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eightysevendegrees
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Re: Writing a book

Postby eightysevendegrees » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:20 pm UTC

peter-lebt wrote:yes, a novel is different from a shortstory.

but: if you cannot manage to write a 20 or 40 pages coherent text - then chances are high you will never be able to complete a novel ... ;)


20 pages of coherent text is one thing. A good short story with a coherent plot, developed characters and a sensible pace is another matter. I have the greatest respect for people who can write good short stories. With a short story, you have to have many of the aspects of a good novel, but with none of the freedom in length. You have to keep everything compact without making it seem rushed.

I can't write short stories. I can write half-page meanderings with no plot. Or I try and get a plot into the story and before I know it I'm at the forty page mark and I'm still adding new aspects to the plotline.

I write novels (the latest set of proofs for my first published novel are sitting on my coffee table right now) but I can't write short stories. Some people can write both but a lot of people can write (at least, write to a standard they're happy with) only one or the other. I don't like the assumption that is often made that short stories can be used as a sort of practice for writing novels. The way to practice writing novels is to start writing novels. The novel which will be published later this year is in fact the fifth attempt I've made at writing a novel (including the really, really awful one I started when I was eleven) that I've completed. The only way to write novels is to start writing one and see what happens (although I accept that quite a lot of authors "start writing" by doing research, plotting, character development, world-building or various other exercises and activities, not necessarily sitting down and starting writing chapter one).

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Re: Writing a book

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

Kinda seconding some responses here..

Don't worry about the genre. Just write. Hell, what you think was going to be a sci-fi book could turn out to be a murder mystery that just happens to be in the future.. and you change the setting to the 30s or something without any problems, because the setting wasn't nearly the focus you thought it was going to be.

The Internet is a wonderful place to get test readers if you don't want to show your friends and family.

As for what to do with it when you're done.... well, I'd worry about that when you get to it.
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heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Amoeba » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:49 pm UTC

Out of interest, when we're talking pages, is that of typed A4 or of 'book pages'?
Jesus Christ you have confused me

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Re: Writing a book

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:02 pm UTC

One good way to get started is to give yourself a daily goal-500 words, or 1,000 words aren't too hard to manage. Do it EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are lots of good books out there about writing, go read some of them. But get in your word count, and soon you will have a story or a novel. It may be crap, but you can edit it, or use what you learned and write another one.
Get your butt in the chair and do the work, and then you'll have something.
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Re: Writing a book

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:44 am UTC

Step 1: If you suck, fix that; otherwise go on to step two.
Step 2: Don't suck.

It still amazes me as to the absolute lack of talent I come into contact with in my 500 level writing classes. If you're just writing cheap Eragon knock-offs (which I hope to hell don't exist) then you might as well not bother with the after finishing part (even though, to the disgrace of literature shit like that'll be published).

Frankly, step 1 is just getting yourself able to write well. People reading it is just people whom you trust to give you an honest opinion and not shove rainbows up your ass.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Iori_Yagami » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:01 pm UTC

Good book <> book which everyone likes, just like good-selling movie <> good artistic deep movie.
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Re: Writing a book

Postby peter-lebt » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:28 pm UTC

I like Cory Doctorow's comments on "How to Write in the Age of Distraction":

http://www.locusmag.com/Features/2009/0 ... ge-of.html

have fun!
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Re: Writing a book

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

one more hint-the first readers of your work should only be people who have never seen you naked. That means no girlfriends or family. They will only tell you how wonderful you are, and what you need are people who can tell you what you did wrong.
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:13 pm UTC

MartrK wrote:1: I can never decide what genre I want to do whether it be fantasy, sci-fi or possibly sort of based on real life (like One Dead Seagull, by Scot Gardner).
Like everyone said, don't constrict yourself by genre... But it is true that depending on where you live, and other factors, sci-fi/fantasy is much, much harder to get published. Much harder.

