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> Any Writers In Here?, Tips for learning to write (Not songwriting)
The Uncreator
post Aug 19 2010, 03:38 AM
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Since I was 16 or 17, I have had a big science fiction concept that would be played out over about 20-25 songs. Recently I have spent a lot of time with it, and have made some really good developments in the structure of the story and lyrics for these songs. But, as I was writing a basic outline of the story to keep my ideas in order - I decided it might be a bit of fun to write a few makeshift "chapters" as it were.

Well I kinda have taken it further than that, and have come up with a somewhat separate story that would be easier translated into a short story or novel, so for fun, I started writing - Something I haven't done before and didn't really know how to approach - But for about 2 hours I threw some ideas around and came up with something.

I know there are a few members who have published papers in the academic area and some other aspects of the literature world, And was hoping there might be someone with a bit of experience to give me some pointers on organizing a book or short story. I have looked around the 'net and seen a few suggestions, but they all follow the obvious - organize ideas, write it down (basically) - And I'm rather convinced that writing anything of interest is far more complex than that.

Maybe some tips on how to keep something interesting for an extended period of time? Stuff like that.
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thefireball
post Aug 19 2010, 05:12 AM
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Yes, I'm a writer. Back when I wrote short stories I would do this process. First, I'd have an idea. This idea usually came from a daydream I had. I would play this daydream over and over in my head, trying out new ideas and pretending as if I were a character, or seeing the whole thing as a movie. Writing this down is something I did, but I usually just had it "all up here" in my head. I would pick the setting and brainstorm and daydream some more. I would basically sit at my computer and just start typing. I would form the ideas into the story line spontaneously.

Here's a sound file of one of my stories. This was back a few years ago. I used Sound Recorder for everything. It's a 5 min audio file of me narrating. I did all that back then, but this story series was never finished. The setting is HQ with Hitler and Beonome, second-in-command under Hitler. This was in the middle of a war. There is no music for a while. It was too hard this way. Since I didn't have the music added as a separate track - you know what I mean if you have used Sound Recorder - if I made a mistake with the speech I had to start that segment over again. I would just have the music playing in the BG and let the mic pick it up along with my voice. It is all recorded through a cheap mic. This was back before I got Audacity. If this were recorded now I could do a lot better.

I laugh at this now, because I really get into the whole thing! biggrin.gif You'll see. Maybe it will spark some ideas for you. But I basically made up stories as I went, with just a few ideas.

Daydreaming about what I wanted to write was the biggest thing that helped me.
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The Uncreator
post Aug 19 2010, 06:40 AM
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Pretty cool idea man! Thanks for the help. I almost always think of everything I write as being played out as a movie, then I try to transfer what I imagine in to words to be as descriptive as possible.

Once again thanks for the idea. smile.gif

Maybe I'll post the first chapter or so and see what people think of it.
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 19 2010, 11:59 AM
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All of my publications are academic but if it helps...

1/ Have a good, strong and consistent central theme that helps organise and underpin the entire work.
2/ Believable characters. Keep notes and try and ensure that what they do throughout is consistent for the character.
3/ Try to be consistent in the use of passive vs active voice and objective vs subjective and 1st vs 3rd person view. Whilst you can vary it there needs to be a clear reason, too many shifts in voice etc can be irritating and make the story difficult to follow.
4/ Grammar, grammar and more grammar. The work does not need to be grammatically perfect but it needs to be fluent and have clarity. There are of course exceptions to this like Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake' but they are exactly that, exceptions.
5/ Level. Partly related to grammar - the work needs to be written at a level appropriate for the audience. As a work of fiction it should not read like a technical manual/PhD thesis and perhaps should not read as if it was a children's picture book either.
6/ Unless you intend to have a 'pomo' type feel, conclude the work and tie up loose ends appropriately. 'Pomo' gives you more latitude for plot holes etc but you need a developed style to get away with it. More William S Burroughs than Larry Niven - both have plot holes but Burroughs is deliberate whereas Niven....

So I always tell students to be organised, keep notes, plan their work, yadda, yadda, yadda. TBH it isn't the way I work though. I don't plan etc, I just write and rely on the belief that I know my stuff well enough and have enough experience to get away with it. I'm also not bothered by reviews of my work - I'm thick skinned enough and have reviewed the works of others for long enough to have a pretty good understanding of just how subjective and politically driven the review process can be.

