Visitors gone, house quiet, dog and husband napping in the living room -- and where am I??
You got it!
I find that now that the bulk of my research is done, and I'm finally sifting through it, another book is growing right in front of me. This one is barely weened and now another on the way. Wait, I'm feeling a little nause...
We had the lovable family computer nerd in this weekend and he worked with me and now I'm all excited about the new things I've learned. LIKE I WASN'T ALREADY HOOKED!
Take care guys.
One contention is that some fiction writers do a minimum of research, taking a small fact and puffing it up into a chapter with a lot of smoke and mirrors. On the other end of the scale some writers rely heavily on a lot of facts and their story building suffers for it; take your pick. Personally, I feel that if a reader has little interest in the factual material, a reader will have even less interest in the weak story. A measure of talent is the depth of interest into which a good writer can draw an otherwise uninterested reader. John Grisham is a writer who has the talent to engage readers who normally reject the topic of lawyers and the law -- no trivial accomplishment. He does it with the strength of his stories. Even a lawyer acquaintance said that he never knew what an interesting life a lawyer could live till he read Grisham.
I find it is as difficult to have a favorite writer as it is to have a favorite composer, painter, actor, singer, whatever.
Someone raised the question, again, of listening to music while writing. My preference is still to write in silence. In fact I have gradually been losing my hearing over several years and at times I look forward to the day when it is finally gone. I expect the only thing I shall miss is the sound of the birds and some of my favorite music. I certainly won't miss the daily newscasts, and most of the movies on video have closed captioning.
I've always wanted to be a writer with that pen in hand, thought in mind I sit right down to scratch my......head.
But who knows may someday I'll improve my grammar and lern
how to sell....... ahhhh learn how to spell and have better manners.
All this talk of research is getting me excited and making it very hard to stay dedicated to my novel, but not to worry, I will stay on task. Although I have to admit that I have gone off on afew web adventures to start on some research for two more stories that I have swimming arround in my head. I just have to decide which one I am going to dig into first.
Hum, I have once again had most of the day to myself, still not used to it, keep looking around for somebody, must admit I think I am a little lonely without all the noise and clatter.
It's been one of those days when I seem to be distracted very easily. I supose I am preocupied with the idea that any moment now my husband is going to pull into our driveway with our spanking new mini van, and the end of my days of the fun and exciting sports coup will be over. Ah well it's about time any way we should have gotten into a van years ago. It will come in very handy as we hit the old I-5 en-route to Cannon Beach in a week or so, then i'll bet that I will be more than happy to be in a van.
Goodweed - Did you get my e-mail? I have tried to send you a couple and have gotten error messages, but I think that the last one just may have made it through. Let me know.
'Scuse me for backtracking, but I've not looked at this page for weeks, and there's some interesting conversation going on!
I am left-handed as well..the only one in a long line of right-handers. I am not saying anything against right-handers, but due to the fact that an unusually high amount of our writers here appear to be left-handed, I think there might be someting in the argument connecting left-handedness and creativity.
Writing groups - I have belonged to one for about four years we are fortunate enough to be flourishing still - and we have recently published our first anthology of short stories! Our web site is listed above, if anyone's interested.
As for finding the group, well I sort of helped start it. There were about three of us, myself and two other writing colleagues I had known for a while, and we decided that since there were no writing groups to be found we'd start one. We put an ad in the newsletter of the British Fantasy Society, and contacted the editors of a few small-press magazines, asking for addresses of submitters who might be interested. Once we had five people, the group snowballed, with other members hearing about us from word of mouth. Now we are 13 members strong. So, if you can't find a writing group that already exists, try starting one of your own!
Hey, everybody! :) I don't have too much time to write this, but there are a few things I want to say.
Maggie- if you check in here, tell me if you got my email or not. I sent it to you twice but got an error message both times.
SNarly- Being a teen in summer vacation, I make time for writing by holing up in my room and refusing to come out for usually somewhere around four hours straight. I'm introvert anyway, so I don't mind the lack of company too much. My friends all think I'm insane, of course, but hey... I don't think there's a single writer on the planet that's completely normal.
Goodweed, and the others talking about advances (sorry I don't have time to find your names)- Ever since I think it was sixth grade, I've known that writing most likely won't make me a lot of money. I don't really care, that's all. I've gone through some really painfully hard times in my short life, and even though the prospect of reliving them isn't a nice one, I don't have a choice. I can't (won't) do anything except write, so I'm prepared to live in a shack somewhere if that's what it takes. Although a six-figure advance *would* be rather nice. ;)
Personally I love to research stuff. History would be my favorite subject at school if the teachers didn't make it so durn boring. I think the coolest thing would be to join the Society for Creative Anachronisms (sp?). But I have no idea where to start. Any ideas? Anyone here a member?
And finally, one last thing... Does anyone here listen to music when they write? If so, what kind?
I find I absolutely cannot concentrate without some soothing Enya or positively *evil* Rage Against the Machine. Funny enough, I still hear the characters talking to one another even through the music, which is the usual reason people give me for their not listening to something while they write.
All right, I *really* have to go now. Have a special day, everyone. :)
Snarly: Grab the pampers and hit that keyboard!! Good for you -- a day to yourself is a pure joy. Just you and the characters you've created. Oh, yes...
KC: I love all Grisham's books. And all the latest fiction (Clark, Cornwell, Sheldon, Lawrence, Robbins, etc) I read 1 non-fiction a month, and I'm now into "Suits Me" by Dianne Wood Middlebrook. It's a story of a woman who lived her entire adult life as a man. Had 4 "wives," etc.
And I'm deep into Dean Koontz's "Fear Nothing" Oooh scary.
Oldsters-wise: I love Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger, T.S. Eliot, Isadora Whelty, Flannery O'Connor and of course, O'Henry.
Rachel: I admire your perspicasity. Early morning for me is 10:00 a.m. Carpe' diem!!
Toby: Can't wait to read your book when it's finished.
You know something, guys, I just realized something (I'm a bit slow on the uptake). I can structure my day any way I want to. I have that luxury. Whereas, so many of you "younger" people certainly have my total respect for having to "make" time for your writing.
Brenda: I agree with all you've said.
K.C.-- I don't have a single favorite author--too many good books out there to read, but I do have authors' I will read and reread regularly. Lois McMaster Bujold is at the top of the list. She writes sci-fi. The books are filled with complex characters, action, plot twists, and thought provoking situations. The science is not overbearing and the space opera is not too wild. The entire Vorkosigan series is terrific, though you may want to start with Shards of Honor. I also love Cecilia Holland and agree with Jen's assessment of her ability to convey much in a few words. My favorite of hers is Great Maria--but I haven't read Jerusalem yet... I wonder if anyone has read The Legend of the Green Man by Sarah Hely? It is a historical set in Ireland of the early 1800's and I read every couple of years. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman made me think of Canada for the first time. I am currently enjoying Dianne Day's Fremont Jones mystery series and Kate Ross' Julian Kestrel mystery series. And so the list could go on....
What does a Hermes Rocket travel typewriter look like? How old is it? And what did your grandmother use it for?
S.N.Arly-- Whenever I travel I like to try local specialities. I wouldn't eat Haggis here in Montreal on Robbie Burns day, but when in Scotland I wouldn't have missed the opportunity.
KC, I never pass up an opportunity to recommend my favorite author! (-: Cecelia Holland. She writes historical novels (not historical romances). She has a gift for word economy that I have never seen duplicated anywhere. She says so much by saying so little. And her research is excellent. I know--I'm a history major. I'd recommend Jerusalem. That one is my all time favorite.
S.N. Arly - I know what you mean about pounding on those old typewriters. When I travel I bring my Great grand mother's little Hermes Rocket travel typewriter. I never knew something so small could weigh so much. I did come in handy on my cruise to Alaska though. A whole week on a cruise ship and what do I do, I spend all my time in my cabin writing stories and letters to my boyfriend. I think he was surprised to get a 5 page letter from me when I had only been on the boat for 2 days. I had fun though.
I was wondering who everyone's favorite authors were, and what books people liked. I am interested in furthering my reading into different genera and wanted some good books to read.
Kitty - Couldn't pay me enough to eat that stuff. But then, I'm a veg-head.
Rachel - One of the nicest things about word processors is the ability to move text and chapters around. I've changed chapters around a lot in one book. Or abruptly added several in the middle. Since I save each chapter separately all I had to do was rename. So much easier than the old days when I was using my dad's college typewriter. It was one of those cheap little manual Brothers where the entire carriage lifts up when you hit (or shall I say pound on) the shift key. There was no excalmation point or number one, either. The lower case L doubled for one and I did a lot of backspacing to place periods under apostrophies. And all the rewrites! Computers are a lifesaver.
