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11

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. ...


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

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, ...


6

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 ...


5

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, ...


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 ...


3

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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 ...


1

No. About 1% of people who read a lot are commercial-quality writers. That drops to 0% for people that do not read a lot. Invariably anyone that starts off asking, "Can I be a good writer if..." will never be a writer. Good writers know who they are. For them it is more a question of whether they can drag themselves out of their drunken stupor long enough ...


1

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 ...


1

I found this interview with the president of the Young Adult Library Services (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). She mentions that there are very few male readers of YA fiction, but that boys tend to read nonfiction on subjects that interest them. I've attended YA writing panels at SF conventions, and almost all of the published ...


1

Summarize as you go. It works.


1

If your story is for an audience of one, your reader can finish the story, look up from the page, and ask you "what's the woman's name?" Problem solved.


1

This might be a silly answer, but as an avid reader with a remarkably short attention span, I'll toss in what I've found. It helps me if I play music and/or stand up over my desk to read. That way I can fidget without actually having an excuse to get up and do something else. I just sort of vibrate and clutch the desk until I can't take it anymore. The ...



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