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To All Inexperienced Writers

Posted by TNTOS , Jun 14 2012 · 538 views

Please stop starting stories, posting a few chapters, and then quitting and starting a brand new story that will inevitably go down the same path as your last.

This is not an attack on or criticism of inexperienced writers. It's merely a gentle reminder that giving up on your current story won't make you a better writer or make you more popular. Your story isn't completely unsalvagable and you'll learn far more about your abilities as a writer if you stick with your story to the very end than if you give up on it before you're even halfway through.

I've noticed that, a lot of the time, when an inexperienced writer gets a long, rather detailed review from a reader explaining what is wrong with their story, the inexperienced writer doesn't say a thing about the review, but a few weeks later you see they've posted a completely new epic, with no word about what happened to their old story, although it is usually obvious that the old story is dead.

The logic behind this decision seems to be something like, "Well, this reader made it pretty clear that my story is a piece of trash. So I will start a new story, except without any of the problems the original story had."

Problem is, more often than not, the new story has the exact same problems as the old story, if not maybe a little worse. The logic doesn't make any sense, anyway. How will starting a new story magically fix all of the old story's problems? Only if the old story's problems are inherent to the old story itself does that logic work, but as most stories can suffer from the same problems, writing a new story isn't the answer.

Again, I am not attacking inexperienced writers. I understand the sense of shame and anger you experience when a reviewer points out so many problems with your old story that you didn't see, no matter how many times you looked over the story before posting it. And I completely understand the first impulse of "Well, this story has to go to the trash can" because I very nearly gave up writing my first epic, The Tales of Shika Nui, years ago out of the belief that it was not worth writing (although that had more to do with the lack of reviews than a long, scathing review, but I digress).

Stick with your current story, unles it is completely, truly irredeemable or you truly do not like writing it anymore. I'm not saying you should never work on that new idea you have bouncing around in your head right now. It's just that you have a story right now - a story, moreover, that has the potential to be good - that desperately wants you to finish it, no matter how ugly it might look right now.

Yes, getting long, detailed reviews explaining exactly what you did wrong can be pretty hard to take. Even I sometimes have problems with critical reviews of my work and I have been writing and posting stuff on BZP almost since the day I joined.

But check that review again. Did the reviewer state that you must give up your story? No? He merely pointed out that the characterization is weak and that your spelling and grammar could stand for some improvement?

Okay. Then keep writing your story, but keep his criticisms in mind if you believe they are accurate. If you're really angry, say to the reviewer, "Thank you :) " (the smiley is not optional). Or wait a day before responding, once your emotions have cooled down and you can think clearly again.

Repeat: Keep writing your story. No matter how scathing or detailed the review is, if the reviewer encourages you to keep writing or at least says nothing about giving up, then keep writing. Even if he does tell you that you should give up, you probably should keep writing unless you have absolutely no more interest in the story yourself.

I know how tempting it is to give up on a story, especially when you hit writer's block or you get the detailed review I have been talking about. I have yet to write a story where I didn't hit a wall, where I didn't think "Why am I writing this?", where I didn't want to give up and do something else.

Except under rare, unusual circumstances, don't listen to those thoughts. No matter how persuasive they might sound, tell them to shut the heck up and then get back to writing.

Starting a new story will not somehow make you a better writer. In fact, I will admit that I am wary of writers who have a large collection of unfinished works. It tells me that they are probably not good writers for the sole reason that they have never finished even one story (talking about epics and chaptered comedies here, not short stories). Their library of incomplete stories tells me that there is no reason to follow this writer, for he will never finish anything. They will never improve because they are afraid of failure. What incomplete works they have are generally of low quality and never get the chance to shine because the writer gave up.

This is not to say that taking breaks from your story is bad. Sometimes, you need to take a day or two away from your work or even work on something else for a while to help you understand the story better. Thing is, though, you aren't giving up. You're taking a break or working on another story to give you perspective. It's up to you to decide when to return to the story and finish it, but I recommend to get back to it as soon as possible so you don't forget about it.

Nor is this a slam against stories that have no ending. I wil admit, however, that I generally don't follow stories that never end because they usually get bland, repetitive, or too convoluted to follow after a while. I might drop in every now and then to see what's going on, but don't expect me to be a devoted reader of such a neverending story.

Once you finish your current story, feel free to start your new one right away. It might actually be better than the last story now, since you have finished at least one story and so have an idea of what you are capable of. It doesn't mean you're perfect. It means that, if you can keep this up, you have the potential to become a great writer someday.

