View Full Version : A question--this is not a creative writing endeavor

07-31-13, 02:24 PM
I was wondering if anyone here enjoys writing longer works? Novels, novellas? Just curious. I rarely ever write poems, mine usually come out vomit inducing and/or pretentious. I, however, like writing longer works. Even my few forays into short stories tend to expand. Not sure why. Maybe I just like to overcomplicate and extrapolate too much.

the dave
08-09-13, 09:37 PM
I tend to work on short stories, the book i'm working on at the moment- all the stories tie into one another and tell a greater story. I have problems sometimes with plot, I have lots of ideas its just making use of them in a logical way. And I have a tendency to write too much/ extrapolate.
I think I have to work out the ending first; and some plot points so I don't go off course too much.

08-10-13, 02:54 PM
I love the idea of multiple stories interconnecting and affecting each other. I once had this idea of a kind of political/social commentary taking place in this small/medium town. Different people would go about their day and have their own stories/arcs. At the same time I wanted there to be news stories and/or events that different characters would see, experience, or hear about and have their reactions and impressions differ depending on their age, character, and ideologies. Mostly I wanted to write something to show how different people from different walks of life might all see the same thing and come up to different conclusions, and more importantly, why. This never got past the initial idea phase, never even entered day dream, but I like the idea. Maybe in twenty years. I don't feel I have the life experience to do the idea justice just yet.

Everyone writes differently, and no one can call another person's process wrong. I love Stephen King's book On Writing, and take plenty of advice from it, but the thing I keep to heart the most is when he says that every tool--even the one's he vilifies--are on the table to use, as long as it works. He says he comes up with a simple premise or question--like what would happen if--and then lets the story reveal itself to him. I usually have this awesome scene in my head. I ask myself what's behind the scene, and then I just write a story leading up to it. Funny enough, the book I wrote doesn't even have the scene. All the stuff that was behind that scene is there, but the scene itself would never have worked with the story. That helped me learn to let go of things I love--kill your darlings--and tell the story as it needs to be told. Ideas can always be used for something else, you don't need to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the same pot. I ask myself what's the point of the story, what I wanted the end result to be, or how to make X or Y journey the best it can be. Helps keep me on track while staying flexible, and keeps my doubts from taking over. I plot like crazy, but I'm never married to a point because I thought it should happen before. If it needs to change now, then it does. I can't say this may be hindering you, I just know it's hindered me, but until I realized that events can change, and even the point of the story can change, I always give up because what was coming out, or what needed to come out, didn't fit the mold I had made.

I'm not even sure I'm saying this right. Partly because it's complicated, and partly because I believe most decisions a writer makes are intuitive. And I'm ridiculously excited just to be talking about it. I know almost no writers, and the few I do know I've met once or twice or barely talk to.

the dave
08-10-13, 06:33 PM
Starting from the bottom of your post and working up-- your point about events/point of the story being able to change, I think is possibly a more accurate reflection of life, possibly gives a more humanistic/realistic approach? Theres a part in Nausea by Sartre that this reminded me of:

So whether the adventures in the book are the peaks of that person's experiences- the more boring aspects could act as precedents, or help to accentuate those moments.
Trying to stay on course, I guess would lie in the question 'what is this story about' and right there, (in that initial seed is often adventure) and then trying to think more about that- what it encapsulates... and what is related to it.
I need to get some sort of process going to generate more ideas around that initial phase, beginning perhaps with a mind map- so rather than have ideas come later which might have more of an effect of derailing the story and taking it in another direction.

I would say that writing for writings sake can be fruitful, as part of the story's draft- and such ideas that seem to be born spontaneously have given me an idea for a second book that I can't wait to work on. (Writing seems to be sort of part of my thought process if that makes sense).
As for breaking rules, I know a number of writers have broken rules but they knew them to begin with; opposed to breaking rules without knowing. Its kind of like certain artists- Cezanne choosing to paint in a certain individualistic way and the Salon didn't believe that he intended to paint that way, even though he was an accomplished artist and had been trained in the traditional ways.
I view rules more like guidelines, and admittedly I'm still learning (i'm self taught).

I can relate to not wanting to use ideas until you've had the experience to present them in a way that does them justice, but I'm also of the view that if you come up with good ideas-- you're bound to come up with more.

