- Jan 29, 2010
Upon further reflection, it turned out to be worse than I thought actually. One of the two mentioned above in my workshop is undermining my confidence. My writing received loads of very useful criticism, but hers was downright abusive. Snide, insulting. Some parts even come across as tirades. I get the impression that reading it actually angers her in some way. I could forgive this behavior from random blokes on the internet, but we're supposed to help and support each other in workshops, and she's been causing me to subconsciously question whether or not I'm even worthy to be a writer.Happyninja42 said:Ok so, this begs the obvious question....do you want to write like them? Or do you just want their approval/recognition of your skill as a writer? I mean, if you want to actually write in a style similar to theirs, then it would make more sense to try and measure up to their standards, as they are writing in a style you want to use as well. If it's the latter, then I think you are setting yourself up for failure trying to write in their style....in a different setting. I mean, trying to shove Cowboy Bebop for example, into Star Trek, just doesn't work, nor should it.sageoftruth said:On the other hand, HappyNinja may be onto something too. Two of the members of my workshop are in their 60s, basically my parents' age, and the differences in what media we consumed growing up definitely shows. Perhaps I'm trying too hard to impress those two. I've been trying to be selective about what advice I take to heart from them, but even though we're all writing sci-fi/fantasy they seem to like their material to be more grounded in reality, basically less Star Wars and more Star Trek. Trying to measure up to their standards seems to be taking some of the fun out of writing.
Still, well-crafted characters are important regardless of genre.
I'm personally always of the opinion of write how you want to write. There isn't really any wrong way to write a character, if it's done intentionally. Even the 2 examples you gave aren't truly "wrong", if done properly. There ARE people who are overly emotional, and jump mercurially from one mood to another at the drop of a hat. I've met many of them. There are also people who aren't bothered by killing people. So, if those traits are done on purpose, then it's fine. If they are a side effect that you didn't really intend, then it's a flaw that needs to be addressed.
In the end, she may be the whole reason this thread got started. Still, I'm glad I started it. Lots of useful comments. I'm thinking of talking with the workshop leader, or another person in my group about how I should handle her.
Anyway, to answer your question, I don't want to write like them, but I don't think I want to write just like myself either. Their material is too serious for my taste, but I still want to have strong characters that the reader can get onboard with. It sounds to me like the course of action is for me to give more thought to the criticism from the others in my workshop. There are at least 8 of us, so I won't lose much by disregarding those two.