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View Full Version : New to this but would love an exp mentor.



coty
05-31-2012, 10:35 PM
I have been writing since I was 18 but then it was always Poems and lyrics (I thought I was a musician). Anyway my freshman year in college I wrote a short story for an assignment. This was in 1995 or 1996, it was called "Popular", my professor loved it, she told me my grammar was not very good, (which it still is horrible) she also told me my story telling was captivating but I needed guidance to learn to put it to words better. She kept my story, and said she wanted to show it to some people. I never got it back and did not save a copy of it.

Anyway that was my first experience in writing and I have sort of fell in love with it. I started a Science Fiction novel on accident in 2000. Not sure why I started even writing, at that time I had never even read any books, but I loved to tell stories. That novel I called it Believers, it is over 400 pages in Microsoft Word and I can't even remember how many words it had in it, but I was captivated with the story in my head. My problem was and still is my grammar. That novel has been shelved and looked at again time and again but I have never finished it.

I would love to share it with someone but they would have to be open minded and know that I was not trying to be a writer, but I was trying to tell a story, if that makes sense? I also have a Fantasy book I started called Oriane, as well as a short story fantasy I submitted to Tor.com and got rejected called Cade's Quest. It was just a quick story I basically made up as I went along to see if I could write a short story and get it published. I tried to fit as much in as I could in the word restrictions they put on their submissions.

That is a little or well a lot about my writing, but I thought I would throw a nice chunk out there to anyone interested in taking in a hunk of clay to help mold. I onyl get to write in my spare time because I work full time and I am a father of three so I am kept pretty busy. Thanks for taking to time to read this and if anyone is interested in seeing someone's writing even if the grammar is that of a child just let me know .

MyFirstMystery
05-31-2012, 11:13 PM
Hi Coty,

I think you are unlikely to find a mentor out of the blue. Mentoring is hard work and time consuming, and most writers are focused on their own projects.

Why not take some grammar and writing classes on your own and improve your skills before you seek out a mentor. Once your "lump of clay" is in better shape you may find someone willing to give you tips on how to do the detail work. For now you need to do the heavy lifting yourself.

You can also look at meetup.com to find a critique group or writers group in your own community.

My 2 cents anyway.

Good luck!

MFM

quicklime
05-31-2012, 11:16 PM
Coty,

I'm going to ask, gently and honestly, what someone else may beat me to otherwise, and probably much more pointedly:

Why not learn the grammar and "writing" aspect yourself?


The biggest reason I ask is you're new, and overestimating the weight of "story".....I'm inclined to not buy into the notion of being a storyteller vs a writer as if they are somehow divisible, but that said, even if you did believe, stories come cheap. I have four rolling around in my head, any of which I am sure, if I don't fuck anything up, could be best-sellers. That's not to say I won't fuck them up, or even finish them, only that ideas come exceedingly cheap. And yours is yours alone--best case, you are proposing a scenario a bit like kids playing "telephone", where you have a vision, and you are looking to largely toss it to someone else to corrupt to some degree. Because their vision won't completely dovetail with yours. So again, why not learn how to tell it, the way YOU want it?

Welcome to AW, and good luck in either case,
Quick

quicklime
05-31-2012, 11:16 PM
well, someone DID beat me to it :-(

lorna_w
05-31-2012, 11:21 PM
Read this: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=244648

learn grammar. spell check.

Welcome, and best of luck to you!

SquareSails
06-01-2012, 12:03 AM
Coty,

Have you considered taking some online writing workshops?

lambauman
06-01-2012, 12:12 AM
I would love to share it with someone but they would have to be open minded and know that I was not trying to be a writer, but I was trying to tell a story, if that makes sense? I also have a Fantasy book I started called Oriane, as well as a short story fantasy I submitted to Tor.com and got rejected called Cade's Quest. It was just a quick story I basically made up as I went along to see if I could write a short story and get it published. I tried to fit as much in as I could in the word restrictions they put on their submissions.

Do you write? If you do, you are a writer. If writing is your preferred medium to tell your story, then you'd better refine your writing skill to be a good writer. If you just want to tell a story, you can try vocal storytelling instead (but even that requires some fundamental knowledge in using your language effectively).

Language is your tool. Without it, you cannot communicate effectively. All that million-dollar ideas are stuck in your head, but you cannot tell a vivid tale without good grip in your language. A mentor, even if you were able to find one, will not teach you good grammar. It is a language teacher's job. But eventually, you still need to learn on your own. No one can do the learning for you.


That is a little or well a lot about my writing, but I thought I would throw a nice chunk out there to anyone interested in taking in a hunk of clay to help mold. I onyl get to write in my spare time because I work full time and I am a father of three so I am kept pretty busy. Thanks for taking to time to read this and if anyone is interested in seeing someone's writing even if the grammar is that of a child just let me know .

Now I am not sure about the clay analogy. If I were you I wouldn't want to be molded by anyone. Why would you? You are your own being. Other's can guide you, advise you, but if they want to mold you? Run the other way.

