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Daxos
06-06-2009, 08:59 AM
I am a fantasy genre writer looking for a solid mentor who can help me grow and learn. I was "labeled" as a "gifted" writer at the age of ten and was subsequently tested into a Program for Gifted Students. In retrospect, this was detrimental to my writing abilities. The Program was for high IQ students; it was not a workshop to really hone or develop any of our various gifts, but merely a place for other intellectuals to congregate and avoid the boring task of "regular" academic studies. However, the thoughtless adulation showered upon my work while I was growing up did nothing but encourage me to write purple prose and in the process stymied the development of some of the more important components of story telling.

As a consequence, I write more as though I were "seeing" everything in a movie than establishing all of the important ingredients of writing from a POV character.

I'm not sure if I'm going about this the right way as I am new to messageboards but I thought I would go ahead and at least toss this out there to see who's willing to take a bite.

Thanks in advance!

Daxos
06-07-2009, 02:32 AM
If there are even any half-interested parties out there, let me know what I need to do to sweeten the pot. Personal specs? Writing samples? Money?

I can do all of the above and then some. :D

To simplify things a little bit, I'm a small business owner in my early thirties (32 to be precise) and am interested in working with someone whom I can interact with at a pace that is conducive to my schedule.

Cheers.

Fenika
06-07-2009, 06:52 AM
Mentors are hard to come by. You might post a bit about your plot and how far along you are. If you are lucky (I was) you'll get a person or two at a similar stage as you are, who is also learning rabidly, and you can throw ideas at each other along with (possibly) early drafts.

Just like in SYW, you both learn by crit-ing and getting crits. But you get to share strengths and weaknesses more closely.

Matera the Mad
06-07-2009, 06:52 AM
Well, God, old thing, if you would be willing to do a bit of beta reading for me, I would gladly retaliate reciprocate with some helpful crits-n-tips as time allows.

dgiharris
06-07-2009, 07:17 AM
The best advice I can give you is to work this site daily. This site is sorta like a group consciousness that mentors all its members.

When I first joined this site, I was sorta focused on what it could do FOR ME. But after a couple of weeks, I learned that the real value of this site is what you can do for it. This site is the ultimate symbiotic relationship between giving to the site and taking away from it.

Because as you give, you learn. In fact, I learn more in the form of giving critiques than I ever did studying books about writing. Not to say you shouldn't read a book about writing every so often.

When I first joined, I made it a point to crit at least one story PER DAY. In the process, I made a TON of friends, established a peer group, and have dozens of writers who can help me when I need it. (there are no qualifications for criting. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to crit. Simply read and give your opinions of what you liked and didn't like)

If you go to the SYW forum daily, crit, and read the crits of others, and look at the various links on this site, you will have all the mentorship you need. Similarly, during this process, you will pick up a couple of 'mentors'.

You will also hear a lot about Uncle Jim. (In a nutshell, he is a world class writer who put together a "how to write, get published, avoid the pitfalls, and in general kick ass..." thread in the novel forum.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6710

Read the first 100 posts and you will shave a year off of your learning curve. It 'seems' daunting but it isn't. I read around 4000 posts then stopped, but trust me, once you start reading it, you will easily blast through the first 1000 posts. It is pure genius.

It takes about 3 months to get a good grasp on all this site has to offer. It is a college education on writing and getting published. Without a doubt, the best site out there.

Anyways, good luck and I hope you stick around.

Mel...

Gray Rose
06-07-2009, 11:06 AM
I still have a tremendous gift with words and description

Insta-turnoff. FYI.

It might be useful for you to stop repeating the compliments people gave you in the gifted class - it's not a good habit. I have an acquaintance who still brags of being in a gifted kindergarten class, where she was praised for her creativity. Not helpful when one reaches a certain age with no pubs and no other credits.

What I'm saying is, not having publications is not a problem, but attitude is.

On the other hand, you don't have to listen to me. I come from a different culture (Russian), which makes me abrupt by American standards, and also deeply insecure about my work.

My advice to you would be to read up on the mechanics of storytelling, read voraciously in your genre, and post on SYW. Purple prose is easy enough to deal with if you learn to murder your darlings. You will grow if you are willing to take criticism and work hard on rewriting the same damn thing over and over again until it works. If you post on SYW, I will crit it - and so will others.

Good luck to you,
Rose

ETA: I see Parametric already gave you an excellent crit of your piece, and you received other solid advice. I don't feel I can meaningfully add to Para's excellent crit, but posting a rewrite would be a good idea imho.

Lisa Cox
06-07-2009, 10:27 PM
IMO, telling everyone how gifted you are and that you still have a tremendous gift with words and description is not going to bring a mentor running. Asking for a mentor means you want to learn, so try not to sound as if you're already astonishingly good. You might be fabulous -- I don't know -- but phrasing it the way you have puts me off.