On research - I don't really like to do a lot of it, myself. I go through phases where I migh tlike it, but only once in a while and only on topics that really interest me. I strongly believe you can only write well about what you know about, and my background education is diverse enough for SF & F and the odd fiction piece I write now and again.
I'm taking most of tomorrow off just for me. Just to write. I'm so excited I could almost wet myself. Almost.
Hey ho, y'all! All this talk about advances reminds me of Olivia Goldsmith's The Bestseller. It's one of those big mainstream novels that make good beach reading. This one follows four or five authors right on the brink of publishing their first book. You might say it is a "Three Coins in the Fountain" type of book but instead of love, they're looking for a bestseller. Will the offer come through? How much of an a advance? Who will get the publicity push? Which will be the bestseller? When you read it you wonder how much of it is based on Ms. Goldsmith's knowledge of the publishing biz and how much is pure fiction? I'm passing my copy on to an editor friend of mine who has promised to tell how much is based on industry anecdote.
At any rate, advances and contracts are the business end of writing, and you don't get there until you finish the book. And send it off. And have it accepted. So big congratulations to you, Jen for finally getting the contract in your hands!
As to finding the time.... From my perspective, it is a matter of priorities. Ten years ago I wrote on a daily basis and the priority was to make the newspaper deadline or get the next chapter back to my co-author. Unexpectedly, within a short space of time both my co-author and I suffered family losses. Then I moved to the country, quit the newspaper and started a family. I wrote less and less. My priorities had changed. My children were my joy and my job. They will always be my first priority, but now as they are older and neither want nor need me hovering about, I'm rethinking how I am going to use this discretionary time. One thing is to establish a regular writing schedule. I will sit down to write two hours every day. I've plenty of things to write from letters to stories to novels and now I am setting aside the time for it. This is important to me. I am going to do it.
Hayden, delighted to see you back even if only from a cyber cafe. Ted and I went to Edinburgh for our fifth wedding anniversary. We took the night train up from London and stayed at the Caledonian. We walked everywhere. It is such a beautiful city steeped in history, drama, and romance. On one of our walks we were caught on a hill in one of those dark rainstorms, but being young and in love that simply added to the passion that charged the atmosphere. When the clouds finally broke, we were treated to one of the most brilliant rainbows I have every seen. I took it as a good omen. Next time I hope your darling wife will accompany you.
Haggis is quite tasty, btw.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (that is me screaming my head off)
Everyone talking about a shortage of time and today I have been lucky to have almost an entier day droped at my feet, my husbands at work and the kids are busy with buddies, my foster son started his first day at his summer job and I have been working like a wild thing on the second draft. Well that is untill very recently when I realized that I left out a couple of chapters and have had to move some things around and this has been more than a little confusing.
Usualy I do most of my writing either in the early morning or late at night and into the early morning.
Oh well I should stop putting it off and take advantage of the time that I have (Good advice there Brenda)
Take care all
Hey, research is the key :) all this time spent wondering what the 'secret' was and now here it is!
I'm just joking though, as I do agree with GoodWeed, I've put a great deal of research and thought into my book, 2 months on modern military structure, three weeks on Greek/Roman military, sail navy warfare, buckaneering, mercenaries (the most fascinating history 1700's), and of course the physics needed to make that piece of SF as realistic as I can and all sorts of notebooks filled with anything that I think perinent. All the various research has been ongoing on the side since I started the book in 96 (writing snippets and drawing maps and naming places and making histories and ships and little bits of dialougue etc, and here I am just now working on the actual writing... fifteen thousand odd words into it since I started the beginning of this summer. Of course a minor hiccup in my computer that lost twenty thou at the beginning of summer slowed things down at the outset. And I do believe that the research is worth it, because when I read what I've written I actually enjoy it, which is more than I can say for my short stories.
Hopefully if I ever become a full time writer I will have more time for research and won't have to drag it out as long.
I do not recall at the moment where I read it, but some one said "If one aims for mediocrity, surely they will fall short of even that." I think in terms of writing and money, regardless of what we each expect monetarily, we all hope to write the best books we are capable of writing.
As far as time to write - I find, like SNarly, I have to MAKE the time, make it a priority. With a small child and plenty of other obligations, that's not always easy, but there *are* days when I am forced to function without adequate rest, because I choose to write instead of sleep.
One interesting thing I've been learning lately is to write when I CAN, and not necessarily when I FEEL like it. That's been a tough one, but I have surprised myself and done okay with it...
Well, gotta go see what my characters have in store for me today. (Don't really feel like it at the moment, but Kathryn is sleeping :))
Barb, I'm not sure whether MY brain works anyway, it's bloody hard work putting those words down and any help is always worth while.
Excuse me, that was supposed to be "Mega Bucks", however if I get to pick them, mega books wouldn't be bad either. LOL
Oh, Lord am I in trouble if it takes 2 years of intensive research to write a creditable book. I am the world's worst researcher (not to mention, I detest the process) I realize that research is a necessary evil for a well written story and the story I have in mind for my second novel will take some doing. I will be researching wine growing, race cars and mechanics, the publishing industry, (How about that!), and artistic painting, but I don't see me spending 2 years doing it. Maybe the first one will be a big hit and I can hire a researcher. Ahhh, dreams are so nice to have.
I am not looking to write the all american novel or a nobel prize winning novel, I simply am not that deep a thinker. I just want to write an interesting tale that will entertain those who enjoy reading for pleasure.
Oh, of course if someone is willing to pay me mega books to do this, I will not complain.
Goodweed, I get what your saying here, and I am glad you brought up the almighty dollar. I for one hadn't really thought about it. You know just the passing joke between Dan and I that I will make us both filthy rich and we'll be able to retire to a farm and putter on our land forever. Ahhh what a dream.
I don't really expect to get rich off of my writing, but it's nice to know that there are people out there who do and my hat is off to them. I think it must be the most wonderful thing in the world to be able to make you living doing something that you enjoy.
Take care all
Goodweed, I get what your saying here, and I am glad you brought up the almighty dollar. I for one hadn't really thought about it. You know just the passing joke between Dan and I that I will make us both filthy rich and we'll be able to retire to a farm and putter on our land forever. Ahhh what a dream.
I don't really expect to get rich off of my writing, but it's nice to know that there are people out there who do and my hat is off to them. I think it must be the most wonderful thing in the world to be able to make you living doing something that you enjoy.
Take care all
Goodweed, my favorite author, who has written 24 excellently researched books, has the finest writing style I have EVER read, has moved me to tears in almost all of her books and has a mind like a steel trap, does not get 6 figure advances. If I were her publisher, I would give her 7 figure advances.
To Susan and the others. I am not writing for the money. I didn't mean to imply that, though that is part of the reason for trying to get published. I have writen a lot of poetry which I will never try to publish. The reason I use the monetary examples, is that it shows me good things can happen if you put in enough effort. If I set high expectations for myself, I am willing to do the six or seven re-writes required to get the stroy right. I have to believe that there is a good story that will excite the imaginations of others, or, wht's the point.
If it sells for $5,000, great. If it sells for $350,000, even better. The money is not the goal. Rather, the end product must have entertainment value, and quality.
To sum up, it is my goal to write a quality novel that is better than average, that is the best I can write. I must be williing to put pride aside and open my mind to the views and teachings of proven writers, not bristle at critique, but gratefully accept it, and learn from it. I will continue to improve my writing abilities until my novel is the best it can be.
I still hold that it is possible to write a $350,000 dollar novel. It requires dilligence, sometimes years of training, knowledge of demographics, research, and skill. It may not be easy, but it is possible.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
Back when I was in Jr High and High School I had a great deal of incomplete homework. I found that you can't quite get by in college that way. I sort of rushed through college anyway, and my tendonitis was completely uncontrolled at the time, so I didn't get a whole lot of writing done. What I did consisted of stolen moments or work over vacation.
My whole family has learned to leave me alone when I'm writing. I can get a little phsycho if people bug me in the middle of something. My spouse is very cooperative and works interference for me if I'm in the middle of something.
I'm a very seasonal writer, and I'm typically not very creative in the Summer. It's a good time for me to edit, but I don't develop many new things. Fall is when I'm the most inspirred, and I make a point to drop a lot of other activities that might interfere during this season. There are things I'm unwilling to give up, so I still go to karate once or twice a week and I try to bike or blade a bit. The bathroom will be done well before then, thank dog.
I choose what things are worth comprimising on, however, I strongly feel that any artist needs to experience life in order to create something of value. So it's important not to eliminate all socialization and activity. BUt there are times when I will limit or eliminate most of it to work on something.
Wow, I'm verbose this morning.
ALL - I'll cancel the order for the new BMW then. I feel better that others have thought about the cash. I agree with Goodweed, I would like to be remunerated for the time and effort I put in; assuming the end result is any good of course.
