Advice on giving up

#1
Idk if this is supposed to go here or not, but I want to ask whether it’s the right time to give up on a story I’ve written or should I give it another chance.

So the background is that I’m writing an isekai/gamekit story that is supposed to be intentionally generic at first but then veers off in a different direction later on. I got some mostly positive reviews/ratings, but a lot of them are from review swaps, and only two are from readers. I was initially motivated to keep going even if nobody actually reads it because I personally enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed trying a new style of writing and a genre that I don’t usually touch.

But then I got a review from a swap that very bluntly pointed out the flaws of my story, and now all I can see in my work are the flaws. There’s nothing wrong with the review, it’s mostly just me and my pessimism. I’ve completely lost all my motivation, and I want to give up writing altogether.

Should I give up? Or should I just keep chugging on and hope I get over hating my own story?

Re: Advice on giving up

#2
From my experience, there will always point out flaws about things they like or don't about a story. It is impossible to appease everyone, and most of the time the 'flaws' pointed out are more often than not stylistic opinions rather than concrete ways you absolutely need write the story. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take advice and fix issues you deem need to be fixed, especially those pointed out by multiple readers. If you have even a few readers coming back to your story  that means you're providing enjoyment to someone, and are doing something right.

The decision on whether to give up or keep chugging on is yours. I, personally, would keep writing. I don't want to fall into the trap of having a dozen half finished works. At certain times, I've definitely felt like my story is rubbish and at other times I've really liked what I wrote. In the past I've definitely been susceptible to advice affecting how I feel about my story, but, now, I try to just focus on the joy of writing and not worrying about whether my story is optimal. If I nitpicked every sentence I wrote, than I'd still be at chapter one and be no closer to creating a finished piece. I've realized that even though my story has flaws (it will always have flaws), it doesn't make my story worthless.

Re: Advice on giving up

#3
This is a tricky one. My basic advice is choose one option and stick with it. Both paths are fine. 

I've dropped many stories (never posted online) and I am currently on hiatus on my main fiction after a 0.5 rating bomb. I've found I much prefer writing reviews and short stories than grinding away at a story I've come to dislike. 

On the other hand, the only way to get big on RR is large web serial fiction and the only way to improve is to keep writing. Also, to learn from feedback. Have the shamelessness of a politican and keep on going. There is no need to agree with the flaws, they are not enough to mean that you should stop writing. 

Re: Advice on giving up

#5
Read one star reviews of something you thought was totally amazing. They exist, I'm sure.
Everything has flaws, we just choose which ones we're willing to forgive because the rest of it works for us. Not everything will work for everyone and that's okay.
If they're actionable comments, make your changes, keep them in mind for the future, but it doesn't mean you failed. The only way to have something worth fixing is making it tangible in the first place. Of course it was perfect in your mind, it was in your mind. Some things may have gotten lost in translation to the page, but that's what rewrites are for. You know better now what worked and what didn't work. It's the whole fail better thing.

If you still can't stand working on it, don't. Don't hurt yourself and your will to write like that. There's no finish your book police. No shame in realizing something isn't actually for you. You don't even have to all the way quit, just take a break, work on something else, get back to it when you remember why you loved it to begin with.

Re: Advice on giving up

#7
I experience the same. Recently too.
I love the story. "Got Yeet into Murim" was not my best story, but, it was still a part of me. After the negative review, I thought... "This might not be it", but my main character kept looking at me... 

"Are you giving up on me, just like others?"

Her eyes looked so empty, as if she already lost hope.
Dang, that pain...

Nope. I might slow down a little and rethink, but I don't want to stop anymore. Coming back to you, I think a chapter a week would be nice. Slow down if you must, but keep writing, keep posting. Do not lose your connection with this site.

Later, you might not please everyone, but at least, your guilty conscience is no more.

And that's something.

Re: Advice on giving up

#8
I feel the need to post one of the rules of my Discord servers.

All bubble-blowing authors thinking about giving up will be bonked senselessly by every able-bodied person in the server. 

