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12

Not really, no. That would be like trying to learn a foreign language without ever hearing it spoken or seeing it written. You can certainly write, inasmuch as you can write words down on a page. But that's not "becoming a good writer." if you have no idea what other books look like, then you'll basically be trying to invent the modern novel from scratch. ...


7

Short answer: Possibly, are you a genius with lots of time? Long answer: I guess you could ask the same question about any field. Can I be a good painter without looking at other paintings? Can I be a good carpenter without looking at other cabinets? Can I be a good architect without looking at other buildings. (Fyi: I refuse to enter the building of an ...


6

I think the answer for this is going to depend on your audience. "I" and "We" are both first person, and the use of first person is usually considered more casual, and not suited for formal writing in many academic fields. But I think this rule is relaxing, and your instructor may or may not want you to follow it. I'd check. Assuming you're allowed to ...


6

That's hard to say, there are always going to be people reading more into things then you intended. Look at all the dissections of Shakespeare saying his plays are all about supporting the royal family, or making fun of them. The same thing is true about Moby-Dick, Catcher in the Rye and any other popular book. Even Harry Potter has been subjected to this, ...


6

Yeah, mileages do vary, and your friend might just be an oddball reader. Don't worry about it too much. Just write your story the way you want to write it, and see if it works. That said, it's quite possible that you could get even your friend interested in the story without having to "Watsinate" it. What your friend is expressing concern about is that, ...


6

I think your approach is wrong. Rather than trying to write what you love, you are trying to write for all the market segments. This almost never works. If it was so easy to cater to different market segments with a single book, publishers would have done so by now by using salaried writers. Instead, you not only have vampire novels, but vampire romance, ...


5

I get the impression that underneath this question is a question about ideal structure. That's too philosophical a topic so you have just presumed such a thing exists and based your question on that presumption. So to reword slightly: "Given the existence of an ideal plot structure and all that goes with it how do I, as a writer, take advantage of that to ...


4

I once sat in on a class on Tolkien, where the professor extrapolated everything into an extended metaphor on World War 2. Now, I'm pretty much equally geeky on Tolkien and World War 2, and I had a number of objections to this. Sure you can draw parallels, but he wrote the books during WWII, of course it affected the writing. That doesn't mean that he drew ...


4

The answer is going to depend on context, and the consistency of your usage. The "I" in your example quote clearly refers to you, the author, and does not include the reader. Replacing "I" with "we" does indicate you are referring to both you and the reader. However, you have to be cautious, because the context could change. For example, you could reach ...


4

You can be a good storyteller. I'm like you. I rarely read for fun, but watched a LOT of movies and played a lot of video games (The first Half-Life game and the first Starcraft game means more to me than any novel I have ever read). I also imagined that I wanted to write books. But what I really wanted to do was to tell stories and to be creative. I ...


4

I understand where you're coming from. Free time is a precious resource, especially as an adult. There's only so much to go around, however this may be a case of what you're reading rather than how much you read. In other words, reading higher quality writing less often is usually better than reading lower quality writing more often. I would start by ...


4

Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock involved an elvish emperor who sacrificed his own people, and was frequently in conflict with human warriors. Elric's motivations and observations were described well by the author, such that the reader could relate. Heaven's Reach by David Brin involved two non-human protagonists, one being a chimpanzee, the other ...


4

It depends largely on how you've lead up to it over the course of the novel, not just in the final scene. The reader won't be disappointed about not knowing the outcome of the battle if Steve's decision is sufficiently important to the reader, and sufficiently unsure up to that moment. We have to be seriously worried that he won't do it, and someone (maybe ...


3

This seems like a very weird question to me. Why are you writing, exactly, if you don't like books? Do you think it's going to be a quick path to fame in lieu of an actual career? Because that's the feeling I'm getting from your question. On the other hand, if you've come to like books as an adult but you don't feel like you have the time to read, just ...


3

You have to define the problem before attempting a solution. Are you distracted? (ambient noise, music, silence, TV, someone talking) Are you uncomfortable? (crappy chair, bad posture, headache, eyestrain, bad light, hungry, thirsty, tired) Are you a restless person by nature? Do you have trouble sitting down for X length of time even when doing some ...


