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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 ...


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 ...


24

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 ...


18

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 ...


16

Let's say that you wanted to become a circus performer. You want your act to be juggling flaming batons blindfolded while riding a unicycle on a tightrope over a tiger cage. You recognize that your first attempt to do any of these things, let alone do them all together, is going to suck. So what do you do? You go away and you practice each element ...


14

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


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

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 ...


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

If the story is so boring for you that you can't get yourself to finish writing it, chance is more than good the story will be too boring for the reader to finish reading it. Drop it, scrap it, or at best rework it into something completely different, possibly trimming it into a short open-ended story or reusing best parts as fragments of a different work. ...


9

And yet somehow, every year, new authors sell blockbusters and earn $millions. JK Rowling went from nobody to being worth nearly half $billion. So did Dan Brown, so did Stephen King, to name a few, so have many others -- And that is just on their share of the profits, their sales are in the multi-billion range. The entertainment industry with a foundation ...


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 ...


9

Anchor Yourself. I would say, adopt a discovery writing paradigm, and focus on a character. Most of my stories begin with a character that has some rare (and interesting) real-world ability. I find a matching thing she sucks at it. I pick an age and start writing about her, deciding things about her, maybe she has a love life, maybe she doesn't, maybe she ...


8

I wouldn't recommend medication, as it seems that the concentration issues are specific to writing and these are usually short term solutions with long-term negative effects/side-effects. But perhaps the following aspects, dealing with organization, structure, and anxiety, might help: Organization I'd recommend Silvia's "How to Write a Lot" (Silvia, P. J. (...


8

Personally I can't concentrate if I leave bad spelling behind me. the solution to that for freewriting is to either go back and fix it (which isn't according to the 'rules' of freewriting) or write about the fact that you can't go back and fix what you've written until something else comes to mind. The concept of freewriting is to limber your mind up, if ...


8

You're letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. Let's be blunt: your initial efforts will suck. That's because every writer's initial efforts suck. Stephen King? Sucked. JK Rowling? Sucked. Octavia Butler? Sucked. Shakespeare? Suckethed. Your goal is not to write something perfect. Your goal is to get it down on paper. Once it's on paper, then ...


8

I ran into this problem a while ago. My remedy is merrily to open a document and basically brain dump your ideas into it, while adding to it as you go. As for the organization of this "brain dump," I label the events in chronological order, I have this system. Draft Ch. 16 Greyson and Haku reunite Liam meets Haku, gets along well with Greyson ...


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