I seek advice on how can I spot any flawed grammar and some advice on how to fix it. I just started writing stories last year in December so I'm not that experienced in writing.
That's what I need and if you have any time to answer more questions, here are the extras:
- Should I consider expanding my vocabulary a bit? And what are some websites you think are helpful to you that could help me as well? (I'm not capable of learning a large number of words)
- Is my grammar good enough for you?
- Do you read other newbies' stories as well?
- Should I trust myself more? (I have lost my self-esteem to the point that I couldn't talk to people personally anymore)
Thanks in advance.
expanding vocabulary is always a good idea, but rather than just knowing the words, you should learn how to use them better too. using a word just because it sounds fancy, even though it has no business being where you're putting it, is sometimes worse than not having a big vocabulary. I'd say increase your vocabulary if you want, but try to learn how to express your ideas simply first...
sometimes I do read newbie stories, though I don't really have too much time to read lately...
trusting yourself is something entirely dependent on yourself. of course, I will tell you to trust yourself, but no matter what I say, I'm just an outsider. I don't know you, or the circumstances of your life, so most of my advice would matter less than some street bum you see on the road to school every day. for now, I'd advise you to think about what you want to do and how much you want to do it. if you want to write a story then write it. no matter what kind of criticism you get and no matter how much it hurts(yeah, I know it hurts a lot), if it's something you want to do, you'd take those criticisms as fuel to better your writing, and not lose your self-esteem from them...
To answer your questions, in my opinion:
Expanding your vocabulary is always a good idea. You don't need to use all of those words, but when there's an occasion for it, it's always better to have more options. Personally, I cheat and use a thesaurus if I feel like I need a new word but can't think of one or want to avoid repetitions. There are online dictionary and thesaurus websites for that. But probably the best way to expand your vocabulary is to read lots of (professionally) published works, and practice.
What might also help is looking at resources that explain English grammar rules, and just try to keep them in mind and maybe refer back to them when writing. Sounds simple but it can help a lot.
Your grammar looks pretty good, definitely.
Sure, I occasionally read newbies' stories. Some of them are a lot better than stories from some 'veteran' writers who always make the same mistakes. And there's mostly amateurs on this site (including myself, of course).
You should definitely trust yourself more. But that won't be easy. I struggle with self esteem issues, as well, although I've gotten better with it. It's a long, hard road.
(I've found it can help to tell yourself that you're doing okay, you don't have to be perfect, and try to focus on what you're good at, what you're doing well. If you struggle with doing something you know you should (try), maybe try asking yourself 'what's the worst that can happen?', and try to find a realistic answer. You'll realize it's not the end of the world if you screw up. In terms of writing, just keep in mind that no one starts as a masterful writer, and you can only improve.)
My method is usually import from Scrivener(kind of fancy smancy word processor/intergrated research) to Grammarly, edit side-by-side in Scrivener, then import that document to Google Docs where it also picks up bits and pieces that Grammarly missed, and even likes to add additional words for sentences missing a adjective/etc. Google Docs is better, but it tends to miss stuff that Grammarly does and vice versa. So I use those in order to reduce grammar errors. Both are pretty much free and Grammarly is both a app and browser.
Scrivener might not be free, however, but you can still achieve the same results with RRL's built-in drafts, or even free knock-off Word apps like Libreoffice or even notepad or notepad++.
SynthHarmonia Wrote: Do you read other newbies' stories as well?
I've been following one that... certainly started off very newbish. Despite it's questionably awful grammar I was enjoying the story underneath all the glaring issues but sadly it's going to be on hiatus and possibly dropped, which is a shame since that fiction in question got noticeably better in sentence structure past the hiatus chapters and the author improved tenfold in his newer work not on RRL.
Practice makes perfect! Don't give up.
From one non-native speaker to another, I really understand your doubts. All the suggestions about using Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are spot on. I too am using the free version of Grammarly and am very happy with the result.
Now, how to increase your vocabulary. The easiest, and most dangerous, way is with a thesaurus. I am using one too from time to time, simply because I sometimes can't quite remember the correct synonym I am looking for. This is only in cases I'm trying to avoid repetition. If you use a thesaurus only to sound fancy, you are digging your own grave, since it becomes glaringly obvious when one starts reading. The tool I use is https://www.thesaurus.com/. The good thing is that it has color-coding - the darker the color of the marked word, the more common it is. Still, the best way to expand your vocabulary is simply to read different genres and authors. I recommend Terry Prattchet since he has an extremely large, versatile, and highly nuanced vocabulary, but there are many more authors out there to learn from.
Another trick to avoid repetitiveness is to tweak the structure of your sentences a bit. It does wonder and makes the text feel more flexible.
On the topic of reading other newbies' stories, I don't get how one can really see whether an author is a newbie before reading their work (unless it is already stated in the synopsis). I am a newbie myself, posting here my first attempt to write something big in English. With that being said, I am not prejudiced about the level of mastery. The work needs to have a captivating story and be somewhat readable. Whether I finish a novel after starting to read it or not depends entirely on these two points. If the grammar is excruciating or the story bland, I would drop it but at least I would have given it a chance. So don't think much about being a beginner and just write. The more you write the better you'll become.
I see no reason for you to lose self-esteem. Why are you so down? Because you don't have reviews, followers, or comments? You just have to fight for them like anyone on Royal Road. The road to kingship is hard and bloody... The joke to the side, you need to be more active. Participate in review-swaps. This will give you the chance to get acquainted with other works and authors on the platform. With more reviews will come more recognition. With more recognition will come more readers. Be active in the forums so that your name will be known. Don't post chapters all at once but every couple of days. Like that you will be more often on the latest-releases list and get more attention. And last but most important - love your own story. This is a double-edged sword but it is necessary. You have started writing and posting because you have a story you wish to share. If you get criticized it will hurt. But if you back away your story will never be born.
I hope that this will help a bit. As long as you love writing and have stories you want to tell everything will be fine. Your spine and endurance will harden with time, I can promise you that much.
Because I like you, I will give you something to make your writing better.
Come closer, I have got the good stuff.
Now don't tell anyone what I gave you.
This is a website that basically gives you a somewhat detailed analysis of your grammar, flow and structure. They will give statistics and indexs on your writing while telling you the best optimal value. Plus they highlight any statistic you specify for easier edit.
It is not free of errors, but if you want to learn and don't want want some immediate easy answers this is the best I can offer. Beside reading more books.
Now for the words can't say anything more than using thesaurus.com because my problem is a bit different (I know the words, they just don't pop into my head while I write, so I end up using wrong ones sometims.)
For grammar, currently I am not the best one to ask.
Yeah I read some of the newbies works, some of them are very creative and got something to learn from.
As for trusting yourself and self-esteem.
Tell you what, I will tell you what I experienced since we are pretty close in this problem.
For me, cant say I was happy, I felt pretty frustrated. But here is the thing, one: I didn't want to give up because I like writing, two: I didn't give up because it was something fixable and can be improved upon. Three: for me at least, I knew that people on the Internet are unforgiving if they are not satisfied. Sooooo what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
Fourth: I am awaiting the day my grammar is the best and going reviewing everyone who dared to say I had a bad grammar. I will scrutinize their work. They will regret that fateful day. Hahahaha. Maybe not, who knows?