Author Topic: Writing  (Read 1362 times)

Fambo Number Mive

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Writing
« on: October 04, 2017, 10:30:57 PM »
Is it ok to use this forum to talk about creative writing as well as reading? I don't mean posting actual creative writing, I know that goes in H.S. Art. I mean talking about actually doing it.

I can't find the discipline to write. I wrote one novel but never got it published, wrote half another novel and gave up because it didn't make sense. All I can think to write about is depression but that doesn't make a novel. I think because I don't really understand how to put myself in someone else's mind I can only write about myself.

I am going to join another creative writing short course soon - I think that will help.

spamwangler

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Re: Writing
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 10:35:42 PM »
i wish i had the discipline to commit to sitting down and writing a books worth of something, id be proud of the achievement, even if it was garbage.

Re: Writing
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 10:36:16 PM »
Read Stephen King's "On Writing" if you haven't already. I'm in the same boat as you, but my problem is I never finish anything. I think you have to keep reminding yourself of how much absolute dross gets published / broadcast and try not to worry about quality so much as quantity. It's more important to keep banging stuff out.

I have a dozen or more half-ideas at the moment and I'm trying to set a target to finish as much as I can as often as I can over the next year.

i wish i had the discipline to commit to sitting down and writing a books worth of something, id be proud of the achievement, even if it was garbage.

Break it down - you're not writing a whole book in one go, you're writing X number of words a week, maybe a chapter a week with chapters being about 10 pages long or something.

Re: Writing
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 11:29:34 PM »
I've had a decent run lately after a number of years of trying. There's something of a buzz around a return to print media at the moment so you could start by submitting to small press magazines. You won't get paid, but it's great to see your name in print. I started by submitting to magazines I tended to buy myself and soon found I was getting published regularly. After a while I had the confidence to start on a non-fiction book which I managed to sell and it did quite well in terms of sales.

I've found fiction to be quite tricky to break into, there's limited scope to sell short stories so you end up committed to trying a novel. As one poster suggested 'On Writing' is a fantastic resource and King nails it when he says writing a novel is like crossing the Atlantic single handed. I'm on my second after the debut was turned down by agents and publishers and it requires a really thick skin to start all over having devoted a year or so to a project. I remain either naive or over confident that the next one will sell and there's always platforms like Kindle to self publish and make a few quid and develop a reputation.

The most fun I've had lately was getting in touch with some film makers and writing some short films. There's always a market for decent short film scripts that can be made cheaply I've found. My only advice would be not to ever bother doing a creative writing degree though, in the three years I was at uni I don't think I wrote a single thing for myself and there was no practical teaching pathways that led to understanding how to get published or develop a career in writing.


zomgmouse

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Re: Writing
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 07:01:19 AM »
It's more important to keep banging stuff out.

This was a pretty useful realisation for me. Firstly because it proves that I have the ability regularly come up with new content - which was a fear I had, e.g. "if I let go of these works then I won't have more ideas", which is patently false. I'll always have more ideas. Secondly because it means I'm not staying in one spot as a writer, but rather constantly moving on and evolving.

My problem at the moment is just actually sitting down to write, either to start or to finish. I'm mainly writing short stories, but even then to get them down and completed (at least first-draft stage) is a huge issue and I used to make myself try to have regular writing days but those fizzled out. I guess I need more discipline and stamina. There's so much stuff I've yet to complete or even begin and it's tearing a hole in my soul.

Fambo Number Mive

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Re: Writing
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 09:16:21 AM »
Stephen King's On Writing is a good shout, I need to dig it out again.

I wonder if we could have a group writing project or something? We pick a subject and everyone takes it in turn to write 500 words. Might be a rubbish idea but a group writing project or some kind of creative writing meet might be good.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Writing
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 11:53:45 AM »
Also David Quantick has two books out about the subject: How To Be Writer and How To Write Everything which are worth a look, especially if you feel a bit green about where to start, the industry and self-motivation. Quite funny too.


Re: Writing
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 02:28:37 PM »
A daily target - say, 1000 words - is the ideal way to build up the self-discipline necessary to finish a book. King's On Writing is indeed great.

Simple bits of writing advice I wish I'd known 30 years ago:
  • Show, don't tell. Saying this has become a truism but it's one of the first and worst mistakes aspiring writers make.
  • Cut out as many words as you can bear.
  • Put important words at the end of a sentence.
  • Use an active voice and interesting verbs...
  • ... but don't go overboard on verbs of dialogue attribution. 'Said' will normally do it.
  • Be clear. Create precise images in your reader's mind.
  • Shun cliches.
  • Read. A lot. See how your favourite writers achieve their effects.
Obvs, there are excellent reasons for not obeying these guidelines sometimes (e.g. if you think you can get a laugh) but they're pretty darned useful rules of thumb. Another book I'd recommend is Steven Pinker's The Sense of Style.