One last bit for now. Personally I always paraphrase Iris Murdoch to students, 'You should never read rubbish as it carries the danger that you will repeat it in your writing'. Read as much as you can and get a feel for what can be done, how and why but be aware that exceptions are often only accepted by an established figure (like Joyce) .


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thefireball
post Aug 19 2010, 12:37 PM
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Those academic tips were great advice. And I'm glad I helped in some way Uncreator.


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The Uncreator
post Aug 19 2010, 04:59 PM
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What don't you help me with Tony? laugh.gif

Thanks many for the great advice smile.gif


One of the things I am trying to get around is that when I read my own writing, If I make some minor mistake like using the present tense of a word when I meant to use the past, I will read right over it just because I know what is supposed to be there. So I find myself re-reading a lot just looking for little things like that, Hopefully MS Word will catch it I guess laugh.gif
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 19 2010, 05:22 PM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Aug 19 2010, 03:59 PM) *
...
One of the things I am trying to get around is that when I read my own writing, If I make some minor mistake like using the present tense of a word when I meant to use the past, I will read right over it just because I know what is supposed to be there. So I find myself re-reading a lot just looking for little things like that, Hopefully MS Word will catch it I guess laugh.gif



What works best for me for copy editing is to print it out and copy edit the actual hard copy- could just be me but doing it on a screen I find I miss more.



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thefireball
post Aug 19 2010, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Aug 19 2010, 10:59 AM) *
One of the things I am trying to get around is that when I read my own writing, If I make some minor mistake like using the present tense of a word when I meant to use the past, I will read right over it just because I know what is supposed to be there. So I find myself re-reading a lot just looking for little things like that, Hopefully MS Word will catch it I guess laugh.gif


I completely understand. This is why it is important, if at all possible, to have a friend read through it for you. smile.gif That will help a lot.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 20 2010, 10:50 AM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Aug 19 2010, 10:17 PM) *
I completely understand. This is why it is important, if at all possible, to have a friend read through it for you. smile.gif That will help a lot.


That can help but it depends on how accurate and skilled the friend is at copy editing. It also presumes quite a lot on the friendship/relationship as copy editing is quite intensive and skilled work. I copy edit my wife's work and to put some sort of numbers to this it takes me 1 hour to copy edit 5-10, A4, 1&1/2 spaced ,TNR 10 font, typed manuscript pages. I usually need a break after 2 hours since if I don't I find that I end up with a splitting headache.

Relying on MS Word though - scary wink.gif .


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The Uncreator
post Aug 20 2010, 07:18 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Aug 20 2010, 05:50 AM) *
Relying on MS Word though - scary wink.gif .



Oh yes I know, It often times doesn't catch something it should. I mix up the 'a' and the 'r' in the word swarm and it lets it fly. Use a colon where there should be a semi-colon, and you have hell to pay! laugh.gif
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Alexiaden93
post Aug 23 2010, 04:08 PM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Aug 19 2010, 06:12 AM) *
Yes, I'm a writer. Back when I wrote short stories I would do this process. First, I'd have an idea. This idea usually came from a daydream I had. I would play this daydream over and over in my head, trying out new ideas and pretending as if I were a character, or seeing the whole thing as a movie. Writing this down is something I did, but I usually just had it "all up here" in my head. I would pick the setting and brainstorm and daydream some more. I would basically sit at my computer and just start typing. I would form the ideas into the story line spontaneously.

Here's a sound file of one of my stories. This was back a few years ago. I used Sound Recorder for everything. It's a 5 min audio file of me narrating. I did all that back then, but this story series was never finished. The setting is HQ with Hitler and Beonome, second-in-command under Hitler. This was in the middle of a war. There is no music for a while. It was too hard this way. Since I didn't have the music added as a separate track - you know what I mean if you have used Sound Recorder - if I made a mistake with the speech I had to start that segment over again. I would just have the music playing in the BG and let the mic pick it up along with my voice. It is all recorded through a cheap mic. This was back before I got Audacity. If this were recorded now I could do a lot better.

I laugh at this now, because I really get into the whole thing! biggrin.gif You'll see. Maybe it will spark some ideas for you. But I basically made up stories as I went, with just a few ideas.

Daydreaming about what I wanted to write was the biggest thing that helped me.

LMAO at Hitler's wrath of doom xD


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