Writing?

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Bassoon
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Re: Writing?

Postby Bassoon » Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:55 pm UTC

If you enjoy fora writing a lot, perhaps you could become an essayist. Not essay in the sense of high school or college, but more in the sense of "prose writing that doesn't really fit into a fiction/nonfiction dichotomy." There are plenty of writers out there who publish books of essays and are renowned for it.

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Vanguard
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Re: Writing?

Postby Vanguard » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

Hentzau wrote:Is there anyone here who knows the ins and outs of writing a novel? For the first time in my life, I feel compelled to try writing one,and I wonder how much time it takes the average writer to do it with a "full life" also running. A year, two perhaps?


Find a book store. Find whatever section refers to "help" of some sort.

And find one to three of the SKINNIEST writing-help books you can find. Believe it or not, the smallest are the most helpful because, as one of Stephen King's own help books said, "has a significant lack of bullshit". (or something similar, it's been a long time since I've read it).

Overall, if you want to be a writer, Just Write. Blogs, essays, short stories, fan fiction, poetry. Work your way up if you're just starting. I just don't think it's wise to go head-first into a novel (But who knows, maybe you can handle it). Either way, just write anything. Anytime. All. The time.
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Jorpho
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Re: Writing?

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:09 am UTC

It sounds like you and I have a somewhat similar problem, Mr. Vanguard GoodRudeFun. I suggest committing yourself to something you want to do even less than writing. It has been said that people can do amazing amounts of work as long as it is not the work they are supposed to be doing.

For the "this seems like crap" problem, I would suggest soldiering forth anyway, even if at the end you have to throw away a quarter of what you've done. After all, the point of NaNo is not necessarily to produce 50k words of quality.
Last edited by Jorpho on Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:06 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Vanguard
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Re: Writing?

Postby Vanguard » Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:15 am UTC

What problem? o_O
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Jorpho
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Re: Writing?

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:07 am UTC

(Whoops, how did that happen?)

GoodRudeFun
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Re: Writing?

Postby GoodRudeFun » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:05 am UTC

Bassoon wrote:If you enjoy fora writing a lot, perhaps you could become an essayist. Not essay in the sense of high school or college, but more in the sense of "prose writing that doesn't really fit into a fiction/nonfiction dichotomy." There are plenty of writers out there who publish books of essays and are renowned for it.
That's not a bad idea. I had a "journal" that I wrote in for a short time. Most of what I ended up writing was of that nature.

That too felt like it was worthless, but it was easier and a lot more fun to write. I had a three page work on something about spirituality lol. The problems I had there where a little more addressable. Mostly I had issues with composition. I could say what I wanted to say, but it was pretty much just a pointless flow of ideas. I could go back and edit it though. That and I'll probably learn how to deal with all of that after I've got a few classes at college under my belt. I really should get back to doing that, but it felt kinda stupid. At least it was easy though, and I felt pretty good having written something.
Jorpho wrote:It sounds like you and I have a somewhat similar problem, Mr. Vanguard GoodRudeFun. I suggest committing yourself to something you want to do even less than writing. It has been said that people can do amazing amounts of work as long as it is not the work they are supposed to be doing.

For the "this seems like crap" problem, I would suggest soldiering forth anyway, even if at the end you have to throw away a quarter of what you've done. After all, the point of NaNo is not necessarily to produce 50k words of quality.
So when I get a job, bring my notebook? That sounds like fun :P My first job will probably be somewhere like a gas station or a convenience store, and I'll hopefully be working graveyards, so I'm betting there will be plenty of hours with nothing to do. If i have my journal with me that'd be the perfect time to write.
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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Vanguard
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Re: Writing?

Postby Vanguard » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:10 pm UTC

GoodRudeFun:
In the middle of my freshman year in high school, I started bringing composition notebooks (the ones with the funky black and white patterns on them :D). By graduation, I had over 12 of them, completely full of random doodlings, art, poems, and short stories.
It's worth it.
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PAstrychef
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Re: Writing?

