Any good writers here?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by irain, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. irain macrumors regular


    Aug 1, 2005
    Hey! I'm planning on joining the Creative Writing Club at my high school soon. And in order to join, you must pass in a random journal entry. If it's well written, they'll accept you. I need to know if anyone notices any obvious grammatical errors or spelling errors. What do you think of it? Thanks!

    Well... Here it is...

    This happens to be my first journal entry. Life is growing quite monotonous. I crave a place to pour my thoughts and feelings out.

    Anyway... Lately, I've been feeling profoundly lazy. This complete disregard for the universe and all it contains frightens me; I am scared of myself because I am no longer able to fully recognize myself as an individual. There is no drama in my life since high school has begun. I realize that an unquenchable thirst for drama may seem overly corrupt. But lately, I am unemotional and apathetic. I care for nothing. I guess sometimes when I grow bored with life, I turn to drama in order to occupy me. I know, it’s wrong that I feed off of it occasionally. I’m ashamed. While in elementary school, I cared about my image. I was constantly and overly distraught about my clothes, my grades, my looks, the way I talked, who I associated with et cetera. And don't get me wrong, I still, and uncontrollably always will, care about my grades and the way I look. But you must understand, these aspects are no longer priorities in my mind. My views on everything (literally everything) have changed since my elementary days. These calculating facts are beginning to create my own personal reality.

    I hate feeling careless...

    I think I'd rather be forever hidden and out of sight from humanity. Then at least I'd feel loneliness.

    But, like everything in this life, these feelings of carelessness are just a period, a condition, a stage in life, of which I will eventually conquer over and move on.

    I am in no way apprehensive about these feelings... Not apprehensive in the least.

    So moving on...

    Today, classes were cancelled.

    Needless to say, I spent the day writing, drawing, editing photos, and catching up with friends via instant messenger.

    I've been thinking lately... I need to visit my family, or at least what remains of my family, in Maine sometime soon. When I recap the facts that I haven't made a single phone call, or sent a single holiday card, I cannot help but feel somewhat guilty. This feeling of guiltiness is due to the idea that I have in a sense, abandoned what family I have remaining.

    Then I think, "In what way have they been a family to me?" The answer is quite simple... They have not been a family to me in the least. Frankly, I don't believe that they give a damn about me or my well being.

    These two contrasting thoughts of whether or not I am wrong for not acknowledging my “Maine-family’s” presence have been bouncing on and off the rebound board in my mind. It's hard to tell if someone you know cares about you. Have I given them care? But ultimately, the question is... Who began this endless cycle of "not-caring for your family? The world may never know.

    So, when questions as immature and pointless as this come up in my life, I just have to be the bigger man, swallow my pride, and admit that I could quite possibly be equally guilty of "not-caring for my family."

    Although I've given you, the reader of this journal, my whole life story in the above paragraphs... I have more. Please accept my most sincere apologies.

    For the past couple of hours, I have been in a kind of ecstasy. The kind of ecstasy, almost a religious sort, that transcends mundanity. These feelings of ecstasy are due to the Christmas season. The season itself makes life worth living.

    Please Christmas, never end... You're too perfect.

    Well, that about wraps it up. I'm heading off to my bed at the wee hour of 1 a.m.

    And I leave you, the reader, with nothing but a small quote...

    "Quotes are nothing but inspiration for the uninspired" – Anonymous
  2. thedude110 macrumors 68020


    Jun 13, 2005
    Hi irain.

    I think this is beautifully individual. If the club doesn't take you, you should forget those morons and start your own club. The "Please Christmas" line is very Frank O'Hara.

    You know what I learned in college?

    "What. Am I writing over your head? Then pick up your head."

    Another way of saying all this. I'm a high school English teacher. I advise the editorial board for our literary magazine, and I'd bring you onto my editorial board in a second.
  3. comictimes macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Berkeley, California
    "There has been no drama in my life since high school bagan." would be better.
    "it's wrong that I sometimes feed off of it."
    "... a stage in life, one which I will eventually conquer so that I may move on"
    delete that
    Instead of "needless to say" say "as a result" and get rid of the comma after it. I don't like the words "needless to say" but that may just be a pet peeve of mine.
    make "facts" singular
    sounds awkward... maybe "This feeling of guiltiness is due to the idea that in a sense I have abandoned what family I have remaining", so just move the "in a sense".
    put an ending quotation mark after "your family"
    this doesn't have to do with simple grammar or anything, but this part annoys me... doesn't ecstasy, by definition, transcend mundanity (and is that even a word)? maybe say "An almost religious ecstasy that allows me to transcend the mundanity of my regular life".

    so those are a few little simple comments of mine.... otherwise it looks awesome. Good job and I'm sure you'll get in!
  4. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
  5. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005

    You mean "began?" There is no such word as "bagan."
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Cynic. ;)

    The best way to become a good writer is to read, and read critically. Ask yourself questions as you are reading. Is this writer making a point? Is he making it clearly? Is he leaning on cliches? Your writing will inevitably reflect the strong or weak aspects of the writers and writing you enjoy reading and admire.

