I don't know what I'm doing.

#1
book here take everything written with a grain of salt, it's subject to change.
https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41353/sovereign-of-loss-book-1-invader

I know what I want to write but I have no idea how to write it

most of my proofread and peer reviews turn up the same issues with readability, particularly at the start, I find it difficult to motivate myself because I don't know how to write a good chapter, I consume a lot of fiction I know what makes a good story but how to execute one is lost on me

I have the ingredients, I planned my characters, and my world-building, but I can't seem to bake the metaphorical cake, It's like I'm missing several pieces but I don't know what they are.

I think part of it is confidence, I've read worse stories and enjoyed them, stories riddled with typos and inconsistencies, how do I establish a baseline and find my style?

I've spent years on theory crafting and worldbuilding, hell I could probably make a tabletop out of the hard magic system I currently have, but I just cant write the damn material and everytime I do It doesn't meet my standards, its just missing something, but I have no Idea what that something is

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#2
My advice to you -- having endured the grueling years of being a crappy writer in the days of pencils and notebook paper -- is to keep plowing through.

write write write write write

and then write some more.

To help you further a particular story, get yourself to a point where you have written some sort of a plot twist.  Seasoned writers sometimes call them 'sparks.' Sparks are places in a story where the reader gets to say "Wow! I didn't see that coming!" or "Ha! I knew it all along!" or "Oh no! What happens next?"

Every good story has three or four sparks, and some have several more. They are not part of the overall plot, per se, but they are intrinsic to it. Like, a spark happens in Harry Potter when he learns that he's a wizard. Hagrid turns to him and simply says, "Yer a wizard."

"Ha! I knew it all along!" That's a spark in the story.

Get yourself to a point like that in the story you are writing and then write past it for another chapter, or at least a page or two, to be sure you have the scene set firmly in your tale. Then go back and reread and rewrite what you have written that led you to that point. It doesn't really matter if what you have leading up to your first spark is a trail of gibberish or a sea of Cliff notes or a simple outline numbered 1 and 2 and 3, or a combination of all of the above.

You've have reached the first truly important scene in your story. Fix it up enough so that you can get to the second spark and then the third.

And then at that point, you will see The End is in sight. 🦈

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#3
I agree the more you write, the more you learn how to write. It can be hard finding a good group of people to help guide you, but it looks like this place is one of them. 

My first advise is run everything through prowritingaid.com 
You can use it for free for up to, I think 3K words at a time. Use that every time before you post a piece. It's not 100% effective, but it will help a lot.

Next I suggest reading K.M. Weiland's page. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-to-structure-scenes/ 

I recommend "How to Structure Scenes" to most of my friends, but I admit I started with how to structure your novel, and Creating Character Arcs is pretty inspiring as well.

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#4
You will write one crappy story,  you'll write two, maybe even ten. And at some point you'll realize, they are no longer crappy. Practice makes perfect. Oh, and listen to your readers' advice... but not too much. It is your story, you are the captain of the boat. Their opinions will guide you, but the final decision is yours.

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#5
Minor, long-term advice.
Running a regular pen and paper roleplaying game helps
Hanging out and creating areas on multi-user text-based Muds, Mucks, mushes, and moos helps.

those are both heavy duty immersion into the concept of 'write write write'
ArDeeBurger Wrote: write write write write write
Like that. It's all about fake it till you make it.

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#6

Clive_Adkins Wrote: book here take everything written with a grain of salt, it's subject to change.
https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41353/sovereign-of-loss-book-1-invader

I know what I want to write but I have no idea how to write it

most of my proofread and peer reviews turn up the same issues with readability, particularly at the start, I find it difficult to motivate myself because I don't know how to write a good chapter, I consume a lot of fiction I know what makes a good story but how to execute one is lost on me

I have the ingredients, I planned my characters, and my world-building, but I can't seem to bake the metaphorical cake, It's like I'm missing several pieces but I don't know what they are.

I think part of it is confidence, I've read worse stories and enjoyed them, stories riddled with typos and inconsistencies, how do I establish a baseline and find my style?

I've spent years on theory crafting and worldbuilding, hell I could probably make a tabletop out of the hard magic system I currently have, but I just cant write the damn material and everytime I do It doesn't meet my standards, its just missing something, but I have no Idea what that something is


I took a glance at your first chapter, and I would concur with your previous feedback in that the issue is in the structure of your writing--the mechanics. 