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:56 pm UTC

All right, GoodRudeFun- you have to pony up here. Set yourself a small goal, like 250 words a day. Your fantasy idea sounds workable-you can start by asking some questions about the situation. Why do the alchemist have slaves? Why does the scholar wander around?
Set your character a goal-he wanders around to collect knowledge because....he's trying to save the world. he's trying to uncover the past. He's trying to escape a bad home life. He's looking for a stolen child/friend/lover. He's a psychopathic killer and he leaves dead bodies in his wake.
Give him nine steps to complete the goal. And then nine reasons why he can't, and how he overcomes them. That's your plot.
If you can't remember to do the writing at the end of the day, try getting up an hour earlier. Then you can write to make the loss of sleep seem worthwhile.
Don't wonder if it's any good-doing the work comes first. And seriously-there is plenty of what I consider crap out there, so you can't do much worse than some really well known authors.
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.

Bassoon
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Re: Writing?

Postby Bassoon » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

GoodRudeFun wrote:That's not a bad idea. I had a "journal" that I wrote in for a short time. Most of what I ended up writing was of that nature.

That too felt like it was worthless, but it was easier and a lot more fun to write. I had a three page work on something about spirituality ¡This cheese is burning me!. The problems I had there where a little more addressable. Mostly I had issues with composition. I could say what I wanted to say, but it was pretty much just a pointless flow of ideas. I could go back and edit it though. That and I'll probably learn how to deal with all of that after I've got a few classes at college under my belt. I really should get back to doing that, but it felt kinda stupid. At least it was easy though, and I felt pretty good having written something.


Even if it feels stupid, do it. There's nothing to be gained from life by doing things that don't feel weird at first. With time, it will feel normal. It's merely something to get used to, like a new pair of shoes. Plus, if you want to write, you need all the practice you can get. Even writing like this, on fora, is great writing practice, specifically prose practice. Keep writing! It'll become more natural as you write more.

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Re: Writing?

Postby GoodRudeFun » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:01 am UTC

Bassoon wrote:
GoodRudeFun wrote:That's not a bad idea. I had a "journal" that I wrote in for a short time. Most of what I ended up writing was of that nature.

That too felt like it was worthless, but it was easier and a lot more fun to write. I had a three page work on something about spirituality ¡This cheese is burning me!. The problems I had there where a little more addressable. Mostly I had issues with composition. I could say what I wanted to say, but it was pretty much just a pointless flow of ideas. I could go back and edit it though. That and I'll probably learn how to deal with all of that after I've got a few classes at college under my belt. I really should get back to doing that, but it felt kinda stupid. At least it was easy though, and I felt pretty good having written something.


Even if it feels stupid, do it. There's nothing to be gained from life by doing things that don't feel weird at first. With time, it will feel normal. It's merely something to get used to, like a new pair of shoes. Plus, if you want to write, you need all the practice you can get. Even writing like this, on fora, is great writing practice, specifically prose practice. Keep writing! It'll become more natural as you write more.
Thats exactly what I keep telling myself. I still haven't been able to get myself to sit down and write, but mostly because I've been able to get myself to read (another thing I love that I don't do nearly enough of). I've been reading H2G2, so I haven't had time to write.

Hrm, I think next time I'm reading I'm going to use that as a tool for writing, I'll write down what I'm thinking. I really just need to find excuses to write, you're probably right in that once I get used to it for a while It will come naturally and I'll probably even feel weird when I'm not writing.

EDIT: do we have a H2G2 thread? if not, this needs to be corrected....
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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SecondTalon
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Re: Writing?

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:34 pm UTC

GhostWolfe wrote: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
Just bouncing off of Ghostangellwolfe here...

Now, while this won't always work... but if you're writing about Tom Sherman, Shoemaker in the capital city of Erandor (You know, Erandor..ville..town. Erandorvilletown)... alright, you probably should know the ruler's name, and a little about the lineage (Unless lineage is SUPERIMPORTANT!).. if Tom goes travelling andends up in the nation of Berlando in some backwater village... you *might* need to know the title of the ruler(s) of Berlando. If it never comes up, then.. it never comes up.

