63

You can and should answer these prompts in your own style and voice. I do have my doubts and concerns about these kinds of tests, but if there is any legitimacy to the grading at all, it won't be based on you writing in the style and voice of the sample. (In other words, you're focusing in on the wrong aspects of the sample.) You should be able to ask for a ...


31

How do you start writing? You sit down and write. No matter how trite, no matter how derivative - you write. You give it your honest best effort. Then, the next day, you give what you've written an honest look. You note what's good, what's bad. Then, you either continue writing, edit yesterday's work and then continue, or put it in a folder of "no good", and ...


28

I am a discovery writer, I have been for many years, and I complete stories. Scrap your outline. Most discovery writers (including me) have struggled with what you are talking about; finding the climax, resolving the character arcs, dead-end "mysteries" that we could never figure out. The solution to that is simple, but it is NOT outlining. For a ...


26

Wait. I am a discovery writer, meaning, I do not outline or plot or plan ahead, except in a minor way. I often don't know where the first Act ends, or what complications and setbacks will arrive, I definitely do not have a list of characters, or attributes, or histories. I invent them as I go. Before ever putting fingers to keyboard, I come up with my ...


25

Welcome to the world of writers. That isn't sarcasm, by the way, that's truth. Let me tell you about my own tale, with a novel (series) called Altar of Warlords. This story has gone through a dozen major revisions, is being turned down right and left, and when I FINALLY have an agent that requests a full manuscript for her approval I'm so caught off-guard ...


22

Let me tell you something: ALL WRITERS, OR AT LEAST THE VAST MAJORITY, HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS. Don't worry. I've experienced this before. This is something many of us as writers face. But if you wait for inspiration, it will never come. You must give yourself inspiration. Waiting for it to happen is like getting a train to drive on water. Without tracks. ...


19

Trust your subconscious. I would say, do not stop writing, do not break your habit of writing every day. Just stop writing THAT. Do some other writerly stuff, on this project or a different one. When I find I am stalling in a story, I also find that this is often because my subconscious mind knows there is something wrong with it, and perhaps some vague ...


15

You just need to shut off the inner critic, and start writing. There are two main approaches: pantsing, and plotting. As I answered in the question linked above, pantsing works for very few people. Plotting is a better approach, for me at least. Write down a rough, one page summary of what you want the book to be, create a few characters, create 30-40 ...


15

Especially for a discovery writer, the first draft of a novel is often as much an exercise in planning the final version as it is an attempt to actually produce that final version. It may be best to think of your current draft as serving two distinct purposes: firstly, as an outline for a novel, with lots of detailed information appended to it; secondly, as ...


14

Here's the most simple answer to your solution. Plus, I believe it will make your story better over all. More interesting and add facets that you will be able to explore that will surely make your story much better. The simple answer is: Give your antagonist a weakness. Design the Perfect Weakness For Antagonist Think about Superman. A difficult ...


14

I think that it usually boils down to these three scenarios: At times, you simply get irritated and fed up. You reach a point in your story that you've only really thought out in broad strokes, but when you sit down to it and need to write out all the nitty-gritty, it just doesn't work out. I don't think letting something (as you so put it) "rot" for a ...


14

The advice is simple. Nail your butt to the couch and type. It won't always be fun, and your first draft will be very bad. If your expectation is to finish a beautiful story painlessly with a blissful experience throughout ... :-) You see from experience why this isn't what happens. Also, each part of a story is different. Writing the beginning is ...


13

I buy lots of papery, cheap, crappy notebooks and I get past the blank page by free-writing. I allow all that utter trite and nonsense churning around in my head to spill out onto the page and just write and write and write. No punctuation, no spelling, no writing inside the lines or margins. (It's advice I took from both Anne Lamott and Nathalie Goldberg ...


13

What keeps writers writing is the utter impossibility of not writing. Tolkien had no hope of ever publishing The Silmarillion, yet he kept writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing it throughout his life. Keats was receiving negative reviews, yet he didn't quit writing and turn to medicine, though he had the education for it. Writing is a fire in one'...


12

Welcome to Possibility Paralysis Anonymous! My name is Henry and I suffer from having too many ideas... You are correct in identifying that this is more than a writing issue but perhaps a little too tough on yourself in calling it a personality flaw. ( ...and since integrity is of highest value, definitely too tough when you call it a character flaw. ) ...


12

What keeps me motivated is I like writing for its own sake, it is my hobby, it can make me laugh, it makes me feel good to have figured things out, and for crafting a piece of art. Like other people's non-passive hobbies (painting, woodworking, car restoration, writing music) it is an outlet for my imagination. It gives me something to think about that isn't ...


12

Answer: To answer these sorts of prompts, particularly in the case where example answers trigger a negative response in you, I recommend the following. 1. Look for the structure of the 'perfect answer' and apply that structure to your writing. 2. Identify the specifics that you dislike, in this case that make a passage sound like fan fiction. The example ...


12

I understand the feeling. However, the way to write better is to critique. Write a full scene when you aren't inspired - force yourself to finish it. Then critique it - what is missing from the scene that is present in your inspired writing. What is the fundamental difference between the two types of writing? If you can isolate those points and then work on ...


11

As a teacher, I never look at the examples given as 'correct answers' when we're talking about personal writing topics. Let me elaborate with two examples: a) Write an essay about Romeo and Juliet. Whatever you write, you must include specific content (characters, plot, etc) for you to get a good grade. No amount of excellent writing style will save you. The ...


11

The only way to resolve it is to write. I'm a discovery writer too. I get excitement from just "imagining" how things could go, how the world might be, and how the character should react. Did you notice? I used verbs in conditional form. That's because - no matter what your brain tells you - a story isn't done until you write it. It doesn't matter if you ...


11

I rewrite obsessively; I have rewritten a scene a 30 times. Here is what I have learned. First: I might be trying to make this scene do too much work, so I can't get it to flow smoothly and still do that amount of work. This is particularly true in the beginning of the story. It is also particularly true if you keep wanting to add details and explanation to ...


11

Not all advice is equally helpful to all writers. Some pieces of advice aren't even equally helpful to the same writer during different stages of the writing process. Like using a satnav, always exercise judgment before blindly yanking the wheel and driving into the nearest lake because a disembodied voice told you to. That said, I think both bullet points ...


10

As a young writer, it is completely understandable that you haven't been able to experience or deal with a variety of situations in life. However, contrary to this fact, almost all writers regardless of age and divine wisdom will experience difficulty in writing certain themes and issues due to unfamiliarity that will arise at some point when writing. The ...


10

There are three ways of answering your question: Professionalism: Some people recognize that frequent rejections are simply an intrinsic part of this particular job, and don't take them personally, or allow them to slow them down. I don't actually know anyone who has achieved this frame of mind, but it stands to reason people like this must exist --I ...


9

I'm sure everyone can agree that any book that is analyzed in any literature class is not only looked at as a body of work, but also in the context of the time in which it was written. The plot, themes, characters are always explored by discussing why the author decided to make the choices he or she did, and what could have influenced them. The Lord of the ...


9

At this point: don't sweat it. You've got ideas, and you need to put something on paper (or the computer) to get yourself started. So take one of those ideas and go with it. Any half-way decent opening will do as well as any other at this point, because you aren't writing something that your readers will see; you're writing for yourself. I very much suspect ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible