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Mimishu1995's avatar

Is it OK for a writer to ask for help with his/her stories?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (7339 points ) August 5th, 2013

I ask this because currently I have run out of ideas for my story and I need some help. I would have posted the so-far plot here but a few day ago I read a question of someone who had a similar problem to mine on Yahoo! answer. The best answer to it was: “A real writer should never ask for others’ ideas. Think it up yourself”. This has definitely discouraged me :( So is it OK for me to ask for help with my story, or am I not cut out for a writer because I have no more ideas for my story?

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19 Answers

phaedryx's avatar

Yeah, every writer gets blocked sometimes.

As for getting help, a lot of (professional) writers belong to writing groups.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@phaedryx So can I ask for some help with my story here?

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with jogging around ideas. What matters is how you end up writing it. If you ask for someone to write something for you, THEN that’s being cheap and stupid.

OneBadApple's avatar

Absolutely ask. Be prepared, however, for a few people on here to present weak or not-well-thought-out opinions regarding how ‘inauthentic’ you might be as an author, or that you might be taking the “lazy way out”, which would of course be bullshit.

Authors, like songwriters, create ideas from what they see and learn in everyday life, and that might include consulting with experts, or just talking with people on the street. Or here.

If I teach you how to play a G7sus4 chord on guitar and you use it to write a really good song, it comes from your talent, not mine. You were just interested enough to learn what G7sus4 was….

elbanditoroso's avatar

I disagree with the person who said “a writer should do his own thinking”.

A writer should be open to (and eager to tap) any ideas, approaches, outlooks – that will make his writing better. You, the writer, still have to give it your touch – your spin, and use your style. We’re just throwing out ideas that you can reject.

Basically, writing is always a community effort.

gailcalled's avatar

@elbanditoroso : I would bet the farm that all successful writers would strongly disagree that writing is always (and I would add “ever”) a community effort.

Writing workshops work because writers bring in detailed drafts of chapters, stories, essays, journalism, and expository writing samples for critiquing.

For some creative ideas to get your writing juices going, read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Annie Lamott.

She prescribes many short but very specific exercises. They are useful for jumpstarting your creative engine if you have hit writer’s roadblock.

Pachy's avatar

“A real writer should never ask for others’ ideas. Think it up yourself.”

Don’t you believe it; it’s pure bunk! I’ve been writing for more years than I care to admit and have never hesitated to seek help when I got stuck.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@gailcalled – that’s fine. No writer writes in a vacuum. They get ideas from life – relationships, enemeies, tragedies, and so on. That’s what I mean by community.

If a writer were totally by him/herself without external stimuli, he/she would have nothing to write.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Contributors, co-authors, and ghostwriters are nothing new.

snowberry's avatar

My daughter is a writer, and I know a man who has published many books. They both benefit from one or two people they trust to help them power past a roadblock in plot, characterization, or whatever. The thing is, it must be someone who is ABSOLUTELY trustworthy, and would never steal your stuff. In the man’s case, it’s another writer or two. In my daughter’s case, it’s one of her friends and her family.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

And, of course, every good writer needs the help of a good editor.

Rarebear's avatar

As long as you don’t plagiarize your help.

marinelife's avatar

Not at all, but I am not sure that Q & A sites are the best place. I would suggest you join a writer’s group.

downtide's avatar

As a writer myself, I absolutely disagree with the idea that a writer should not seek help and ideas from others. I’m not sure that Fluther would be the best place to ask for help but there are plenty of writers groups online that you could join for critique and ideas.

tranquilsea's avatar

You may want to try Nanowrimo. November is when Nanowrimo writers take the month to write 60,000 words. Any time you’re stuck on anything the fellow writers on that site are there to help you out.

One tip is to just start writing and don’t stop. Write gibberish, write out your schedule, describe the room you’re sitting in. Doing that can OFTEN jumpstart ideas. To that end there is software out there called, “Write Or Die”. That software will start deleting your work at a certain paused time and keep deleting it until you start typing. It’s highly motivating.

You may want to check out Stephen King’s, “On Writing” for some great writing tips.

After all that: of course you can ask for help :)

Mimishu1995's avatar

Thanks for all your answer everybody! Now I’m motivated again and will get my so-far plot ready as soon as I can.
@Pachyderm_In_The_Room @downtide And now I hate Yahoo Answer even more >:( Yahoo Answer resents me and so do I :D
@downtide But I trust Fluther the most :) Will try to seek help from other places though

JamesHarrison's avatar

Yes sure, why not. It is a common way, which is used by many writer & what’s a wrong with this. I think you should have to go with this decision.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
amack's avatar

Yes! My writing teacher always told me don’t be afraid to ask for help and feedback. “The more heads thinking the better your writing is but don’t take all the credit ”

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