NaNoWriMo 2011 Page 107

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  • CosmicFuzz 9 May 2016 15:02:47 32,585 posts
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    I like the sound of that Gremmi - I think I'll give that a go this week with some of my stuff.

    It's amazing how much you can cut out of something and it not only still works but works a hell of a lot better, too. My novel that I've been writing for about three years now is shorter than it's ever been, but so much of the stuff I cut was just fluff that added nothing.
  • Deleted user 9 May 2016 15:04:13
    Ruckly wrote:
    gravearchitecture wrote:
    Too verbose, too drawn out.
    lmao?
    I don't get this, am i being rinsed? Verbose and drawn out aren't exact synonyms, you be drawn out in your exposition without necessarily being verbose.
    i, the Owner, am now the Owned :(

    i've been reading a lot of raymond carver's short stories lately. my favourite one of his is 2 pages long! i think this nanowrimo stuff is a bit of a weird kicking-off point for the new writers it seems to attract. getting them to do 50k words sounds like a recipe for insane outsider art.
  • CosmicFuzz 9 May 2016 15:08:14 32,585 posts
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    I think the NaNoWriMo stuff is simply to push people to finish something. I've never done it to completion (so, erm, it's not worked for me!) but I used to have a terrible problem actually finishing stories. I'd get halfway through and suddenly another idea would pop into my head and I'd get bored of what I was writing and start something else.

    I doubt anyone expects the NaNoWriMo finished product to be a masterpiece, but the community aspect etc might help folk get something done who haven't before. And I guess it's a decent a first draft as any to use as a jumping off point for something more.
  • Deleted user 9 May 2016 15:17:24
    that's very true. i suppose writing doesn't necessarily have to be read for it to be worthwhile. i quite like writing 'first pages' of novels i never intend to complete, as that's the part i enjoy the most.

    i used to write music reviews and i was so terrified about being embarrassed by my editor that i used to spend hours iterating over what i had. every sentence had to be PERFECT. i'm not sure if it made for better reading, but i did enjoy that sort of 'craft' aspect of it.
  • frightlever 9 May 2016 15:46:54 1,492 posts
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    CosmicFuzz wrote:
    "She sometimes wondered if she'd done bad things. Before this life, in whatever persona her previous character had been. Might be she'd committed acts of pure evil. Might be she was just broken; a peculiar soul playing tricks on a confused mind. It was better to hide away, to become reserved and cold, to avoid the narrowed eyes and suspicious glances. It was better to be considered strange, than dangerous."

    Just my two cents. Not really been following what's going on but it's lunchtime dammit and I'm not going to work!
    Amen.

    I would note that everyone else re-writing the sentence has used "was", while the point of the exercise was to eliminate "be" words, simply to show that it can be done. CosmicFuzz manages to use three times as many instances of "was" as was in the original sentence was. Was.

    Edited by frightlever at 15:50:51 09-05-2016
  • frightlever 9 May 2016 15:54:35 1,492 posts
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    Ruckly wrote:
    Don't like Frightlever style. Too verbose, too drawn out. Also disagree generally with the idea that you should complicate language by mangling it with a thesaurus.
    I actually favour Orwell's advice. "Never use a long word where a short one will do." However, sometimes a Thesaurus is necessary, to avoid repetition. Fortunately a Thesaurus is full of short, simple words.

    Perhaps as an exercise you could explain to me how you'd make my revised take on the original less verbose and drawn out, while maintaining the original intent. I am intrigued.

    "Had she committed dreadful acts of evil? Or had that peculiar soul broken her in strange ways, causing her to retreat, to withdraw, transformed into a cold, reserved oddity?"

    Edited by frightlever at 15:59:01 09-05-2016
  • sunjumper 9 May 2016 16:05:13 3,532 posts
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    frightlever wrote:
    Ruckly wrote:
    Don't like Frightlever style. Too verbose, too drawn out. Also disagree generally with the idea that you should complicate language by mangling it with a thesaurus.
    I actually favour Orwell's advice. "Never use a long word where a short one will do." However, sometimes a Thesaurus is necessary, to avoid repetition. Fortunately a Thesaurus is full of short, simple words.

    Perhaps as an exercise you could explain to me how you'd make my revised take on the original less verbose and drawn out, while maintaining the original intent. I am intrigued.