2: What do I do once it is finished, because I have no idea where to go or anything.
Have it evaluated. See if it sucks (see next question). If it doesn't, send publishers a letter with a synopsis and sample chapter, and ask if they'd like the entire manuscript. If they do, send them the entire manuscript. Get rejected. Repeat several hundred times. Possibly get published.
To find publishers to send letters to, go to a bookstore or library, and find books similar in genre or market to the one you've written, and look in the front for publisher contact details.

3: Who should I get to test read it, because I don't really think I have the courage to get my friends or family to do it.
There are all sorts of writers groups who sit around and mercilessly critique each other, you could try and find one of those.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby eightysevendegrees » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:It still amazes me as to the absolute lack of talent I come into contact with in my 500 level writing classes. If you're just writing cheap Eragon knock-offs (which I hope to hell don't exist) then you might as well not bother with the after finishing part (even though, to the disgrace of literature shit like that'll be published).

Hey, not true. I've written some truly appalling stuff in the past. I've now got a book on it's way to being published.

The first book written by the vast majority of people will suck. There should be another step between your steps one and two. Figure out why it sucks and try not to do that again. Then loop back to step one. First attempts won't be publishable. Forth and fifth attempts might be. The difficult thing is not giving up after the first.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Spinoza » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:27 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Step 1: If you suck, fix that; otherwise go on to step two.
Step 2: Don't suck.

It still amazes me as to the absolute lack of talent I come into contact with in my 500 level writing classes. If you're just writing cheap Eragon knock-offs (which I hope to hell don't exist) then you might as well not bother with the after finishing part (even though, to the disgrace of literature shit like that'll be published).

Frankly, step 1 is just getting yourself able to write well. People reading it is just people whom you trust to give you an honest opinion and not shove rainbows up your ass.


Do you write like the above in your 500 level writing classes? :lol:

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Re: Writing a book

Postby GoodRudeFun » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:08 am UTC

I'm right there with you. I'd like to write a book as well, and the hardest part is getting started.

You could just start writing, but if you're like me you have no idea wtf to start writing in the first place. A solution I've figured is to write little bits and pieces of your story. It might not be what you had in mind for the beginning, but you probably didn't know what you wanted at the beginning anyways. So start writing, maybe a random conversation or meeting you want to take place in your novel. Or maybe just describe a few settings, or characters.

Hopefully doing this should help you get more of a feel of what you want for your story.


Also, try the national novel writing month in November. It might be just what you need to get started, if you feel like waiting around. Still, you don't need anything but your mind, and something to write with. Just start writing :D
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby LLCoolDave » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:19 am UTC

Something that I'm surprised hasn't been brought up: Writing a novel is a huge time investment. Assuming you want to write a decently sized novel of 200 to 300 pages, and assuming you'll, on average, find two hours a day to spend on writing it (depending on your dedication and time schedule that might already be a lot more than you can/will expend), which I guess will on average lead to about two pages a day, you will have to spend between 3 and 5 months of daily writing to finish the first draft.

And then you still have to edit it.

If you are trying to write novel as a part-time hobbyist, be prepared to spend a lot of time on it. If you cannot see yourself spending two to three hours at least every second day for the next 6 months, I wouldn't recommend starting just yet. I'd strongly recommend trying short stories at first, if solely for the reason that they are, well, shorter. You may find the format isn't suited for you, but at least the time commitment to a shortstory isn't generally all that big. You definitely don't want to figure out after 4 Months and 150 pages that you don't enjoy writing the novel anymore, ESPECIALLY not on your first one.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Narla » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:06 am UTC

Well, i've been wrtiting a book for 4 years now and i've got 2 paragraphs.
no joke
what you write now you will look back on one year later and delete. i write because i love it, and i'm pretty good. if you want to write and publish a book, you will do it. called Power Of a Vision. totaly works.
what you need to do is just go for it. PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN. seriously. you will no doubt find this for yourself, but planing it KEY. like i was saying before, i wrote and wrote wrote and i went no where so i had to delete and plan. i mean- WHO are your characters? Know then better then you know yourslef. WHERE are they going, and WHY? WHEN is this all set?
Fiction is fun, its my fav. when i decided to write a book 4 years ago, i knew fiction would be my thing. the thing is that it always changes and at the moment i've got a book that is TOTALY differnt from the original, and now its sort of turning into Romance/fiction.
Another important thing to do is READ. if you want to be a good writer, all you need to do is read and write.

and for gods sake, dont use Intro, Complication, Conclusion. Anything written in that format is boring and predictable.

