Hello, you may now embed "gifv" simply by pasting the link (same as youtube). Enjoy!
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

The Workshop - Tips, Tricks, and Theory

1457910

Posts

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Novel = 70,000 - 120,000 words? Really?

    At 300 words per page that's....what. 220ish-400 pages? I was kind of shooting for 500ish.

    Although I guess I could be rad like George R.R. Martin and crank out 850 pages per book.

  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    DirtyVagrant - not if you ever want to be published.

    Big books cost money to print. Publishers want to risk as little money as possible on a first time author. You'd be very lucky to get anything over 90,000 accepted for a first, second or even third novel. Once you're a guaranteed money-maker, then you can pump out 800 page epics.

    KqOm9Bt.jpg
  • IriahIriah Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    There have been six pages of unclean. A couple more nails won't do any harm.

  • LuxLux Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Has anyone ever written a stage play? Any tips, or good books/sites?

  • BOREDFANBOYBOREDFANBOY Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Yeah. I've written quite a few, and had them produced (but not published).

    Backwards and Forwards by David Ball is a must read. He breaks down script analysis into easy to digest chunks. It's also fairly short.

    Tips:
    Stage directions are tools: They're best use is for character specific movement, i.e. Bob jumps up on the table, Sally enters, George faints. Stay away from describing emotions. The actors and directors will flesh everything else out. And if they aren't getting it, you'll need to take another look at your dialogue.

    Don't describe emotions: "I'm so angry" is a terrible line. Skip it.

    Have it read aloud: A lot of writers like to constuct very complex sentences. This can really pull your pacing down, as well as confuse the audience/ actors. Just because Shakespeare did it doesn't mean you can. Having it read aloud will also show you how dialogue sounds from someone who didn't write it. While this seems obvious, it's important. A line may make sense to you because you have context (your vision). It may be confusing and misinterpreted by everyone else.

    Be Bold: No one wants to see a show with subtle themes and dialogue that barely move along. This is theatre! Don't believe me? How many serious theatres still show Chekhov and make money doing it? You're going to have to use some theatricality.

  • MiserableMirthMiserableMirth Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    What is a good way to change scenes in the same chapter? Or is that not a good idea? I'm thinking up a novel, and I want the first chapter to introduce two main characters that are in different scenes. There is one event that links both of the scenes, but nothing much more. Not in my idea for a first chapter anyway.

    I guess I could just write two small chapters. Any ideas?

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    A line break would probably work if you can't bring yourself to cut it into two chapters.

  • BasilBasil Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    As the man says, line breaks are wonderful things.

    How much time you'll spend on a given character or scene before switching is really up to how you're writing that bit of the story. Sometimes you might want to switch rapidly to convey a sense of urgency and action, while other times you'll easily get away with focusing on one character for a few thousand words. There's nothing wrong with scene flipping, as long as you make sure that it reads well.

    9KmX8eN.jpg
  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you're the kind of person that gets distracted easily, or just like a minimalistic program to work in, look no further than Dark Room . It's a word processor that has, by default, a black background, green text, and a blinking cursor. The thing is it engulfs your monitor in its black vortex.

    It's wonderful.

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you're the kind of person that gets distracted easily, or just like a minimalistic program to work in, look no further than Dark Room . It's a word processor that has, by default, a black background, green text, and a blinking cursor. The thing is it engulfs your monitor in its black vortex.

    It's wonderful.

    Notepad++ can be configured to do all the things that editor does. :P

    I think OpenOffice can, too.

    yes hello this is blog
  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    So I've got a bit of a problem here. I absolutely love writing. I've been told I'm pretty good. Reference: I'm 18. Last year during the honors creative writing class, was one of the two kids in the grade of ~800 kids recommended for the governor's school, which is exactly what it sounds. 12 kids from the entire state get in. i wasn't one of them, but i couldn't go anyway.

    Long story short: due to my illness, I've lost the ability to read, and I'm losing the ability to write. I can't hold my concentration long enough while reading, so if I manage to get past reading the same couple of lines over and over, I forget what I read. With writing, I have a lot of problems focusing on certain things. I've got the pieces there that I've developed, but I can't do anything with them. To use a stupid metaphor, I've got some of the puzzle pieces, none of the outside ones, and the ones that I do have are waterlogged beyond recognition.

    At this rate, my options are to keep throwing myself against the wall, or wait it out until I'm supposed to get better, which isn't for another ~6 years.