I think I've gone on a bit of a tangent here, so let me reiterate my main points:

-No matter how many problems the reviewer points out in his review, do not give up. Take what you can from the review and apply it to whatever your current writing ability is
-Do not start a new story with the illogical thought process that it will somehow magically be "better" than your old story. Chances are it will have the same problems as the old story or, in all likelihood, be even worse
-Taking breaks is fine, but get back to your story as soon as possible
-Your current story may not be a very good story, but neither you nor your readers will ever know for sure unless you finish it

This is a problem I've seen on BZP far too often. It just saddens me that so many writers with bright imaginations and a sincere desire to write give up because of one negative review. That's all.


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Jun 14 2012 08:25 PM
I definitely agree that completing a story is very important to gaining experience, and that criticism should be taken in stride. The latter I have followed throughout my tenure posting stories online, and it has helped me improve greatly.

I've only written one epic before (and it was rather bad in hindsight), but because I completed it, I have hope I can write something longer and better in the future. I think if you can't prove to yourself that you can complete a project, you won't gain the mindset necessary to improve. Giving up hurts after a while.
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Sooo... Should it mean anything that the title "To All Inexperienced Writers" drew me to this entry??

Anyways, I'll definitely raise a glass to this. I also understand that real life can get in the way of writing, I've fallen victim to that many a-time, and of course, when life allows it, finish out your story. I know I've also seen stories (epics) that show up, and then are never continued when there are no reviews. Can I just say, don't let that discourage you. Usually, the first chapter, or even the first few chapters in an epic, there's not a lot to be reviewed. (I'm speaking character and plotwise here, which is where all the good stuff is)

Also, I know from experience, you've got to give a little to get a little. A nice way to get your name out there in the Library is to drop a reveiw of your own. And not a quaint one-line post like ":OMG: so awesome! update soon please!!" or anything. I"m talking about something with depth here. It says, 'Hey, I'm here, and I care about making the Library a better place, both with my reviews and my own writing', in a more subtle kind of way, if you get what I mean.

And one more thing that I find helps is writing short stories. If you have a plot bunny running around in your head that's distracting you from your epic, write it out, post it. Or even better, write a short story as a side story or expansion to your current epic. You get your name out there to a bigger audience, and there's really nothing to lose.
    • 0
I have about a dozen epics under my belt, and I'll admit that two were never finished. One was a side story to a main epic that I wasn't interested in seeing through, and the other was the fifth in a series that I was just tired of continuing. I've seen criticism kill a lot of work though, and I couldn't agree more with this blog post. We need a way to pin this as a topic at the top of the epics forum... :P

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BZP Name: TNTOS (short for Toa Nuhrii: Toa of Sugar)
Real Name: Tim
Gender: Male
Country: United States of America
Languages: English, Spanish (not much, though)
Ethnicity: Ukrainian/German
Religion: Christian
Education: Homeschool Graduate
Goal: To make my living as a writer
Interests: Please see profile for detailed interests list

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Bionicle Epics

The Tales of Shika Nui (NOTE: Links to Shika Trilogy Omnibus edition)
Status: Complete
Rating: PG
Chapters: 16
Summary: When six Matoran thieves are transformed into new Toa heroes and are forced into combat with the Dark Hunters that rule Shika Nui, will they prevail? Find out in the first chapter of the Shika Trilogy of BIONICLE epics!

Tapestry of Evil (NOTE: Links to Shika Trilogy Omnibus edition)
Status: Complete
Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 23
Summary: After the events of the last epic, the Toa Shika find themselves in Wyoko, a land of shadow. Here they discover the ancient Kra-Matoran tribe and their six Toa, known as the Shodios, are attempting to leave their prison and renew their conquest of the universe as they did 100,000 years ago. Will the Toa Shika be able to defeat them, and if so, at what price? Find out in the second chapter of the Shika Trilogy!

An Unlikely Alliance (NOTE: Links to Shika Trilogy Omnibus edition)
Status: Complete
Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 30
Summary: In An Unlikely Allinace, the third and final chapter of the Shika Trilogy, the Toa Shika return to Shika Nui to find it has changed much since their adventures in Wyoko, and in more ways than one. Forced to ally with new friends and old enemies alike to stop an evil greater than any they have face thus far, the Toa Shika are about to prove themselves as true Toa and as true heroes. But will they learn to work with their new, rather unlikely allies or will their disunity allow the might of the mysterious Tuikas monsters to crush them?

