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Author Topic: Writing club  (Read 68866 times)

Tova

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #200 on: 21 Sep 2020, 05:15 »

You may already have encountered the concept of the Shitty First Draft. If not:

The Art of the Shitty First Draft

I think that one thing that great writers have in common is that harsh inner critic, but during that first draft, you need to tell that inner critic to STFU for a bit. It's hard, I know.
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Alternating-authorship?
« Reply #201 on: 07 Oct 2020, 23:12 »

Interested? switching authorship, a next scene: loose, but some, narrative coherence---unreliable narrators? Anyone writes next of same story.
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my favrite an musician's, fortechous piano, neat počm. Clean. The kitchenlight---blue tinsel forgotten by housemates long vacuate to dreams to discuss asleep, towards morrow's class---reminds a thirst. Night unsleeping. Sure. But that blue tinsellight searing; the longfinger, thumb choking sub brow; pace towards tepid clarity. Valve; gurgle---pitch tinsellight oughtta switched rising---burble---up instead cord pulled, reëying to---tirtchl---full: flickŋ. Sweet water. Sleepy.
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Morituri

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #202 on: 08 Oct 2020, 02:28 »

Wanna play 'writing prompts?'  I'll start:

"Mike!  Damn glad to see you, I was just .... Say, you're looking younger than usual; is this the first time we met?"
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Re: Writing club
« Reply #203 on: 08 Oct 2020, 14:50 »

"Mike!  Damn glad to see you, I was just .... Say, you're looking younger than usual; is this the first time we met?"
Mike: ``Do I know you, mister? My parents said I shouldn't talk to strangers.''
[...] Sweet water. Sleepy.
Ghosts, aliens, squamatic overlords.. it's all passé. Bygone art of the last knowers. Our world cannot live in such simple answers anymore. Contemporary youth are driven to solace in the ineffable, from complexities governing their days. That's where our rumors that the premiere, in his sleep, hears devil's whispers. They say God, but I know better. What are his instructions? File a few papers here, sign a few papers there. It's nothing! God! The truth of the matter is, those papers follow their chain of command, all down to this lone чекист cracking fresh instructions---burn after reading---to whisper in the president's ear:
« Last Edit: 08 Oct 2020, 15:51 by N.N. Marf »
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Re: Writing club
« Reply #204 on: 10 Oct 2020, 12:18 »

I'm working on the synopsis to send in.

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In the far-flung future of the 41st millennia, under the rusty sands of Ophiuchus IV a dark secret sleeps. Aneksi, a Rustwalker, scavenges the desert with her friend Jaira for anything that will allow them to have a new life on a better world. Aneksi finds a damaged cyborg with co-ordinates to something big. Big enough to sell to the Adeptus Mechanicus and get her the new start she longs for, and away from this smog choked urban hellscape. Where she hoped to find her salvation, she uncovers an ancient alien war under the desert of her world. Lost in an ancient ruined city with danger around every corner, she must find her way back to warn the planetary governor without waking the abomination that would plunge the galaxy in darkness.

I'll need a one page (500 words) extract too. I am trying to figure what scene to send in. Should it be something atmospheric, exciting, a cliff hanger, or mysterious?  I had one in mind, but for it to work it would need be about 3 pages long.
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LeeC

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #205 on: 29 Oct 2020, 18:20 »

I have a couple of days left to submit. I have my except and need to rewrite my synopsis a little. Some of my beta readers on the synopsis felt a little lost, so I need to rewrite it. I also didn;t realize it needed to be 100 words so I may need to also reduce it in size.
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You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it. - M. Gustave

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #206 on: 30 Oct 2020, 19:12 »

I just submitted everything. I am excited, and a bit nervous. My wife helped me edit it a bit and I rewrote parts of the excerpt, but its done. The die is cast.