08-12-13, 12:04 AM
I can't say my experience is all that huge, I don't really attempt to do more than novels, and the one I just wrote is the only one I've completed. On paper anyway, plenty of em have run through in my head. Any that have grabbed my attention for a significant amount of time all had at least one thing that I really liked. Didn't have to be important in the grand scheme of things. I have one that's ruminating in my head and I like it just because it lets me fantasize about a more down to earth 007 character and that world colliding with his home life. Nothing new or unique, but I'm enjoying the scenes in my head.

Back to point. When I wrote the last novel there were very specific things I kept in mind, specific beats. While details and characters and subplots changed, that one focus gave me the framework everything went around, worked toward. What I found funny about it is that focus changed about 20-30k words in. It was originally supposed to be about the relationship between the protagonist and one person, but somewhere within the above word counts I realized I was really writing about his relationship with another character, and I had even mimicked that thematic connection with other characters in the story without realizing. It was kind of like how Stephen King says he'll write a story--cuz the story is boss--and when he's done ask himself what it was all about. Then he'll highlight and expand on the themes already there. I did the same thing, I just did it way before I was done. I haven't started the next project, but I will feel it will mostly be the same. I probably won't know what the through-line will be once I start, but I know that if I don't see one at some, relatively, early point I'll lose interest. I agree when Mr. King says, the story is the boss, but I feel like I gotta know what his prerogative is to listen.

Doesn't have to be complicated. My novel, if distilled to the absolute bare bones essence, is a who am I story. I knew who he was, and who he wanted to be, so keep the ultimate answer was easy. Except for a few stubborn parts, the rest was just filling in the details. And that was more exciting than following a premade plot. My favorite moment was when the third act presented itself to me. I just knew what was going to happen. I wrote the last 40k in one 20 hour stretch. Loved it. Too bad it's too long for a debut novel :\.

08-12-13, 12:50 AM
What's "too long" for a debut novel?

I'm about 18k into mine, which is envisaged to be about 90k total

08-12-13, 01:53 AM
Well it really depends on what your genre is. There's a lot of info you can find through google, and while there is some variation, after a few links you see the basic essence. Something like YA and typical UF you want like 70-85, the lower end for YA and the higher end for UF. LF is about the 90, 95, 100k mark. And really for anything in the SFF area you wanna be around 100K. 120 is the upper tops in SFF, even then more fantasy than SF, and only if the book is kick in your teeth awesome. There are exceptions to the rule, but those are the general guidelines. Once someone is established that can change, but for unproven authors publishers don't want to take the risk. Too much paper, and once you pass the--I think its 400 or 450 page mark--the binding technique is a lot more expensive.

At the end of the day the book has to be as long as it has to be. Cut, kill your darlings and all that, but some stories need space. And some don't need to be long either. If the story is strong that's what matters. I wish you luck, and hope those word counts don't sneak up on you the way they did me. I have, and might still, play with the idea of splitting the story into two and billing it that way, but from everything I've read, the first story needs to stand on it's own, and mine can't split anywhere and really do that. And there's no way I can get 224k down to 100, especially since I have to expand some bits to make the story stronger. Back to the drawing board for a debut.

And if you don't mind me asking, what's the general genre, or mix, your story is?

08-12-13, 02:26 AM
Hey, we always have a tendency to look back and find our work pretentious or whatever. That does not mean we should ever quit writing or whatever. My mom is a published author and she's working on a novel she started in her 20s. I applaud her efforts to fine-tune her masterpiece from a more mature standpoint.

That's a fine lesson for all of us. Really.

08-12-13, 03:05 AM
Science Fiction / Murder Mystery

08-12-13, 11:44 AM
For that one I'd guess it depends on what it is more, SF with mystery elements, or mystery with SF elements. Just because mysteries tend to be shorter, like 60-70k range. But then again, 75k word long novels for middle school kids were unheard of before Harry Potter. I'd just write it as long as it needs to be, consider who the audience will more likely be (SF fans or mystery fans), and work accordingly. And always cut what can be cut. No matter the story or genre, shorter is usually sweeter.

I would suggest this though: Research manuscript formats and apply it retroactively and going forward. Font and size can be changed with a few button presses, but things like indent and paragraph spacing are trickier. I had to go back and re-indent everything in my manuscript because my spacing was .5 inches and the standard is .2. And, of course, word gave me formatting issues because there were times when it indented automatically, and there were times I hit tab. At the same time, I don't indent the first line of section breaks or new chapters so I had to make sure those were still fine too. It took me forever. Keeping it in mind now will save you a lot of headache later.