Read more, sleep less, and go crazy.
Narla

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Smiling Hobo » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:49 am UTC

1. Do whatever you want. Don't confine yourself, as others have said.
2. Go to your local Borders, look in the Reference Books section, there are sure to be some books on writing for publication.
3. Go to Writing Workshops, ask people on internet forums, ask family/friends, or evaluate it yourself...just keep editing it until you think you've got a near perfect product.

Also, how long have you been writing for? You aren't going to wake up one day and be able to write a good book, just as you aren't going to wake up one day and play like Jimi Hendrix on guitar.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby AVbd » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:03 am UTC

Narla wrote:Read more, sleep less, and go crazy.

I would recommend sleeping more; getting enough REM sleep is very important for creativity. Having said that, the adage “early to bed, early to rise [etc.]” is complete bull. The most important thing is consistency, but if you go to bed and wake up later, you'll be getting a proportionally higher amount of REM sleep (as opposed to SWS (Slow-Wave Sleep), which is important for restoration and growth, among other things). Of course, this isn't a thread on sleep, so I'll leave you to do some research yourself, if you choose.

I've never written a book before, but you might find this article and its complement on DeviantArt useful for an explanation on getting stuff published and what not. Other than that I have nothing to contribute other than well-wishes and this platter of fresh muffins we can all enjoy.

Muffins anyone?

Muffins?

Smiling Hobo wrote:Also, how long have you been writing for? You aren't going to wake up one day and be able to write a good book, just as you aren't going to wake up one day and play like Jimi Hendrix on guitar.

*Nibbles on kitten*

‹<has a single tear fall down his cheek>›

If I had but known that before that fateful day! So much heartache, and so many lives would have been spared!

Oh, and the stuff about playing like Hendrix is relevant too.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby cathrl » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:13 am UTC

Smiling Hobo wrote:Also, how long have you been writing for? You aren't going to wake up one day and be able to write a good book, just as you aren't going to wake up one day and play like Jimi Hendrix on guitar.



I think that's the main one. So many people seem to think that all they'll need to do is sit down and write words - once they do that they'll have a book to publish.

The other thing you need to ask yourself is what is it you want? Do you want to write a book? Then why aren't you sitting down and writing it, however good it may be and whatever genre it might end up in and regardless of whether you'll be able to find someone to critique it? If you own a pen and a notepad,there isn't anything stopping you.

Or do you want to have written a book? That's a whole lot more common, and there really isn't an answer for it except "so sit down and write it". I'd like to have put in the hours of training to be an Olympic athlete, and the hours of practice to be a really good pianist instead of a mediocre one. But I haven't, so I'm not.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Jorpho » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:42 pm UTC

We've done this before.
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=30762
GoodRudeFun wrote:You could just start writing, but if you're like me you have no idea wtf to start writing in the first place. A solution I've figured is to write little bits and pieces of your story. It might not be what you had in mind for the beginning, but you probably didn't know what you wanted at the beginning anyways. So start writing, maybe a random conversation or meeting you want to take place in your novel. Or maybe just describe a few settings, or characters.
In fact, this sounds very much like what yWriter was meant for.

My only major outlet for really creative writing these days is responding to personal ads. I am astonished at times by the reams of florid prose that can spring forth from nowhere. If I wanted to be dramatic and rather inaccurate, I would say that one of the things holding me back from really getting into a novel is all the ugly and vicious personal demons I might have to confront along the way.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby eightysevendegrees » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:45 am UTC

MartrK wrote:I think this is going to be a very long term project as I can only get creative when I'm in the right mood, and I'm just not in the mood that much.