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You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it. - M. Gustave

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #207 on: 31 Oct 2020, 18:05 »

Mike: ``Do I know you, mister? My parents said I shouldn't talk to strangers.''
``Mick‽ Innit whatsisname. Dofronna Mikey.''
``Whattawannaasday'' curtain ``hoffenagotttellem!'' peek---``Sam?'' crank crank crank ``Ho! Trynarnewtea! Sorryrbellsout.''
``Mike? Spittnerface, almosthuir''
in the president's ear:
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Explorations 1--6:
  • Enormous Expansion
  • The Absolute and Essential Role
  • Public Perception of Reality
  • Transcendent Idea of Reality
  • The Collective Unconscious
  • Long-Overdue Recognition of Our Own Significance

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You and your flock shall see the promised land, but only if you first destroy
the Twin evils of Godless communism abroad, and Liberal humanism at home.
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An excellent soporific! They don't make 'em like they used to.
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I wrote a limerick!
« Reply #208 on: 04 Nov 2020, 04:53 »

A gentle young prude was appalled
This person would harbor the gall
To scribble awry
Insufferably dry
Oh, limerence. Not this at all.
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Re: Writing club
« Reply #209 on: 05 Nov 2020, 19:47 »

Is there still a Writing Club here, or is it just a post-whatever free-for-all now? I would be interested in trying the "write something about this idea" format that this thread started with.

Here's my situation: I enjoy writing, and I'm good at it. I just wrote a little piece almost 13 thousand words long, the first fiction I've written in over 20 years. Another writer that I showed it to praised the characters and the "snappy dialogue". I'm strong in the nuts-and-bolts of grammar, spelling, and punctuation; and apparently in narrative, characters, and dialogue as well.

My weakness: coming up with something to write about - a situation, a storyline, dramatic conflict, anything to make it interesting and invest the reader in the outcome.

So I'm thinking I'd like to find a writing partner: somebody maybe not so skilled in the craft of writing, but who can plot and outline a compelling story that I can flesh out. Together we would complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
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Re: Writing club
« Reply #210 on: 06 Nov 2020, 10:25 »

So I'm thinking I'd like to find a writing partner: somebody maybe not so skilled in the craft of writing, but who can plot and outline a compelling story that I can flesh out. Together we would complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
I have the opposite problem. I have lots of ideas, a few that I plot out, but I never get to the point where I sit down and write out. Here's an idea, centered around marine life. Especially dolphins, octopodes,, `intelligent' marine life. There's also non-marine life that plays a part in the story. For example, there's an entrepreneur obsessed with learning (then selling) dolphin folklore, and developing them a durable-communication method, akin to writing. There's probably going to be marine biologists involved in the story, working with this entrepreneur.
I think it could be really interesting to have it be from the perspective of the marine life. Definitely be some first-contact stuff. Probably multiple independent perspectives, and not only from marine-life. I imagine a novel, or a few, but we can start with a small part. If we do more, it'd be nice to integrate the various stories into something more coherent than a few stories set in same/similar worlds, so that may be something to consider when composing.

Where might one find a sample of your literature?
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Re: Writing club
« Reply #211 on: 06 Nov 2020, 17:10 »

[PM sent to Marf.]
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Morituri

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #212 on: 22 Jun 2021, 09:20 »

My wife (and test reader when editing) recently went through a manuscript (horror genre) and expressed a frustration with my characters that I hadn't considered.  This is a moment when I may disregard her advice because I think this is something important to how I write.  I don't disregard her advice lightly. I know that she understands "normal" readers better than I.  And that means the question is, am I writing for "normal" readers or for some slightly different market segment?  I consider disregarding the advice because I think maybe it's the latter.

The issue is with characters who misunderstand each other, in small ways that generally don't affect the plot and often aren't even noticed. This happens two or three times a chapter, and she thinks it's crazy-making.

Here's one example, with complete explanation of how and why, in story, this happens.  The explanation is far too tedious to actually be in the manuscript.