3

I think it is a mistake to try to be all things to all readers. Most books focus on one specific genre, or maybe a combination of a couple of different loosely matched genres. That alone is going to alienate certain readers. If you try to throw in additional elements to try to appeal to readers who might not otherwise like the base genre, then all you will ...


3

Another way to add interest is to create a situation in which the heroine's reasons for refusing to consider the hero are tied to her own personal issues. For instance, in Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the protagonist (a lowly concierge) hides her brilliant mind from her upper-class employers because of deep-seated fears that are based on ...


3

You may want to ask your thesis adviser about this specific case. "We" can be completely acceptable in formal documentation, e.g. business communication. "We" can also be acceptable in informal problem solving, e.g. it's frequently used during academic lectures while explaining an example, as I expect you're mirroring in the writing. Whether "we" is ...


3

Your worry is a valid one; the reader could be frustrated by this. However, this is something that can be taken care of in later drafts. You may need to shore things up a little to clarify the mystery character and their relationship to the other characters. Since we don't know much about your project - novel? short story? game premise? movie pitch? - it's ...


3

If you want to help those among your audience who do not know your references, add "the surrealist painter Salvador Dali" or "blue giant star". Giving not only the name of the object you refer to but adding its category (painter, star) helps readers understand your argument even if they don't know that particular item. How you describe the category ("the ...


3

I would have thought that alienation and insanity are much better done using the first person than the third: you see what the character is thinking and feeling. The reader can be the judge of what is rational and what isn't, given the same information the character has. It doesn't mean the character is right. It doesn't mean the reader is right. Tension can ...


2

Politely point out that the noticed facet is just a fraction of the character. People like to simplify things. No matter how hard you try, they will always believe that some facet of your character is modeled after real person X -- even if all other facets don't fit at all. In a way, they are right; no author can make up something from nothing, especially ...


2

A classic take on this from the Bard is Much Ado About Nothing (I also recommend this wonderful filmed version, which stays fairly close to the text). Beatrice and Benedick both swear they will never marry, are not interested in relationships, and are certainly not attracted to each other. They preen and posture and announce and declare, but when their ...


2

It depends on the kind of story you're trying to tell, and the experience you want the reader to have. I think that in your case, since you are creating characters which are meant to be read as archetypes rather than rounded people, you're fine with the Doylist (meta) approach. If you do include metacharacters, then the metacharacters are the ones who ...


2

Quick glance into European novels and movies: One of my favourite Czech writer is Jiří Kulhánek (link goes to English wiki page), who always writes in first person, his stories are (almost) always set in Prague, present time, there is (almost) always reference to actual things happening at the time when book is written ... but also, once he claims he is ...


2

I will somewhat disagree with the other answers by agreeing with "what" 's answer. "Do you need to watch a lot of sports to be a good sportsman? " In short, writing is about writing and reading is about reading. One activity is doing the other is being, it is acting versus contemplating. From everything I read; :) one becomes a better writer by ...


2

What is the purpose of the reference? If it is essential to the reader's understanding of the story that he understands the reference, than I'd be more likely to add some explanation. If it's just a side comment to add a little flavor to the story, then probably not. As What says, you can often easily toss in a couple of words that give the reader at least ...


2

Up to the writing. If you create characters with whom your audience can identify in some fashion, someone to root for, then their species doesn't matter. Diane Duane has many non-human protagonists and hero characters in her various books: sentient fish and trees in her Young Wizards series, Romulans and Vulcans in her Star Trek books, a series about ...


2

Originally, in folk belief, elves where dangerous and mysterious beings, whose motifs where unfathomable to man and like forces of nature beyond the categories of good or evil: if you put your hand in the fire it will burn you, without any evil intent on the fire's part; if you dealt with elves they were just as likely to help as to hurt you as the wind or ...


1

If the references are meaningful to you, keep them. In removing those references in order not to confuse readers, you remove you from the story. My guess: Removing you from the story will remove the very thing that would have attracted readers. Net result: Fewer readers, rather than more. Be yourself, right out loud, right there in your stories. The ...



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