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Old 2008-05-11, 01:26 AM   #1
Fooby
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Post Writing Troubles

I'm having troubles writing a novel I am trying to write right now. I need some help with writing methods, I thought that if I wrote the basic storyline, added more parts, put in detail, put it in sentences then add more detail. Would that work? If not could someone tell me some helpful methods?
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Old 2008-05-11, 02:06 AM   #2
Goats_On_Unicycles
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That sounds like a good way to go about it.
I only write songs, poem, short stories and such but I could also suggest writing it as a short story first. Then rewrite it as a short story in 5 parts and then rewrite it as a novel.
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Old 2008-05-11, 02:08 AM   #3
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Ok, I'll try that, if it doesn't work out I'll go back to my old method.
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Old 2008-05-11, 02:25 AM   #4
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I'm just suggesting that... You're way sounds really good too.
Do whatever is easiest.
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Old 2008-05-11, 10:40 AM   #5
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start easy. dont plow into a novel to start with. work on developing a style through short stories and essays. Jot down the story line you have and maybe work on a few short stories using it. nothing to 'epic'. Easiest things to write about are things that you have lived through. You can make even something as simple as eating a bisicuit amazing by using words if that makes sense.

goodluck.
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Old 2008-05-11, 12:21 PM   #6
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Rewrite,rewrite,rewrite

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fooby
I'm having troubles writing a novel I am trying to write right now. I need some help with writing methods, I thought that if I wrote the basic storyline, added more parts, put in detail, put it in sentences then add more detail. Would that work? If not could someone tell me some helpful methods?

Good morning from the right coast of Canada.
Now writing is something I can help with, having been paid to do it since I was twenty.
It is easy to get in the middle of a piece and get discouraged. Here are my suggestions.
1. Read this: it contains everything about dramatic structure there is to know. This is Aristotle's "Poetics." http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html

2. Read. Robert Hughes, an Australian art critic, who wrote what I think is the best history of OZ ever. Look for " A Distant Shore". You may also want to look at the book he created for the Barcelona Olympics. Look at the style, the organization of material.

3.Writing is an unenviable concern. Lots of time you simply don't know what to say, or worse, say what you don't mean in a bad way. Read a dictionary every day, a page a day. And never try to push the writing. It will not work.

4. The more time you spend with the work, the more ways you will see to say the things you mean. It is the hardest work I can imagine.

5. If you want to see the culmination of storytelling, read "The Old Man and the Sea." It is for a lot of reasons a manipulation of the form, endlessly sentimental, but just look at the language. You know, if you run Windows , there is a little program that analyzes the quality of your writing by looking at word length, syllable count and something called the Flesch Readability Quotient. This is a useful tool. You may also look at "Bullshot" , a free program that points out b***s**t in your writing.
Hemingway scored in the low 80's which means his writing was available to anyone with a sixth grade education. I did a similar look at Thomas McGuane an American writer who has turned out incredible novels, with language to kill for. He scored the same as Hemingway, though their styles are fundamentally different.

So, that's sort of a wide-ranging overview of writing. But never stop, never be discouraged and just sit in front of the keyboard everyday no matter whether you have an idea or not. Like riding distance, some days you have no idea what you are doing. Ignore this impulse. Writing a novel is like running a marathon. Take on water and never quit.

With best from here,
william dockrill
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Old 2008-05-11, 02:52 PM   #7
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With the advent of word processors, it is easy to very quickly write stream of consciousness prose. This can be subsequently proofread with the nonsense and errors being corrected later. One of the things I tell grad students writing their theses is to do a very rough outline and then fill it in quickly without regard to grammar, structure, or spelling. Then go back and make it first readable, then precise, and finally artistic. In theory this should work for fiction as well.
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Old 2008-05-12, 03:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harper
without regard to grammar, structure, or spelling. [...] In theory this should work for fiction as well.
It works great here on the fora.
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Old 2008-05-12, 09:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridethelobster2008
5. If you want to see the culmination of storytelling, read "The Old Man and the Sea."
It's been reported that Hunter S Thompson typed out entire novels by Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitgerald on an old typewriter to get a feel for how they wrote them.
It's probably not usual advice, but it strikes me as a good idea.
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Old 2008-05-12, 01:50 PM   #10
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Here is a long list of comments about writing made by writers. It is annoyingly laid out, centered with a cloud background. And the odds are good that 25 to 50 percent of the quotes are misattributed. But stranger things have happened than that someone found inspiration from a web page.
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Old 2008-05-12, 02:44 PM   #11
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Advice like this you can take to the bank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harper
With the advent of word processors, it is easy to very quickly write stream of consciousness prose. This can be subsequently proofread with the nonsense and errors being corrected later. One of the things I tell grad students writing their theses is to do a very rough outline and then fill it in quickly without regard to grammar, structure, or spelling. Then go back and make it first readable, then precise, and finally artistic. In theory this should work for fiction as well.
When I first started writing 30 second radio commercials, I tried to edit every sentence as I went along. A thirty-second is eighty words. But as Harper says, go fast and don't think. It always can be re-read and the glaring simplicities, stupidities and cliches can be removed.
Once I started writing novels, I used something called "Power Structure", a nice piece of software that is essentially an editor. It had a dozen different views of the story, an easy way to keep the chapters and the characters straight, even a view of the dramatic tension (it could adjusted in increment of 1% point.

Might be useful to have a look at something like that.

best, william
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Old 2008-05-12, 02:48 PM   #12
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Hemingway and work ethic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILD
It's been reported that Hunter S Thompson typed out entire novels by Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitgerald on an old typewriter to get a feel for how they wrote them.
It's probably not usual advice, but it strikes me as a good idea.
Yes, Thompson did exactly that. And here's what Hemingway would do. When wrote his story, he left three spaces between every word on the page. He claimed it helped him see the importance ( or unimportance, as he was an editor to his bones, unless until "For whom the Bell Tolls." was finished.) After that, his discrimination sort of shadowed away.

I have done the Thompson exercise, using other writers. It can be a useful, clarifying exercise.

Best, william

Oh and he thought 300 words a day was plenty. He always left himself an idea to start with the next day.
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Old 2008-05-12, 04:54 PM   #13
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Before you write anything, read this book. They've added pictures to help those with short attention spans.

Whether you're writing a novel or merely your next unicyclist.com post, it will serve you well.
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Old 2008-05-12, 07:56 PM   #14
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This thread is part of what has inspired me to write an autobiography/autobiographical novel. It's going to take a while--perhaps years, but I'm going to keep at it.
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Old 2008-05-13, 02:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomblackwood
Before you write anything, read this book.
Great book. Once, I was trying to remember one of the rules. I couldn't remember it exactly. It was something like "don't use words that are unnecessary" or maybe "don't use any unnecessary words". Then I remembered what the book said -- "Omit needless words!" In just three words, we have a rule that follows itself.
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