Yuli Wrote: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
That's the danger of whipping something up in five seconds at 4 in the morning after a graveyard shift! I forget who made the first usage of that; Faulkner or Fitzgerald, but the metaphor was that "death's head" = deathly pallor, sunken eyes and skin and whatnot as a result of a horrified realization or some sudden illness. I'd go back and edit it but it's been quoted. Others, take heed!
I have another amateur mistake on the brain. It's actually the single most amateur mistake out there:
I'm somewhat guilty of this myself as I don't read anywhere near as much as I should, though I do get around to it (and also do transcription, i.e. copying books word for word to get a better feel for them)
What I'm talking about is that the last time a writer read anything was an assigned book for English class. Otherwise they're trying to transcribe an anime or movie.
You can easily tell because they constantly struggle with basic things that even mediocre books show you how to do. Now there are some tips that are always helpful to just distill and read by themselves. However for the most part various tricks and tools like how to describe something or how to keep a plot going can be found by reading a book and seeing how others do it.
This is actually a really big issue, I learned. Loads of writers will read maybe one book a year if they're particular daring and adventurous.
Depending on what you write, you don't necessarily have to read a traditional novel or anything. Sometimes, for things like ongoing serials, it might not work out that well. But it's always good advice to just read!
Agree one hundred percent, and I didn't even know this was an issue until recently. Years ago I read Stephen King's book "On Writing" (helpful advice for writers) and one of the tips was to read. At the time, I was like, "Yeah thanks genius lmao," but now I get it. A lot of the amateur writing on this and other sites looks like it's written by people who have only a vague understanding of how it's done. We have a long tradition of writing with rules already perfected for good reason, and they don't have to be memorized through some grueling ritual, they can be observed just by watching how it's done - but the amateurs ignore the rules because they don't even enjoy exploring the medium!
What I don't get is, why do these people want to be writers if they don't enjoy or understand reading? There's something narcissistic and disrespectful going on that I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around.
But here's the problem: what these people (including myself admittedly) want to be are media creators. They think in terms of movies, of TV shows, of anime, of video games, of musical albums.
It's something they can't actually have. And you know why? Because creating such media costs amazing money. Even a single episode of an American cartoon, the kinds made in Flash (RIP) or ToonBoom can cost upwards of $300,000. And an anime episode is cheaper, but still costs around $150,000. And I repeat, that's not a full season; that's a single episode. You could go indie and crowdfund a project, but even if you raise $50,000, you're quickly going to learn why animation is so expensive.
So you go live action. Now you're really stuck in some old jam because you need actors. Actors that would preferably like to be paid. You need sets. You need sound effects and ambiance.
If you don't give it a proper budget, the production will become cheesy. If it remains a serious project, it becomes So Bad It's Good. Hence why home video/school video-tier projects often are deliberately ridiculous because unless a real stubborn budding auteur is behind it, they know they're not going to match Marvel or even a typical indie movie.
What about a video game or CGI? Well now you're really toast. Video games aren't easy to make. Even simple, Atari-tier games can take months to program if you're going it alone. You can't just download a game-making software, set things around, and have a complete game. Well you can nowadays, but it's going to be an asset flip affair that feels cheap.
The last resort might be a comic book. They might not have any artistic skills, but surely someone would draw a comic for them, right? Well, a single 5-panel page might cost upwards of $100 even from "budget" artists.
The gist being again, creating media costs money. Bringing your dreams and imagination to life requires moolah. You can't just write down something and have a movie visually on par with Avatar with the grace of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Lots of people want to create something great and epic but don't have the skills or the budget or the production studio necessary to do so. Thus what's their last resort?
Words. Writing. Maybe some commissioned art or doodles they themselves drew.
They may never have read many books, but they still want their imaginations to be brought to life. They're not really a part of the literary tradition, and if it was possible for artificial intelligence to magically will movies, TV shows, anime, games, and whatnot into existence with a few words, they'd immediately quit sites like RoyalRoad or Wattpad or FictionPress and stick to that instead. Now, speaking as someone who is following the bleeding edge of artificial intelligence, I won't waste time on my thoughts on whether or not it will soon be possible to do such a thing. That's a story for another day (no pun intended). I'm only giving my hypothesis on the phenomenon of "writers who don't write."
It is interesting that the internet brings these types of people together. When I was a teenager trying to figure out what kind of creative outlet I needed for the alien monster gestating in my soul, the internet was barely a thing and I lived deep in the country so I was pretty much the only guy I knew who was trying to figure out this sort of thing. All I had were professional examples of creativity, so I knew I had to keep practicing if I was ever going to stick my neck out and await the judgment of the crowd. To me, learning how to do it was the anvil and I knew I had to be beaten and forged on that anvil, otherwise the world I had inside of me would wither away and all of the people who lived in that world would die.
It was my job to learn the trade and be the best, or in some sense, I would D I E