Again, writing is craft as well as art. If Michelangelo never learned to use the chisel, do you think he could have carved David? If Leonardo Da Vinci never learned to use the paint brush, do you think he could have painted the Mona Lisa? You need the craft to bring out the art!

Now I understand your time constraint. I am a mother-of-three who has a day job. I don't have time to breath let alone read or write. So what? if you want something bad enough you'll make time.

Learning grammar is not that hard. I've done it. English is my second language. Took me forever to learn and I am still learning it. So what? Life is boring if you don't learn something new everyday. If writing is your passion, then it is worth putting in the time and effort.

Good luck!

Unimportant
06-01-2012, 02:15 AM
I was captivated with the story in my head. My problem was and still is my grammar. That novel has been shelved and looked at again time and again but I have never finished it.

I would love to share it with someone but they would have to be open minded and know that I was not trying to be a writer, but I was trying to tell a story, if that makes sense?

Coty, I don't think you've made it quite clear what you are looking for in a mentor relationship. You've said you love the stories you think up, but you are inexperienced at writing and have poor grammar. You have limited writing time due to job and family committments.

You want someone to -- read the novel you wrote? And then what? What do you offer a mentor in return?

It would probably be helpful if you were to be more specific. For example,

"I am looking for someone to read my 100,000 word hard SF novel, critique it, and then continue to work with me as I revise the novel. I'd like to have at least one long email conversation per month over the next two years as I work on my revisions. It would help if the mentor could also provide suggestions on which how-to-write books would be most helpful for me to read.

"In exchange, I commit to work on my revisions at least five hours per week, and to respond to the mentor's critiques with any questions or discussion points within a week of receiving their email. I'd be happy to read the mentor's work and provide feedback as well. I will work one hour per week on improving my grammar and have already downloaded a copy of Strunk&White. And while I obviously cannot do for my mentor what he/she will do for me and pay them back in kind, I intend to pay it forward and will, within the next three years, beta-read novels for at least three authors here on AW."

Or perhaps you don't actually want a mentor at all? If you simply want someone to look at the first 1000 or so words of your manuscript and provide a critique, AW has a Share Your Work critique section where members can post their stories and get feedback from volunteers.

coty
06-01-2012, 03:35 PM
Thanks for the replies, I guess I am looking for a writing buddy more so than a mentor. I would love to find someone to share my writing with knowing it would not be stolen or totally blown off due to my inexperience. My grammar is not as terrible as I made it sound, but I know it is not where it should be. I appreciate everyone's time in even reading my little rambling question. This is a great site to get...insight.

quicklime
06-02-2012, 01:01 AM
Thanks for the replies, I guess I am looking for a writing buddy more so than a mentor. I would love to find someone to share my writing with knowing it would not be stolen or totally blown off due to my inexperience. My grammar is not as terrible as I made it sound, but I know it is not where it should be. I appreciate everyone's time in even reading my little rambling question. This is a great site to get...insight.


"stolen" is unlikely at best. Execution is hard, but none of us are sitting staring at a wall waiting for an idea--we have our own.

And you wouldn't be blown off, but you have to remember anyone worth learning from is probably already working on their own stuff.....which you would be siphoning time away from.


So, what do you bring to the table? What do they get? Especially because if you hang out here a bit, putting stuff up in Share Your Work and reading the many threads in Novels, Basic Writing Qs, and the grammar sub-forum, you CAN learn this yourself....which you're already sort of crying off on (and what does that suggest, btw......) It is one thing to mentor someone who shows a good deal of talent and desire to learn, but this, even though it may seem daunting until you jump in, is a baby-step; the easy part. Grammar is fixable, learnable. I don't consider myself excellent beta material, let alone mentor, but there are a very small handful of folks I'd even consider betaing because I think they have great voice, interest in learning, etc....this isn't to say other people do not, but these are foks I can think of off the top of my head and say "shit, they are 98% of the way there". I wouldn't even consider someone at the grammar level and unknown to me....not to be mean or elitist, but because it becomes almost as much work as writing my own book....which I am still just pie-eyed enough to hope will send me to a new career.

This sounds shitty, but isn't meant to be, it is meant to get you to consider the other side. For a better example, go read Maryn's "why I won't beta" thread. All of it. It might enlighten. Then, don't get discouraged. Get mad. get determined. LEARN what you need to, and write YOUR book. You really can learn if you want, but this is why people are reluctant to just sign on the dotted line here......they don't kow you, you can do a lot of the lifting you're asking them to, and anything they do is taking them offline for your benefit. Use the forums here...learn, make yourself known....work at this. Then, if you still want one, you probably will find a beta. But you're somewhere between a big pile of boards and a half of a framing job, asking if anyone wants to help you "finish a house". You need to be a bit closer to done and people need to see that you know enough that they didn't just sign on with a guy who is going to refer to his hammer as a "poundy-thingy" and has no idea what a chalk line or a square are

Make any sense?