And while this will depend on the submission guidelines of the agent or publisher you're querying, the formats I've seen the most are: physical manuscripts double spaced, left justified except chapter marks, sized 12, and font something standard like TNR. The e-query submission guidelines I've seen were fine with single space, but the other formatting still applied. Really it depends on whatever their guidelines asks for, just be ready to change it.

Oh, and one thing. Say you get an agent or a book deal and you're about to send your manuscript to an editor. You may be told this beforehand, I honestly have no clue if someone will, but those manuscripts are double spaced. Which makes sense, they need space to make notes and whatnot. But something I've read editors say they love is when the font is changed to courier. Apparently it's easier for them to read and spot differences. That might be personal tastes so I'd ask the editor what they want first, but it never hurts to show an editor you care about trying to make their job easier.

janiew, that's awesome. I hope she gets what she wants out of it. As far as me and poetry, I just don't have that charm. It'd be cool if I did, but I don't mind not having it. I'm a story guy, and more long form story guy at that. I'm happy with that, it's what I enjoy.

the dave
08-13-13, 05:17 PM
What you describe, writing down the core of the work and then shaping it. Is something I would probably benefit from.

My work is pretty poetic, its something that just seems to flow- but when it comes to order, planning, plot, and dialogue- especially those last two, those elements seem to be what shapes it. I started off writing song lyrics.

Dialogue isn't something I'm good at, as it currently stands there is little in my work. I guess there is a sort of internal monologue going on. I'm pretty obsessed with symbolism and there's loads of it, I'm trying to write now so that you can take it or leave it but if you dig you will see allusions.

I don't exactly know what the theme of the book is- a recurring theme throughout seems to be that there is more going on behind the scenes, that world is greater than the characters imagine.
I was reading Lovecraft a while ago and then a bit about what characterizes his work, so I started writing a story inspired by some of those themes. I've got it planned out but there's lots of research that needs to be done- yeah which is hard work :p. I don't know what to do with it once its finished, I considered having it at the end of my book since I had an idea about how it could fit, but ofc the work is clearly a tribute of sorts.

You were looking at learning programming- for what purposes? Does that tie in in any way for you or is it a completely separate endeavour?

08-13-13, 06:18 PM
Lovecraft, I really need to read him. Really surprised I've never even picked up a book of his.

Anyway, whatever works for you is the way to go. What I described works for me. It may or may not work for you. Some people kinda just go and let the story take them. Have you ever tried not plotting? Done something more along the lines of what Stephen King describes (although I've heard people debate whether he actually does this, at least all the time) and just having the basic premise--like vampires in small New England town (Salem's Lot)--and seeing what happens? He describes it as the characters telling him what to do, which to me sounds impossible since I'm still figuring out characters after the book's first, and at this point probably eighth, draft. I'd imagine you need to keep character motivations and personalities in mind so things don't come way out of left field--although, you can always change the field later--and keep track of smaller threads you wrote earlier so you remember them and how they might affect things later, or how those threads can be parlayed to fit the track you feel the story going in now.

Just curious if you've purposefully tried approaching writing from a different perspective. I never really did, which I think hurt me, but once I got the boulder rolling, and after I started medication for ADD cuz at a point that brick wall stopped me, I found myself approaching character, story, and plot differently than I had before. And I noticed it retroactively. Some people are meticulous, others intuitive. Some direct the intuitiveness with varying degrees of forethought or control. Thought processes run the gamut. I'm some crazy mix, and I'm nowhere near done learning and growing.

I hope you can find what works for you. It's awesome when you first catch yourself thinking, I just might be able to do this.

As for programming that's a way I can maybe pay the bills. I don't even know if I can do it somewhat proficiently, if I'd enjoy it, or even be good enough to get a job. So yea, separate endeavor. Only connected in that I hope I can use it to pay the bills while I work on making a living with writing. Might end up being more permanent than I'd hope.

the dave
08-13-13, 11:24 PM
That seems to be what I do, go with an initial idea/ theme.

Some of the characters are a little one dimensional and need to be built upon, i've experimented a bit with POV and shifting perspective- the first 'story' is there as an opener, I had the idea of introducing the character in third person singular pov but then shifting to refer to the character as 'it', to sort of hint at dissociation, implying isolation.

In the second story "The Crossing", which is about the protagonists transition from childhood to adulthood- I'm making sure that the perspective sticks with him and doesn't reveal things that perhaps he couldn't know about- also trying not to foreshadow.
As he gets older, I thought about a shift in perspective but I am toying with the idea of the inner child, my mum says she doesn't really feel any older than she did when she was in her twenties- but also the idea that I think for some there is an invididual locked inside their heads.