Dimension Hoppers
Status: Complete
Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 20
Summary: When a valuable treasure is stolen from the island of Tanjo Nui, its two guaridans discover that the thief is a dimension hopper. In order to chase the thief and retrieve the Time Stone, Isarot and Toa Kiriah use a Kanohi Olmak to hop dimensions to go after the thief. Will they succeed? And if they do, will their dimension hopping give them the wisdom they need to understand the Time Stone's true purpose?

Dimension Hoppers: The Other Tale
Status: Complete
Rating: PG
Chapters: 10
Summary: Taking place during the events of Dimension Hoppers, Toa Nasis and Toa Ahova investigate the possibility of Dark Hunter involvement in the recent theft of the Time Stone. The Shadowed One soon learns of the Time Stone's theft and sends the Dark Hunter Raider to steal it. What will happen when the Toa clash with the Dark Hunter?

The Ghost King's Tragedy
Status: Complete
Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 10
Summary: Toa Akuna, Toa Kiriah, Toa Oggakia, and Toa Ahova have been gathered by a mysterious being known as the Master of Mist for a special mission. They will go to the island World's End to seek the secret to defeating Makuta Teridax, but will they achieve this mission or will the Ghost King's might destroy the four heroes?

Dawn of the New Century
Status: Complete
Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 29
Summary: Fifty-thousand years after the death of Makuta Teridax, a messiah-like figure named Masqouth appears seemingly out of nowhere in Zisar, the capital of New Zakaz, promising freedom and prosperity to the enslaved Skakdi people. He backs up his claims by miraculously healing wounded or sick Skakdi, all the while hiding his true intentions for these people.

At the same time, a Skakdi named Kafor is kidnapped by two Dark Hunters, one a Skrall codenamed Night and the other a Vortixx codenamed Heavyweight. Kafor knows the fate that awaits her at the foot of the Shadowed One's throne, but cannot escape her kidnappers no matter how hard she tries.

In the city of New Atero, detective Toa Niham investigates two similar kidnappings while trying to balance her precarious love life with the famous Glatorian Rubella the Red Star. Little does she knew just how intimately related these two kidnappings are, nor the hidden secrets they will lead her to uncover.

Meanwhile, Toa Kiriah, veteran guardian of the Time Stone, is summoned by the Almighty Ones in order to help them deal with a new threat. But an unexpected attack forces Kiriah to change her plans and work with people whom she never though she would find herself working with.

The lives of these people are destined to intertwine in ways none expect. And when they collide, they -- and their world -- will be changed forever.

In the End
Status: Complete

Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 20
Summary: In this sequel to Dawn of the New Century, the Dawn Duology comes to its thrilling conclusion as the conflict between the Almighty Ones and King Atuje finally comes to a head with Atuje's acquisition of a new physical body. With his new body, Atuje goes to finish the Almighty Ones once and for all, as well as anyone who allies with them.

Night, Kiriah, and Jetrupi attempt to stop him, but Atuje banishes them to a universe none of them have ever been to before. Even worse, they must survive a dangerous maze created by a mad female Skrall who names herself after a trickster goddess, a maze so dangerous that only few have ever came out of it alive.

Meanwhile, Rubella the Red Star, a famous Glatorian fighter, enlists the help of the mysterious Toa Cina to rescue her girlfriend, Niham, from the clutches of Masqouth and the Echoes. Though Cina is friendly and helpful, she seems to be hiding something from Ruby, but Ruby may not find out what it is until it's too late.

As for Masqouth, he currently believes that all is well and that he will be reunited with his parents shortly. Yet doubt begins to creep in his mind as to the trustworthiness of Atuje, forcing him to decide who he is really loyal to.

In the end, all of these threads will come together for the grand finale. When they do, there is no telling who will live and who will die.

(Author's note: This is the FINAL epic in the Shikaverse.)

The Glatorian Chronicles

What is the Glatorian Chronicles?

The Glatorian Chronicles is a series of BIONICLE fanfiction short stories that star each of the twelve Glatorian characters released as sets in 2009. Each story is independent of the others and can be read by itself with little-to-no confusion on the reader's part. All of them are written in first person.

Glatorian Chronicles #1: Gresh's First Match
Summary: Gresh is one of the youngest known Glatorian. But how did he first become a Glatorian? What made him want to become one, anyway? Find out in the first in the series of Short Stories called the Glatorian Chronicles! (Author's note: GFM isn't called a Glatorian Chronicle in the topic itself because I posted this before I decided to make it into the first GC)

Glatorian Chronicles #2: Malum's Exile
Summary: Malum is an exiled Glatorian from Vulcanus and is considered highly dangerous by most. But how did he get exiled? And how did he end up leader of a pack of Vorox? Check out the second Glatorian Chronicle for my interpretations of these events!