    It's a fucking terrible thing to go through, considering that I'm losing one of the things that's successfully anchored me in the world. I've lost most of my friends, and because of the nature of the illness, I can't get out much. I'm trying to force myself to keep active reading through forums. I plan on hanging around the Block more for this very reason.

    I guess what I'm asking is if anyone's got anything I can do to potentially stave this off. I'm thinking about turning back to poetry, because by nature it doesn't have to be very long and it can be very simple, which is good.

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I think you already have a good idea: write shorter pieces. Don't stop writing, by any means, but limiting the time you spend on it and limiting the length of the piece is likely to be successful for you.

    I've long espoused the ten-minute method, in which you grab a timer and write for exactly ten minutes, then stop. You can do this as many times as you want in a day, but the limitation is both freeing and mind-focusing.

    You might also want to consider keeping some kind of journal, whether it be one in which you describe your own life, or one that only includes images that strike you throughout the day. A journal will keep you writing while not requiring big blocks of your time or energy.

  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I've long considered giving myself a prompt every day, just to keep my brain moving. That, honestly, was my favorite part of one of the creative writing classes I took.

    I guess it's some sort of coincidence, but two friends and I sat down today and discussed the serious prospect of writing some form of comic, be it web or print. Once I have the details ironed out about the idea, I plan on coming back here for some feedback. So far, I'm fairly certain this is unlike anything out there. It isn't a comic in the traditional sense, and the best thing I can liken it to is Elephant its of the Mind with a cohesive plot and a cast of characters. One image, and a paragraph or two of text. So far, what we have is one of the most bizarre things I've had a hand in creating.


    Thanks for the advice, Quoth. Definitely going to start doing that.

  • ZsetrekZsetrek Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I'd also recommend keeping a notebook/journal with you as often as is practical, and writing as inspiration hits. You could even use different colours of ink for different kinds of writing (red=images, green=dialogue, whatever), so that reading through at a later date is less of a chore.

  • LuxLux Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    MKR wrote: »
    If you're the kind of person that gets distracted easily, or just like a minimalistic program to work in, look no further than Dark Room . It's a word processor that has, by default, a black background, green text, and a blinking cursor. The thing is it engulfs your monitor in its black vortex.

    It's wonderful.

    Notepad++ can be configured to do all the things that editor does. :P

    I think OpenOffice can, too.

    Oh, man. I saw WriteRoom before and really wanted something like it (it is a mac program), and the best I could do was get TextPad, which is an HTML coding tool, and edit the settings until it resembled it.

    I don't know why, but it's more fun and satisfying when there is nothing but you and the words on screen.

  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    I'd also recommend keeping a notebook/journal with you as often as is practical, and writing as inspiration hits. You could even use different colours of ink for different kinds of writing (red=images, green=dialogue, whatever), so that reading through at a later date is less of a chore.

    I used to do this, but stopped for some reason. Now I've got one that fits my back pocket and I always have a pen on me. Always.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    How much prose is too much? How much is too little? Or is it impossible to say?

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    How much prose is too much? How much is too little? Or is it impossible to say?

    What is your definition of "prose"?

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    There's telling people what happened. "Bob did this, then he did this. This happened, and it reminded him of this because of some kind of sensory cue."

    And then there's prose. "The comet's red tail slashed across the sky like a gaping wound." (Or something - I can't remember it verbatim - the opening line in A Clash of Kings)

  • OsoniOsoni Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    I'd also recommend keeping a notebook/journal with you as often as is practical, and writing as inspiration hits. You could even use different colours of ink for different kinds of writing (red=images, green=dialogue, whatever), so that reading through at a later date is less of a chore.

    I used to do this, but stopped for some reason. Now I've got one that fits my back pocket and I always have a pen on me. Always.

    I just started doing this a couple weeks ago. At first I was skeptical, but it has already become a valuable writing tool for me. Since I started using it, I've had so much more material on hand to work with that I'm starting to wonder how many awesome ideas I've forgotten in the past simply because I didn't write them down as soon as I thought of them...

    Especially during lectures at school, which for some reason tend to get my creative juices flowing.

    masterofmagicsig.jpg
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    There's telling people what happened. "Bob did this, then he did this. This happened, and it reminded him of this because of some kind of sensory cue."