In the Lovecraft inspired story, I've split the perspective- when he is consciously thinking, the story is told from the protagonists perspective but when he enters a daydream state, it shifts to omniscient. There's a part where he's watching a fly crawl on the window of a bus and describes how it flies up and out of the small gap in the window "with the none of the usual bumbling associated", then flies out of view- and makes the switch.

Keeping track is an issue, I keep quite a lot of notes and for a number of stories have a series of notes and keywords before them- so I can hit CTRL+F and then the corresponding keyword to find notes of a certain type.

I think King has cited Lovecraft as an influence in a number of places, there are supposed to be shadows of his themes in IT:

Well I hope you get somewhere with your work- you seem to have some experience, whats your opinion of posting work for critique/feedback online? The thing is, not a lot of people have read what I've written.

08-14-13, 01:31 AM
Gonna do what every writer does--whether they admit it or not--and copy you, from bottom to top.

Thanks, I appreciate it. And I find what I'm about to say funny in the most ironic way possible because I'm really not that experienced. I've read more than (the alleged) average. But nowhere near as much as I should, and I tend to go through spurts. I've read 4 books in a week before, and I've read about 4 in the last 4 months. If there's one thing I can find that everyone in the writing field agrees on, it's that writers are readers first. However, while I enjoy writing, bending words in this ridiculously complex language, I haven't written anywhere near enough what someone who wants to be a writer should have at this point in my life. There are lots of reasons, but a big one is what really gets me is story. This is just the medium I have an affinity to, as far as doing. But I love stories in all mediums: books, tv, movies, video games, comics, spoken, blog, whatever. I love stories more than medium, and that's what I try to pay attention to. The emotions, the characters, growth, arc, tension, etc. Honestly, that's why I'm a pretty easy critic. If you have something that can grab me I can forgive a lot, because I tend to pay attention and enjoy what works. Now that's a caveat so you can decide how seriously you want to take what I'm about to say. Here comes the irony.

I don't have with online forums and critiques other than some lurking, but I don't put a lot of stock in them. My impression of them is that they're populated with other amateur writers. People who, for the most part, have had the same amount of success as I have. And most professional--when I say this I mean paid--writers don't tend to troll around forums unless it's on their own website. And some of the most genuine advice I've heard from people who make a living doing this is, a lot of it is instinctive. There are tools you can use, lessons to learn, rules to follow. Decent writers can become good but not great, and bad writers can become decent but not necessarily good. And if you can read between the lines of what a lot of writer's say--they don't necessarily understand their own success. Critical or commercial. I'm not saying throw away convention and do only your own thing, or fill your story up with clumsy adverbs, passive verbs, and wooden dialogue where two people who've known each other for ten years have to repeat their friend's name every other sentence or they'll forget it. I'm just saying, the people who do it might have just gotten lucky and been born with the right thing, or just felt it when they had it, or any of a hundred other things that no one can direct like a missile. And that's not me saying they didn't work hard, study, or learn. I'm just saying that there is no magic bullet. So I lurk occasionally, get a feel for what the general consensus might be about certain things, but that's about it. I look at at this way, that person could easily be me. And if I read their work do I really think I can tell them what will make it shine? More than a few(ok, a lot) google searches and author Q&A's can? There are people there who are better than me for sure, just like I'm sure there are people who I'm better than (however you decide this metric) but...

My impression of people on those forums, they're either people who want to talk about writing instead of doing it, and not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with talking about it, especially with people who share the interest, but how many people have you met in your life who say they want to be a writer and have never written a word and barely picked up a book? And until a few years ago I would have been in that group. I wasn't serious about this then. There are also people doing what I do, you do, and a million other people do, and just try to feel what's out there, get some perspective, different angles to approach. And that's great to go after. I'd just treat everything you get back with healthy skepticism. And some people there are probably genuinely talented and trying to sell their work, and I'm sure there are a handful who are published and just starting their careers. But I'd imagine if you can read 20 posts from 20 online handles and know that those two people in the middle are the one's you should be listening too then you probably already have everything you need from the outside world to hone your craft. The rest is writing. And of course, reading what's been published. I know it's the outside world too, but I'm drawing a distinction between stuff that passed muster through the arduous publication process--terrible books not withstanding--and what you can find on a google search.

