The Writing Thread (Novels, scripts, screenplays etc.) Page 2

  • rice_sandwich 13 Mar 2018 13:44:29 6,453 posts
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    Interesting. Thanks for the info. Scrivener looks like it takes a while to learn but definitely looks useful. I'm currently looking at how to get my commuting writing setup going again. I had a small Chromebook which was pretty good but I gave it away to my mother in law.

    I dug out an ancient netbook and installed Linux on it the other dau. I'm going to give it a go for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. If it doesn't work out then I'll probably buy a cheap ex business laptop such as a 12.5" hp elite book.
  • sunjumper 13 Mar 2018 14:11:46 3,532 posts
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    @rice_sandwich
    With that in mind, both Scrivener as well as ImmersEd work fine on ancient hardware. Which is nice when you use something cheap or old to keep the distractions at a minimum. Also because Scrivener is really good at keeping your stuff together you can use any other program to 'just write' (TM) and then paste it into its place on Scrivener later.
  • rice_sandwich 13 Mar 2018 14:32:17 6,453 posts
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    @sunjumper

    Cheers. I'll check them out when I get home. I reckon it's time to buckle down and get first drafts of my in progress stuff completed. If I don't do it this year I likely never will.
  • rice_sandwich 14 Mar 2018 07:15:36 6,453 posts
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    Which projects do you have on your writing table at the moment? More importantly, what are your plans for completing them or getting them to the next stage? Any dates in mind?

    Right now I've got 3 started, all of which are approximately sitting at 35k words. If I write 1k words a day I think I can have the first draft of novel 1 completed by mid May at the latest. With that in mind I'd like to think my writing calendar for 2018 is:

    Now to Mid May: Horror novel 1st draft

    Late Spring to Mid Summer: Spy novel 1st draft

    Autumn to Winter: Sci-fi novel 1st draft

    Best laid plans and all that but it doesn't seem impossible!
  • BearFishPie 14 Mar 2018 07:37:14 810 posts
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    YA trilogy Book 1: pretty much ready to go, following completion of cover and final pass edit

    YA trilogy book 2: About 30k written but needs major rewrite to make it (a) not terrible and (b) consistent with the final version of Book 1

    YA trilogy book 3: Not started yet

    Sci Fi Novel: About 15k written

    I’ve got a few other stories to write, mostly Sci Fi, but they’re effectively not started yet.

    At my current rate of progress, I’ll be done by the time humanity has colonised Mars. I suspect I need to improve my redrafting process too, it’s taken years to get YA book 1 into shape.
  • The12thMonkey 14 Mar 2018 08:15:34 566 posts
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    Currently I have;

    The Last Forecast - from NaNo'17, @ about 40k words, but I ran out of steam and ideas towards the end of the month. I have some ideas about where to take it, and some thoughts about the structure, but it's on indefinite hold for now.

    Sci Fi adventure, Volume 1 is 126k words, currently on the fifth draft. I'd say it is very close to finished. I'm doing a read-pass at the moment and I've got some notes for a few minor alterations, but I hope to be done with that by the end of April. I'm also concurrently re-writing volume 2 on my lunch breaks, That's about 130k words, and I'd like to have that all done and ready for editing by September.
    Volumes 3 and 4 are written, but need re-writing a couple of times before I'll be happy with them.

    Other than that, I've got a fantasy story with about 4 completed chapters and a fairly detailed plan.

    Edited by The12thMonkey at 08:19:59 14-03-2018
  • rice_sandwich 14 Mar 2018 08:25:44 6,453 posts
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    It sounds like you guys are way ahead of me. I have no idea on how to go about writing a multi volume work. Start and keep going, I suppose.

    If you haven't already I'd recommend reading Stephen King's 'On Writing'. I'm not a fan of his work but it contains a lot of useful advice about building characters and story. I particularly like his method of asking a 'What if' question when thinking about the basic premise of a book.
  • sunjumper 14 Mar 2018 10:16:49 3,532 posts
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    Well I am sitting on a mountain of unfinished stories. Six or so? And getting them done is still a trick that I can’t get the hang off.
    What can work if you have several stories you are working on at the same time is switching between them and write for the one that offers the least amount of resistance. This has the drawback that it is actually rather hard (at least for me) to keep more than two or three stories alive in my head at the same time.