S.N.Arly - Whilst I research I don't mind the distraction. When I start writing Margot and Jerry - my kittens - start climbing on me, and the girlfriend wants some attention.
Method/Approach. I know this has been flogged before. However, I found the following whilst reading an authors interview on the approach to writing.
"I usually begin my writing time by staring at the computer screen for hours, paralyzed with fear and self-loathing. When I finally muster up enough courage to start writing, I type my very first word and immediately realize that it's all wrong. I rewrite the word a few hundred times, frantically thumbing through a thesaurus, until it becomes too frustrating to continue. Then I begin drinking heavily. After I'm thoroughly soused, I return to my computer and begin screaming obscenities at the blank screen. Then I start violently sobbing and vow to return to graduate school. At some point, I usually black out. A few months later, my book is finished!"
Most of my writing goes from synaptic activity to black and white. I've started to applying a bit of structure.
What is your approach? To plan or not to plan?
I hope I'm not being too imposing for a new comer.
I have a question for Goodweed. How do you define the
difference between a $5,000 story and a $350,000 story?
i.e. If money is what you're setting your sights on, how
does that affect what you write? My agent, who's been in
the business for more than thirty years, claims to enjoy
the "horse race" aspect of the publishing business - you
NEVER know what will take off unexpectedly or what "hot
property" will fail utterly. One of my agent's clients
wrote a book that was amazingly successful by virtue of
winning a top literary prize and taking off from there. But
this man had a history of twenty years (!) of nothing but
rejections before he got started. I knew John Irving when
he was writing The World According to Garp. He was on the
verge of giving up because he'd published four or five books
and none of them had done well. Same writer, same style, same basic content - he couldnt explain himself why Garp took off. So how can you write with money in mind as your goal?
I think I have gone crazy. I have been cleaning our playroom since around 11pm Tuesday. Strange thing is that I'm not done yet. Yikes. Our so called playroom the area above our 3 car garage plus some. I guess I got tired of seeing all the mess around the computer and started cleaning the computer desk. That sort of migrated to the bird seed all over the floor (my birds are messy eaters) and then to all the boxes and garbage, the organizing of the book shelves and on and on. My parents don't mind that I am cleaning voluntarily but I DON'T CLEAN. Well got to get to my brother's and my desks that runs the length of the wall. What a mess. I just wanted to break from my obsessive cleaning for a while. This really does hamper my writing time though.
S.N. Arly - I have so many things going on that I hardly have time to write. I have found that I stay up to the wee hours of the morning writing if I don't have anything to do the next morning. I find that once I start writing I don't want to stop until I fall asleep at the computer. I have done this so much with both recreational and report writing that I can't write very well during the day or in the morning. When I have a very busy day I carry a notebook with me and write in it when I have a short break. During school I would get to my next class as fast as possible and write for about 3 minutes before class starts. I also wrote at lunch if I wasn't doing forgotten homework :-).
Thanks for listening/reading me babble on, K.C.
Time is something that seems to have been menitoned in the past couple, or even more, posts. I'm curious how others resolve the conflicts of work, family, friends, life and writing. I've always been willing to make sacrifices for my writing, even as a wee snot. My friends might all be outside, but not me. I was hunched over a notebook, and then later my nasty old Brother hard at work. I hafd plans. I was going to be a writer someday.
Aaah, delusions of grandeur.
But I am a writer and all artist find themselves stuck making these very similar comprimises. To make time for myself, I took a part-time job. The time immediately after work is my writing work time. My family knows that I may not answer the phone during this time. Better to call me at my other job. There are a lot of times when I go without a proper night's sleep. I skip other activities and events to work. But there are times when there just doesn't seem to be enough time. We've been remodeling the bathroom since February. I'm quite sick of it, in fact. Should be done this weekend. We recently bought a personal watercraft to share with my parents at their lake cabin, where we spend time. We're studying for our upcoming brown belt test. Where does the writing fit?
I finally got my laptop this summer. It has helped, especially for those occasions away from home and "The Beast." I'll see how well it works for me in a few weeks, when I go spend a weekend in northern WI.
So, back to the question, How do you reconcile your time?
Goodweed, you have a point, but I don't think when your writing from the heart, what you love, you put a price tag on it. If I could name my price it would be 6 figure, but I'm not naming the prices.
Hayden - Welcome back! Edinburg sounds delightful, and what wonderful insight you have!
Jen - Again congratulations on your contract. It all seems so exciting! And you deserve it!
Barb - I just got my house back after a five day visit from friends, and now I have all the post-guest chores...dang! Don't ya just with we could all get a book on the top of the best seller's list and hire people to do that kind o stuff? :>) (hmm... real life? Oh, yeah...)
Everyone - Thanks for all the comments on 'how-to' books and on POV.
Jen; Congrats. It's great that you have that first one under your belt. To the rest of you, (please don't take this wrong, because I know what you say about advances is generally valid) I know an author (not personally, but she lives 25 or so miles away) that brought in an advance of $350,000 for her first novel. Her secret, she researched her material for two years before writing the historical fiction, "Mother Earth, Father Sky". It may be rare, but it can and does happen. If I want to settle for $5K for a story, then I will write a story worth $5,000. I set my sights higher than that. It may not mean that I make $350,000 for my first sale, but I certainly have a better chance if I try to than if I settle for the numbers game.
Set your sights on the brass ring. You won't get it by striving for anything less.
This is of course, mho.
Mick: My fingers seem to work indepently of my underused brain. I'm very sorry. I went back and re-read your remarks. I'm underpaid and overworked, is there no hope for me?
Have company coming for the weekend, so I'm getting some "cleaning" done. (Oh, how I hate that word). The old futonarama will reign.
Have to find some time for myself in the next few days. Why does that have to come **last** on the list?
Barb, I didn't pooh pooh the how to books, I have even recommended some of them in these pages, it was just a general comment in reply to S N. I have found them useful but I still stand beside my comment.
How do I get to writings that were posted to the Workbook but are not longer there. Were they archived or are the just gone?
Thanks, Barb, Gary.
Hayden/Peter, I envy you. I would love to go to Scotland.
The weather in Edinburgh in summer is worse than Syndey in winter, even though the temperatures are about the same. But what a beautiful city it is, made of stone and hills, and wandering scotsmen (and women). Every second street has a bagpiper playing. Only because it is peak tourist season, and you can easily pick the tourists from the locals because the tourists are the ones wearing the brightly colored anoraks and the cameras. The locals are still getting use to the idea that the fools want streetside cafes even though they know it is more likely to coat them with rain than color them with sunshine.
The castle, which I can see out my back window growing on a great rocky hill in the centre of town, is a glorious moody grey most of the time, but when the sun light strikes it just right, it dominates the city. I refrained from taking photos of it until yesterday when a great thunderhead rolled up over it, and the sun was striking the white patches on the flag and making the colors dance like neon lights, and then out came the camera to capture the moment. Standing there, my heart in my mouth, I heard a nearby tourist ask a local how they managed to build a castle that size in the middle of the city. Maybe the idea of layers of civilisation was slightly foriegn to the tourist, but it was interesting to hear it voiced that way. Insights into the human mind come at moments like that.
When I travel I am constantly reminded of how the world is becoming one big shopping mall. Now, where did I put that credit card?
See you soon. Three days until I fly (for 24 hrs no less)back to my darling wife.
I can't believe the number of postings since I last looked in. I'll read them all in full later. For now, welcome back Hayden-Les-Peter. How do you like Edinburgh in the summer?
A big hoot of congratulations on the contract. Can't wait to buy the book. You have one sale in the bag.
"PETER L. GAINLAW, THAT PROLIFIC PRODIGAL OF PROSEFUL PROWESS PLYING PROPITIOUS PURSUITS, PAYS PRO-LITERATAE PLEASANT PAUSE" (sorry guys, the devel made me do it) So happy to hear from the man from down-under. Right now I'm this very pukey shade of green. Don't know why.
KC: loved it!!
Mick: Please don't poo-poo the "how-to" books. You don't have to live by them but when you're picking those phrases out of the ethereal blue, knowing what you're doing sure does help.
Jen: I'm late with my congratulations, but that doesn't mean I'm not sincere. Good work.
I've been working my little chubby butt off today.
Did I miss something? Who was the "Guess Who" that left that lyrical bit of fantasy?
Hayden, good to know you are still out there. Is this a "Walk-about"? I do think I heard the word "work" mentioned though. Hope we will be hearing from you more frequently before too long though.
In answer to the question of how much can you make from your novel, I got the following information from "The Novelist's Workshop", by Linda Barlow who is a published writer who says she makes a living from her writing. Anywhere from $4000 to $250,000. She does go on to say that the lower figure is more common and not all writers can make a living from their work. If you would like this website, let me know.