I realise that approach to writing is a very personal thing, but I think that if you wait until you're in the right mood each time, it will take decades to finish. By that time, hopefully your writing style will have improved considerably, so you'll probably dislike the beginning of the book immensely.

When I was writing the first draft of Child of the Hive, I would sit down and write every day at least a thousand words. It didn't matter if I was busy or tired or didn't feel creative; I would still write. I wrote each part (there are two parts and I took quite a long gap between finishing the first and starting the second) in probably about a month and a half. Sure, it needed a hell of a lot of editing, but I got the book out in a reasonable length of time. If I don't write things quickly, I get distracted by the next exciting idea and end up with hundreds of first chapters but no novels. I think this is a fairly common problem.

If you're new to writing, maybe you shouldn't set yourself such an ambitious goal, but still try to write every day. One of my friends is currently doing just that. She writes maybe one or two hundred words each day. Then she'll have a burst of creativity and on those days she'll write loads. You have to get into the habit of writing. I am a great believer in getting advice and I've read loads of "how to write" books and attended various author's workshops, but the only way to get the novel out is to sit down at your computer and start typing. Set yourself a challenge to write something every day for a month and see what happens.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Jack Saladin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:26 am UTC

Yeah, that "creative mood" stuff unpublished amateurs go on about all the time? Total bullshit. You're capable of writing at any moment, you just have to force yourself to expend the effort. Ultimately, when you look back, the stuff you wrote while you were feeling all sparkly and "creative" won't be any better than the stuff you just sat down and hammered out. If anything, it'll be worse.

Writing is about effort, understanding, and a shittonne of experience. It's not about crying magical unicorn tears onto the page straight out of your creativixic gland, instantly creating a classic novel. It's not easy, and it doesn't come quickly, and you won't do it right the first time. Or the first ten times.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby AVbd » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:54 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:yWriter

I downloaded that (it's free/gratis), but other than starting it up once, I haven't used it since. Is it worth firing up again? I seem to remember multitudes of dialogue boxes.

Speaking of software, has anyone here tried using a personal wiki for making babies stories? They automatically keep track of all the revisions of whatever you write, and you create new pages just by linking to them, so you can create stuff as you think of it while writing something else. You can also create one on the Web that you can access from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Actually, the few ones on the web I've bothered looking at are annoying and look ugly, but I assume that there's some decent wiki-hosting somewhere.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby Elvish Pillager » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:16 am UTC

eightysevendegrees wrote:20 pages of coherent text is one thing. A good short story with a coherent plot, developed characters and a sensible pace is another matter. I have the greatest respect for people who can write good short stories. With a short story, you have to have many of the aspects of a good novel, but with none of the freedom in length. You have to keep everything compact without making it seem rushed.

I can't write short stories. I can write half-page meanderings with no plot. Or I try and get a plot into the story and before I know it I'm at the forty page mark and I'm still adding new aspects to the plotline.

I write novels (the latest set of proofs for my first published novel are sitting on my coffee table right now) but I can't write short stories. Some people can write both but a lot of people can write (at least, write to a standard they're happy with) only one or the other. I don't like the assumption that is often made that short stories can be used as a sort of practice for writing novels. The way to practice writing novels is to start writing novels. The novel which will be published later this year is in fact the fifth attempt I've made at writing a novel (including the really, really awful one I started when I was eleven) that I've completed. The only way to write novels is to start writing one and see what happens (although I accept that quite a lot of authors "start writing" by doing research, plotting, character development, world-building or various other exercises and activities, not necessarily sitting down and starting writing chapter one).

A fair analysis. It's certainly true that one can't get enough practice to become a good novelist purely by writing short stories.

I'm a writer of short stories. I don't write novels, although I think I could if I wanted to; the form doesn't interest me much at this point. To me, one work of fiction should express one idea as powerfully as possible, and the extent to which length can help that is actually rather limited.

