The Horror of Reading My Pathetic Attempts at Literature

Lemme tell you a (clearly not-so-well-kept) secret:  I’m considering getting back into writing more literary fare.  That is to say, I’m thinking of getting back into writing fiction.  Or poetry.  Or whatever it is I thought I was writing when I was about 18.

Okay, technically most of that was fanfiction.  But I stand by my assertion that some of them can be considered high literature.

*cough* Anyway, as I was saying:  I’m thinking of getting back into writing more creative stuff.  It’s not that my job as a web copywriter doesn’t allow me to be creative; it’s just that I feel that none of the creativity I’ve been using has ever been truly mine.  Thus, this sudden return to a hobby that I’m really not sure I can accommodate given all the stuff I’ve already put on my plate.

That is why, to start things off, I read some of my on-and-off attempts at writing my own stories for the last five years.  Needless to say…

Palm to my face, I try to block out my own horrible writing.
I would have killed myself at the horror, but I realized the cats need money for their fancy food.

I wish I were kidding, but I think all my attempts at writing fiction are stilted and uncomfortable (like two drunken virgins with a copy of the Kama Sutra).  My poetry is slightly better, but I’m so straightforward and get too wrapped up in the sound of the words to ever be truly called a poet (according to that one poetry forum I visit).  I’d share them with you right now, but I don’t want to inflict the horror of my work on you.

Clearly, I needed to do something.

So I got back on WordPress

I admit that what I’m writing on this blog isn’t even vaguely novel-ish, and I hardly even talk about poetry (except for that one Maya Angelou post – god, I took myself way too seriously back then, didn’t I?).  But at least I’m making a conscious effort to write something that has very little to do with my day job.  It’s also given me the chance to look around and find some interesting stuff that might be helpful to me.

For example:

  1. I recently ran across a writing challenge that the blogger MechanisticMoth set for himself (among my favorite items so far are “Zodiac Sign” and “My Pets“).  I think simple challenges like this can help me get my creative juices flowing.  Right now, I’m only putting most of my responses to this challenge in a tiny notepad I carry around with me.  But if anyone else is doing a writing challenge on their blogs, I’d like to see them.
  2. I found this interesting blog post about plotting fiction stories.  Given how disorganized I tend to be when trying to write stories, I’m really excited about this.  The blog itself is new, and I don’t know when it’s gonna be updated.

I also started looking for resources that can help me with my writing

I started browsing sites for (free) writing tips that might be able to help me get started on novel writing (I’ve decided that poetry as a whole can be way too scary for someone who’s just starting out again).  I already have a decent idea for a novel (or so my sister says); all I need is some guidance for constructing a plot.

So far, I have found:

  1. Jim Butcher’s LiveJournal.  So far, it looks like he has some of the most useful essays on the essential components of a genre novel I have ever seen before.  It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the author of The Dresden Files, which I am more than a little bit in love with at the moment.  For the last few days, I’ve been making notes for my novel using his tips.  So far, it has been painless.  I’m sure that’ll change as soon as I actually start writing this thing.
  2. An ebook copy of Linda Lavid’s On Creative Writing.  I’ve been reading it on-and-off, and I’m starting to realize that it can be helpful to my writing too, though I suspect that this is better for stories that don’t fall under the usual “popular” genres.  I could be wrong.  Nevertheless, I want to try this out too.

Now for the big questions:

Would anyone out there like to read my new, potentially horrible, attempts at Literature?  Because if there are people out there who want to risk their sanity, I’m perfectly willing to post some of the stuff I produce.  Probably in another blog I’m thinking of setting up.  I also want to know, do you know any other free resource I can use for my writing attempts?

Seriously, guys.  I wanna know if the horror of my work deserves to be out here.

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13 thoughts on “The Horror of Reading My Pathetic Attempts at Literature

  1. Post it! From my years of experience in the arts, from playing piano, reciting poetry, painting pictures, and writing, the artist often hates her own work. Most commonly for me in writing and drawing. But I’ve found that if you set it aside and not look at it for about a week, it gets better. And a good dose of compliments from those around you never fails! Post it, I’ll read it!

    1. Oh, wow. Thanks, Katie. 🙂 I think some feedback really would be useful somehow (at least, it’ll force me to write) ^^;

      Do you think it’s okay to put it on this blog, though? Or should I have a separate blog for writing (this one is mostly focused on reading, after all)?

  2. Post it, and there would be an audience. I’d be willing to. :>

    Heck I have (had?) a wordpress blog for my Roleplay Prose… which admittedly I need to get back to.

  3. Thanks so much for the link to my brand new baby blog! I’ll update Monday for sure, and Friday I’ll be posting downloadable worksheets so anyone can take a whack at plotting their own story (or even somebody else’s). 🙂

    1. AAAAAAAAAAAAA! Thanks for the updates! ^o^ That will be a really good study guide for me. I hope more people start reading your blog.

      …so I can post their works in progress in my blog (hey, they’re stuff that folks can read in between!).

  4. Katie is right. Many writers are extremely critical of their own work… more harsh than they would be on the work of others. We will always look at what we do, and immediately start picking it apart again. Like she said, put it away for a little bit before you dig in for rewrites.

    To have your work critiqued, you could put up a page for it on your blog. Or, some folks start an account on a site like Wattpad or Protagonize, where they can post their work for comments and read the work of others. (But if you take this route, you will then have another social media site to deal with, and let’s face it, not everyone is interested in, or has time for, that.) However, if you intend to seek publication for a work, in my opinion, you really shouldn’t post it online, as it can be a big no-no with publishers and agents. In that case, you will want to find specific critique partners, and send the work to them privately.

    I recently came across a wonderful book, “Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing” by Larry Brooks. It covers plotting better than anything I ever read. If you want a free run down of what the book offers, visit the WordPress blog of Novel Girl (http://rebeccaberto.wordpress.com/) and click on “Larry Brooks” in her tag cloud on the left. This will bring up all of her 6-part series breaking down a bunch of the info in the book. (Although, I got started reading them, and ended up buying the book for myself.) I hope this info is helpful to you as well.

    Laura Ritchie

    1. Oh, wow! Those are really good resource recommendations! I’m gonna check them out soon 🙂

      As for publication…I think I’m taking this one step at a time. I’m not sure I WANT to be published (traditionally, at least), but who knows what might happen in the future?

      The way I see it, it might be good to put random excerpts from different work here so I could at least get a gist of what I might be doing wrong (or right). But thanks for the heads-up on that info! 🙂

      1. That sounds great. I’ll be sure and check it out. I’m not that great at critiquing–still learning. But your posts are well written and I would love to see more of your writing.

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