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Celia Cyanide
04-10-2006, 10:46 PM
I went over a few things with Katiemac (thank you so much!) and I think I now have a better idea of what I need from a mentor. I appreciate all of you who responded to my thread with advice. I wrote down all of your suggestions.

I am interested in writing a novel. I have had a few false starts because I realized that the ideas I had, even though they were interesting to me, would never work. I have always been writing for myself, and cannot get used to writing for an audience.

I would like a mentor to help me by talking with me about my ideas. I would like advice on developing my ideas and turning them into something workable for a novel. If my ideas won't work, I would like to know, and the reasons why. I do not need anyone to read my manuscript as I go.

I am not writing genre fiction, perhaps mainstream/contemporary or literary.

If you have any further questions, let me know. Thanks.

rich
04-10-2006, 11:02 PM
Sorry to say this, Celia, but you're not asking for advice; you're suckling. Get hold of yourself and decide what you want to do.

sunandshadow
04-10-2006, 11:36 PM
Sorry to say this, Celia, but you're not asking for advice; you're suckling. Get hold of yourself and decide what you want to do.

I think that was a very offensive thing to say. Different writers need help with different areas, and I hate this attitude which says only some areas are acceptable to ask for help with, others are 'cheating'. Your post is phrased like you assume everyone in the world will agree with you, and that's not true at all.

Consider me - my weakest area of writing is plot. I knew who my characters were and what themes I wanted to discuss, but needed help creating a plot outline for my novel. I had a terrible experience with one writing group where the group leader considered asking for any help before writing the first draft 'cheating', refused to comment on my outline hand-out, and discouraged everyone else from commenting on it or discussing it with me.

Fortunately I moved and joined another writing group, where I asked timorously if I could hand out a tentative plot outline for critique because that was what I needed help with, and they said Sure! Everyone was much nicer and gave me lots of helpful comments on my proposed plot outline - there was one guy who objected to the homosexual content, but at least he kept his opinions mostly to himself and didn't try to discourage the other group members from helping.

Celia - you really should specify a genre, because most mentors are only qualified to mentor one or two genres. If you wanted to write science fiction and/or fantasy romance I'd be happy to discuss ideas with you, but I don't know a darn thing about action, horror, mystery, etc.

Writer2011
04-10-2006, 11:45 PM
I would have to agree that comment made by rich was VERY offensive...Writers are always tossing around ideas...some can do it better than others. Give the person a break.

rich
04-10-2006, 11:51 PM
Can't agree with you there, sunandshadow. As much as I like helping writers, I don't do social work. If writers need help writing, I'm happy to help. If they need other help, they shouldn't put it in the same realm as writing.

Cheryl??? I welcome your negative rep point--would that more here follow the same pattern. But I got over 2000 points as a result of my kidnapping Jenna's husband until she relinquished 2000 points to me. So, let's all stay in the real world.

MacAllister
04-10-2006, 11:57 PM
Ease up, everyone. Rich is quite obviously not the mentor for Celia--unless, like I often do, what she needs is a swift kick to put herself in the chair and concentrate.

Regardless, she may or may not find value in his observation that she needs to just take the thing by the horns. That's up to her.

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 12:07 AM
I don't mean to turn this into an arguement, but I sincerely can't understand what is wrong with my request for a mentor, and why it is any more "social work" than anyone else's. If you need me to clarify something let me know. If you just don't want to help me, then don't. I understand. I'm hoping to find another person who will.

MacAllister
04-11-2006, 12:11 AM
There's absolutely nothing wrong with your request, Celia. I honestly think Rich is trying to help, too, though.

rich
04-11-2006, 12:12 AM
Help ain't always what you think it is.

Writer2011
04-11-2006, 12:21 AM
What do you need help with Celia?

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 12:30 AM
Help ain't always what you think it is.

I'm afraid I don't understand what you're saying, rich. If I shouldn't be asking for a mentor, what should I be doing?

rich
04-11-2006, 12:32 AM
Truly, I don't know.

motormouth
04-11-2006, 12:51 AM
I'm not sure how someone can tell you if an idea will work without reading your manuscript as you go. On the other hand, what I know about writing is minimal, it's just that I think it would be difficult for anyone to tell if an idea is good - and if you look at some of my favourite novels, the basic idea behind some of them is actually pretty boring.

I hesitate to interpret another person's posts, but I think Rich is saying that you should just write. I agree with Rich because I don't think anyone else can tell you if an idea will work unless they know your writing very well.

Something that has helped me is actually writing for an audience. Why not post some of your work in Share your work?

Another thing that has helped me is the Learn Writing with Uncle Jim thread. I took a lot from it, even though I don't write novels.

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 01:18 AM
I'm not sure how someone can tell you if an idea will work without reading your manuscript as you go.