Man I promised myself I wouldn't ramble, so sorry. Speeding up, if you want to go that route for some perspective, by all means do it. I'd just be careful about putting whatever big ideas you have out there. The stuff you're really excited about. Part of the reason is theft is an issue, probably not the biggest one you need to worry about, but I'd keep it in mind. Second, something someone says before you've had a chance to write the story, work out the kinks, and let it evolve naturally might alter what you do. Maybe even plant that super stubborn seed of doubt. I'd do it more for the mechanics, small pieces of works you don't really care about or experimental things. It's the same with writing classes. I don't take them because I don't think they're worthwhile. I think the best way to learn is to see what other people have done, and do stuff yourself.

At the same time, doesn't hurt to get tips from people in the industry. Other writers, agents, and publishers. That's what I use to get a baseline reading. I don't necessarily take anything I read as law, but I'll chew it, wash it around, see if I can get with it. And if you read enough you see most seasoned authors--who aren't kidding themselves--say the same thing. Don't be afraid to break the rules, only break the rules if you're sure of doing well, figure out what works for you, and on and on. One thing for sure, the best place to get concrete information about things like query letters and formatting and word count is right from the horse's mouth. Agent interviews are usually best, and you should definitely read any interviews you can find of whatever agent you're going to query. I've read some guys hate one thing, but other agents are fine with or love it. I've also read threads on those forums giving out information that I've seen tons of agents say the opposite. Actually, most writing books I've read are from writers (and I'm kicking myself for lending my elements of style copy before I finished it) but a lot of agents have books out there. One guy, Donald Maass, has 2 or 3 out there. I'm doing to pick those up soon. Wouldn't hurt to read him since he's my dream agent pick. Starting to ramble again.

So short answer, nope. But then again I do novels and they don't lend themselves to that anyway, so...

I really like that idea. I have a story I started but abandoned a long time ago. Pretty terrible, but I liked the shifting perspective. Main character is a telepath, picks up thoughts, has his own thoughts, some other stuff, and character perspective changes midsection, but when I reread it--even though I liked the idea--I saw the same thing you mentioned. It was hard to keep track, and I wrote the thing, even if a long time ago. Shifting perspectives and and POV can really pay off, but it's rarely done because it's just so hard to do. And if the writer is having trouble keeping track, imagine a reader? I'm not saying don't do it, I think you should. I still want to experiment with shifting POV, but man is that hard to do coherently, much less well. I'd say do it, be careful, try to keep clarity in mind, but look at it as an experiment more than anything. It'll be easier to continue and learn something if certain expectations don't ramp up the anxiety. But wow, yea, cool idea. Too bad I'm generally too hopeful to write cr*psack world the way Lovecraft did.

I'm kind of curious. The way my brain works I'm pretty good at cross connections. Recall is terrible, but recollection is pretty good. I've also learned how to write notes to call back to that. Specific abbreviations, certain layouts, and just enough details to recall what I wanted to remember but with few enough words so I don't get bored while writing them. Funny, I have terrible memory, but I know what I'd generally remember, what I need to write down to remember, what I can leave out because the rest will remind me, and what needs to go down in detail because I'd definitely forget. Luckily I had a teacher who taught me that. Anyway, I bring it up because I find writing things down in a notebook helps facilitate the process. Mostly because looking things up, relating them, and manipulating them tends to be faster if I have the paper there and I still have MSWord up. I keep digital files for when I wake up in the middle of the night, in the morning, or just before I go to sleep and get an idea since the computer is always on it's easier to type it out rather than find the notebook. Just wondering if you've tried different things and what you've found works best for whatever the reason is. From the sound of it, if I had to put down that many notes for a story I might do it digitally. What I'd lose in quicker availability it seems I'd gain in quicker cataloging.

the dave
08-14-13, 01:08 PM
Honestly, I can't really imagine myself copying other writers- to outright plagiarism, I might use similar ideas or themes- I don't have the head for it. So much is blended with my own style. But who knows.

With changing perspective, perhaps you could make the transition more natural by italicizing the other perspective- but its something i'm still working on.

I admit most of what I've read on other sites isn't to my taste or it doesn't engage me and ofc theres the threat of having work ripped off.
I just don't want to spend all that time and effort and put it up there for a bunch of randoms who I don't know- that could so easily just dissect bits and take the parts they like.

The writing group is something I will probably try- here in the UK theres something called Creative Future that has mentoring services and courses, but now I'm thinking- I could perhaps get published by them more easily but I likely just wouldn't be on the radar.