    Be careful with word count targets. While they can be a good motivator during things like NaNoWriMo they mostly help to get sprints done after which you might need a bit of rest. Consider your week too. While writing every day is great it may not be realistic if you also have to work, have other hobbies and heavens forbid a social life.
    Try to find days that are writing days and where you have a block of time that is devoted to just that. And start with writing on those days. You can keep the word count in mind but it is more important to keep your writing appointments. Write something. Work on your story. There are days were you will not be able to write a single sentence that is not the most horrible thing you have ever seen and will make no notable progress at all. But you will have put in the work, you will also learn from every miserable failure and that is the most important part.
    To put things into perspective Haruki Murakami who is a full time writer and focuses on writing every day averages around 500 words a day, without distractions such as having to hold another fulltime job to pay the bills and commuting.

    So devote some time to your writing. Take this commitment seriously. Look for a system that you can work with consistently, so that you can keep doing this indefinitely without burning-out or losing motivation.
  • rice_sandwich 14 Mar 2018 12:05:55 6,453 posts
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    @sunjumper

    Good comments. I have 90 minutes a day of train commute, five days a week in which I can write. As you've said I won't be able to do it every day due to being too tired, lacking motivation etc. I don't have a solid word count in mind, as one day I might write 5000 words and only 300 the next day. In my mind, on paper, I reckon I'm capable of getting a first draft done in 90 days. It will be low quality but hopefully it will have a beginning, middle and end. I find having an achievable goal somewhat motivating, if only to prevent me from forever tweaking a story that will never end.
  • sunjumper 14 Mar 2018 12:19:50 3,532 posts
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    rice_sandwich wrote:
    @sunjumper

    Good comments. I have 90 minutes a day of train commute, five days a week in which I can write. As you've said I won't be able to do it every day due to being too tired, lacking motivation etc. I don't have a solid word count in mind, as one day I might write 5000 words and only 300 the next day. In my mind, on paper, I reckon I'm capable of getting a first draft done in 90 days. It will be low quality but hopefully it will have a beginning, middle and end. I find having an achievable goal somewhat motivating, if only to prevent me from forever tweaking a story that will never end.
    Well that gives you a decent base to work with. Be fair to yourself, experiment a bit and then decide what works for you. The commute gives you five days a week and maybe 80 minutes in which you could in theory work? Then I would do a week or two of just trying to write something no matter how little or trivial each way. See how that goes. Then you can build a plan with good rules. Like “thrice a week, but not on pointless meeting Tuesdays” and do that.
    My personal problem is being forgiving of myself when I don’t get to write or don’t reach my goals until I have a perceived mountain of failure which makes me stop working because ‘how am I ever catch up to that?’ which in the end leads to months of not writing anything. Instead of stopping to worry and keep on writing, building on what is already there.
    I guess the biggest problem is finding a rhythm that is forgiving enough as not to be suffocating but strict enough to promote discipline.
  • rice_sandwich 14 Mar 2018 12:43:53 6,453 posts
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    I think the solution is, like you say, is to write regularly. I found nanowrimo to be great for incubating an initial idea but I've struggled after about day 20 during the last couple of years due to a lack of good ideas. I have plenty of ideas but only a few of them are any good.

    I've found a way forward with the plot for my 2017 nano and have even redirected a 20 year old story with a completely fresh take on it. It'll mean a lot of rewriting but that's ok.

    I think I've also stopped worrying about what happens if I finish something and it's awful. It can be easy to procrastinate in order to avoid facing this.I've accepted that I can only do what I can do. I'm trying to improve but I have my limits.
  • CosmicFuzz 28 Apr 2018 06:50:21 32,585 posts
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    Holy moly, I've got an agent! Aaaaahh!
  • rice_sandwich 28 Apr 2018 07:17:06 6,453 posts
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    @CosmicFuzz

    Excellent news!
  • Decks Best Forumite, 2016 28 Apr 2018 07:19:46 25,616 posts
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    Nice. So when is Business Secrets of the Pharaohs due out?
  • BearFishPie 28 Apr 2018 09:30:47 810 posts
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    Congratubloodylations!
  • The12thMonkey 28 Apr 2018 13:01:43 566 posts
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    @CosmicFuzz Nice one! Good luck :D
  • CosmicFuzz 29 Apr 2018 02:10:00 32,585 posts
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    Cheers all!