    And then there's prose. "The comet's red tail slashed across the sky like a gaping wound." (Or something - I can't remember it verbatim - the opening line in A Clash of Kings)

    It's too much if it distracts the reader excessively from the action and plot. That's my rule of thumb, anyway.

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    There's telling people what happened. "Bob did this, then he did this. This happened, and it reminded him of this because of some kind of sensory cue."

    And then there's prose. "The comet's red tail slashed across the sky like a gaping wound." (Or something - I can't remember it verbatim - the opening line in A Clash of Kings)

    It's too much if it distracts the reader excessively from the action and plot. That's my rule of thumb, anyway.

    I look at it similarly. If you forget what you were reading by the time you get to the end of the prose, then it's too much.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    And if you don't forget then it's fair game? Seems rational.

    But at what point when you describe something in that way does it fail to be constructive? For instance, the following:

    George R. R. Martin is the first author I've read in a very long time. Most of the time his words are so vivid and clear and thoughtfully put together that they leave me in a state of awe. Other times I'll read something he says and be like "...what..."

    Could you just say 'when the description becomes redundant'?

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    And if you don't forget then it's fair game? Seems rational.

    But at what point when you describe something in that way does it fail to be constructive? For instance, the following:

    George R. R. Martin is the first author I've read in a very long time. Most of the time his words are so vivid and clear and thoughtfully put together that they leave me in a state of awe. Other times I'll read something he says and be like "...what..."

    Could you just say 'when the description becomes redundant'?

    You could certainly say that as well. I think you would want enough prose to create a specific mood and describe the scene vividly, but not so much that the prose becomes redundant or extraneous. And certainly you don't want to wreck the momentum of the narrative.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Edit: I feel like this is kind of an asshole question to ask, but I gotta.

    Assuming very average success with a two or three book series, as a debut author (fiction, fantasy), what might I expect out of a publisher? It'd really help me right about now to have an idea.

  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Edit: I feel like this is kind of an asshole question to ask, but I gotta.

    Assuming very average success with a two or three book series, as a debut author (fiction, fantasy), what might I expect out of a publisher? It'd really help me right about now to have an idea.

    Unfortunately, writing won't make you rich. Only a handful of people make oodles of money.

    Other than that, it will probably depend on how your books sell. You'll get a percentage or flat amount for each book and out of that will probably come at the very least a portion of promotional costs. Its not unusual to get an advance on future sales, but you don't get any royalties until you've paid back that amount. According to this the average for a first book is ~$5K.

    11793-1.png
    Spoiler:
  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Having chatted to a few authors of middlish success, two or three really good selling books will net you around $6k each a year for two or three years. After that, your name will vanish unless you keep following it regularly with more releases.

    KqOm9Bt.jpg
  • Goose!Goose! Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Guess I'll post this here then
    Goose! wrote: »
    Goose! wrote: »
    Has anyone tried suite101.com? I'm looking into it since it says they're hiring freelance writers...but I don't have any sort of professional experience at all. Just two journalism classes under my belt.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Hypothetically...

    If I were to write, say, an 'erotic encounters' light fetish piece for Playgirl, would that cheapen me as a writer? I mean professionally.

    Let's assume for the sake of the question that I would be accepted.

  • Goose!Goose! Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think it depends on what you write. If that's something you write regularly, then no not at all. But if you're just doing it to be published/get the paycheck and your normal stuff is nothing like that, I'd say its likely.

  • Squirrel NinjaSquirrel Ninja Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Hypothetically...

    If I were to write, say, an 'erotic encounters' light fetish piece for Playgirl, would that cheapen me as a writer? I mean professionally.

    Let's assume for the sake of the question that I would be accepted.

    Well written porn is still well written. If I were to read say 'erotic encounters' I would say a lot of them are shit, hypothetically. So in a way it would be to your credit if you stood as a shining example of decently written porn.

  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Hypothetically...

    If I were to write, say, an 'erotic encounters' light fetish piece for Playgirl, would that cheapen me as a writer? I mean professionally.

    Let's assume for the sake of the question that I would be accepted.

    Would YOU feel cheapened? Because what I would feel is ENRICHED.

    KqOm9Bt.jpg
  • IriahIriah Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    So, I guess WriteRoom isn't available for free anymore. Is there any free alternative that I can use on a Mac? Just something that blacks out the whole screen so that nothing but the text of the document is left.