What I wouldn't say is that you can't learn a lot about writing that applies equally well to novel-writing by writing short stories. To write a short story, you scrutinize every detail of the prose, of the sequence of the story - how to express ideas as efficiently as possible, how to recognize where "show, don't tell" is meaningful and where it's crap... and if you write short stories, you get feedback much faster than if you write novels.

So, I'd say - anyone who wants to write prose should take some time to write short stories, in the sense that they should force themselves to stretch their abilities; that they should write experimentally, with strange and limiting premises; that they should study how to maximize dramatic effect with a minimum of words or even with a minimum of information. It'll give them, the novelist, a deeper understanding of their medium.

What it won't give them is, of course, that necessity - practice.
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Re: Writing a book

Postby casiguapa » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:44 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:one more hint-the first readers of your work should only be people who have never seen you naked. That means no girlfriends or family. They will only tell you how wonderful you are, and what you need are people who can tell you what you did wrong.


This works in the reverse too, don't ask family/girlfriend/boyfriend if you're not ready for them to NOT like your work. Because everyone has different tastes in literature, and you shouldn't take it out on them (which some writers do) when you don't get the response you were looking for from them.

Also, I really wouldn't advise it (and this may be constructed as bad advice, I'm only stating my personal opinion) if you are not thick skinned. Be prepared for people to hate it, but for every person who hates it, there'll be someone who loves it. Prepare yourself for criticism. A lot of aspiring writers don't ready themselves for it. Be confident in your talent, and treat every knockback as a personal goal to achieving a great piece of literature.
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Re: Writing a book

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:49 am UTC

Spinoza wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:Step 1: If you suck, fix that; otherwise go on to step two.
Step 2: Don't suck.

It still amazes me as to the absolute lack of talent I come into contact with in my 500 level writing classes. If you're just writing cheap Eragon knock-offs (which I hope to hell don't exist) then you might as well not bother with the after finishing part (even though, to the disgrace of literature shit like that'll be published).

Frankly, step 1 is just getting yourself able to write well. People reading it is just people whom you trust to give you an honest opinion and not shove rainbows up your ass.


Do you write like the above in your 500 level writing classes? :¡This cheese is burning me!:

No, I don't. I do a good job of not writing about angst ridden teenagers or fucking up the history of Darwin's journey. Seriously, at least make it accurate to the damn wikipedia page.

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Re: Writing a book

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

As for the idea that writing is a huge time investment-so is doing anything really well. I try to get in 1,000 words a day, and that usually takes between 1 and 3 hours. But it's what I want to be doing with that time. I want to be writing more than I want to be playing games or watching TV or going to the gym-which would probably be much better for me (the gym, that is).
And to think that 6 months is a long time is a very short term view of things. "Hey! I wrote a 60,000 word novel in 6 months!" doesn't sound too shabby. It's about the time authors who have one book a year published take. Story factories like J. Ringo are a whole 'nother species.
The hardest part is getting the butt in front of the transcribing device (Neal Stephenson writes things in longhand on legal pads) and getting the story from your brain to the page.
Don't edit too much until a draft is finished-or you will, to quote Balzac (I think) "Spent the morning putting a comma. Spent the afternoon taking it out."
And KEEP WRITING!
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Re: Writing a book

Postby tsevenhuysen » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

AVbd wrote:
Jorpho wrote:yWriter

Speaking of software, has anyone here tried using a personal wiki for making babies stories? They automatically keep track of all the revisions of whatever you write, and you create new pages just by linking to them, so you can create stuff as you think of it while writing something else. You can also create one on the Web that you can access from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Actually, the few ones on the web I've bothered looking at are annoying and look ugly, but I assume that there's some decent wiki-hosting somewhere.

MediaWiki is the Wikipedia one, and tends to be the most popular.

Using wiki software to plan/write a novel is actually a lot more interesting than I thought on first reaction. It's especially interesting if you're creating a world with a major backstory, etc. Something to think about...
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Re: Writing a book

Postby DivideByZero » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:17 am UTC

This interests me too as I'm currently writing something that I want to eventually publish.

