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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
graphitesine Offline
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Name: Madison
Age: 14
Gender: Female
Location: Cali

Posts: 6
Join Date: December 29th 2018

Unhappy How to improve my characters/stories? - January 2nd 2019, 09:08 PM

Hi everyone!

I didn't really know where to put this so hopefully General is a good fit, I thought the Art subcategory was a bit of a reach as it's not really about any form of art.

I've been making characters and stories for about 3-4 years, and it's been nothing but a positive experience for me the entire time! I love doing it and I'd say it's my absolute passion in life. Recently though, it's been getting harder for me to enjoy. I find myself constantly worried that my stories are either too bland or too complicated, or that my characters are cookie-cutter characters or riddled with cliches and/or plotholes I can't see no matter what I do. I genuinely love my stories and characters with all of my heart, storytelling (even if I haven't really done any telling) has been my main coping mechanism since I've started, and I want them to be the best I can possibly make them, but I just cannot shake off the feeling that my story is bland, my characters boring, and everything I make repetitive.

I recognize that this is probably a result of anxiety and self-doubt, and that this problem probably isn't that bad. In fact, I went through this exact problem with my art skills a while ago - I felt like everything I made was actually horrible and I couldn't fix it no matter what because I couldn't see what was wrong with it. I fixed that by going back to the basics; relearning proportions, working through reference, learning a bit more about basic human anatomy and it worked! I feel much better about my art now and have seen a ton of improvement since. I know that I should probably do that with my stories/characters but I just don't know how. I don't know what the basics are, and it feels harder to go back to the basics of creating my characters when I've already been developing them for years. My stories, as well, have gone far beyond the point of "what do you want your story to be?" and working from there.

I've tried reading more to learn more about storytelling, but I end up just consuming the text without thinking about it and it's gotten hard to slow down and look beyond the pages, which used to be incredibly fun for me to do. I also can't really show people my stuff, because A) I keep it very close to my heart and I don't want just anyone knowing about them which...probably isn't the best behaviour tbh and B) I don't even really have anything to show, because some stuff I want to draw and some stuff I want to write. I don't want to start drawing anything because I feel like my art skills aren't advanced enough to do any kind of storytelling justice, and the stories that I want to write aren't completed enough to start.

I could go on but that's the jist and this is super long already so basically uh...has anyone else gone through this? does anyone have any advice on how to get through this kind of...creating-block idk what to call it? any advice is appreciated!

Last edited by Hypothesis.; January 3rd 2019 at 03:00 AM. Reason: Moved to Self Expression - you may get better responses.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
Recommencer Offline
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Name: Kylie
Gender: Female

Posts: 159
Join Date: December 22nd 2018

Re: How to improve my characters/stories? - January 3rd 2019, 12:48 PM

Hey Madi,

Although I don't consider myself much of a creative writer, I struggled for many years to find a particular style of writing that I felt suited me, and I was also prone to overanalyzing my work. The best advice that I can possibly give you is to breathe and have fun. I know that is so much easier said than done, but try not to focus too much on whether your ideas are "original" or "creative," as I found that trying too hard to appear original actually results in work that is less original than what you started with. Rather, just write what comes naturally to you. As you said, creative writing is something you enjoy, and if you are emotionally invested in your work and your characters, that will show in your writing. If you're constantly nitpicking your work, on the other hand, this could potentially result in writing that feels stilted, forced, and unnatural, which is what I found happened with me.

One thing that I also want you to know is that you're still young, and your writing style will change so much as you grow, learn, and become more experienced. I can say that my current writing style is very different from the one I had when I was 14, and that is okay! During your teen years, it's normal to experiment with many different styles before you finally find one that best suits you, your work, and your goals as a writer. Have fun with the process!! You are in the process of discovering who you are as a writer, which is incredible!

Remember, all writers go through periods where they feel uninspired, and not everything that a writer will produce will be successful, nor does it have to be! Even if you write something you are less than satisfied with, you are gaining valuable experience and learning about your likes and dislikes as a writer; use this feedback as a guide to help you improve in the future!

If you are interested in learning more about how to create better characters, I would also recommend googling tips on character development specifically. I bet there are a lot of great resources out there that could help you out!

Best of luck!

Last edited by Recommencer; January 4th 2019 at 10:47 AM.
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