Daxos
06-08-2009, 01:46 AM
I made a minor revision based on some of the comments. The basic implication of what I stated was that the Gifted Program was detrimental to my development as a writer because it encouraged me to write the "wrong way". It was a statement of regret more than anything else because I do strongly feel that it was a waste of my talents to have received endless praise rather than proper instruction.

I can see how the quoted statement came across as arrogant, so I edited it out. :Thumbs:

As for the rest of the comments: thanks a bunch! I've heard this "Uncle Jim" person referenced on more than one occasion now so I'm going to have to make it a point to find some of his threads.

Matera: I've had a few interactions with you now in a couple of different threads and I enjoy your personality. You strike me as the type of person whom I wouldn't have to sugarcoat my words with and I'd be happy to give you a read. I'm not a professional though, so I'm not sure how beneficial it will be to you. But...I am interested in the proposal. :Thumbs:

Send me a private message and we can discuss it some more.

Cricket18
06-08-2009, 01:54 AM
Sheesh...lighten up folks. My goodness. I didn't take this as arrogance whatsoever, GOW. And interestingly Grey Rose, you urged people to be gentle with your query...but you don't seem to reciprocate what you ask for from others.

Anyway, I'm not here to scold but I am in the gentle camp. So my advice is to post some pages, let critiques roll in. There will be some that are informative while others not. As you weed through these, you'll get a sense of who's comments work for you...and you can PM them to see if they're into doing a trade or what have you.

~MN

Gray Rose
06-08-2009, 02:26 AM
And interestingly Grey Rose, you urged people to be gentle with your query...but you don't seem to reciprocate what you ask for from others.
~MN
Point well taken, MNGal. However, I am not the gentlest of responders in the best of circumstances - it is a cultural thing, of which I warned GoW with due diligence in my post. In addition, I don't think you were on AW when the first version of my query was critiqued; I think you would understand why I was asking people to be gentle this time around.

Cricket18
06-08-2009, 02:50 AM
In addition, I don't think you were on AW when the first version of my query was critiqued; I think you would understand why I was asking people to be gentle this time around.

Well, that saddens me. I think writing can be a very vulnerable experience, and putting your work out there for critique is not easy. So if people were unkind / harsh through your first get-go, well, that just sucks, IMO.

While I'm not one to stroke egos, I do think being too harsh is counterptoductive. Even though your query was giving you problems, I thought it sounded like a great story, just the sort of thing that I would read. Anyway, I digress. I think the publishing industry can be brutal on our morales. So why would we not want to be as supportive as possible to each other in this forum?

Gray Rose
06-08-2009, 03:07 AM
Thank you so much for your kind words, MNgal. Thankfully, that experience is behind me and this time around has been extremely positive (and thank you again for your critiques).

I also went to SYW to check out GoW's writing sample and saw that he already got excellent in-depth critiques. It really is easy to get rid of purple prose and other style problems but it really does take persistence. I've been in his shoes some time ago and took the SYW critiques to heart, even though it wasn't as easy as hearing "this is brilliant, don't change a word!" would be.

As for painful or problematic childhood experiences - unfortunately, many writers have them. My experience in a way is an opposite of GoW's - as a teen I was repeatedly told by my parents how horrible my writing was, and weaseled out of the Gifted class (actually flat out refused to go) when it was offered to me because I was afraid of the uppity kids there. I haven't saved a word of my writing between 17 and 31, but now I am published (although not extensively). I feel I learned a thing or two from my experiences.

The thing I learned is, that if writing is your dream, there is no other way but to take the responsibility for improving it into your own two hands. It doesn't mean that you should forget your past, but you - and no other - are responsible for making your writing better. Very few people I know go through writing workshops in high school. The time to improve your writing is always now.

People on these boards tend to be extremely helpful - but still, a lot of persistent work and personal responsibility is required to improve. This was my original point, and I hope it came through better this time (if not, I can revise again ;)

dgiharris
06-08-2009, 03:23 AM
I made a minor revision based on some of the comments. The basic implication of what I stated was that the Gifted Program was detrimental to my development as a writer because it encouraged me to write the "wrong way". It was a statement of regret more than anything else because I do strongly feel that it was a waste of my talents to have received endless praise rather than proper instruction.

I can see how the quoted statement came across as arrogant, so I edited it out.

I didn't take your statement as arrogant. Think Gray Rose just read it wrong and misinterpreted



As for the rest of the comments: thanks a bunch! I've heard this "Uncle Jim" person referenced on more than one occasion now so I'm going to have to make it a point to find some of his threads.

Did you read my post/comments above?

I gave you a link to Uncle Jim's thread.

Mel...

Gray Rose
06-08-2009, 03:46 AM
I didn't take your statement as arrogant. Think Gray Rose just read it wrong and misinterpreted


[Edited] Actually, never mind.
Good luck with your writing, GoW.