I'm going to give you some advice that differs from what has already been given. For context, I used to teach, so this is based on my observation of student learning and improvement.

Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent

If you practice something incorrectly 10 000 times, you will have to unlearn what you have learned incorrectly. This is a worse use of time than learning it correctly to start with. Apply this to writing--if you do not know how to structure your sentences, you will only be writing reams and reams of material containing incorrect grammar and structure until it looks normal to you. My professional advice is to save yourself the pain of unlearning and learn the mechanics of writing correctly the first time

To be fair, this is often an on-going process. I feel I must ask you: Are you a native English speaker? If so, the way you approach writing will be different from the way a non-native speaker will approach it. 

Generally, however, it looks like your weakness is in understanding the rules of writing: common nouns should not be capitalized. Currently, I can see that your sentences are full of comma splices and misplaced punctuation. I am not saying this to discourage you, but I do not think you should drill writing in this way without serious work in understanding English grammar. 

I will try to leave you with some actionable advice. 

First, I recommend you read up on a simple style guide which is relatively short to help ground you in the basics of English writing. This book is now free: The Elements of Style

Second, I recommend you become very familiar with the four most common types of English sentences: simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences. Once you understand their structure, you can start using them in combination to better communicate as you want to. Memorizing rules is a very tedious thing and no one likes it, but you need a strong foundation to hold you up as you move into writing more fluidly. These are your foundations. You must use strong bricks that are the right size and shape for the job! 

Third, I recommend you reverse-engineer prose you find attractive. How is the sentence being written? Split the sentence up into its parts: clauses, phrases, modifiers. How do they work together? 

Finally, I suggest you start applying your learning to your prose immediately. Progress will be slower than you like (usually), but this is a marathon, not a sprint; getting good at something takes time. Start in small chunks. If you've studied how to write two types of sentences today, start by writing sample stand-alone sentences. Then try to move your way up to a small description. Now move your way up to a paragraph. Etc. How can the simple sentences be joined? Can you string a few clauses together? How? 

I'll be transparent here. When I first started writing fiction, I almost entirely wrote flash fiction and vignettes. This was because I was not used to writing fiction, so I needed to find my style and voice and understand how creative writing worked. I'll give the same recommendation: crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. 

With all that said, please also keep in mind that I am a stranger on the internet. I have never had a tutorial session with you, so I do not know if your difficulties are more specific or not. I can't give you a very accurate assessment. However, this idea of working up from small exercises to larger and longer projects is something we do in education all the time--because it works. 

Good luck!

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#7
Glancing over your first chapter, which seems to have changed in the order of things since I remember more than 9, you haven't fixed many of the issues I pointed out before.
Random capitals, lack of punctuation, and general flow correction. I added a comment to point out some of these in your first few lines but it'd take too long for me to go through it all for you.

Like others have suggested, I agree with the sentiment of learning the different spelling and grammar rules that you have to follow to write a comprehensible chapter. Not telling me who is speaking in a conversation makes it hard to picture who the words are coming from. A woman? Man? Old or young? It doesn't need to be in-depth it just needs to be not nothing.
Dialogue tags are important. If they are in the beginning, middle, or end of a line of speech. It may make sense in a picture or animated piece to just have someone say 
"Hello John" 
But we have no reference for that outside of the text.
"Hello, John", the muscleman in the overalls shouted.
Is more common for writing, because we can attach something to the "voice" other than the words written.

There are other issues, but I'd be writing a lot here and I am sure guides can do it a whole lot better than I can, so I point to the advice from others above.

Re: I don't know what I'm doing.

#8
Firstly, the title of the for this question is hilarious. It pulled me right in. 
Second, I had the same problem! My first suggestion: pick your favorite book in a similar genre of the book you are trying to write. Evaluate each paragraph, and identify what exactly the paragraph is doing. For instance: First paragraph describes the condition of the dirt road, which ultimately doesn't matter for the story, but it does make it more real. Second paragraph is set in a village, by the road. About a boy who is forced to eat his greens. Paragraph three is about the main character a girl. She was walking by the hut when the boy was complaining about vegetables, and thinks that parents are failing this generation.
This will probably help you understand the make up of books. This helped me to tell my story with the same ideas in each paragraph. Like, first something that doesn't matter, second, something that isn't super important, but is connected to the main character. Third, something about the main character.