What I mean by this is that it's easy to be discouraged; lord knows I certainly have been especially lately. What matters is how you answer to those who support you. People will always have opinions and feel the need to call out. I've been in the same situation; I've been getting mostly positive reviews but then got slapped with a few 2 stars that tanked me and ruined my mood; one of them were a lot of personal opinions that I felt didn't warrant such a low review.

However, I asked for this. I had been getting either a lot of praise or just "cool, not my style though but keep it up". I needed something negative to balance it out. The only thing you can do is take the criticism at face value and learn what you can. Did they point out valid flaws that you can improve? Then take it as a lesson and say thanks. Is there nothing you can learn (or they just say "this sucks, end of story"), then move on to more valid points to learn from.

At the end of the day, you have to learn. If they provide nothing for you to learn from, then you can't improve it to their tastes; their loss. Learn what you can, improve, and watch more positive reviews come in. If you learn these flaws and make improvements, ultimately you'll get more positive reviews that will counteract the negative one. Don't let one review that is trying to teach you something discourage you from your great work.

Re: Advice on giving up

#9
Intrinsic motivation trumps extrinsic motivation in the long term. My recommendation is distance yourself from the ratings/reviews/stats and even comments for a good long while. Disable ratings on your fiction, hide all reviews as they come in or don't read them in the first place because while they may provide some useful criticism or temporary motivation, right now the danger is far more insidious. If you stop writing, there will never be a chance to put into action the criticism inherent to the reviews. Remind yourself what it is that started you writing in the first place. Try to find joy in the act itself because that will carry you all the way to a million words and beyond. Once you are having fun again and there is no risk of burning out, then you can enable the stats. I found that comments are relatively benign and are a perfectly enjoyable way of interacting with your community. 

Re: Advice on giving up

#10
HWPerfidy Wrote: Idk if this is supposed to go here or not, but I want to ask whether it’s the right time to give up on a story I’ve written or should I give it another chance.

So the background is that I’m writing an isekai/gamekit story that is supposed to be intentionally generic at first but then veers off in a different direction later on. I got some mostly positive reviews/ratings, but a lot of them are from review swaps, and only two are from readers. I was initially motivated to keep going even if nobody actually reads it because I personally enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed trying a new style of writing and a genre that I don’t usually touch.

But then I got a review from a swap that very bluntly pointed out the flaws of my story, and now all I can see in my work are the flaws. There’s nothing wrong with the review, it’s mostly just me and my pessimism. I’ve completely lost all my motivation, and I want to give up writing altogether.

Should I give up? Or should I just keep chugging on and hope I get over hating my own story?

Oh, man, do I feel this. I'd felt this exact thing writing a story I had initially enjoyed. One of my first stories on RR, I believe and I loved the heck out of it. The characters, the world, the wonky system--everything. Then my first low star review pointing out valid criticisms just killed my momentum--full stop. I couldn't go back to writing that story and even trying rewrites just...didn't feel right.

Getting over hating a story is not the same as getting over a writing slump, unfortunately. No matter how hard you try to push through the blegh, it'll likely always remain. And that's okay! Don't waste your willpower trying to force something you don't like doing anymore! You're not getting a grade or money out of it (probably, I don't know all your details).

The important thing is that you don't let THIS story or another bad review stop you from ever writing again. It may sound critical coming from me, who has 11 fictions (10 of them dropped, 1 "completed" prematurely because I got tired of it) but I'm still attempting to write! I may not be able to recapture the joy of writing that first story, but I won't let that bad experience stop me from starting new projects and loving on them.

Not succeeding is a part of living. No human is a perfect OP being. But where you fail is when you let one bad experience stop you from trying ever again. You got this!

Re: Advice on giving up

#11
Most of the criticism isn't that heavy. Things like a young-sounding protagonist are genre staples, and not a significant problem. Since the protagonist is entering a new world, some exposition is also acceptable, though it feels like your first chapter could have been improved a bit by introducing the game content earlier rather than biographical stuff. Most of the criticism is stylistic, but not really that substantive.