So glad to find you alive and well.
So glad to find you alive and well.
Ed - Consider yourself damn lucky to have a well-paying job that permits time off to write. I have been a serious writer all my life and have had to sqeeze it in where it fits. I'd love to write full time, which is my primary motivation for making money off my writing. If I make enough money, I can quit the job thing. Until then, I'll have to hope my spouse someday lands a job that will support us both (and the dog and the house...)
Most writers don't make enough to live off their writing. A lot of full-time writers either live a minimalist lifestyle, or have some supplemental income from somewhere else. There are those who do well. The ones who make a lot of money. But they are rare, and realistically, none of us can expect it.
I've been sending out my shorts and magazines will pay anywhere from 1/4 cent per word, to 7 cents per word. Most of these places want a story ranging from 2000 words to 7000 words (in my market anyway). I'll let you do the math, since it is my weak point. As a starting writer (meaning unpublished. Doesn't matter if you've been writing for 15 years) you can expect to get in on th elow end of the deal.
I'm not really a pessimist, but this is something we all have to look at, at some point in our writing careers, particularly if we want ot make it a career.
Hayden - Glad to hear you're alive and well. Hope you're having a nice time there. Hope the Porsche continues to run well.
Ed, I'm just basically seconding what Jen said. Advances
don't tend to be large for new writers (my agent THINKS she
can get more for the second book than the first because
the first one has gotten good reviews, but we'll see.
And doubtless "more" wouldn't be much in any case.) Then after the advance
nothing comes in for a long time. I just sold an excerpt
from my novel to a magazine. Money coming in, right?
Wrong. Unless my advance has "earned out" (which it
probably hasn't since my book's only been out for a few months), the publisher keeps the magazine money.
None of us does this to get rich!
Ed--Don't quit your day job! (-:
Seriously though. I write full time and have sold a book. I sold the book in June and I haven't even received the first HALF of my advance yet--which, incidently, isn't all that big. I don't receive the other half until the publisher accepts the manuscript after editing. As for royalties, it's my understanding that publishers figure the advance pretty well and the royalties are little if any. But if there are any, it's a long time before you receive them.
I've recently come in contact with several multi-published authors, who have told me the advance doesn't start going up until around book 4 or 5. Not a pretty thought.
I write because I love writing. But if I want to keep doing it fuill-time like I do, I have to make money. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
I have absolute knowledge that Haden's absence from our forum is due to wanderlust (temporary, he'll be back). He is traveling abroad at present.
I wish I had something valuable to say about the current topic, but I don't, so...
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
Good to see this site still going strong.
Sorry to bring this up.
I have been writing for years and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I have recently embarked on the arduous task of writing a thriller novel. Whilst I do my research I find myself thinking - more like dreaming - about being published.
Assuming I am one of the minority who actually finishes a manuscript, and even less likely, one of the few who actually becomes published. What can you earn?
At the moment I am not writing to make money. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my beast and see the beauty on a bookshelf.
I am fortunate to have a well-paid job and can afford to take time off to write. However, I have lent some thought to what would happen if I were published. How do the finances work? What can be earned? Can I write full time?
I have spoken with people who argue that they are not worried about how much they can earn, they love writing; they then go onto talk about becoming an author, writing from a summer house by the pool.
Hayeden - It's great to hear from you again. Why did ya chose that name? Doesn't really matter. Nice to see you again.
Mina-san ("everyone" in Japanese) - I am posting the second chapter to my Twin Gates novel on the workbook. Feel free to critique. Seeing as I wrote the whole thing in the hours of 11pm to around 1am of a couple of sleepless nights, some of it may just be weird. If you come to part like that just E-me and I will look at it. I appreciate it. If you haven't read the first chapter revised please go to my web page and do so or you might get lost.
Long time away from a puter, but here in Edinburgh I found an internet cafe and thought I might catch up on a little bit of key bashing.\
Really it is just hello, no I haven't died, or gone to virtual heaven, though sometimes it feels like it. My Porsche has gone to the garage for an oil change and I am in cafe deprivation...but the new book is going really well. I just don't have time to do sightseeing and writing, so the sightseeing is on hold while all the worlds pour out of me. ||
Sorry I don't have time to read back over the postings, but I promise to when I arrive back home. I don't know if I will have time to respond later to anything you might want to post to me, but my internet email is posted above, and all those of you who are missing me can send messages and I will try to reply,
BTW, I have changed my writing name to Peter L Gainlaw, so you can start looking for books with that name in the near future.
Regards and miss you bunch heaps. Specially you Gariess and Goodweed.
HI EVERYONE ELSE!!!!!
I saw this in the "Laughter, The Best Medicine" section of August 1998, issue of Reader's Digest and thought you all might like it.
A writer died and St. Peter offered her the option of going to hell or heaven. To help decide, she asked for a tour of each destination. St. Peter agreed and decided to take her to hell first. As she descended into the fiery pits, the writer saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming workshop. As they worked they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes by demons. "Oh, my," the writer said, "let me see heaven."
A few moments later, as they ascended into heaven, the writer saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in steaming workshops. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashed by demons. "Hey," the writer said, "this is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh, no it's not," St. Peter replied. "Here, your work gets published."
Hope you enjoyed.
SN - yes, you're probably right, some of the how to books are all right but the real learning comes when you try and grasps those words and phrases out of the air, they are not much use for doing the bathroom either. sorry about the lefties/righties thing - have not had much time to read the notebook as i'm in the middle of moving, i may have dreams, i don't rember them if i do.
Hi guys (that's generic)
I think I now understand why the writers in the movies go off to some cabin in wild. No kids, no husbands, no laundry, no (uh hem) computers, no outside world to distract them.
I can only get a paragraph or two written before I LET myself be distracted. Bummer!
I found a website entitled "Elements of Style", I believe it was just mentioned, and found it to be useful in that it gave the specifics of manuscript style for submission and it also referenced several literary agencies. I have discovered recently that several of the more prominent "Romance" publishers will not accept a nonagented submission.
Also, I found a website called the principles of storytelling. I think it is directed more toward the screenwriter, but the essay I read makes a who lot of sense in the are of writing as well.
If you are interested in perusing these sites let me know and I'll post their addresses.
I'm back. Like Barb, I'm procrastinating too. Once I get
back to serious writing, my appearances will be more
sparse. I'm not popping over here rather than writing,
though; what I'm avoiding is putting together a school
visit program. The public appearance side of the writing
life doesn't agree with me at all!
Jen, what I really logged on to say is HOORAY! I'm glad
the contract arrived. Who's your publisher? (You probably
said at some point, but I missed it - I've only been
visiting here for a week or so.) If you're like me, there
will be looooong periods of waiting (when it begins to seem
unreal again - or maybe that was just me, the world champ
of insecurity), but every so often one of these wonderful
little bursts of reality! Enjoy them all! The very best
one will be when that first letter comes in the mail, from a total stranger, saying, "I loved your book." I hope the whole publishing process goes smoothly and happily for you - savor every exciting moment!
You can always tell when I'm procrastinating..I have more time to make notebook entries.
Ahh! Re-writes, the bane of authorship. Many times I go back to re-read something I've put aside months earlier and like Snarly, I'm either in awe of my literary prowess or wondering who the hell has been leaving things in my file cabinet. No middle ground here. Somtimes I can salvage a real stinker and sometimes I can't, but they *ALWAYS* are saved.
Voice and POV are still rattling their cages. It is a trying subject, but very, very important, especially to the new writer. Learn all you can (and share it with us later).
Jack: How I'd love to join you for a cold one, but alas like so many others of us, my budget flucuates from sadly low to nil. Have one for me, though, when you get together.
Hello! I wanted to let everyone know who sent helpful and supportive e-mails to me that I FINALLY received the book contract! This morning! It took two months! I finally feel like this is real!
Jack - I'd love to meet with you all, unfortunately Minnesota to Seattle (that is where you are, eh?) is a bit of a haul for one as impovrished as I. I'm also testing for my brown belt the night of the 17th. It's a pretty big deal and now that I'm psyched up for it, I'd better just do it. It's 90% mental and I don't want to do this again until I test for black.
Can relate to the difficulty in adapting. I have a 17" screen at home and an ergonomic keyboard to keep my tendons happier. My laptop pales in comparison, and there are times I wonder if I'll ever really adjust to it. I will. I'm highly adaptable (as the AKC says about Shelties - highly trainable).
Caitlin - I happen to be a bit of a wolf fanatic myself. She's my totem after all. I recently wrote a novella that either needs to be much longer or much shorter about wolves. Fantasy you know. It needs a lot of work, but I am completely in love with the idea. For the moment. This can change on any given day.