Ooh, a late one I just remembered:
  • Don't fart about with writers' groups online, sharing half-finished crap and trying to impress your peers. If you show something you've written to somebody, it should be something you've sweated blood to get right. Not something you've thrown together to harvest a few social media likes. Don't trust what your friends say about your writing because a) they don't want to hurt your feelings and b) what the fuck do they know anyway? Be serious and aim high.

Re: Writing
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2017, 02:52:49 PM »
double post: deleted

Re: Writing
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2017, 04:44:20 PM »
I've had a decent run lately after a number of years of trying. There's something of a buzz around a return to print media at the moment so you could start by submitting to small press magazines. You won't get paid, but it's great to see your name in print. I started by submitting to magazines I tended to buy myself and soon found I was getting published regularly. After a while I had the confidence to start on a non-fiction book which I managed to sell and it did quite well in terms of sales.

I write non-fiction, silly accounts of silly things that happen to me. I've only put one thing up publicly so far, because the other stuff is sort of personal and written for the amusement of my mates, but I've got to the point where I feel I ought to be trying to get some of it published somewhere.

The thing I put online is this, which I punted around here a year or two ago when I finished it: www.allrightgoggles.com

Do you have any advice for how to get into convincing people to publish your non-fiction, paid or not? The thing I'm working on now is currently 100,000 words long, so it'll have to be a book. But I dunno how to go about self-publishing that on Kindle or whatever... really, any suggestions or tips at all would be appreciated. I'm totally in the dark.

Re: Writing
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2017, 05:49:56 PM »
Popcorn

The key to publishing non-fiction is all about researching the market before you present anything to a publisher. They are always keen to hear what else that deals with the same subject is out there and how what you are suggesting is likely to differ and in turn sell. It's all about pitching it as something new and different. It's great though because they usually accept just a detailed outline and maybe three sample chapters to see how you put the meat on the bones. This means you don't need a completed manuscript and can bin off dead ideas before committing yourself to completing a full book.

It's so easy to self publish now as well, there's some great tutorials online and often it is a simple as converting a Word document into the appropriate text with a simple click of a button.

Serge

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Re: Writing
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2017, 08:30:43 PM »
I keep threatening to write a book about Krautrock, but it would probably be better in my head than it ever would on the page. I mentioned elsewhere on here recently that I wrote a novel when I was a teenager that was heavily in debt to Alexei Sayle's 'Train To Hell' - he was my comedy God in those days - which I'm glad to say, doesn't exist in any form any more.

A friend of mine is going to have her first novel published in 2019, by a proper publisher and everything, but she obviously has more stamina than I have. My collected works are these posts.

buttgammon

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Re: Writing
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2017, 01:41:01 PM »
I've more or less abandoned the idea of writing fiction, partly because it seems like an unnecessary distraction from my PhD but mainly because I'm shit. However, I do have it in my head that if the PhD goes tits up, I will try to write a book about LCD Soundsystem.

As I think I mentioned in another thread, my last substantial piece of writing was a novella-length thing about a sort-of love triangle between three people, two of whom were deeply smug and annoying, all set against a backdrop of Brexit. It was absolute shit.

Large Noise

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Re: Writing
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2017, 04:29:49 PM »
The thing I put online is this, which I punted around here a year or two ago when I finished it: www.allrightgoggles.com
Just read this, enjoyed it.

Re: Writing
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2017, 01:07:52 PM »
Popcorn

The key to publishing non-fiction is all about researching the market before you present anything to a publisher. They are always keen to hear what else that deals with the same subject is out there and how what you are suggesting is likely to differ and in turn sell. It's all about pitching it as something new and different. It's great though because they usually accept just a detailed outline and maybe three sample chapters to see how you put the meat on the bones. This means you don't need a completed manuscript and can bin off dead ideas before committing yourself to completing a full book.

It's so easy to self publish now as well, there's some great tutorials online and often it is a simple as converting a Word document into the appropriate text with a simple click of a button.

Thanks for the info. I was planning to self-publish this book once it's done. I'm sure I can manage the button clicking. It's the reaching people that I don't know about.

Just read this, enjoyed it.

Cheers! Tell your mates!!!!!

Re: Writing
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2017, 12:13:30 AM »
Plenty of short stories, fragments, poems and the like, but I've never had an idea that felt significant or interesting enough for a novel...

One of my ex-partners now in her mid-20s already lives off her writing. That said, she is able to write upwards of 10,000 words a day. When she writes she often completely loses herself in the process. One of her readers asked her what her idea of Hell is and she said (quite sincerely I suspect) "not being able to write". It's absolutely intrinsic to her day-to-day life.

My point is - lots of people can and want to write, but only a small minority are constitutionally unable to not write.