I would be willing to do that, if I thought it would help. I just thought it would be easier to find someone who was interested in talking through an idea with me, instead of actually reading the whole thing. If the person wants to, I'm all for it. A novel is just a lot to commit to reading.


On the other hand, what I know about writing is minimal, it's just that I think it would be difficult for anyone to tell if an idea is good - and if you look at some of my favourite novels, the basic idea behind some of them is actually pretty boring.

I think you are very right about that. However, I also feel that there are some ideas that just won't work. I liked the idea for the novel that I started writing. I still like it. But I see now that it won't work as a novel. Just because you write well and you like an idea doesn't mean it will work. I think that people with more experience than me can probably see things like that better than I can.


I hesitate to interpret another person's posts, but I think Rich is saying that you should just write.

If that were all he was saying, I doubt anyone in this forum would have found it offensive. Among other things, he implied that I needed "other help" outside of writing, which is personal, and, I felt, a bit rude to say about someone you don't know. :) If he has advice about writing, I'd be happy to hear it. He's made it clear that he has no advice for me, and I'm fine with that, too.

It is true that I should just write. However, I have written a lot in the past, and I'm starting to learn about what is getting me stuck.


Something that has helped me is actually writing for an audience. Why not post some of your work in Share your work?

Yes, that is a very good idea. I did that recently, and it helped a lot, as far as being able to see what made something interesting to other people. It's hard to tell, especially with what I was writing, which was a story about my life. Everything that happens to me sounds equally interesting and boring, and I have a hard time deciding what I could use. I've posted pieces of the novel in SYW. I got some very good feedback. One thing I noticed is that even people who hated my idea seemed to think the prose was pretty well written. So this has lead me to believe that my ideas are really where I need help.

brokenfingers
04-11-2006, 01:35 AM
I think I understand what you're saying Celia but what I think you need is a writing partner. Someone for you to bounce ideas off of and talk about your work with as well as talk about theirs and listen to their ideas.

Mentor denotes a sort of tutorship or apprenticeship - where a senior or more advanced someone stewards you through the writing process, guiding you in your efforts.

Anyways, I happened to luck into a writing partner and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. We both write to prompts that she chooses and we trade work with each other as well as offer input etc. on whetever we exchange.

It has really invigorated my writing and the prompts etc. have helped me discover weak points in my writing style.

I also find that I am now more productive because I know there is someone waiting on the other side for my work.

And the benefits of having another perspective on your writing cannot be overstated.

Writing is a very solitary craft, but I don't write for me - I write for others. So having a writing partner has really helped me out immensely, for many reasons. :)

rich
04-11-2006, 01:55 AM
I do have some advice about writing.

Write.

Don't share ideas about what you're about to write.

Just write.

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 02:01 AM
Thanks for your input. If this is unclear, I am working on something right now. Just writing without help hasn't gotten me anywhere yet, so I'm going to try something new.

rich
04-11-2006, 02:09 AM
From your posts I think you're limiting yourself to novels. Ever try some short stuff?

three seven
04-11-2006, 02:10 AM
You know, different people write in different ways, and they need help in different ways too. Celia's request was clear, simple and valid and if you have nothing to contribute but that it doesn't tally with your idea of what an aspiring writer should need or want, feel free to keep it to yourself.

rich
04-11-2006, 02:25 AM
Three seven, it's difficult to hear you over that inane graphic, but I'll do my best.

Writing is writing. There's no philosophy to it; nor is there, really, a different way of writing. You can write about the way a cockroach crawls up a wall, or how a rhino can put a horn up your ***. But the bottom line is the writing, the ability to convince a reader that he/she was there. No philsophy.

Don't tell me to keep it to myself. This is a writing board--not a place for somebody who can't push off the starting block.

three seven
04-11-2006, 02:33 AM
If you'd like to rearrange that jumble of words into an intelligible statement, and preferably one that answers a question I did ask, I'll feel far more comfortable correcting you. As it is, it'd be like drowning a kitten.

Chacounne
04-11-2006, 02:35 AM
Rich, remember the prime rule of this board: Respect your fellow writer, no matter where they are in their journey.

Sadly,
Chac

rich
04-11-2006, 02:39 AM
Hell, I'm a writer. I'll stand by every word, typo or otherwise.

If you don't follow it, try turning down your cyberneon. It may clear some things up.

three seven
04-11-2006, 02:45 AM
It's ok, your ego provides ample shade.

rich
04-11-2006, 02:48 AM
Chacounne, my words might be a bit direct. Understand the props of some others may be a bit more politically correct, but just as disrespectful. Cutting to the chase is my way.

