Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Writing Quiz

I had the opportunity to take a 'quick' quick of 100 questions to see if fiction writing was for me. I had to be able to answer 'yes' to every question.


I couldn't answer every one of the questions positively.  I'm not a voracious reader. I'm in and out of writing groups; currently in one. I wasn't sure about the meaning of writing tools -- a word processor? Yes. Writing software? No. Can I collaborate? I have but not always. Can I write on bad days or when I get writer's block?

Yes, you have to read tales, novels, stories in the genre you want to write but that is to keep up with the genre.  If I was voracious... would I have time to write?  Being voracious indicates going through a lot of books.  For me, reading is a pleasurable time, a relaxing time. I want to savor the writing the author has worked so hard to create. You don't gulp down a vintage wine, neither do you scarf down a filet mignon.  Think.  Do you want some stranger to flash read your story or novel?  They'll miss all those great nuances you stressed over to create the mood.

Moving on to writing groups.  I was in a writing group, my first one and it was the most self-destructive collection of writers I'd ever met.  My third meeting which my first critique almost destroyed me. They ripped up my writing, tore apart my opening, massacred my story line and I wasn't allowed to defend myself.  On my way home (almost an hour drive) I was near tears ... yes, I'm a man and trust me, this was a very abusive moment which made me question if my years of wanting to be a writer was all for naught... and when I arrived home, I informed my wife I was no longer going to write. She'd read my work and told me to sleep on it before making any final decisions. A friend of mine from the group called me the following day and consoled me, informing me I had to 'thicken' my skin for criticism. The following month they ripped her a new one and I consoled her the next day. As she said, sitting next to the frying pan is one thing, sitting in that pan is a whole different experience.  We left the group and created our own small critique group which wasn't a 'praise and pat-on-the-back' type but we also didn't destroy the author.  I moved and was without a group for several years. Joined another group, moved on; and now am with a very small group, more as a mentor and enjoying the opportunity of sharing what I have learned about writing and getting published.

Can I use writing tools?  Does that mean a typewriter? A computer's word processing program? Or does it mean something like "Storybook," "Scrivner," or "WriteItNow" to name a few.  I use word processors -- WordPerfect and Word. I did use a typewriter way back in the dark ages.  As to the writer's software; I just haven't seen a reason for it although I'm quite sure others find it very useful.

Collaboration.  There is an interesting item.  When I write I am constantly checking with my friends to see if the tale is interesting them, keeping them wanting more. But I've never considered it a collaboration of effort -- I'm still writing the story.  Now I have co-authored a novel which is the first book in a series with another author.  THAT is collaboration.  I have co-edited an anthology with another person; again, collaboration.  And I have offered my tales to anthologies which means that it will be edited and tweaked to fit the needs of the anthology per the editor's guidance.

And the worst question.  Can you write on a bad day or when you have writer's block?  Really?  When I worked prior to retirement, I had bad days. Sure, I went into the office but trust me, I wasn't what I would call "fully productive" in any way; I was there to keep my job.  As a writer I will have days that just don't work for me; so I don't attempt to ruin a bad day by forcing myself to write.  As a writer I have the luxury of controlling my time.  It might be an 'off' day but come 9pm, it might be that I have been overwhelmed by Miss Muse and can type out a blazing 5k of words before going to bed.  A writer's day is not some 9 to 5 routine.  A writer writes when it hits -- be it 8am, 5pm, or midnight.  The object is to be at the keyboard when it happens.  Some people say a writer has to produce copy each and every day.  Bullcrap.  They can but most people do take time off, have a weekend or free time for relaxation.  Writers are not the anguished group forever crammed into a little corner finding solace in a bottle and striking pen to paper.  We are professionals and some actually do write on a 9 to 5 schedule.

BTW, when I have a bad day or have writer's block, I read... but not voraciously.

So, in closing, when you take those quizzes asking if you're writing material, just remember, if you enjoy writing stories, you're a writer.  You may not be a published author, but you're a writer.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John didn't write the scriptures to be published; only to share the tale.

Until next I ramble on...

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Bob! To all of it! It bugs me that these quizzes are out there to begin with. They often do more harm than good and discourage newbie writers. We all have to find our own way.