There is a character named Philo Garcia.  He likes flamboyant clothes, weird music, and art cars.  Because his name is Greek/Spanish and the story takes place in the USA, one would expect that he's  "American" because we're mostly mixed-up mutts like that and our grandparents come from everywhere.  But he's actually an immigrant from Mexico, named after a Greek grandparent.  So he's only a little bit mixed.  If he has kids here (with his American wife, a sculptor who's a "goth" of Irish/Indian descent and estranged from her east-coast parents on account of being bi, rebellious, and a bit weird) they'll *DEFINITELY* be typical Americans.  Probably straight-arrow kids who just want to be "normal" and are embarrassed by their "out there" parents.

For anyone not living here, I should mention that this kind of mixed is normal for western California.  I'm not hamming it up, I'm just looking around the Bay Area and talking about normal people (well, okay mostly artists so a bit flamboyant and subcultural, but otherwise normal) who are "from around here."

Anyway, in the manuscript I never actually mention his nationality or immigration status, but this is in my mind when I'm writing the character. His English, although very good, is a second language.  If a colloquial expression is both fairly obscure and outside his experience (he's a freight delivery driver who works and lives with industrial artists), he's probably going to miss it.

So his wife has gone missing, and a mutual friend notices a photo in a local paper  that looks like her, in a story about a religious event. The story takes place in the 1990s, back when there were still newspapers.   Philo positively identifies her: "That's her, she's just put makeup on over her tattoos," and the other character asks, "So when did she take orders and become a nun?"

Philo's response is "Oh hell no, she don't take orders worth a crap,  she's gotta be in some kind of trouble there." 

He's just misunderstood the question.  As writer, I didn't really think about it.  This is just what I 'hear' Philo saying, because he is responding to the question Philo would hear in those words.  Now that I do think about it, I think it is not a mistake and should not be corrected.  I believe it belongs in the manuscript because it exposes a slightly less-obvious side of the character and helps develop who he is.

"Take Orders" is one of those obscure colloquial phrases that I don't really expect an ESL speaker to know, even after years in the USA, especially because it sounds just like "Take orders," a much less obscure colloquial phrase that means obeying commands.  So he's mixed it up and responded to the question he thought the other character asked.  This is, in my mind, entirely normal.  If not familiar with the phrase, the question sounds *EXACTLY* like the one he responded to: did someone command her to become a nun?

The other character either doesn't notice the mixup, or maybe doesn't think it's important enough to comment on, or maybe thinks Philo has just made a joke.  The manuscript doesn't switch to "omniscient narrator" to explain which, because it doesn't matter.  And they move on to formulating a plan to rescue his wife.  It doesn't affect the plot or cause any significant misunderstanding, because both questions have effectively the same answer.

This makes my wife bonkers because something like that happens two or three times a chapter, with different characters misunderstanding each other for different reasons.  And they usually don't notice that they have.  IMO, this is a normal thing that happens to everybody all the time.  I hear it all around me when I listen to people talk to each other.  But my wife points out, correctly, that it doesn't happen in most works of fiction.  There's a misunderstanding but it doesn't affect the plot or cause conflict so she considers it to raise an expectation that's not fulfilled.

And when I explain to her that Philo is an immigrant whose English is nonnative, she's upset because neither of those things drive the plot or cause conflict or even get explicitly mentioned in the book, so she feels that readers are being asked to figure obscure things out for no reason important to them.  Being unrelated to plot is not entirely true: Philo does later have a poor initial reaction to a cop and a testy exchange about "driving while brown" which delays working together, so him being not-exactly-white does rise to the point of being plot related. But I still haven't really made it fully explicit what kind of not-exactly-white or mentioned ESL or immigration.

I think all these tiny little ways of developing characters - all these intuitions about their 'voices' in my head, including when and how they misunderstand one another in small ways - are entirely normal and a reasonable way to engage the readers. 

Does anybody else have strong opinions about incidental, mostly insignificant, misunderstandings between fictional characters?
« Last Edit: 22 Jun 2021, 09:49 by Morituri »
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sitnspin

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #213 on: 22 Jun 2021, 11:10 »

That sort of exchange feels fine to me, although I could understand if someone thought it felt a bit "gimmicky" if done too often, especially with no explanation. I could see how it might seem like an overused joke, even if that was not your intent.

side note: I am a native english speaker, and I have no idea what "Take Orders" means in this context. given the nun reference, i can only assume its a catholic thing?
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Morituri

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #214 on: 22 Jun 2021, 12:41 »

Yah.  It's an old-timey way of referring to religious orders. 