My tactic is to start a new word document every once in a while and write a story as it comes to mind - but only write it I feel the extraordinary feel of writing an epic story. Then once I accumulate about a dozen different documents, I start filling in the gaps and connecting them into one big prose.
Rinse, repeat.

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Re: Writing?

Postby Jorpho » Wed May 20, 2009 2:30 am UTC

I've been thinking about this again. (Dark room is downright seductive.) I feel like two things are stopping me:

First, the notion that my ideas are stupid and ultimately unworkable, and that any story I try to construct around them will collapse into a stinking, unworkable pile of absurdity (as opposed to one of those pretty piles of absurdity that smell faintly of honeysuckle) before I make it to ten thousand words. Maybe these feelings hearken back to my early creative writing experiences in elementary school, when I did dribble out some very stupid stories, as elementary school students are wont to do. Perhaps it is a confidence issue.

Many years after elementary school, there were times when I took to expressing my distress in poring out thousands of words about how much I hated myself and the situations I found myself in, and I remain intensely grateful that it never occurred to me to try posting any of it on the Internet. (I did send much it off to one very trustworthy individual who frequently had the nerve to tell me that she liked it, though.) I suppose there are many much less healthy things I could have done to work off my frustrations, but I started to believe my own propaganda after a while, and that in turn kind of set me off on a self-perpetuating cycle of unpleasantness. I would be concerned about the same thing happening again.

I suppose there's really only one response to these two complaints: "Quit whining and start writing anyway." I kind of wish there was a decent support group hereabouts, but the organizations that could potentially be of service are off on summer break.

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PAstrychef
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Re: Writing?

Postby PAstrychef » Sun May 24, 2009 4:01 am UTC

You can't worry abut how silly your ideas seem, you still have to work with them. I mean, what else are you going to write about ? Someone else's ideas? Some part of the story grabbed your attention- a person, a situation, a visual image. Explore that. Who is this person, how did they get into this mess and where the hell are we anyway?
And if you look at it, much of life is absurd anyway. Almost everything shown on a movie screen is absurd, as is the idea that there are meanings in events. As for wanting support, there are some good online writers groups, but if you look for yourself you'll find one you like. Put your character in a situation. Give him/her/it something to desire. Place obstacles in the path. Present possible solutions until one works. Taa Daa!
I have a friend who writes in the most analyzed way imaginable and who has created a whole set of wiki tools to let him see what his story is doing in any of a number of matrices. But in the end, he still has to sit down and write.
John Scalzi had a great idea when he wrote Agent to the Stars. He called it his practice novel, the one he would use to figure out how to do this. He didn't worry about much, because it was only for practice. And it worked really well.
So yeah-park in front of the transcription device and get the words out of your head and into the world.
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

bbq
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Re: Writing?

Postby bbq » Sun May 24, 2009 12:24 pm UTC

I am aiming to, when I am older, write good fantasy.. At the moment I'm working on world-building, quite exhaustively. I think the general idea I have at the moment is to make the stories fit the world, not the world to fit the stories.

I seem to have a talent for being creative and making plotlines and histories- the hard bit is getting the actual words down.
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Mere Accumulation Of Observational Evidence Does Not Constitute 'Proof'.

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PAstrychef
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Re: Writing?

Postby PAstrychef » Sun May 24, 2009 5:31 pm UTC

Tolkien did a huge disservice to fantasy writers everywhere with his interest in linguistics, etc. Many of the almost writers I know have become mired down in the world-building part and forgotten the story. Phillip Pullman on the other hand, has answered questions about the world Lyra lives in with "I don't know that yet-if it ever matters to a story then I guess I'll find out."
What you're doing here is telling a story. If building worlds that are all coherent and such is all that you concentrate on, then you're better suited for game design-and the good games all have a story that pulls you through the world.
You really don't have to work out the genealogies of the kings for sixteen generations before you can start on your story about the poor farmer near the big dark woods. Authors of contemporary fiction don't start by explaining the world to their readers-and to get a good feel for an alien world read something in translation from a very different culture. All the reader needs to know is what's happening to the characters in front of them. Robert Jordan ruined an interesting start by telling his readers way too much about what each and every person in his story was doing at every given moment.
Also-this is a great distraction technique for avoiding writing. If you're avoiding the work at least be honest about it-play freecell instead.
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

bbq
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Re: Writing?