    You're off to a good start. Personally, I would suggest that you stick to complete sentences. Fragmented sentences come across as fragmented thoughts. This is a very difficult thing to pull off successfully.

    Another suggestion is to make a thesaurus your constant companion. Don't overuse it, but reference it whenever that word you are about to use sounds overly familiar or trite. They're great vocabulary builders, and over time, you'll find new and interesting ways of expressing your thoughts popping into your head as you write. Those are the smile moments.

    Finally, writing is, above all, a craft. Very few writers can lay words out on a page and have it work the first time. Don't be afraid to edit and revised your own work, or even to throw it out entirely and start again. If I can't find a way to significantly shorten and tighten the first draft of a piece I've written, I know I'm just being lazy.

    Keep at it!
  7. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    I await, with relish, the arrival of the second draft... :D
    Good write, irain
  8. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    I call 'em like I sees 'em.
  9. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    first thing you have to learn how to do is look at your own work critically and revise. in no way to i want to sound harsh, but coming here with your first draft and asking us to help isn't the best step in my opinion. look for the errors yourself... and expect it to take a lot of time.

    i write, a lot (two or three poems a day on average) and it takes me a long while to go back and revise, and revise and revise again and again.

    this is akin to cheating to gain access to the club in my opinion. you're getting help without putting the effort in yourself.

    sorry if that was mean or harsh though.
  10. besler3035 macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Get rid of the quote at the end. Journals are really supposed to be for you to write down your thoughts to look back on, not to share with anyone else.
  11. thedude110 macrumors 68020


    Jun 13, 2005
    The idea here is the student needs to submit a random journal entry. I don't know about you, but I don't revise my journal entries. There can be a huge difference between writing a journal entry and writing a poem.

    I don't think the evaluator will be looking for grammar or even drafts. If they've asked for a journal entry, they're looking for honesty and kernels of writing.

    "Please, Christmas, never end ... You're too perfect" is all I needed to see to know I would want to work with this student. The courage to be romantic, and to capsize that romance with the abstraction of Christmas (O'Hara's idea of a poem between two people) -- that's enough for me.

    All the OP asked for was a proofreader and people's opinions. If that's cheating, then my students cheat all the time.

    It's great to tell people to be self-critical. But you need to have an identity before you can be self-critical, and then someone needs to teach you how to be self-critical. That's what this club can do for this student.

    We're being kinda harsh on 14 year olds around here, no?

    And for God's sake. Keep the quote. A journal entry can be whatever you want it to be, irain.
  12. eva01 macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2005
    Gah! Plymouth
    i would listen to him if i were you ^_~ best writer i personally know
  13. irain thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 1, 2005
    Hey! I got in the club! Thanks for everyone's help... I just fixed a few small things. Some people were saying that what I was doing was "cheating". I proof-read it first. Then I wanted others opinions and evaluation of this piece of writing. Thanks for everyones help!

    By the way... My professor informed me that he adored the whole "Christmas, never end... perfect" part! I'm glad it all worked out.

    Thanks again everyone!
  14. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    Congrats on getting in! I came to this party a little late is seems, but I've got some general advice for creative writing from my past experiences/classes.

    1. Always save everything, even if you know it's junk. Sometimes you'll go back 2 years later and rediscover some little gem that you can build on. I know I have and it's very rewarding.

    2. The best writing often involves opening up your deepest thoughts/feelings/emotions, the stuff you promised yourself you'd never let anyone else know about. Like that time you got rejected by a girl at the dance in front of your friends, or saying goodbye to your dying grandfather. The stuff that's hard to write is usually the best stuff to write about.

    3. Use the senses, all of them. Our bodies do a lot more than see, hear and think; let your readers experience those other sensations too. It'll suck them into wherever you're trying to take them.

    4. The best time to revise your work is after you've forgotten what it was about. Being passionate about your writing is the key to writing well, being objective, critical and dispassionate is the key to editing well;) .

    5. Tricks w/ the grammar/capitalization (like using "i" instead of "I")is usually trying to cover up for something that missing, generally speaking it's Micky-Mouse stuff pretending to be "deep." No harm in experimenting w/ it, but it becomes more powerful when very rarely used. If used too often you're probably just going to annoy your readers, and typically when that happens, they'll just stop reading (and that's worse than them calling your work the worst piece of filth ever conceived by an ape descendant).

    6. IJ Reilly's right. You need to read, as much as you can, as often as you can.

    7. IJ Reilly's right. A thesaurus is a writer's best friend. I get those word-a-day calendars, and I love expanding my vocabulary (they've got widgets for them too!). Think of words like a painter thinks of colors. One could paint a very amazing painting using only red, but he shouldn't have to only paint in red because that's the only tube of paint he owns. You already demonstrate a command of the language that is many years ahead of your peers, keep it up!

    8. Generally speaking, simpler is usually better than complicated. This is something that writing poetry has taught me about writing prose. One good exercise is to write a piece, and then try to reduce the number of words by 25%. It'll force you to evaluate what is significant from what is not.

    9. Criticism is good; welcome it. Never let it discourage you though, because above all, keep on writing! Best wishes in all that you write.

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