To "Take Orders" in this context means to take up a lifetime role in service to a a particular religious order (like the Franciscan or the Dominican Order or the Order of St Jude or etc).  In the US it's mostly a Catholic usage regarding monks and nuns, but applicable to any religious service that's expected to be both a primary occupation  and a lifelong commitment.

It's been used for other things too; I think it's more broadly applicable to members of any group or profession that requires a lifelong oath committing to service and principles.

But that kind of religious order has become rare in the last century or so, so that phrase is somewhat obscure now.
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Cornelius

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #215 on: 23 Jun 2021, 12:51 »

Non native speaker but Catholic, and I know the expression. I'm not so sure about how plausible it is to let this misunderstanding stand though. Also, makeup and nuns don't really go together very well.
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Morituri

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #216 on: 23 Jun 2021, 16:35 »

I'm counting 'gotta be in some kind of trouble' as an answer to both, because it means she's probably there involuntarily, and precipitates the same action in either case.  So if the other speaker notices at all, moving on to planning action is more important than clarifying.

And yeah, makeup isn't part of the usual demeanor for nuns.  Then again most nuns wouldn't be using a ton of cover cream to cover up Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey illustrations across half their body, including a snarling kitten on one cheek and a double sunburst on the other.  Most nuns wouldn't be generally in the habit of wearing revealing clothes and lurid unnatural-colored hair dye whose shade changes every two days, AND most nuns wouldn't have been on a screaming "fuck all churches" rage just during the previous week on account of discrimination against GLBT folks like herself.  Philo is completely right to look at this pic and think something is awry here...

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #217 on: 26 Jun 2021, 19:53 »

If I may, I'd like to point out that these minor, nigh-insignificant details, are precisely what makes a story interesting, and able to be developed maybe without the reader even noticing. It's what gives realism, and room for a sort of tertiary expression I crave. As for how mainstream readers might react? I think most would pass it over without a second thought; though the latter sort of reader you mentioned, will delight in this: It turns a banal book to a voluptuous volume. Of course, it's your story, so write it as you see fit; If you keep a version preserving such golden details, I'll be interested in taking a read through it.
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Morituri

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Re: Writing club
« Reply #218 on: 27 Jun 2021, 09:28 »

The more I think about this, I think that most readers who would be bothered by it probably aren't the same ones who'd notice it.

My wife's perceptions aside, I think most average readers won't really notice.  The exchange is in character dialogue, the response is *almost* identical to the response if he'd understood correctly, and the response as understood by the other character is on-point, relevant, and identical in inferred meaning and priorities.   It's a misunderstanding that might as well be a perfect understanding.  I think that to people who'd notice it in the first place, that's probably clear enough not to raise any plot-related expectations.

And finally it's two sentences.  It's over almost before it starts.  And that's how most of the conversational 'blips' in my writing work. 

It works fine for readers who don't notice it.  If they're with Philo and not familiar with the phrase, and they'll pass over this exchange with nothing more than noticing the other character constructed a sentence in a strange way.  If they're with the other character, they either won't even notice that the response didn't quite address the question correctly, or think it's completely natural to just drop it and moving on to something more important.

And for the readers who do notice it, they should be realizing immediately that it *doesn't* raise expectation. Maybe they'll realize the characters come away with slightly different understandings of the conversation that lead each to to exactly the same conclusion.  Or maybe they'll think the characters understand each other just fine and Philo made a joke.

So counting it up, there's five ways to see it, and although slightly different, none of them leads to an understanding of the story that's different in a way that matters.

Which puts my wife in a special sixth category.  But I was sure that she's a very special person when I married her.

I think this kind of conversational blip is going to stay in.  Let it be something most people notice only if they read it more than once.
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