Postby bbq » Sun May 24, 2009 6:16 pm UTC

Hmm, I like your point.

I do however already have the major plotlines for the 'stories' written out in my head, I just want a world to give them depth.
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Mere Accumulation Of Observational Evidence Does Not Constitute 'Proof'.

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Re: Writing?

Postby GhostWolfe » Mon May 25, 2009 1:02 am UTC

I disagree... to an extent. Yes, it can be a distraction from the actual task at hand, but I've found writing about the world behind the story has helped me in two ways:

1. It's helped refine and clarify my ideas about certain things.
2. It's allowed me to remove extraneous descriptions from the body of the story without feeling like they're been "lost".

/angell
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harpyblues
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Re: Writing?

Postby harpyblues » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:14 am UTC

How old are you guys on here? Especially the really serious ones. When did you guys seriously get into writing and stuff? I've heard of people having stories and stuff done in their teens (and published *sigh*), but I haven't really gotten anything done yet in that front.

So far, I've participated in NaNo twice, but didn't win either time because the plot of both of them pretty much went 'fuck this' with the characters and it just sounded pretty stupid. I'm trying to do outlines more these days, but it's still hard to get anything to flow right and it sounds stilted anytime I read it. I don't know if this is the whole writer bias part- you know, where anything you write sounds bad to you because it just won't copy right down on paper, or something. And my family isn't much help with it, like a lot of people have said. It's all self-esteem and crap, or something. Argh

Overall, I've got maybe 80k words on my hard drive, probably more, since I lost a couple early bits of stories over the years. I've got the roots for short stories, two novels, and character interation snippets. It's just really hard to focus in on something, even after you've written a giant outline for it (admittedly, the most concise one I did was kind of crack!outliney, but still. The story didn't want to cooperate.) Snippets seem to work out okay- anything in giant story format gets pretty bogged down in being stilted. But I'm not really happy with it, and I'm just kind of stressed out with school these days (highschool isn't really that great of an environment to have to knock out 2-3 hours a day of writing, like some of you guys do). I've never finished a story, really.

Should I be worrying about this at 16, if I want to get into professional writing later in life?
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Jorpho
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Re: Writing?

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:58 am UTC

harpyblues wrote:Should I be worrying about this at 16, if I want to get into professional writing later in life?
Lawdy, that's a crapload of words for 16. I'm, um, ancient. I suppose there is something to be said for fueling one's prose with youthful passion and fury.

Let's all start posting our stuff in Your Art and Links, and we can take turns telling each other that we don't totally suck! Yeah!

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harpyblues
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Re: Writing?

Postby harpyblues » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:49 pm UTC

Well, it's NaNo, so the actual quality of it is pretty bad. :? Sometimes, it's a lot easier than others. Right now it's just 'agh...can't get into pre-vet school with my current future classes in highschool, so what else can I do?'

Being young is overrated.
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PAstrychef
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Re: Writing?

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:42 am UTC

Heck kiddo, I'm 48. I wrote on and off all my literate life, mostly poetry up through college. I only started writing fiction 2.5 years ago. One thing I've noticed about the folks who get published very young is that they get a big burst of PR by virtue of their age and often don't keep writing once they're adults.
One reason your stuff sounds stilted is that you just haven't had enough experience yet. It will come-you can't escape it. (Eragon worked as well as it did because the main character was younger than the author)
If you have a study hall or free period at school, use part of that to write in. Show your stuff to an english teacher you like-it may not be the one whose class you're in. Find or start a writing group at school, where you get together to discuss each other's work every so often. Or find one through meet-up online. Go to the library and find books by authors about writing. Lawrence Block is great to begin with. (Books about writing by people who have only written books about writing can be dreadful.) Find the methods that feel right to you and try them out. If you can't write every day try scheduling part of the weekend.
It will mean that you have to want to use your time to do this activity-just consider it another type of sport.
Keep it up-we'll be reading your stuff soon enough.
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

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Re: Writing?