Glatorian Chronicles #3: Intruders
Summary: Follow from the point of view of a female Vorox named Sril as she tries to get intruders out of her territory. Will she succeed in this third installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series or will she fail? Read it and find out!

Glatorian Chronicles #4: The Fallen Warrior
Summary: Tarix finds a strange message from a being supposedly known as "The Fallen Warior." Coupled with some mysterious murders and yet another message challenging him to fight in Sandray canyon, will Tarix discover the identity of the Fallen Warrior before it is too late?

Find out in the fourth installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!
Chapters: 3
STATUS: Complete

Glatorian Chronicles #5: Honor Versus Greed
Summary: In the fifth installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series, Strakk stumbles upon the identity of the traitor and makes a deal with him. The deal is that if Strakk betrayed the villages to the Skrall, then he would be allowed to live once the Skrall have taken over Bara Magna. The traitor agrees to the deal, but what will Strakk do when he learns that the Skrall have been defeated by the rest of the Glatorian?

Glatorian Chronicles #6: New Beginnings
Summary: With Tuma defeated by a strange warrior clad in yellow armor, the Skrall army has been scattered all over the face of Bara Magna, and the Skrall named Branar finds himself alone in the vast desert at night. Here he encounters a baterra, but will he survive his encounter with the shape shifting entity or wille he die in this final confrontation with one of his worst enemies?

Find out in the sixth installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!

Glatorian Chronicles #7: Confrontation
Summary: Lead by Mata Nui, the Glatorian and Agori of Bara Magna take on the Skrall and Bone Hunters in one last battle. Vastus, the Prime Glatorian of
Tesara, is isolated from the rest of the group and engages the Bone Hunter Fero in combat. Will he defeat Fero or will the Bone Hunter walk away with Vastus'weapon as his prize?

Find out in the seventh installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!

Glatorian Chronicles #8: The Stranger

Summary: A mysterious Glatorian called Jetrupi has arrived in Tajun. Rumors that he has mysterious powers caused Kiina to believe he might be from another world. She decides to figure out for herself, but is she prepared for the truth surrounding the mysterious warrior or is she in over her head?

Find out in the eighth installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!

Glatorian Chronicles #9: Reluctant Allies
Summary: The Core War has been rippling through Spherus Magna like a wave, striking everywhere its combatants choose to battle. One of these soldiers, named Ackar, is isolated from his troop after a clash with the Water Tribe army and has to ally himself with the Water Tribe warrior, Kiina, who has also been isolated from her army, in order to survive and return to their respective armies. Can the two learn to work together and reach their armies, despite their differences? Or will their distrust of each other be their downfall?

Find out in the ninth installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!
Chapters: 6
STATUS: Complete

Glatorian Chronicles #10: For Fame and for Fortune
Summary: During the Battle of Roxtus, the elite forces Skrall Stronius escapes into the Black Spike Mountains after wounding the Glatorian Gelu. However, Gelu heads after the Skrall, but soon finds himself up against a foe he is not sure he can defeat. Will Gelu survive his encounter with Stronius or will he die?

Find out in the tenth installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!

Glatorian Chronicles #11: Obsidian Among the Frost
Summary: Stronius and an unnamed Skrall find themselves separated from the rest of their squad following a fierce battle with the Fire army. They are stalked by a monstrous mutation that is attracted to sharp objects, of which they have plenty of. Will Stronius and the Skrall survive this ordeal or will they be eaten alive by the monster?

Find out in the eleventh installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!

Glatorian Chronicles #12: The Future Begins Where the Past Ends
Summary: After defeating Makuta Teridax, Mata Nui returns to the Mask of Life to figure out why Ignika, the mask's spirit, has been acting so aggressive toward him lately.

But when Ignika reveals his own plans, will Mata Nui be able to stop him before it's too late?

Find out in the twelfth and finall installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series!

Miscellaneous Short Stories

This content block is for all of the other short stories that I have written, the ones that aren't part of a series like the Glatorian Chronicles.

The Recruitment of Axonn

Summary: Axonn is one of the greatest Order of Mata Nui members, even to this day. But how, exactly, did he end up joining that particular organization? What prompted him to join it? And what was his first mission? Read this short story to read one author's interpretation of events!

Icarax's Broken Heart

Summary: Originally an entry for Short Stories Contest #5, this short story focuses on Icarax as he realizes that he has feelings for Gorast during the time when Teridax had ordered the two Makuta to hunt down unloyal members of the Brotherhood. Will Icarax succeed in winning Gorast over or will he tragically fail?