Quick

Maryn
06-02-2012, 01:31 AM
Thanks for the mention, Quick. I took some heat for that thread--but I got a lot of praise for my frankness as well.

It boils down to my willingness to help people only if they're already doing everything they can to help themselves. Everything, including the hard stuff.

There are people who are far more generous with their time than I am, and that could be to your advantage. I'm certainly not the expert whose input you must have. For me, though, someone who hasn't mastered the basics of writing mechanics won't make the short list. Grammar, spelling, word choice and usage are so elemental that someone who hasn't yet got a handle on those is not yet worthy of a big chunk of my time.

So what do you do? Well, you could set out to learn this stuff, although the odds suggest you won't. There are those few who get mad--at me, at the schools they attended, at the teachers who passed them, at themselves--and buckle down, because fuck that Maryn bitch, they'll show her.

And when they do, I'm amazed and delighted, because far more give up.

Please, amaze and delight me. Please?

Maryn, ready to be wowed

simonsteele
06-04-2012, 01:03 PM
I have been writing since I was 18 but then it was always Poems and lyrics (I thought I was a musician). Anyway my freshman year in college I wrote a short story for an assignment. This was in 1995 or 1996, it was called "Popular", my professor loved it, she told me my grammar was not very good, (which it still is horrible) she also told me my story telling was captivating but I needed guidance to learn to put it to words better. She kept my story, and said she wanted to show it to some people. I never got it back and did not save a copy of it.

Anyway that was my first experience in writing and I have sort of fell in love with it. I started a Science Fiction novel on accident in 2000. Not sure why I started even writing, at that time I had never even read any books, but I loved to tell stories. That novel I called it Believers, it is over 400 pages in Microsoft Word and I can't even remember how many words it had in it, but I was captivated with the story in my head. My problem was and still is my grammar. That novel has been shelved and looked at again time and again but I have never finished it.

I would love to share it with someone but they would have to be open minded and know that I was not trying to be a writer, but I was trying to tell a story, if that makes sense? I also have a Fantasy book I started called Oriane, as well as a short story fantasy I submitted to Tor.com and got rejected called Cade's Quest. It was just a quick story I basically made up as I went along to see if I could write a short story and get it published. I tried to fit as much in as I could in the word restrictions they put on their submissions.

That is a little or well a lot about my writing, but I thought I would throw a nice chunk out there to anyone interested in taking in a hunk of clay to help mold. I onyl get to write in my spare time because I work full time and I am a father of three so I am kept pretty busy. Thanks for taking to time to read this and if anyone is interested in seeing someone's writing even if the grammar is that of a child just let me know .

If you can't find a mentor I'd say the best thing you could do for your grammar is just read. As a writing teacher I find that teaching grammar, reading about grammar--it's fairly useless when it comes to the application of writing. What you need to do is read a lot, and read good writers, and you'll start to get an intuitive sense of what's grammatically correct. But honestly knowing what a preposition is, and not ending a sentence with one is something you can study, sure, but reading will teach you the skill better.

Good luck with it. Grammar is an easy thing to overcome if you read enough and mimic better writers.

P.S. As a writing instructor I'll give you a piece of grammar advice, something I notice a lot of writers struggle with. It's writing in the passive voice. Write in the active voice. This is something I would say you should study, except grammar books make it so damned complicated. Read some Stephen King, he loves the active voice. Hemingway too. It's basically making sure the subject your sentence is doing the action, not having the action done to him.

1. Ted kicked the man in the face. (Active, we have a clear subject doing some action)
2. The man was kicked in the face. (Passive, no one here is doing the action)

Anyway, good luck!

cbenoi1
06-04-2012, 04:20 PM
>> For a better example, go read Maryn's
>> "Why I won't beta" thread.
>
> I took some heat for that thread -- but I
> got a lot of praise for my frankness as well.

There is nothing like a good reality check to put things in perspective. That thread is a blessing, not a curse.

-cb

coty
06-04-2012, 04:43 PM
Once I get my 50 posts I will go to the share work thread and check out some of the work on there. I enjoy writing and what little I have shared with others have enjoyed their feedback. Hopefully with time I can learn while looking around here and be at worst a mediocre member to this site :)

Maryn
06-04-2012, 07:12 PM
Tut-tut, coty. (That's was supposed to be funny.) You can be an excellent site member while learning. And if something you're trying to learn isn't making sense, we will help you wrap your head around it.

We've got hundreds of still-learning writers we adore, and we are are always pleased to see another one determined to improve.

Maryn, frank and honest when she's nice, too

coty
06-04-2012, 08:19 PM
Sounds good to me, I will be like a sponge.....and absorb as much as I can. I am already enjoying the interaction with members in this thread can't wait to start digging in and doing some reading and critiques, well I probably am not one to critique just yet, but I guess I can give me perspective!