For me, Information it would seem is stored for a little while, but somewhere it just gets lost along the way. I mean I have trouble processing your post. Same with long emails. Just me.
Feels like information is being thrown randomly like objects into a dark room, and then trying to retrieve with a torch with a low battery.

08-14-13, 04:07 PM
Nah, I get it. It's an issue I have. I always wanna be clear, but I always overload a response. IDK why I do it and expect people to retain it, on an ADD board of all places.

Honestly, I can't really imagine myself copying other writers- to outright plagiarism, I might use similar ideas or themes- I don't have the head for it. So much is blended with my own style. But who knows.

Oh yea, that's totally what I meant. Not plagiarism. I meant stylistic choices, or part of ideas.

Writing groups, I've heard, can run the gamut from worthwhile to waste of time, at least here in America. I hope the one you're looking at out there can help you find what you're looking for. And wow, I can't believe I forgot this.

Ok, I'm sure they're in England too, but writing conventions are supposed to be great. If for no other reason than networking. Agents, publishers, and authors give talks, have Q&A's, and some will do critiques. Depends on the talk, etc. It might be worth a look. If nothing else you're more likely to meet other people who are serious about writing there.

Italics yea, I've kept that in mind. Along with different fonts and colors. All on the table, just not sure if it'd work.

the dave
08-14-13, 05:18 PM
Its ok. I have a tendency to do the same.

I'm sure you've already thought of these devices, I like the way Harlan Ellison sets out the text in one of his stories called "The Region Between", in a sort of topographic style- I wanted to do something similar to that- wouldn't be exactly be the best use of space but might make it easier to read for add'ers in some cases.

Theres also the work of Welsh poet Patrick Jones that is formatted in this way.

08-15-13, 01:43 AM
It's late right now but I'm going to look into that tomorrow. Hopefully, if I forget, I'll log on here early enough for me to be reminded and do some looking into.

I've always been a putter-inner. I think that's why I try to simplify my writing and emphasize 'snappiness' and brevity. Usually takes a few edits, but since I have a natural aversion to $10 words it's not impossible. That's also why I like the flow of short stories/novels. I do hate the look of a lot of white space when I'm writing, but at the same time I try to shorten and cut up as many blocks of text that I can. Probably one of the reasons I hate things like research papers. I'd rather cut a paragraph into eight in such a way that you not only get the same information, but find it easier to read.

Thanks for giving me a heads up to that, I'll have to look into it. If I can remember the name of the work I'll tell you, but I was talking to an old teacher of mine a few months ago about shifting POV and she was telling me about some story she remembered that did a lot of what you're describing. She mentioned it was something with shifting fonts, but she wasn't sure on the details.

Oh, and one story I know that kind of had shifting POVs was 'The Blinding Knife' by Brent Weeks. Love that guy, probably the one I'm most stylistically close to at the moment. TBK is the second, and latest, novel in his Lightbringer series. It's kind of hard to explain, but basically he has certain parts in the story where a person is witnessing flashes and events from the mind of another character, past, present, and future(maybe? Two more books till I know for sure.) The internal monologue tends to weave in and out of the thoughts of the person who is looking and the character that person is looking through.

Honestly, I found it confusing at times for multiple reasons, but you might be interested in finding that book in a store and flipping through until you see those points. It's a big book, and I don't know if you're into fantasy, so if you want to check it out and don't want to read the whole thing I can give you the pertinent page numbers. Assuming you find a hard cover copy and it's numbered the same as my print. Also, if you're into more gritty adult oriented fantasy, that series and his (debut) Night Angel trilogy are amazing.

08-15-13, 02:28 AM
I stick strictly to short stories and some very crappy poetry. I've written a lot of pieces that I intend to be beginnings to longer stories, but end up just keeping them short instead.

When I write longer pieces I find it really difficult to maintain tension in the story - I tend to write very concisely and find it hard to drag out the plot. Some of the stories I've written that I consider to be the most successful are really just flash fiction - really quick snapshots with very little plot, kind of a bare bones story.

I tend to write in short bursts, so I like to bang out a story while the ideas and inspiration are still fresh, edit soon after, and then be done with it and move on to the next piece. I get bored easily :o My attention wanders so I find it hard to return to the same characters and plot lines again and again - instead I start over with something new.