Postby GoodRudeFun » Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:11 am UTC

I've always wanted to write. I remember being in third grade, when other kids wanted to join the police force or become fire fighters I wanted to write stories. I still do, but it seems as if that's never going to happen.

I can never get myself to actually write. My longest work was probably four pages tops, and that was my nano (probably still sitting on this computer somewhere). The idea was a traveling scholar in a fantasy world going around collecting knowledge. I wrote a three page sap story, started over and wrote something almost workable and then the next day I had given up. I get all kinds of awesome ideas that seem not only great to me at the time, but monumentally amazing. The problem is it ends there, and three months later the idea has turned from monumentally awesome to a waste of time. I need to get myself to write, but I have no idea how. I can always say "well yeah, I'm going to just sit down and write, it doesn't matter what comes of it, I just need to start" but it never happens, when I get home (usually occurs while driving) I completely forget I even considered it.

Another problem is that I have no idea if I can even create a worth while plot. The ideas I have are always for settings, or premises, but nothing on who does what or why they do it. Apparently I'm great at world building, but I'm afraid I'm going to find out I can't do shit with a plot. So while I've got a world where engineers are magicians and chemists are necromancers with a castle full of undead slaves, I don't have a hero or a story of any sort to work with. The scholar was the closest thing I had to a plot, but all I had there was "he travels"...

I need to make myself want to write... no, I need to make myself want to make myself write in the first place. It probably doesn't matter if I can't create a worth while plot if I'm not writing anything in the first place. Still, I can't do that, I have no idea how. How do I turn off that stupid voice in my head that says "no no, if you write this now you'll only end up making it unusable, don't bother"? How do I get to the point where I want to write, where all I want to do is create without caring about how horrible it turns out? I know that the only way to create something good is to practice, I know that my first attempt is going to be crap, but that it doesn't matter because I can still turn into something amazing if I practice. I know that but I still can't make myself take the first step.

Basically it comes down to: how do I stop caring but keep wanting?
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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Re: Writing?

Postby cathrl » Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:59 am UTC

If you want to write, write.

I'm afraid that right now you sound like someone who always wanted to be a great musician. Of course they could have been. Of course they had the talent. All they needed to do was make themself practice, but they never did.

Of course, it doesn't work like that. Great musicians can't not practice. Similarly, great writers can't not write. It's part of who they are. It's something they do all the time. Not something they might force themselves to do at some point.

If you can't even want to make yourself want to write...you probably don't want to write. Have you considered whether those ideas are all actually looking for another outlet? Lots of ideas and premises but no plot...maybe you could create a webcomic :) Run a role playing game set in your universe? Are you any good at painting, drawing or modelling?

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Re: Writing?

Postby GoodRudeFun » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:08 am UTC

Unfortunately no, I'm not so good with the visual arts. Of course there I could probably also improve with some practice.


I write, just not in the conventional sense. Most of my writing seems to come in the form of forum posts, and I enjoy it quite a lot too. I do love the act of writing, even when working on something as boring as an essay for class or something as simple as a forum post. I don't know....

Another outlet though... to tell you the truth, I'd love to work on lore for any kind of RPG. Hell, maybe I should do that. Instead of working it into some kind of novel I could simply work on writing bits of a role playing game. Then what ever comes of it comes of it. At the very least it'd be loads of fun. I'll try and think on other types of outlets as well. Maybe its a combination of the two, perhaps I need to find another form of writing... something I can work with in my own way.
Oh. Well that's alright then.


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