    "Had she committed dreadful acts of evil? Or had that peculiar soul broken her in strange ways, causing her to retreat, to withdraw, transformed into a cold, reserved oddity?"
    "Acts of evil? Broken Soul? Monster of days past? What ever the reason, it turned her cold."


    There, you verbose motherfucker.

    :lol:

    Edited by sunjumper at 16:21:48 09-05-2016
  • CosmicFuzz 9 May 2016 16:09:04 32,585 posts
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    :D
  • sunjumper 9 May 2016 22:17:34 3,532 posts
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    @frightlever

    Your last mega-post was really neat.

    Letís see.

    We both agree that writing a story is a craft. There is a way to build a story that can be learnt to a certain extent. Understanding basic concepts and some more advanced techniques help to build a solid foundation from which the story is created.

    On the side of the actual writing you point out, quite rightly so, that there are ways to describe situations that simply have a better flow, more impact and make the process of reading more enjoyable and the scenes in question more vivid.

    When it comes to the narrative itself there are also techniques and tools that help make it work better, be more interesting and have more impact. These are also tools that improve the quality of the work.

    There is also the topic of confusing the tools with the craft itself, this post is going to be long eough without opening that can of worms.


    You're actually contradicting yourself, because I said it's something you learn by reading, not by writing, but you disagreed, then suggested a book to me. Your comment contains a glaring plot hole!
    Argh. I am utterly destroyed!
    Well not really, some clarification is needed though.

    How do you learn how to write stories?

    You need to read tons of stories. Get to know them. The more of them you know the broader your understanding what a story actually is and how it can be built becomes. This is very important.

    Then you need to write. A lot. Be consuming art we become more and more attuned to and we can point out flaws, recognise greatness and comment on things that might work better in another way etcÖ However that hardly helps us when why try to create art.
    There is no way around practicing the craft. Producing tons of crap until with time proficiency emerges.

    And the third point is you have to study the craft. Understanding why things work, why some techniques are very effective while others just fall flat is very important.
    Once you know them you can start to consciously work on using more the thing which work and reducing everything that hinders what you try to achieve.

    As a wise man once said:
    Here's an observation for you - in the piece you put up for feedback, you used "was" 62 times. Every time you write "was" you're denying yourself, and your reader, a more interesting verb or punchier phrase. [Ö]
    By the time you've re-written the sixtieth sentence you may think twice before using "was" in your next piece of fiction. Thus, you will have gotten better and spared your reader.
    Exactly.

    That was a great observation and argument on your side. And you are right, I should go and try to improve that sooner rather than later.



    Which brings me back to:
    So, if one area of writing can be taught and benefits from practise, and another area can be reduced to a formula from a screen-writing treatise, but ultimately relies upon inspiration - which should you be practising?
    The book I recommended to you is not a reductive formula on screenwriting, but a rather lengthy exploration of what a narrative is and what makes it work. What techniques can be used to improve the craft. Which tools result in a strong foundation and which counterproductive making the construction of the story more difficult and/or less effective.

    It is not a formula. It is a theory. Which needs to be taught and practiced and refined.




    What you are doing is editing and as far as I can tell it is pretty good editing, with some good advice of how to make the text itself better to boot.

    Now the things you are saying make me think and revaluate my approach. As this isnít NaNoWriMo so the situation right now is a completely different one to the one during November so that I can and should try things that would not work during the writing marathon month and your arguments are giving me many ideas of how to proceed.

    Let me explain the situation. Project Skyshell is the novel I started writing in 2011 and it stalled. In the past the story has come back and haunted me slowly increasing my motivation to go back to the story and keep working on it. However the factors that made the novel stall are still there and these problems all come from the narrative side of things.
    So I decided to work on characters and maybe some history, locations and other things in form of short stories. These are not really meant to be masterworks of writing but a (for me) fun way to do some much needed background work.

    Ailu for example is a secondary protagonist that never quite came to life. So I started with her writing her biography. Where does she come from? What kind of person is she? How does she interact with the world? This is my version to write a character tree and add to the world itself without having to do it in a dry and homeworky fashion.
    The benefits are that the both character and setting get serious consideration and once back in the novel it will be much easier to NOT start arias of exposition because all of these things are appearing only at that moment.