08-15-13, 02:11 PM
That's a pretty awesome way to write, I wish I was able to do that, while still enjoying novels. The closest I've gotten was starting a short story in a college computer class--I clocked out the moment my teacher told us 'secondary memory' was rarely called RAM; this was about 4 years ago. I never touched it after leaving the room until a few months ago. I had no interest in continuing with the idea I had, but I noticed that with a few edits and a handful of added lines I could make the short story convey the same message I originally intended. So something that would have been twenty pages became two. I should probably practice that more.

I don't know if you're really interested in making money writing, but I wonder if you could parlay that into a blog or collect a bunch of related short stories and publish them through amazon. If you know how to program maybe you can even set something up that people could download and you can continually update. Then people can either go through an archive by genre, length, or whatever. Or choose an option that just gives them a random short story. I don't know what length you're talking about, but if it's something like 3-4 thousand word bites I can see people enjoying something like that.

Sorry, my minds been on a 'new ways to use what I'm good at' track. I figured I don't really fit into a box and trying to hasn't worked out, so while I pursue traditional methods I'm thinking of new ways to use my advantages. I'm actually supposed to be doing research on 'priming' and hookah flavors to prepare a sample for a restaurant. Should get back to that.

08-15-13, 07:01 PM
I'm currently applying to colleges so it's time for me to figure out how to translate what I'm good at and enjoy doing (writing) into real-world skills and eventually a career. We'll see how that turns out.

I've had short stories published in some collections of short works, but I don't trust blogs - I know that might sound silly, especially since some people have had a lot of success with blogging. But I just have this idea in my head that blogs are a dime a dozen these days, and I'd rather protect my writing and get it out there in print than have it online where anyone can see it for free. In my mind, having a blog doesn't say much about someone's talent as a writer, but getting published does.

My writing process has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, the super productive hyperfocus that I go into when I first have an idea is amazing. On the other hand, I lack the stick-to-itiveness to follow through with anything that could be expanded upon. And once an idea goes stale, it's difficult for me to return to it and try to make something out of it.

I'm curious about your editing process. I seem to do very little editing, but I realized that it's because I'm constantly self-editing as I write. It's like I'm allergic to rough drafts. If I don't change something right when I notice I should change it, I'm never going to remember to do it later. So often by the time I've finished a piece, most of it is already pretty polished and thoroughly edited. But I'll only have one draft to show for it, because I've been fixing it as I go along.

08-15-13, 07:09 PM
i write alot. some of it is therapeutic acting like my social commentary on things. others are autobiographical times of my life. some fiction, some of which is here somewhere.

however i find it easiest to write in only dialogue. for longer things where more character development may be needed, i introduce a main characters thoughts, but otherwise it's all dialogue. i find it works well for me

the dave
08-15-13, 07:35 PM
I think I tend to do the same as you Pooka, but I have an initial idea that perhaps doesn’t span all that far- or it doesn’t have enough to constitute a proper short story. That's pretty much why I write short stories.
They’re more manageable, like the equivalent of sketches or watercolours if you catch my drift, they begin as ideas; from feelings.

Sometimes I find my older work, especially my copious amount of song lyrics/poems is on the whole trite- but there is often something there, an idea or a line which I like, still relate to and can recycle in some way. Or give me the beginning of something new. Feels like an ongoing process.

A route I’ve considered taking is doing audio recordings of my stories and putting them up on youtube, possibly initially audio recordings of some books that are on the public domain which I like-- and others may be looking for and then they get to my original work, but I’m not so sure about that way.

I feel pretty much the same away about blogs, which is why I haven’t ventured in that direction.
When I’m not in the mood to write, it feels like trying to get blood of a stone, I need that initial spark that comes from somewhere else, like tonight after I received my report from the doc... and my fingers start typing.
Its strange because it doesn’t feel like a really applied art form, I start with a mass and I sculpt it as I go.

08-15-13, 08:27 PM
Pooka, good luck with that. Unfortunately going back to school isn't an option for me right now, but like I said I'm trying to figure out the same thing. Hope your process is less painless than mine has been.

And wow, awesome. Being published, especially if you got paid anything for it, puts you way ahead of the crowd (and me :(). A publisher or agent will look at someone who's actually sold writing before someone who hasn't. I feel the same way you do about blogs; as far as posting fiction. I don't feel too many people are trolling blogs to read a story, free or not. I think they're more willing to make the time investment when they pay money for it. Maybe that's my ADD mind, but I don't see too many popular fiction blogs either.

