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#1 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there any other novel writers or would-be novel writers who are interested in a new group?

I know the NaNoWriMo thread is still active but it looks like most of the NaNo participants have stopped posting/taken a break, so I was thinking it might be nice to start fresh without dozens of back posts to weed through. And there might be some novelists out there who didn't do NaNo.

We could discuss our projects, share our goals, encourage each other, share tips, recommend books about writing or workshops or whatnot. Novel writing can be a lengthy & tedious process with little immediate reward but at least we could share the tedium with each other.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#2 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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I'm game. I've taken a break from the novel and need to get back to it. I haven't gotten very far, 60 pages or so, and need the inspiration to keep going. I did not do NANO as I want to finish this novel first.
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#3 of 61 Old 12-10-2008, 02:05 AM
 
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Count me in too. I've been writing in between classes, and I need something to keep me accountable during semester break. I'm on page 40-something; I'm hand-writing the first draft.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#4 of 61 Old 12-10-2008, 03:08 AM
 
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Count me in I need the accountability!

I did Nano but need to finish last year's Nano novel (which is currently sitting at 98K). I think I probably have another 20K to write, but I wasn't writing chronologically so I am not sure. I promised to send it to a friend for Christmas, so I need to get moving. I'm just not quite motivated...

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#5 of 61 Old 12-10-2008, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm game. I've taken a break from the novel and need to get back to it. I haven't gotten very far, 60 pages or so, and need the inspiration to keep going. I did not do NANO as I want to finish this novel first.
60 pages is pretty good! That's 20% of a 300-page novel (or more, if your 60 pages are single-space).

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Count me in too. I've been writing in between classes, and I need something to keep me accountable during semester break. I'm on page 40-something; I'm hand-writing the first draft.
Wow, that's a lot to write. I think my hand would fall off. But I'm just horribly out of practice with doing much hand-writing of anything. Sometimes I'll feel inspired and scribble a page or two in my notebook while I'm on the bus in the evening, but that's about as much as I can manage.

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Count me in I need the accountability!

I did Nano but need to finish last year's Nano novel (which is currently sitting at 98K). I think I probably have another 20K to write, but I wasn't writing chronologically so I am not sure. I promised to send it to a friend for Christmas, so I need to get moving. I'm just not quite motivated...
That's great. I'm hoping I can reach 98k at all! Right now I'm at 58k or so. I skipped several scenes in my NaNo draft but I'm thinking my first post-NaNo-with-basic-revisions draft might hit 65k. And then I need to pull another 30k out of thin air to reach a saleable length.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#6 of 61 Old 12-10-2008, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So do you have any goals for this week? Here are mine:

Novel goals for this week:
- Revise chapter 8
- Write chapter 9

Remaining novel goals for December:
- Finish the novel draft (which will require figuring out the ending eventually)
- Revise the first 8-10 chapters
- Come up with a tentative title


I've been doing my goals on Monday so these are two days old. I like Mondays for new goals because then I have all weekend to make up for my weekday slacking. So far I've done just a tiny bit of revision on chapter 8, and written the 1 of 3 new scenes for chapter 9.

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#7 of 61 Old 12-10-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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Can I join? I'm woefully alone when it comes writing.

I've got competing goals for December, so I'm not sure what I will accomplish. I have somewhere between 25-30K left to on a draft. I'd love to think I'll finish by the end of the month, but I decided to do another round of light edits on my finished novel and it's more important to me to have that completed by early January.

So, following Aufilia's organized lead:

Novel goals for the week:
Complete writing of the current section of WIP (let's say 3-4K).
Complete work through chapter nine of the the other (currently about halfway).

Novel goals for December:
Finish all edits and be done!
Come within shouting distance of the ending for the novel draft.

I should say that the only method that's worked for me is to not edit at all while drafting and to reread very little until the end. It means I write quickly but my revision process is much longer. It is, unfortunately, the only way I can write without censoring myself into paralysis. I envy everyone who can revise along the way.
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#8 of 61 Old 12-11-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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Wow, that's a lot to write. I think my hand would fall off. But I'm just horribly out of practice with doing much hand-writing of anything. Sometimes I'll feel inspired and scribble a page or two in my notebook while I'm on the bus in the evening, but that's about as much as I can manage.
None of my classes allow me to use my laptop during them, & I don't want to carry the extra weight anyway. : I take all my notes by hand, so it's not a big deal to switch off when I'm able. (Not to mention that none of the teachers can tell whether I'm taking notes or writing my novel. : )

I can't really give myself a goal for this week, sadly. I've got finals all week, and have to turn in two essays at the English final besides. So if I manage to get anything done at all, I will be grateful.

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I should say that the only method that's worked for me is to not edit at all while drafting and to reread very little until the end. It means I write quickly but my revision process is much longer. It is, unfortunately, the only way I can write without censoring myself into paralysis. I envy everyone who can revise along the way.
I am the same way. I'm a huge believer in le mot juste, but if I get hung up in fishing around for the right word, I'll go nowhere. So I'm pushing myself to just get it down, and I'll figure it all out in the revisions. (I'm bolstered by the fact that this is much the way Stephen King does things, & I'm a huge Stephen King fan.)