    Usually the way one should be writing is:
    I. A dirty first draft that gets all the story bits out of the way and end in a complete if horrible narrative. Usually authors donít show this shit to anyone but so far the NaNos we had in the EG community since 2010 show that having people read as one goes helps pointing out things on the narrative style as one is constructing the story. This has the advantage that many things get fixed before they become a horrible mess and having additional set of eyes can bring things into focus one would miss by being too close to the text itself.
    II. Cleaning up the horrible mess. Doing a first edit. Chopping shit away. Bolstering the parts that were too thin. Making sure that the entire mess makes sense.
    III. Getting the words right. Cleaning the language. Working on how things are written.
    IV. Give it to an editor.
    V. Getting back pages formerly black and white in a new soul destroying shade of crimson.
    VI. Go back to two and repeat until the editor(s) stop hitting you.
    VII. Have a proper written story.


    Now I should not be worrying about how the writing looks at this point. But you are right. It needs to be trained and as there is no rush right now I might as well try and put more effort into it. Sure it will take a lot longer and I will probably work on things that may be axed later on. But practice is practice which is hardly a waste of time.

    So here I am considering my next move.

    Edited by sunjumper at 00:19:17 10-05-2016
  • sunjumper 9 May 2016 22:17:51 3,532 posts
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  • frightlever 10 May 2016 07:59:59 1,492 posts
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    sunjumper wrote:
    I should not be worrying about how the writing looks at this point.
    Yes, yes you should.

    I'm glad to hear you're going to at least try to put more effort into your first draft, but I wish you wouldn't look on it as a chore. Yes, you will have to scrap some adequate writing from time to time, but you're going to scrap plot, characters, entire novels; it's just the sacrifice you make to the writing gods.

    Do you have any of your polished writing up anywhere?

    Also, are you actually intending to pay an editor for several passes over your text? Working with an editor that isn't being paid out of your own pocket is getting rarer all the time. Line edit for a 100k novel would cost about £2-3k, probably more - and understand, all that does is correct your spelling and grammar, and if you're lucky they'll suggest alternatives to mangled or ambiguous sentences. If the text is crap going in, it won't come out magically polished. You CAN get a... um, copy edit, I think that's it, which would be more collaborative but it'll cost a fortune.

    Self-published writers rarely pay for a full line edit, they rely on friends and develop skill in always being in self-editing mode, because it saves time later.
  • frightlever 10 May 2016 08:01:16 1,492 posts
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    sunjumper wrote:
    frightlever wrote:
    Ruckly wrote:
    Don't like Frightlever style. Too verbose, too drawn out. Also disagree generally with the idea that you should complicate language by mangling it with a thesaurus.
    I actually favour Orwell's advice. "Never use a long word where a short one will do." However, sometimes a Thesaurus is necessary, to avoid repetition. Fortunately a Thesaurus is full of short, simple words.

    Perhaps as an exercise you could explain to me how you'd make my revised take on the original less verbose and drawn out, while maintaining the original intent. I am intrigued.

    "Had she committed dreadful acts of evil? Or had that peculiar soul broken her in strange ways, causing her to retreat, to withdraw, transformed into a cold, reserved oddity?"
    "Acts of evil? Broken Soul? Monster of days past? What ever the reason, it turned her cold."


    There, you verbose motherfucker.

    :lol:
    Yeah that made me LOL.
  • sunjumper 10 May 2016 09:43:57 3,532 posts
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    frightlever wrote:
    sunjumper wrote:
    I should not be worrying about how the writing looks at this point.
    Yes, yes you should.
    No. It should not. Not during the first draft.
    There you should write, put the story on paper. If you start editing there you will go crazy and more importantly waste energy. If you have always written this way I can imagine why you hate itÖ

    One thing you convinced me of though is that one should practice the craft of writing. Not on a first draft but in general. As you pointed out through training, things that were hard work to begin with slowly become second nature. And not having a disaster field of a first draft is better for all involved.
    If this is ignored you end up with a situation like mine, you asked me to see my polished stuff. But I have none as I have been stuck in first draft for ages. This leaves me with a lack of skill in an area that will come and bite my arse off once I get past first draft. So I better should be start working on that ASAP.

    The reedits of that bit of text that you posted was a great little exercise.
    The text is short so it becomes a great little task and doing it here with other people gives different approaches to the same problem. So everyone gets to try it as well as getting some neat new ideas or ways to get things done from the others. And itís fun.

    About the expenses of editing.
    Agreed you should learn to edit yourself. If you are incredibly lucky you will have friends who can help you with that. Also in the end the editing process is also part of the craft.
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