I suppose what I'm saying is.. do both. If something becomes important, backstory it. Otherwise, don't bother, as you'll just write yourself into a corner. What this effectively means is that if you have Shelia as being an incredibly important character in the climax because she's actually a disguised demondragon (or what the fuck ever) then you may not have come up with that until chapter 17... but you should do her history real quick, go back through what you've written and see if you can drop a couple of hints here and there. Sure, you made her mysteeeerious already, but throw in an unusually attraction to precious metals and a hesitance to come near the clergy, and the pieces are in place so it doesn't seem like it comes out of left field.

That said, there's no reason to plot out her life and history at the start of the book. It's entirely possible that you'll have grown tired of her by Chapter 17 and would much rather Carl be the key to success. A little editing later and you have her step out around chapter 10 or so and Carl step in. THEN you chart his history.


So, yeah.. not quite just make it up as you go, but also not a requirement of 10,000 years of history before you get started on the prologue either.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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GhostWolfe
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Re: Writing?

Postby GhostWolfe » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:05 am UTC

ST is full of good advice. A lot of my "appendices" I wrote simply because that way I could assume that the reader understood what the (for example) the rank "High Sentinel" meant in relation to the rank "Sentinel-Templar", without trying to awkwardly shoe-horning that into the story somewhere.

tl; dr - detail is good, but don't get bogged down by it. Do it as an extra-circular activity, if you've finished your writing homework ;)

/angell
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Jorpho
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Re: Writing?

Postby Jorpho » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:28 pm UTC

Someone was telling me great things about The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing the other day. Are any of you familiar with it?

(Of course, I reckon if everyone is writing according to the same template or whatever it is, any potential publisher will be able to smell it a mile away and ditch it quickly – but then, there's something to be said for a tool that will allow one to get anything down at all, and never mind publishing.)

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Kewangji
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Re: Writing?

Postby Kewangji » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:17 am UTC

'tis a good topic, good thing you revived it.

Never heard of the Marshall Plan. Just read through it on a website, and … eh, that sounds bland? I mean, from the short article I found online, it sounds very much like making yourself a prisoner of a genre.* Probably good practise, though. I've used the first few steps of the snowflake method sometimes, it's been … somewhat useful. Every novel/novella-length thing I've written has been planned differently, and the short stories I write come about in very many ways.

Drabbles, I usually write in one go – until my pen stops at the 100th word or so, then edit for length. For vignettes, I usually imagine a scene, and then flesh it out. So the beginning and end are the same in my mind. For longer stories, I most often have the end in mind before starting writing, but sometimes I write a bit and then decide I need to end the story, so I work from there unto the end.

Currently, I'm plotting my NaNoWriMo novel, and it's itching in my fingers to write it. It'll be fun.

*Not that writing in a specific genre is bad.
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Re: Writing?

Postby IcedT » Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:58 am UTC

I've committed to participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but I realized that I've read only one novel in the last year and a half, maybe two years (though I've read close to a dozen nonfic in that same time, not counting school reading), so I'm gonna try and knock out The Picture of Dorian Gray and reread a couple Dostoevsky short stories just to get myself reacquainted. World-building (in sci-fi, fantasy, and alt-history settings) is something I just do passively during the day, but I have trouble populating those worlds with interesting people and conflicts so I'm leaning towards postmodern and semi-autobiographical for NaNoWriMo. I'm thinking as an exercise, I'll pick my journal back up and start characterizing real people.

Hopefully something comes of this, teachers and professors have always been really impressed with my writing and friends tell me I'm a great storyteller, but somehow I hadn't really put the work in until now.

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Jorpho
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Re: Writing?

Postby Jorpho » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

The Machine of Death people actually had some rather profound blog posts on the subject a while ago:
http://machineofdeath.net/armor
http://machineofdeath.net/single-anything


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