So what exactly do you mean about having trouble writing without voices? There is always a voice, even if it's omnicient. We've been talking a lot about voice and point of view, which happen to be some of my favorite subjects at the moment. Let me know what oyu mean and I'll see if I can help.
Sue - Hee hee. Stinking white whale.
I can relate to your trials on rewrite. There are times when I re-read my drafts and I say, WOW, I wrote this? Then there are times I say, what the hell WAS I thinking? I try to be amused by my own stupidity, and can usually do so. My spouse thinks it's funny to listen to me edit. Silence. Laughter, giggles. More silence. Big groan. More laughter.
Those of us who can laugh at ourselves shall never lack for amusement. Or so I've been told.
Caitlin - What kind of help are you looking for? What kind
of wolf stories?
S.N. - You've hit on a few of my pet peeves. I couldn't
get through Writing Down the Bones. And as for the great
white whale, he could sink (freudian slip here, I started
to type stink) to the bottom - and take with him a few
others, like Hawthorne, whose books I've groaned and
muttered through only when required by a course I was
Rachel - that's great that your second draft is off to
such a good start! I'm currently on a THIRD draft and
still moaning and tearing out my hair. "Who wrote THIS?" I
want to cry half the time.
Hi! I'm new 'round the writeing neck of the woods. Can anyone help me? I'm young and well,too put it mildly, enexperiensed. I have a story plot, but it's only 3 pages long. (to get the *short* story e-mail me) Most of my writeings (none are good enough to be storys) are wolf storys, and I have trouble with writeing a story with out voices.
Correction: What I meant to say is when I do get my desk top, running correctly with NT 4.0, Win 98 and soon to have Linux, I will hit the road running and have the new Workbook and the updated For Writers Only up in short order. Cheers.
I heard from Ben via email. Hopefully he will be giving me a phone call soon and I will arrange for a time to meet for Lunch with him and any others that are so inclined in the area. The date he will be down from climes up north is Monday, August 17. If others are free feel free to contact me either via email or phone at (206) 723-9906. We still have not worked out a set spot. It will have to work around Fran's schedule which is that I ferry her to be at work at Children's Hospital at 3:00, but other than that constraint and the concert that Ben and his wife are coming down to see I am assuming we can work out a time and place.
S.N. Partly, I am going into desk top withdrawal. Having all my apps where I want them displayed on a 20 inch monitor with an ergonomic keyboard has gotten to be something of a habit. Working off a laptop with a cramped keyboard, a 12.1 active matrix screen is a little confining. Also, some of the apps will not run on 32 megs of ram. I know. I know. I am whining :-). But the week that my new system was working whetted my appetite for some truly awesome computing environments. Sufficient ramble and rest assurred when I do get my laptop I will hit the road running. Also, rest assurred that I will be looking forward to showing some of the fragments of my novel and sharing as it grows and sprouts legs, wagon wheels and tentacles, depending. Take care everyone.
S.N.Arly - Don't worry about the kiddies and their being just that, trust me they are bounding with energy and adventure and even on days when the rain never stops are outside involved in wild and crazy play, and it thrills me that they are this way.
I think that they may have come to love reading and writing so much as my husband and I have read to them from the time they were born and both of our children have taken to reading and writing with relative ease, it is something that they both enjoy.
Susan - I will make a point of checking out your web site sometime soon.
I have started on my second draft and you know I am much happier with things that I thought I would be, it makes more sense than I had anticipated. Now I am down to the task of picking through lines putting them in and pulling them out and trying to make it more readable.
Also I went to the grocery store today and found several great writing magazines, I have finally found what I was looking for, purchased one called "Fiction Writer" It has a bunch of stuff in it that is just what I was looking for. I am thrilled!
Take care all
Brenda - Tried to respond to your e-mail but it was returned. Please let me know if you get it, I've tried to resend.
Mick - We weren't necessarily debating that lefties were more creative than righties (what an odd word). We were discussing why writers are creative and if the creativity manifests itself in other ways such as disturbed sleep or vivid dreams.
I read Writing down the bones in a creative writing class in college. Hated it. But then, the class was not one of my favorites and I don't like how-to books to begin with. Unless they have to do with house maintenance. How to remodel your bathroom....
Rachel - It's great your kids are interested in writing and it's wonderful that you encourage it, but be careful not to push too hard. They're a little young, and they still need to be kids. You also don't want to turn them off writing. Incidentally, congrats on the completion of the first draft. That's always a rush and I love it.
Barb - I didn't like elements of style. But then I also typically ignore any Books That You Aboslutely Must Read list that include the bible.
Tried to post this on Saturday AM; 9:50 central standard time
Jack - Yes. I can tell you're having a bit of trouble. The notebook had a vdistinctly odd look this morning. An unloaded look. It sounds like you need a break. If you do, by all means take it.
Toby - Don't I wish writers were considered a natural resource and valuable to society in America. We're not viewed that way, and I have trouble seeing the American gov't ever recognizing us as such. It's interesting. As a society, we tend to judge those cultures and societies that came before us solely on their art. We look at their urns, their architechture, their painting, poetyr, etc. Yet art is not viewed as important enough to our society for the government to encourage it. How will those cultures who follow us, judge us? In the end it's what they won't see and we may be viewed as another kind of Dark Age.
I read many of the classics in HS and college. Many of them made me gag. I like Faulkner (for which I take a great deal of crap from my friends), Hemmingway, Willa Cather, some of the others. But I absolutely hated Melville. I read Moby Dick TWICE just in case I'd maybe missed something important. Something that might make it mean something. What a lousy book.
Kitty - I don't think there were any Irish scholars on the committee that came up with the books.
They teach a BRITISH accent in Deutschland, not an American accent. It's not a heavy one, but it's distinctly there. Guess they figure England/English, why not go to the source for accuracy. Besides England isn't that far away from Germany, they could almost take a day trip there.
Oddly enough I haven't found anyone in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Statistical Area who teaches Gaelic. I can't even find teach-yourself tools. My grandma might have been able to, but she died nealry ten years ago and her ashes don't speak to me. She evidently grew up speaking English and Gaelic before emmigrating to New York. Sadly, I believe Gaelic will vanish in the not so distant future.
Books on writing: I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned
Anne LaMott's Bird by Bird, but it's wonderful. And so is
Betsy Byars's The Moon and I, which is one of the funniest
books I've read in a long time. Neither of them is
exactly "how to" but they have a lot to say about writing
and the writer's psyche.
POV: Currently reading Kellerman's Survival of the Fittest
and he periodically interrupts the 1st person narrative to
slip in a brief, third-person trip into the bad guy's
psyche. I've seen that often in mysteries but this (so far)
is very infrequent - the 1st person pov is overwhelmingly
dominant - but it works well.
Rachel, hope you do find a writing group! I hope your
writer kids will visit my webpage - I have a writing contest
for kids there (I do poetry workshops for kids in schools.) It's wonderful that kids as young as yours are interested in writing; I've been sent some great stories, though, by first graders. I think kids' imaginations are wondrous - that's probably why it's so much fun writing for them.
Hi Y'all (again today),
Have any of you seen the list of "Must Reads" from Writer's Digest Magazine? It was in the issue around Christmas, I think.
First on their list is: The Bible
Second is: Elements of Style by you-all-know-who.
and so forth.
Just thought the comparison is quite illuminating. Sad to say, but the men outnumbered women on theirs, too... Hmmm
If anyone missed it I can try to scan a copy and send it to Jack. (That might be the joke of the day!! My PC skills are sadly lacking, and I'm being kind to myself, believe me.)
someone asked for how to do it books, sorry a don't know who. however, i sugested some science fiction and fantasy how to, wrong, anyway, here are 2 books by Natalie Goldberg: WILD MIND and WRITING DOWN THE BONES, pretty good stuff.
i hope no one is getting conned by that lefty and righty stuff, i think the idea that lefties are more creative was put up by a shrink - that damns the idea for ever more.
Wow I can hardly believe it, but last night I finished the first draft of my story. What a rush! As I was typing out that last sentence I just got so excited I thought I was going to scream. Then once I did finish I did do a little excited scream and dance around the room. (Yes I really do dance around rooms in excitement)
I tried to send a note about this last night, and I don't quite know what happened to it, but it doesn't matter. I am up and at em again. I am hoping that I can be done with this by mid to late September and if things continue the way they are I should be able to.
Both of my children ages 5 and 7 have begun to write and though I am delighted I now have some serrious competition for computer time. (Ha, Ha)
I have found a writers group for children and plan to take them both out to it through the month of August so that they can get their feet wet and see if they want to continue with it in the fall. I however have not had the same luck finding a group for myself. I do plan to make afew more phone calls next week and am considering leaving my municipality and looking in the surrounding areas, but will most certainly surivive with or without a writers group.