    Look forward to the full guide to Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands in all good bookshops soon.
  • rice_sandwich 20 Jul 2018 16:58:35 6,453 posts
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    I finally got a new Chromebook so can resume my attempts at novel writing while on the train. I have an outside chance of completing a first draft of one of the three stories I've got on the go atm.

    How's everyone else doing?
  • BearFishPie 21 Jul 2018 21:54:30 810 posts
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    Literally no progress :( Life’s been getting in the way of writing time
  • rice_sandwich 22 Jul 2018 07:06:44 6,453 posts
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    @BearFishPie

    Maybe you can start a short story to get back into the habit.
  • BearFishPie 22 Jul 2018 07:42:47 810 posts
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    @rice_sandwich that’s a good idea! I should give that a whirl. I’ve got a SF story concept which I could develop as a short story first, then scale up if it works well.
  • rice_sandwich 22 Jul 2018 08:30:01 6,453 posts
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    I've just started one. It's about a baker who dies and throws a town into chaos due to a lack of his unique pastries.
  • Deleted user 22 July 2018 09:13:59
    Anyone come across a decent idiot's guide to writing short stories?

    I've been reading a lot of them lately and the style really appeals. But I can't quite get my head around what I like about them and where to start.

    Edited by GoatApocalypse at 11:22:26 22-07-2018
  • macmurphy 22 Jul 2018 10:32:11 4,286 posts
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    @GoatApocalypse

    I think just write then rewrite repeatedly.

    You might get lost in a novel but in a short story it should be hard to trip over yourself plot wise. Start with an idea you want to explore, have a rough idea of who the characters are, then just write.

    First draft will be a steaming turd but unlike actual turds you can usually polish short stories up into something half decent. The next one will be much easier.
  • macmurphy 22 Jul 2018 10:34:09 4,286 posts
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    As an example you might want to explore something like infidelity. Pick a few characters, like maybe a slightly unhappy career man and a sparky young office lass. Have a key scene, maybe a disabled toilet, then just go for it.

    I would deffo read that.
  • rice_sandwich 22 Jul 2018 10:42:49 6,453 posts
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    @GoatApocalypse

    Start with a random idea and explore it. Short stories usually have a twist, an epiphany or a significant event that changes the protagonist. They are not normally very heavy on background detail or character description.

    I like to make up sentences to start off an idea e.g.

    A woman meets an old friend and learns something life changing.

    A bored middle aged man suddenly decides to take a day off work to go on an adventure.

    A company is on the verge of creating a dangerous new technology.

    etc.
  • Deleted user 22 July 2018 10:45:58
    :D

    I'm struggling to know where to start in terms of things like exposition style and perspective.

    And in part, I do feel like I need to do it for catharsis.
  • Deleted user 22 July 2018 10:50:16
    Thanks, @rice_sandwich, that's helpful.

    I've been reading Murakami a lot lately and I'm therefore aiming ludicrously high. Might dial it back down and try something noir-ish.

    Edited by GoatApocalypse at 11:22:04 22-07-2018
  • rice_sandwich 22 Jul 2018 11:09:46 6,453 posts
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    @GoatApocalypse

    Crime / murder is always a good plot. At the moment I'm reading a Ruth Rendell short story collection. There's a good one about a woman who steals a suitcase from an annoying man (for reasons) but is surprised to find it has loads of money in it. Somehow it's going to end up with someone being killed.
  • Deleted user 22 July 2018 11:19:51
    Often feel shorts are better off things aren't resolved. Like, there's some form of epiphany or some sort of event but that you're left reflecting on characters' experiences of it. So well-realised characters are a must.
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