Do You Have What it Takes?

What makes YOU think you’re a good story writer? Did your friend tell you that? Did a College or University degree say so? Was it your boss giving you a pat on the back for a job well done?
If the answer is “Yes,” continue reading.
If the answer is “No,” still continue reading.

I believe it is safe to say that there are good and bad writers out there. WrItung lyke diS, I would not consider to be good writing. Yet my sentence still made sense. . .

Figuring this stuff out can give you a headache.

But I’m hoping that I can get you through this with the best of my ability.

Although everyone may argue what great story writing is – from Bill Shakespeare to Michael A. Stackpole – the point is that they’re writing. Where one may have spent countless hours deciphering the perfect words for his Iambic Pentameter, Stackpole probably spent only two seconds coming up with the name Ooryl Qrygg.

Yet both are best-selling authors! Sure, one may divulge a bit more into different genres than the other – and you also may have only heard of one of these authors. Regardless of it all, what makes good story writing? What draws an audience to their stories? Well, I’m not going to do book-by-book comparisons between the two, but I’ll definitely send you in a good direction.

1. Characters: Without characters, you pretty much do not have a story. Even if you spend three-hundred pages just describing scenery – your voice, your way of description is the character. Realistically, YOU are the character. That may be a bit to take in, but think about the truth in it.

Your voice through writing is what makes the story speak. You give it character, whether it be drab or hilarious. You, the writer, have control, and you the writer must recognize yourself as a the real protagonist or antagonist. If you want a heroic scene, give it. If you want sadness, produce it. Building characters in the world you create are just expansions off of what your character is. With that knowledge, you can strengthen your writing ten-fold, plus make it personalized to make you stand out as a unique writer. I’m sure of it.

Conclusion: Listen to your judgment!

2. Experience: I do not mean writing experiences either. How can one be a professional writer nowadays when prerequisites for being one is to already have been one? Should I re-post the picture again?

Although this may come as philosophical, it is true that you write what you know. What I mean by that is if I want to write about two people falling in love, I only know love as from my experiences. That means movies, books, cartoons, and yes, in real-life, everything I know about love in some way, shape, or form, comes through. So if one were to write about love, they would write from their experiences. The same can go with any situation – a scene in a restaurant, shopping, going to a concert, being a superhero, playing sports, etc.

Conclusion: Experience life to its fullest!

3. Advice: Definitely have someone look over your work. If they critique it, do not take it personally. After-all, input goes well with my second point – it’s experience! If someone says, “You should have X to Y,” you don’t have to, but damn-well think about how it could happen. What would be the results?

Another thing about critiquing is that people may not understand you. Hey! That’s great! A rose is a rose is a rose, right? People may say your work is incomprehensible, unflattering, or even targeting the wrong audience. Well, maybe they don’t get it? Maybe they never will? Should that stop you? No. Someone will get it. There’s so many outlets now, such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and WordPress (see me now?) where you can find a market which understands you. Take hold of that! Carpe diem! Consider what people are saying!

But despite creativity, poor grammar or blatant poor writing is no excuse for “creativity.” There is a difference between laziness and art. People can see that.

Conclusion: Although it is your story, do not shoo away criticisms or become lazy. It is experience, remember?

4. What do You Have to Lose?: My final point seems a bit ignorant, as everything is really situational. It’s also not really my story to tell. However, the story has influenced me greatly in my drive for writing. It’s a story by Stan Lee.

In a nutshell, in the early sixties, he was about to leave Atlas Comics (soon-to-be Marvel Comics) due to having no drive left. He’d done comics since the 1940’s, and he was thinking about actually starting a career in what he called a “real” writing job.

The publisher of Atlas, Martin Goodman wanted Stan to create a new superhero team to counter DC’s Justice League of America comics. Stan was exhausted at this point. He spoke with his wife Joanie that night about quitting, but she suggested for him to try doing what he wanted to do – make a story he’d enjoy. She reinforced him with saying he had nothing to lose if he did it. If it took off, that’s great! If it didn’t, then continue writing for another company.

Needless to say, the Fantastic Four was written and the world changed along with it – and Marvel Comics was born.

Although that is quite a tremendous story – and I cannot say for everyone that would work – especially since not all of us would have wives named “Joanie,” they are some grand words to stand by. If you’re worried about rejection for a story pitch? So what? What do you have to lose? Get denied, try again, or move on. It sounds simple in writing, but it is something to take with you.

Conclusion: Never give up because you’ll always get another opportunity.

Final Thoughts
From all this, I cannot expect everyone to just become great writers. The list above is something I personally follow as I feel it is right for me. But if you use your character, use experience, take advice, and go head-on into the game – mix it with your imagination and there will be no stopping you!

If you want, sound off below!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

One thought on “Do You Have What it Takes?

  1. This is a great post and may be one that you should followed up to see what are the results

    A comrade sent this link the other day and I will be excitedly hoping for your next post. Continue on the amazing work.

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