Oh well lots to do and my son is waiting anxiously to finish his "hot dog" story.
Take care all
I see my posting of yesterday was lost somehow. Didn't make the notebook.
There were only two comments: 1) I know the list you speak of Jack, and isn't it interesting that Booth Tarkington and his "The Magnificent Ambersons" squeaked on while Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth" was not mentioned.
2) speaking of POV...The omniscient POV is nigh to impossible to pull off in a short story. I saw it work effectively once where the story was separated into five sections. Each section was headed with the name of the character that it concerned and each was written first person. Neat.
If anyone is interested Shallow End's new issue is up today and it can be accessed at http://www.innhousevideo.com/-shallowend/ I tried to access it from the markets page but it wouldn't connect.
p.s. Sorry about that. When I did some correction of the HTML on the Notebook I inadvertantly misdirected the graphics so they came up missing and the Notebook's CGI script quit working. Both are now corrected.
You hit the nail right on the head. That is the list I was referring to and it was definitely biased towards male writers.
Still on my laptop and it is looking like I will not see my desktop until sometime middle to end of next week. This is a really bummer since most of my work towards upgrading this site and the Workbook are on those hard drives. Oh, well, if it doesn't rain it absolutely monsoons. Between car crashes, computer crashes and aching backs I am about read to see some sunshine somewhere. Not depressed. Really. Just getting progressively more pissed at life dumping on this small corner of the planet or at least any machinery or electronics I seem to put my hands on. Take care.
The Irish authors don't pay taxes, I like that, maybe we can get the US to
think about that one...
On the great one hundred books, even though I am an English Major I really can't stand to wade through most of the boring stuff that is supposed to be 'great'. Homer over Virgil any day, and the classic authors I tend to like are mostly ignored by my esteemed proffesors. I do like Dickens and Hemingway though...
S.N.Arly--I knew they meant authors writing in the English LANGUAGE not
ENGLISH authors, but I couldn't resist. The Irish are very proud of their
writers (do they still have tax free status, I wonder?) and rightly so. They are
also proud of being Irish--not English and considering the precarious political
situation in some parts of Ireland, there is a distinction.
By the way, which American accent do they teach in Germany?
Thanks for letting me know what NPR means. I listen to it. I get Wireless. How could I be so clueless?! Why did I think Jack and Brenda were referring to a magazine article?
As to learning Gaelic, aren't there any Gaelic Societies in your area? Or a University with a Language Arts department?
Jack - Was that the top 100 English language novels of all time? If so I know
they (the infamous THEY) have gotten a lot of flack for only putting 9 women on
Kitty - NPR: National Public Radio I think they were talking about books written in the English language, which would include Joyce as he wasn't writing in Gaelic. Sure wish I could find someone to teach me Gaelic. We in America technically don't speak English either. We speak American. And in Germany they teach English. Complete with the accent.
Lydia - I use Alta Vista at work and it does the trick. I use Excite at home, and I've never really had any complaints with it either. I used to use Web Crawler back in my AOL days, and it was OK. It's actually a good idea to alternate search engines now and again, because not all will have links or access to the places you want to go.
Brenda - POV has become one of my favorite subjects since joining a writers group and working on shorts. By all means e-mail me.
Jack, Brenda-- I am not familiar with the acronym NPR. Please illuminate. Thanks. It seems to me the best thing about these top 10, 100, etc... lists is that they encourage debate over the judges' selections whether it is books, restaurants or fashion. (Who were those judges and what was their bias, anyway?!) I would like to point out, though, that James Joyce was an Irish writer, not an English writer.
I received your reply to my e-Mail from 7/30/98, however I have not received any additional mail today.
I am having problems with Yahoo and am considering changing my search engine. I have access to infoseek, Alta Vista, Lykos, Excite, Webcrawler and LookSmart.
If any of you have any preferences of service let me know if you think any of the above may serve me better than Yahoo.
Regarding point of view. I like multiple ones. I do believe you have to be
selective to whose point of view you use. Personally I find one point of view
much too confining. Head hopping done carefully and smoothly never bothered me
Many editors hate multiple points of view (or at least I suppose they do judging from what I have heard at conference work shops). I personally think that POV is one of those issues that will always be debated. You cannot generalize as to whether mulitple or single points of view are warrented. It depends on the story, the genre, and what the writer does best at using.
Most of the best books I have read have used multiple points of view. There are also excellent books that use one or two. I think the writer needs to be consistent and plan at the beginning whose point of view he is going to use to tell his story. A well planned book is a success no matter how many points of view are used.
Yeah, I saw that too. I was looking for the article to get the name of the organization, but I don't have time right now. Who ever they were, they were being critisized (at least in the San Francisco Chronicle), for not including Toni Morrison on the list. There were some entertaining quotes from Morrison on the subject, and if I can get the article I'll post some of it. (In effect, she said certain literary circles had tendencies toward exclusiveness of certain types of works...)
I might e-mail you for more POV discussion. Thanks for input. (You too, Jen).
In regard to my question about Joyce and Ullysses, it was reported on NPR
that Ullysses was judged the the number 1 best English novel out of 100 best by
a large Library organization. Which I cannnot remember. That was what prompted
Dear fellow writers,
Thanks for all the feedback and wonderful words of support.
I got your e-mails and replied. Hope to hear from you soon. If you can, let me know if you got my messages.
I love more than one or two POV in a book--though I hate to do head jumping within a scene. Unless your getting away from the plot or following your characters on unnecessary ramblings, it adds to the book.
BTW--Lydia, Brenda--have either of you recieved any e-mails from me today? There seems to be a problem with my account. Let me know.
I must be totally ignorant, because I've never heard of either Joyce or Ulysses. When I started writing I made it my goal to read as much varied material as I could. I've read Homer, Ovid, Stienbeck, Boethius, Tolkien, Hawthorne, Petrarch... I found the ones I enjoyed were the unpretensious ones who could tell an engaging story. Perhaps that's oversimplistic, but I'll pick Homer over Virgil anyday.
Sorry can't really comment on those two works. Haven't read them, although
what I have read by Joyce I have found to be greatly entertaining...
Once upon a time, and a very fine time it was, there was a moocow coming down the road...
* Fits of hysterical laughter *
Brenda: If you only have one chapter's worth to write from the side-kick's POV, I'd say you need to rethink it. One chapter out of a whole novel isn't enough to warrant POV. So ask yourself, is there a way to avoid the awkward construction without deviating form the one POV? If not, are there other areas where the sidekick could get in the limelight? These other areas need not be entire chapters, but if you spread it out a bit, it seems to make more sense. Then the reader won't be stuck wondering why the side-kick got shafted in the telling.
I personally love to use multiple POV in my novels (bad habit when you try to scale down into shorts, trust me!). But no one POV only gets one shot. It's recurrent throughout the book so there's a point/reason, other than fixing difficult construction. I figure if a POV only rears its head once, the reader may later wonder, "Now why was that? What was the importance of THAT specific point in the book?"
Friday and I can only keep one thought at a time.
Question. POV also. How many POV's are acceptable. I am having trouble keeping to the hero and heroine. I want to get in the head of many of my characters so that they too have a voice and depth. How do you avoid this and still get living breathing people who the reader can care about?
I have not read James Joyce. Is that blasphemous as well?
I probably have read very few classical writers, but as a student I was such an avid read my teachers did not require I read from the proscribed reading list. I read enough Dickens to make them happy I suppose. I managed to touch a few classics of course, like "The Three Musketeers", but not classic greek writers. My education is lacking I'm sure, but I don't feel deprived. I figure I'm young yet, 45, and have plenty of expanding ahead of me. My only regret is that I cannot participate in a theoretical or philosophical based debate such as this and Lord knows, I love to argue (He,He).
Jack, I agree with Kitty. I know many of my literature teachers would cringe, but I don't care for James Joyce. I tried to read Ulysses, but gave up about halfway through the book. I even get bored with his shorts. Actually, E.M. Forester asserts that Ulysses does not even qualify as a novel because it is lacking many of his 'personally defined' components of a novel. I don't know if I'd take it that far, and, like Kitty said, literature is subjective, so please, any James Joyce fans out there, I hope you don't find my lowly opinion slanderous.
NOW - I need help!
It's a POV question. I wrote the first draft of the book I'm currently working on (my first full length), from a single POV - that of the main character. I'm finding in my rewrite that there are a few (serious) structural problems. I'm considering attacking one of these by writing a chapter from the "side-kick's" point of view. This chapter occurs around the middle of the book, and the side-kick plays a pertinent role in helping the protagonist reach her goal. I would use his point of view only in this one chapter, not in subsequent ones. (BTW - he is present through much of the book).