But I have heard a lot of publishers and agents are pushing writers to blog more to help get word of mouth going. Things like their process, what happened last weekend, or whatever. But a dime a dozen--definitely. I can't stand putting the word writing into a google search bar anymore unless I'm looking for something super specific. So many people who aren't even published, or trying to sell you something, have blogs to help people do things they haven't done themselves. And people thank them for it. Maybe my old job rubbed off on me and I always look at things and wonder what the other person is trying to get over on me, but nine times out of ten I can't shake the feeling that their writing career consists of them telling other people how to write, and to buy this book that will make them the next J.K. Rowling. Discuss things cool. Bring up an idea awesome. Telling people things are this way or that way about mostly subjective things just turns me off.

I edit a lot like you. I also stop as I'm writing to reread, and edit, what I already edited and what I just wrote. And when I'm done I go back and edit again, and again, and again. I edit compulsively. I try to stop myself once I start to notice diminishing returns, usually in the form of changing something back to how I had it last, and that change was an edit from a sentence similar to what I just had. That's what I did last time, and I've had the novel sitting for about 6 months now, with an occasional edit here and there. I know once I open it up again and make whatever major changes I need to make, I'll do the above process again. Let the book sit so it's not so fresh. Then go through it one more time. Hopefully that'll be it, at least until I get an agent and an editor goes through it. At that point I don't know what's going to happen.

Conman, that's pretty interesting. It totally goes against my style. Even when I have a lot of dialogue I try to cut it up with prose and truncate what's left as much as possible. Maybe someday I'll experiment and try a story like that.

08-16-13, 12:45 AM
I think I tend to do the same as you Pooka, but I have an initial idea that perhaps doesn’t span all that far- or it doesn’t have enough to constitute a proper short story. That's pretty much why I write short stories.
They’re more manageable, like the equivalent of sketches or watercolours if you catch my drift, they begin as ideas; from feelings.

This is exactly me. I never know how a story is going to turn out when I begin writing it - when I said before that I start with an "idea," I really mean a vague feeling, or a phrase or metaphor that I'd like to use, or a character I've suddenly imagined, and then I immediately set to work creating a story around it. It usually starts with something so small that it's difficult to build a longer piece out of it.

When I’m not in the mood to write, it feels like trying to get blood of a stone, I need that initial spark that comes from somewhere else, like tonight after I received my report from the doc... and my fingers start typing.
Its strange because it doesn’t feel like a really applied art form, I start with a mass and I sculpt it as I go.

This, too, is pretty much exactly how writing works for me. When I'm trying to write, it never turns out well. It has to start with something spontaneous.

Anthony, thanks for wishing me luck. :)
I may have accidentally made myself sound more accomplished than I am: I'm actually not going back to school but starting for the first time- I'm graduating high school this year. The publication that has published my short stories is a collection of work by students from the ages of 6-18 - so while I get to say that I'm published, I am published in a book alongside poetry by 2nd graders (which is really adorable and surprisingly good). And it's for a nonprofit, so I'm not getting paid for it :o

Of course, that's not to say that I don't take writing seriously though. I've been writing since I knew how to form letters, and even before then I was making up stories. It's a huge part of my life and it's definitely where my ambitions lie, at least right now.

08-16-13, 01:03 PM
Yea, it's unfortunate that we happened to like an activity that's harder and harder to make a living on. I wish I could afford to buy more books from more authors I haven't read before but just getting things from the people I already know I like can stretch the wallet. I try to get something new from time to time, but oh well. I really hope that things like e-publishing doesn't cut into traditional publishing too much. There's nothing like bad writing that didn't have to stand up to any scrutiny to turn people away from taking a chance on reading new things.

Hoping to hear from some people on here that so and so book, short story collection, or whatever is getting published within the next few years.

08-22-13, 12:36 AM
I was wondering if anyone here enjoys writing longer works?


Although I do enjoy shorter works as well, I've been writing a book for a little over a year now. This is what I really want to be doing.

Oh, and I only write non-fiction; I've never really dabbled in fiction.

Not sure why. Maybe I just like to overcomplicate and extrapolate too much.


...Oddly enough, this is one of the shortest replies I've ever written.

08-22-13, 08:48 AM
What kind of non-fiction? I do think I should read it more, but I could never see myself writing it. Well, nothing more than what could fit in a blog post. I'd actually have to know somwthing and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

08-28-13, 06:49 AM
It is completely not an bad idea about the creative writing. The main thing about the question you have discussed about the publishing thread is something to be thought of. Well, also I would like to add on that itr is not sure that all the time creative writing should go in a balanced. Their may be the time when it can differ.