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    It seems like it isn't much more than a text editor in full screen mode. Don't Mac editors have fullscreen?

    yes hello this is blog
  • BasilBasil Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If you're the kind of person that gets distracted easily, or just like a minimalistic program to work in, look no further than Dark Room . It's a word processor that has, by default, a black background, green text, and a blinking cursor. The thing is it engulfs your monitor in its black vortex.

    It's wonderful.

    Oh this is wonderful, it has a completely different feel than typing on a white background! I shouldn't be surprised that the change is noticeable since I'm very visual by nature, but it's still striking.

    9KmX8eN.jpg
  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    It is not just the full screen black. It also moves and arranges your text in clever ways. Like, I kept a little docket at the bottom of the screen of quickly jotted notes. 'Character does this, then that' etc. Just a rough roadmap for the stuff I was writing. As I typed the body text it would keep this visible on the bottom of the screen while scrolling everything else up, then when I went below it it kept it there.

    It is splitting bodies of text up independently and arranging them based on content and length in very smart ways. Write Room (Darkroom) is not just full screen notepad. It is a writing tool much more advanced then you might expect. It lacks a lot of the formatting capabilities of Word, so it is always good to crank something out in Write Room then import it to word to lay it out and tidy it up.

    But as a means to write in a focussed way without ever breaking your flow with things like deleting lines or scrolling text it is incredibly useful. There are a lot of background things going on that make it easy.

    scarab you have mental problems
  • thegloamingthegloaming Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    This thread was a good read; kudos to those who have participated thus far.

    I've found that the one thing that limits aspiring writers* the most is the fear that what they write won't be any good. They expect to instantly imitate or even surpass the literary prowess of Faulkner or Hemingway and when they realize they can't they toss their efforts in the trash and assume the fetal position while they wait for inspiration to somehow strike them in the ass.

    For a long time, everything you write is going to be shit. If you don't cringe every time you reread your works in progress, you're being too soft on yourself. The good news is that it doesn't always have to be like this; you learn from your mistakes, you keep at it, you learn to edit like a totalitarian dictator, and eventually things will start to click into place.

    Cherish the first draft, for it is the canvas on which you will hurl your literary paint. There seems to be some contention within this community regarding the importance of an outline. Personally I think that as long as you know your characters well and you can formulate a basic premise or underlying theme for your work, you should feel free to explore the world you create. Don't worry about constructing the perfect sentence, or finding the perfect word to describe how a character is feeling - if these things happen naturally then let them but they should not be your focus in this early stage. This is your chance to experiment, to take risks, to make mistakes, and for god's sake, to write.

    Once you're done with the first draft, take a break. You've poured your heart and soul out onto the page - it's time to recuperate. There's no recommended time for this; just make sure when you come back you're ready to do battle.

    Take a dialectical approach to writing: you should create just as much as you destroy. In the first draft, you should be concerned only with the former, but don't become hopelessly attached to your creations. In the second and all subsequent drafts, you want to destroy (but not carelessly) and rebuild. Revision is, in my opinion, the longest portion of writing. It can take years to transform a pile of loosely connected ideas and events into a coherent, dare I say worthwhile piece of reading. The important thing, again, is to never give up. Even revisions will turn out like shit - so be it. Give things a rest and come back prepared for the next battle. Keep everything you write - you'll never know when an idea you scrapped ten revisions ago will reappear in new and interesting ways.

    Writing is: creative, destructive, inspiring, devastating, relaxing, intense, success and failure. It is conflict.

    Keep fighting.

    *I had typed "riders" because I was staring at The_Scarab's signature. :)

  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    How cathartic is having a writing blog. I want to post so much of my stuff here but in an unfinished state there is no way I have the confidence to do so.

    scarab you have mental problems
  • GauraugGauraug Registered User
    edited August 2008
    This is my first post, but I've lurked a bit and read through this thread. There seem to be several experienced writers here and I've been having trouble getting a complete answer to a certain writing question, so I figured I'd ask here.

    How do you get your work critiqued? What I mean is, do you keep a blog and just post stuff you write there? Do you frequently post your work here or in other writing communities to get feedback? I love to write, but without any readers or critics, it can feel pretty empty at times. Just wondering what other writers do and hoping for some suggestions or recommendations on a possible solution, even if it's something as simple as, "Get a blog!"

    "On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    -- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
Sign In or Register to comment.