My question: Would this disturb the reader? Do I need to find another way to convey the info? Or perhaps add more of his point of view later?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Jack, In what sense do you mean "the best English novel?" From an
academic/literary critcism viewpoint or the average reader? I am not a fan of
the former and, as an average reader, James Joyce would not figure at all in my
list of 10 books I must risk life and limb to rescue if the Library of Congress
was burning. The way literature "speaks" to us is, IMHO, a very
subjective thing. What I find profound, you may see as trivial. This doesn't
mean I can't appreciate writers who have been acclaimed by their peers and the
test of time. What I have taken away from Joyce is a better understanding of the
meaning of "epiphany," but not much more than that. When I look at the
"literary" section of my library the novels deemed "keepers"
are titles like Two Solitudes and The Watch that Ends the Night by Hugh
MacLellan, Giant by Edna Ferber, and Too Late the Phalerope by Alan Paton. Your
question triggered a memory of visiting Ted's grandparents awhile ago. Ted's
grandmother had taken the notion of reading all the nobel prize winning novels
since the beginning of the granting of the prize. When I was visiting she was
plowing through one of the earliest and had half a dozen more weighty tomes
stacked near her chair. I browsed through the one she was currently reading.
Didn't recognize the author, found the prose tedious and could not get a sense
of what the book was about. I asked her how she was finding it. She threw up her
hands, rolled her eyes heavenward and sighed dispairingly. She didn't get it
either. Here was a highly educated woman who spoke four languages, was a
teacher, and she didn't understand what was so special about this highly honored
book. All of which to say, no, I don't think Ulysses is the best English novel,
but I don't think there is a single "best" English (or any other
language) novel. As to stream of consciousness writing being affected by the
environment inwhich it is produced, you're probably right. If it weren't, it
wouldn't be a spontaneous flow of thought, would it?
I wonder what Britomart's take on this would be?
Tried entering this once before with my laptop and crashed it. So, lets try
it again. OK, if anyone would like to arrange a meeting for lunch and a drink or
three please contact me via email or (206) 723-9906.
However, let me ask an additional question. For those that have read James Joyce Ulysses, do you agree with the assessment that it is the best English novel. Extension of that question. For those who have read both Ulysses and Dhalgren, especially the Americans, which made more sense. Speaking personally, I absolutelly enjoyed Dhalgren, but found Ulysses obscure. I believe this is a function of two stream of conscousness novels and complete different and quite parochial environments in which they were written. Take care.
Been trying to send you e-mails, but they're coming back to me saying there's something wrong with your server. Let me know if you got any of them.
Do not apologize. I was only making a little pun. I agree with you, many left-handed folks I know are brillant. I don't feel inferior at all because I am right-handed. I'm having as much fun with this topic as everyone else.
I am so busy now. We leave for vacation on Sunday. In the meantime I must run a push lawn mower through our 1/2 acre lawn. I have to get my car serviced and get everyone packed as well as leave food and water for the cat as well. Vacation--what a laugh. Until we actually get there, it is no vacation for me, only lots of work and organization to make sure all goes smoothly. By the time we finally get to Michigan, it will take me at least three days to recover from the preparation. But still I look forward to it, and revel in all work needed to get it done.
I got my first queries in the mail last Saturday. I have already received an answer. "Sorry, taking no new clients." How is that for a rejection? At least it is an answer and my SASE was used in the manner it was designed to be used in. Don't you just hate sending some agent postage they never use because they never write you back (Big pet peeve of mine)?
Well, I am doing as many last minute edits as I can so I can be ready if and when someone requests my manuscript. Being between vacation and a move, it is touch and go. I just hope no one wants to see anything immediately because after this weekend I will be weeks away from a computer and a printer.
I return from vacation Aug. 22nd, and I move on Aug 28th. From Sunday on, the Notebook might not hear from me. If anyone thinks of me between now and then, say a little prayer for me because I'll need all the help I can get. Hopefully I'll be up and running in September with a new home, a new e-mail address, and fresh, new insights to add to my writing and my Notebook entries.
See you all later.
Ditto on Lydia's last post. My apologies to all you creative, intellegent
To all you Right Handers, I had no intention of discluding any of you of being talented or creative. By no means are all Lefties creative or open minded. I don't want to group anyone. I just have personally been in touch with many left handed people who are talented. My oldest brother is one of the smartest and most talented people I know (even if he chooses not to use it) and he is right handed. So by no means did I mean to exclude anyone.
Please, please, please, forgive me!
Rhoda - Don't feel left out. Both the other folks in my writers' group are right-handed. And we all had this dream "affliction."
Rachel, This is just an addition to other suggestions
about finding a writers' group. If you post a sign-up
sheet at the library - rather than just a flyer - you can
track down the other writers. Someone did this at our
local library for a poetry group and got half a dozen
names and addresses, enough to get the group started.
Probably all the others out there are also feeling
both hesitant and frustrated, so they'll be pleased if you
track them down.
It's too early in the morning for me to contemplate neural
networks or even dreams (I'm only halfway out of my last
one) so I'll stick to being pragmatic here. Good luck,
however, to all of you who are transforming dreams into
I feel really LEFT out here because I am right handed. Perhaps I am not as creative, but I don't mind. I do like being around creative people in the hopes that some of that creativity rubs off on me.
My husband comes from a dyslexic family. His father and two brothers have the affliction. My husband for some reason doesn't have it. It is amazing what can come of this problem if it discovered in time and treated in the right way. Frank's oldest brother had a bad case of it, but by the time he worked through it, he ended up tops in his class. Frank's younger brother didn't have it so good. He kept falling through the cracks of his public school being classified with all sorts of learning disabilities until someone finally pinned his problem down as dyslexia. His mom worked with him and taught him to read, but the damage had already been done. This young man's confidence in his academic ability was permanently shot to pieces.
As far as dreams, I have used them before in my writing, but never in a major way. My dreams are just too off the wall, or I rarely remember them. Once in a while I can brainstorm a plot through a dream. That is always exciting because you get to see the storyline play out in technicolor with people, like a movie. I tend to agree with Lydia. During the day, we pick up many things subconsciously and work them out at night in our dreams. Incidently I hate flying dreams because I only have them when I am greatly stressed or have had trouble sleeping. When I was in high school, I had the prediction type of dreams. Everything I predicted turned out bad. Who would want that? I prayed for God to take them away, because no way were they from Him. He did.
This discussion reminds me of one of the CANTERBURY TALES--the one involving the rooster Chanteclaire and his favorite hen. They got into this discussion whether or not dreams portended things to come. I guess this is one of these questions that has been examined through the centuries. I just hope that modern science is not too quick to explain it all away. This is one of those mysteries every generation should have its fun with.
Well, I must go.
Flying dreams are my favorite. And yes, I've had premonition dreams before.
Also, JUST once, I had the same dream as another person on the same night,
starring the two of us, and it was a flying dream! I think there is some truth
to the idea that our dream worlds are where we manifest the physical realities
that create our waking world. Okay, now that you all know I'm a bit off my
I am left handed, but fairly ambidextrius with everything other than writing. Probably a function of our right-handed world more than anything else.
I think as far as the neural net being more complex in creative people, that it must *at least* be influenced by events during our childhood. Not in the Freudian sense. Science has proven that kids' brains are very flexible, because the neural net has not yet been 'fully wired'. (Supposedly happens around the age of 7 or 8). This theory has been tested on children with rare brain disorders that required removal of one entire hemisphere of the brain. The docs all thought the kids would be paralyzed on one side - but turns out the 'remaining' side of the brain took over functions normally attributed to one side or the other. So, perhaps (*we*) creative types, experienced more or better (or worse) stimuli early on in life, or were more receptive to it.
Man, oh man! Talk about a ramble. I'm outta here. Thanks SNarly for the topic.
Take care all & sweet dreams!
Hello everybody! :) This is a fascinating topic. The dreams one, I mean. I'm
neither left handed nor dyslexic, and honestly I can't think of a single family
member of mine that is, either. But I do have remarkably strange and vivid
dreams. On a couple occasions I have dreamed something only a few weeks before
that something came true, *exactly* as I dreamed it- down to every single word
said. It's very bizarre and not a little creepy when that happens. If someone
told me something like that, I probably wouldn't believe them though, so I can
understand if you're raising your eyebrows, nodding, and saying, "Uh huh,
*sure* she did." :}
No, I've never gotten story ideas from dreams. Generally my dreams are too weird for a good story to come o them. For example, I once dreamt my house was being robbed and that I fended off the robbers by swinging on a screen door handle and kicking them both in the face. Like Tarzan. Eheh... or whoever....