Starting with a challenging boss fight is a decent idea, and should be foregrounded more. It is also an early action segment, so referring back to it, using imagery based on it (perhaps by describing the boss more vividly at first), etc., could help to create a sense of focus and tension. But ultimately the first chapters should generally be somewhat slow, as the reader needs to be introduced to the world and its mechanics.

I don't think that any of that criticism should spur you to give up, especially if you were enjoying it to begin with. That's more important than the opinion of reviews on RR.

Re: Advice on giving up

#13
HWPerfidy Wrote: Thanks for the advice everyone. It was the unfixable without rewriting part of the review that was bothering me most. But I think I'll give it another shot for now, try to improve what I can, and try to find the enjoyment that I initially had writing it.
I hope you do, and that whatever happens that you keep enjoying writing.

peoYes

Re: Advice on giving up

#14
HWPerfidy Wrote: Idk if this is supposed to go here or not, but I want to ask whether it’s the right time to give up on a story I’ve written or should I give it another chance.

So the background is that I’m writing an isekai/gamekit story that is supposed to be intentionally generic at first but then veers off in a different direction later on. I got some mostly positive reviews/ratings, but a lot of them are from review swaps, and only two are from readers. I was initially motivated to keep going even if nobody actually reads it because I personally enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed trying a new style of writing and a genre that I don’t usually touch.

But then I got a review from a swap that very bluntly pointed out the flaws of my story, and now all I can see in my work are the flaws. There’s nothing wrong with the review, it’s mostly just me and my pessimism. I’ve completely lost all my motivation, and I want to give up writing altogether.

Should I give up? Or should I just keep chugging on and hope I get over hating my own story?
I know this feeling very well. And in a way it's actually a good sign because you gained the "writer's awareness" everyone goes through. Basically, someone points something out in one place, then you learn to see it in later or earlier areas of the book, and then you think, WOW! Have I really been doing this the WHOLE time?

Oh my god, what a double-edged feeling. The good news is, the earlier you get the awareness, the less painful/embarrassing it is. I think the best way of looking at is that every author was once in your shoes, every extremely good author especially. No writer walks into this a master capable of rivalling the top authors out there; it's quite the opposite. The more criticism you get, the more you build your own writing, and you end up being an insane Frankenstein empowered by all the minds before you that told you to clean up this line and restructure Arc 1 and make Character B more believable. Then you realise, somewhere down the line, that the only reason you are still writing is because you know yourself that you have learned so much and have much to offer, not just in your story, but also to other authors going through the same process. People say it took King 4 novels for him to write Carrie; absolute lie. It was more like 20+. None of which were likely finished. And he still thought he was terrible. 

Eventually, though, after enough criticism, after enough retries, and enough "What if I try this again but keeping in mind what I learned last time?", you'll find that you're ready to hit the shelves. That's how it goes for every author, and no author is born by their first draft, or their first or maybe tenth story.

Especially their first draft. Like literally every first draft sucks. Anyone who claims their work is a first draft and it reads like a published work is talking out their rear. Same thing with "this is my first ever story". 

You are only as good as the criticism you decide to accept and ignore.  As King himself once wrote: “Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”

Re: Advice on giving up

#15
HWPerfidy Wrote: Thanks for the advice everyone. It was the unfixable without rewriting part of the review that was bothering me most. But I think I'll give it another shot for now, try to improve what I can, and try to find the enjoyment that I initially had writing it.
Yes, good luck. Remember that what works for other writers and genres might not work for you. Write what you find engaging, and try not to lose sight of your original intention because you get too caught up adjusting to criticism.

A work should capitalise on its strengths, not try to become better by focusing exclusively on perceived weaknesses.

Re: Advice on giving up

#17
Start writing another story.

It's like the old saying, the easiest way to get over one man is to get under another one.

After you write 500 pages of the NEXT story and proudly finish writing the epilogue, it is MUCh easier to go back and look at your first story critically and do the work to pound it into shape if it needs it, or start plugging away at it again.

Seriously, nothing beats story hate or writer's block like shifting focus for a while.