If you want to caution somebody, get that guy with the Time Square graphics.

veinglory
04-11-2006, 02:48 AM
In a vain attempt to stay on topic: I am not really able to help much one on one at the moment but if you really get stuck with something and need a second opinion feel free to PM or email me. I think you might find it useful to throw out some chapters to see what people think. One place I find helpful is a free critique exchange site called critiquecircle.com -- they cater to all levels of writer and often it is better to deal with the concrete issues of an attempt at writing, rather than discuss such things in the abstract.

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 03:07 AM
Yes, rich, I've written a lot of "short stuff" over the years. I actually have a BA in English. I realize that you would have no way of knowing that, but I think it's a very unfair assumption to make that I "can't push off the starting block" or that I need to "get ahold of myself," because I need help on a novel. I do know how to write, and to a certain extent, I know what I want to write, but a novel is a big project, and requires more than I've ever had to do before.

I do know myself and my writing well enough to know what I need. Maybe you don't think there are any different ways of writing, but obviously not everyone agrees with that, because half the discussions in the novel writing forum alone are about different ways of writing.

rich
04-11-2006, 03:10 AM
And how did you do with your short stuff?

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 03:15 AM
Quite well. I suppose my ideas are usually more suitable for short stories, so I'm hoping to get something I can structure with a novel length story.

rich
04-11-2006, 03:23 AM
If you did well with the shorter stuff, you may be better off continuing in that vein. I'm always threatening to write a novel, but I don't think I'm cut out for one.

Chacounne
04-11-2006, 04:05 AM
Rich, am I misunderstanding you, or are you saying that if Celia would like to have a mentor to talk over novel-length ideas with, because she has only completed short stories, that she should stick with short stories? I think we all hope to grow and improve in our lives and in our writing, and sometimes that means having someone's advice or help. No one should ever feel that they can't ask for help.

Just my two cents,
Chac

rich
04-11-2006, 04:15 AM
Yes, you are misunderstanding. Going from short stories to novels is not necessarily advancing. Money wise, a novel tends to have the greater edge--if that's what she's looking for. Sorry folks, but I'm not backing down on my original post. She should get all the help she can, but when she posts here, I will continue with my opinions.

Write.

Chacounne
04-11-2006, 04:36 AM
Rich, I meant growing in the sense of exploring a new or different length of project, not in the sense of better or worse. I would have said the same thing if she were trying out short stories after being a novelist.

Just my two cents,
Chac

rich
04-11-2006, 04:42 AM
"...because she has only completed short stories, that she should stick with short stories?"

Well, you had me fooled.

Celia Cyanide
04-11-2006, 04:50 AM
Yes, you are misunderstanding. Going from short stories to novels is not necessarily advancing.

It is to me, because novels are what I truly want to write.


Sorry folks, but I'm not backing down on my original post. She should get all the help she can, but when she posts here, I will continue with my opinions.

If you can't even write a novel yourself, why do you think you're in a position to tell me I can't? Maybe I would be better off with just short stories, but I would much rather try and fail than just assume I'll never be good enough.

I've been polite up to this point, but I do think it's quite rude when I post a sincere request for advice and help, and you respond by saying that I should forget about my goals and aspirations. It's clear you have no advice for me, so why are you continuing to post in this thread?

Chacounne
04-11-2006, 04:51 AM
I meant only in the sense of solely, not as in a perjorative, but I think this is the time when I will agree to disagree with you.

Just my two cents,
Chac

veinglory
04-11-2006, 04:53 AM
The best way to stop the thread going violently off course is

1) do not reply to lines of comment you do not wish to pursue
2) Do reply to people who are trying to be helpful

katiemac
04-11-2006, 05:02 AM
I'm sorry I couldn't step in earlier, being the official moderator over on this board, but I've been away for the most of the day.

Everyone, please attempt stay on-topic. This particular forum is one place on the boards where threads can be writer-centric. Let's keep the focus on Celia and her request. We want to help her, and while everyone's interest is so far in the best attempt, I'm afraid this could quickly dilute into unfocused arguments. Keep on topic, and play nice. Start new threads outside of mentoring to discuss differences in style, or consult each other in PM.

citymouse
04-11-2006, 05:26 AM
[QUOTE=Celia Cyanide]
I would like a mentor to help me by talking with me about my ideas.
I am not writing genre fiction, perhaps mainstream/contemporary or literary.

Okay, Celia, I'll take the challenge. Send me your ideas via PM and I'll let you know what I think. We'll see if we can kick this can down the street and see if anything rolls out.
Michael

rich
04-11-2006, 09:56 PM
May the Gods bless you, Citymouse.

JennaGlatzer
05-02-2006, 11:37 AM
Seriously, Rich: enough. Go curmudgeon all over someone else. Celia's put up with your flogging enough in this thread.