A few nights ago, though, I had a really cool dream that I could *probably* turn into a novel with a little thought (the thinking's always the hard bit, I find). I was a man, which is always entertaining ( :) ), and an extremely influential in my kingdom for the odd reason that I was a poet. I have no idea why.
Another interesting part of my dreams is that I switch back and forth from seeing through my dream-eyes as if it were real life, and observing myself from a little ways to the side. It's like switching from first to third person, almost. Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about?
Anyway, sorry to ramble so much. I love dreams, and I tend to babble on and on about stuff that I like. Toodles! :)
I saw where S.N.Arly once again came up with a great thought to be expanded on in these pages. Thanks, snarl...
I've had some great stories come from dreams and then again some real bow-wows! I usually grab the tablet and pencil whatever time of the night when I wake up and write the dream down.
I had night terrors as a child. Of course, they didn't call them that "way back then" but they were horrible. I really think my bent toward horror and fantasy stem from the horrible landscapes. Sort of a cleansing-type thing.
But, now some of mine are so dumb it's unbelievable. But, there is occasionally one that pans out into a great story.
My book is somewhat from a dream, at least the poem at the beginning is. I sort of built around the little rhyme and came up with a full-fledged book idea.
I figured it out. They are all having that lunch with Jack and had those 3 beers and maybe a few more. It's just 2:30 on the west coast. The just got a good start.
This is really neat. I read the paper upside down across the table from my
hubby or whoever if a headline catches my eye. I guess I never thought of it as
a strange ability. I just do it.
I had thought about looking for a writing group through my library, but haven't gotten up the nerve yet. As for starting my own. Whew! That gives me the shivers. Don't have that kind of confidence. I didn't think about the local arts council however. Thanks for the tip.
I don't think I can channel my dreams, but I have been able to pick up where I left off it I have been awakened for some reason.
S.N. Arly thanks for the suggestions, I will look into the library, feel a
little silly for not having thought of that one myself. I live in British
Columbia in a town called Maple Ridge.
As for starting a group, the thought has crossed my mind as I have recently come to discover that several people I know are also secret writers. Isn't thant wild? We are all scribbeling in secret. At least I know i'm not alone in that, funny how much better that makes me feel.
K.C. another of my big secrets is that I am Dyslexic. I started to write at a very young age when the doctors involved in my life at that time discovered that I loved to tell and try to write stories.
I went from a child that nobody ever really believed would be able to read to somebody that wouldn't stop reading, and writing.
Admittedly it took a couple of pretty intensive years of work to get there, but get there I did.
Even now as an adult there are times, when I need to slow down and will realize that in my haste i'v inverted numbers, letters or whole words, but it's not biggies, i'v got spell check.
I guess what i'm saying is don't loose heart, and don't ever give up trying to improve you writing or your abilities to descrambel stuff, and yes I can read backwards forwards and upside down, and it can be a great advantage if your trying to read the morning paper across the tabel from your hubby.
On dreams I tend to see mine from a real life perspective but, sometimes do the movie format. To fall asleep I do what I call chanel changing or thread chasing With the treads I just drift till I feel a little pull then I concentrate on that and poff and idea, the chanel is I just sort of isolate thoughts and flick from one to the next till I find and appealing one to fall asleep with. Lots of people have told me this is very weird, but I don't care, we all fall asleep in different ways.
Take care all
Vivid dreams - definitely. I get many of my bigger story ideas from my
dreams. What I mean by bigger is that the story turns out to be pretty long and
a lot better than my short stories. I can enforce what dream I want to have at
night, strange huh. If I want to know what is going to happen next in my novel
or story I just start playing it in my head at night. I have come up with some
really neat ideas that way.
Just a question - when you read a book how do you picture it? I see the book like it is a movie running in my head. I have on occasion told my mom that I was going to go back to watch my movie and had meant that I was going to read.
I am right handed but am fairly good at writing with my left. Guess it comes from having a mother who trained herself to be able to write left haded as well as right and a dad who is a lefty. Because of my Dyslexia I can also write upside down, mirrored, and upside down mirrored without even thinking about it. It really adds to a story then you start writing it mirrored and don't notice it until a friend is reading it. Because I can write that way I can also read that way with no problem. My mother and I were reading something and it didn't look quite right but it made perfect sense. We soon discovered that the word had been written backward. I have also been caught reading books upside down in class because I can read faster that way. I don't get the neat movie thing but I still understand it. Can anyone else do this? Does anyone else have the trouble of working through dyslexia to try and write a story with out spelling every word wrong?
I have had vivid dreams all my life. Many have been precursors of events about to happen. That can be very scary in its self, because you have no inkling whether the dreams are purely nonsense or trying to tell you something. I also have noticed that your subconscious picks up bits of information oƒ events happening around you and can reveal themselves in dream form.
I'm a lefty myself. I find that to be true of lots of creative or free-thinking personalities.
I haven't had storylines come to me from my dreams, although I have had some very unusual dreams that I might consider using perhaps in conjunction with a parnormal or fantasy style story.
Rachel: I found my writer's group by chance, and I imagine that's how a lot
of them start. You could check with a local library too. You could also try to
start one yourself. You could post flyers at the library and any bookstore that
will permit it, just asking all interested parties to contact you. Once you have
some people who seem to have a similar interest you can get started.
I don't know where you live, but many states have an art type council. In Minnesota they have a newsletter and the like. They run all sorts of programs including some writers' groups.
I discovered my ambi-ness out of necessity when my tendinitis got really bad. Good thing lefties run in my family or I'd have been out of luck, or so the ortho says. we already have little horns and spikey tails in my family, so.... : )
Where exactly does one go to find an in person group? I have called a couple of book stores, and yes I even asked in person at one, ah and I had more success asking for books on writing, they didn't have the one I wanted but I didn't boldt from the store in a panic either, I stayed and checked out what they did have.
On vivd dreams, I have wildly vivid dreams always have and I often have good memory of them, I do not nightmare often, but I have some unsetteling dreams, and have gotten many of my ideas from them.
The ideas that I tend to get are Science Fiction, but i'll bet that the historical romance writers, thriller folks and all others have had ideas fly at them from out of dreams, but hey maybe i'm wrong.
I S.N.Arly am also ambidextrous, came from a home where lefties were just not accepted and forced to change over before I sprouted horns and a tail, or started chanting incantations.
Take care all
Since dialogue seems to be a bit slow...
I had my in-person writer's group last Thursday. Only two of us had brought stories for critique the previous month, so those were what we looked at. Ironically we had a theme going. Both our stories were told in the first person. In both stories, the "I" character bought it in the end. Both stories came from nightmares.
This got us discussing writers and the potential for vivid dreams, excessive nightmares, and other night-time disturbances. We all had theories behind the cause, and I'm wondering if other have noticed this in themselves, and what you think.
One of my cohorts said that memories are stored in a set of neurological pathways referred to as nets. He suggested that perhaps creative individuals have more connections between these nets, causing vividness and a sort of co-mingling of memories which turn out as completely wacked-out dreams.
I seemed to be the most severe of us three with my sleep talking and walking tendancies, along with the nightmare/dream issue. I also happen to be ambidextrous. I'd always wondered if I had more cross-talk betweeen the two hemispheres of the brain than those who are uni-dextrous.
So, any of you experienced this, or is it specific to us SF & F writers?
To avoid going blind, or mad, trying to read my first chapter, I'd greatly appreciate you going to my web page which I recently renamed and should be working well, I hope and pray. How's that for one awful sentence.
Thanks for those who have wished me a swift recovery. I seem to be largely on
the mend finally. However, I just got a gentle nudge in regard to a commercial
web design responsibility so I will have to still put the private Workbook
project on a slight delay. Still plan to try to get it out sometime this week
and before the weekend, but have some other things that will have to take
Also, just notice that the Notebook had grown to over 122k in size so I have archived things while retaining Coleen's comments about Philips books. I am definitely looking forward to the Lightning Mine and am even more intrigued by the one following it. I will let Philip explain that. I also heartily recommend Britomart aka Kim Wilkin's Infernal. Check the Biographies for details. Take care.
I found Phillip's books, "Scream Black Murder" and "Sweet Water, Stolen Land" at www.amazon.com. There are wonderful reviews but unfortunately the books are out of print. I wasn't able to get them immediately from amazon. I know that when I was searching for info on the net on adoption I somehow came upon Phillip's site. It listed other books he has written, one that is coming out soon I think. It was great, but in my quest for adoption info. I lost track of it. If Phillip reads this please let us know what your web site address is. It was well done and even included a photo of you. Not to mention the fact that it really inspired me to search for the books. Thank you Phillip. I will be checking in to see if you left the site. Also, if you run into Hayden, tell him he is missed.
Take care all, I am sorry I do not have more to add right now, I'm back to searching for the child I haven't found yet.....