Summary: In an alternate universe, King Brutaka has ruled the Matoran Universe for 2000 years. But in his old age is becoming increasingly paranoid and mistrusting of everybody, for he believes that Axonn - whom he had banished from the universe 2000 years ago - has returned to kill him. Is Brutaka correct in that assumption or is he simply paranoid?

S&T Contest #6: False Hopes
Summary: This story follows Mantax and Pridak as they attempt to steal what might be an important, previously unknown treasure from the Zyglak of the Pit. Pridak believes it will give the Barraki the ability to breathe air again, while Mantax privately thinks it is proof that someone had betrayed the League of Six Kingdoms all those years ago. Will they succeed in their quest?

Library Summer Olympics 2010: An Abrupt End
Summary: Makuta Koghi, the Makuta of the Southern Islands, attempts to take the island of Shika Nui by striking at what he believes to be its weakest defenses. But when the battle suddenly turns in the favor of his enemies, will the Makuta live long enough to regret his hasty decision?

BS01 Contest #5: A Change in Plans
Summary: When the Dark Hunter Flamer is defeated and jailed by a Toa team, Guardian is sent by the Shadowed One to eliminate the captured Hunter before he can reveal Odina's location to the Toa.

However, when Guardian arrives, he learns from a badly wounded Flamer that one of the Toa, a Toa of Psionics named Varian, managed to learn the location of Odina from him and has gone to inform her allies. This forces Guardian to go after Varian, before Odina's security is put at an even greater risk than before. Will he succeed in capturing her or will he fail?

SS Contest #8: The Triumph of the Toa
Summary: After escaping the destruction of their village, Turaga Mohadias and the few villagers still at his side are in a desperate situation, which is definitely not the time for stories. Yet Nurmaz, one of the Matoran, wishes to hear the story of the triumph of the Toa Avha. Mohadias decides to tell the story, but wonders if there is something wrong with Nurmaz. What are Nurmaz's motives for wanting to hear this story? Will Mohadias find out?

Two Tales
Summary: A compiliation of TNTOS's Flash Fiction Warm Up entries. Includes "The Curse of Vagueness" and "The Test."

The Biological Chronicle

The Biological Chronicle isa series of flash fics written by me. Like my earlier Glatorian Chronicles series of short stories/short epics, each story in The Biological Chronicle is a standalone and the stories can be read in any order you please.

What connects these story is the basic theme. I gave myself the challenge of writing ten flash fics based on the ten years of Bionicle (one for 2001, another for 2002, yet another for 2003, etc.). The result is a mixture of my interpretation of scenes from canon, scenes from canon that were mentioned but never shown, and a few scenes that were never mentioned nor shown but which I nonetheless believe could have/probably did happen at some point in canon. I tried to stick to canon as closely as possible, however, so don't expect to see any new characters or locations or anything like that that weren't in canon.

Each story is under 800 words, so they are a very quick read. Enjoy:

The Biological Chronicle: 2001
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: The first in a new series of flash fics, this story depicts the scene of Tahu's arrival on the island of Mata Nui.

The Biological Chronicle: 2002
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the second installment of The Biological Chronicle, Onua sets up a trap to obtain the final Krana he needs to complete his collection.

The Biological Chronicle: 2003
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the third installment of The Biological Chronicle, Kopaka finds himself facing six Rahkshi at once.

The Biological Chronicle: 2004
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the fourth installment of The Biological Chronicle, Krekka is annoyed by a Po-Matoran carver whose work he accidentally destroyed.

The Biological Chronicle: 2005
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the fifth installment of The Biological Chronicle, Norik is surrounded by Visorak and must survive.

The Biological Chronicle: 2006
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the sixth installment of The Biological Chronicle, Zaktan has to act Toa-like in a precarious situation.

The Biological Chronicle: 2007
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the seventh installment of The Biological Chronicle, Kalmah confronts Mantax about harm that the latter's snacking preferences are doing to the Barraki's ammunition supply.

The Biological Chronicle: 2008
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the eighth installment of The Biological Chronicle, Gavla makes a new friend in Metru Nui on the day of Mata Nui's awakening.

The Biological Chronicle: 2009
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the ninth installment of The Biological Chronicle, the Element Lord of Ice makes Surel an offer.

The Biological Chronicle: 2010
Rating: G
Genre: Flash Fiction
Summary: In the tenth installment of The Biological Chronicle, two Great Beings discuss the possibility of the Makuta rebelling and how to combat them should that happen.