1 PARTY ANTHEM is a coming of age tale about someone who probably should have already come of age.
On the morning of his 30th birthday we find our nameless hero hunched over his kitchen sink, spilling his guts onto the dirty dishes below. He’s hungover, but it’s a Saturday so this is nothing new.
As he says early on - “Hangovers make me sentimental. They also almost always make me have to throw up.”
Throughout the course of a single day he will try to alleviate his hangover with a mixture of fast food, Emo music, 90s movie marathons, wry wit and cynicism only to find that this hangover is a persistent one and seems intent on dragging him into a vortex of anxiety, despair and possibly earth ending implications.
One that sees him looking at his life through bloodshot eyes and examining the world around him, the choices he’s made and the ones he hasn’t, the way his generation copes with the world, the state of modern romance, the futility of trying to follow your dreams and the problem of growing up in the age of Emo music, all while seeking answers to some of life’s toughest questions, such as -
Will Taco Bell cure his hangover? Will his cat stop meowing for 5 freaking seconds and let him get some sleep? Is there anything worse than turning 30 years old? What is that strange humming sound coming from below his apartment? Will a rift in space and time destroy the world before he can do anything worthwhile? And would anybody even read his screenplay if he took the time to finish it?
My biggest concerns right now are just the total lack of plot and character. There is literaly only like 1 character, 2 if you include his pet cat.
The other big issue is that I feel that the reaction to it would be basically, "yeah but what's the point?" You know, just a big "so what?"
And lastly I think I let too much of myself work it's way in there. I mean I used too many of my own experiences and didn't make the character his own person enough.
But anyway, I don't know. What do you guys think? Should I post the first couple chapters in the Writers Workshop and see what people think?
Some random encouragement...
The first and second draft of what i'm working on (and getting mostly very good reviews from people looking at it) was far worse than what you posted.
When you start doing this, you suck. Just like playing the piano, lifting weights, driving, having sex, learning to walk, carving a sculpture, hitting on girls, and basically everything. It's okay, enjoy what you're doing. If you're excited about it you're on the right track.
Worse case scenario, this was practice and your next novel attempt will be far better.
Read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Real quick read and may be the little kick in the ass you need. It has plenty of humor and will get you past your own nose.
Hey thanks for the words you guys. It's definitley good to get encouragement and know that there other people out there struggling with the same things and still grinding and know that not everyone is going to just crap all over you and tell you how terrible your writing is.
Keep in mind there is Garfield. I absolutely positive you can do better.
Sometimes there is a need for "low stakes" stories. Damn still hungry for low hanging Steaks.
Can't get "paste" to work so I attached my feedback. Hope my comments help.
Thanks Qwertyportne. Excellent advice. That's definetly my biggest problem right now is that I lived far too much in the protaganists head so far. Need much more plot, much more "show" as you said. Working on revising right now. I think I have a lot of the sentiment and the themese even plot points down I just need to rework them so things are actually happening, not just being described or thought by my protaganist.
Glad something I mentioned helped. My novel is also about 50 or 60 thousand words down the road. I've got a good beginning (character, problem) and I haven't muddled in the middle (conflict, choices, consequences) -- lots of action, dialog, surprises, twists and so forth. But a few months ago I realized my story isn't rooted in an idea, so I have no ending, no conclusion/closure to aim my writing at. How am I going to end this darn thing?!
My writing friends say authors must be trouble makers. But that's all I'm giving my character: trouble. Every time he solves one problem I throw another one at him. I'm not just in his head. I'm just letting him do his thing without any thought to where it will take him and the friends he's gathering around him.
So I'm researching ways to give my story a non-trivial ending that not only wraps up the outer conflict but also brings closure to the inner conflict. Seems like the inner and outer conflict should be related in some way that gives readers something to take home for their own lives?
I read a really good book recently that may help you both: Write from the Middle by James Scott Bell. It helped me work through writing my second novel, from planning/outlining all the way to the finish. I think it elucidates the issue you're having and may offer some insight and/or perspective.