I need to work on my outside writing. My main character has six brothers, plus both parents active in her life, so I've had to sit down & figure out everyone's ages, spouses, etc. (I did let myself get a little weird & name them Peter, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.) I also need to figure out a bit more of my mythology, as the two main characters are on their way to visit a werewolf, any my werewolves are somewhat atypical for the modern stories (lycanthropy isn't contagioius, merely a genetic variant). I've got a few things in mind, but I need to write it down so I don't contradict myself later. Oh, and I need to get my main character out of her brother's truck and into something that will accommodate the hero, who is recovering from severe injuries and can't hop in & out of her Festiva.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#9 of 61 Old 12-11-2008, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should say that the only method that's worked for me is to not edit at all while drafting and to reread very little until the end. It means I write quickly but my revision process is much longer. It is, unfortunately, the only way I can write without censoring myself into paralysis. I envy everyone who can revise along the way.
Yes, that's what worked for me with all 3 novels I've done. Write like made until you get to the end.

In this one I'm working on now, when I say it's not finished that means I left out half the last chapter and the denouement. I wrote the action-y scenes in the last chapter and killed my villain even, but I couldn't get the whole conversation that leads up to the Big Fight to go right because one of the characters just had NO reason to even be in it. In my revised draft that guy has to be more involved.

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#10 of 61 Old 12-11-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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In this one I'm working on now, when I say it's not finished that means I left out half the last chapter and the denouement. I wrote the action-y scenes in the last chapter and killed my villain even, but I couldn't get the whole conversation that leads up to the Big Fight to go right because one of the characters just had NO reason to even be in it. In my revised draft that guy has to be more involved.
Got it. For me the "write like mad" method is great for getting the big picture. It's those subtler motivational details that fall by the wayside until revisions. I can totally see reaching the end of the first round with someone with no reason to do the things that must be done.

I've got a few things that I'm fiddling with currently. I've got two transition points with jumps in time, two and eight year leaps. The characters begin the story as fourteen year olds, so each change comes with a significant shift in understanding, and I've been frustrated by a corresponding change in style on my part. And one guy needs a little more breathing room to be a person. He's a tad too patient and good.

I'm also trying to get the details of their subculture to jell. The politics of their situation didn't fully register until recently, and I'm now trying to gently highlight a few points without bogging the story down. It would matter less if I hadn't embarked on a related story that needs the information in place.

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My main character has six brothers, plus both parents active in her life, so I've had to sit down & figure out everyone's ages, spouses, etc. (I did let myself get a little weird & name them Peter, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.)
All I can say about my names is that my children will one day be grateful that my husband was involved in their own naming process.

Good luck with writing and the end of semester craziness. I'm enjoying an ice storm right now - I expect it will be a long cold night with no chance of working on anything, unless by candle.
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#11 of 61 Old 12-11-2008, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did let myself get a little weird & name them Peter, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.
Hey now... I have a set of 3 cousins named Mark, Paul and John.

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(lycanthropy isn't contagioius, merely a genetic variant). I've got a few things in mind, but I need to write it down so I don't contradict myself later. Oh, and I need to get my main character out of her brother's truck and into something that will accommodate the hero, who is recovering from severe injuries and can't hop in & out of her Festiva.
Your mythology sounds interesting. I know how delighted I was when my magic system started to develop rules that I could actually write down!

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I've got a few things that I'm fiddling with currently. I've got two transition points with jumps in time, two and eight year leaps. The characters begin the story as fourteen year olds, so each change comes with a significant shift in understanding, and I've been frustrated by a corresponding change in style on my part.
Oooh big time jumps sounds tough. I know I've read books where the time jumps are great, but I wouldn't be sure how to work it.

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Got it. For me the "write like mad" method is great for getting the big picture. It's those subtler motivational details that fall by the wayside until revisions. I can totally see reaching the end of the first round with someone with no reason to do the things that must be done.
For me what seems to have fallen by the wayside is the scene-setting details... especially sensory details.

Tonight is my weekly crit group, and I will bet anything that the #1 comment I get is about the lack of scenery. I'm bad about that stuff even when I'm writing more slowly, which is odd because I'm a highly visual person. I guess I just assume that everyone else is imagining the location as fully as I am.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#12 of 61 Old 12-12-2008, 11:21 AM
 
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Count me in too!!! I didn't NaNo this year since I was already knee deep in my novel writing...but I'd LOVE to join this group :

I just climaxed! Well, my story did anyway...I started this week off thinking that "I suck" and now, thankfully to some really helpful writing mammas, I pushed myself past that point and bam! I'm all smiles...just have to find time to write!

I think my problem at the beginning was writing more about stuff that isn't going to even be in the finished novel, however it was like working out for a race - kwim? I'm sad to cut it all out, but I don't think that a novel should be more than 500 pages (right now I'm on page 485 and I feel another at least 200 is coming to finish it) so if I cut out 200 from the beginning, then it'll be ok...but I'm not going to touch anything until I'm totally done, read it through once, and THEN I'll start editing...

my goal? be finished with 1st draft by the end of the year (very soon!) so that I'll be done with all my edits by my birthday in March...doable? We'll see
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#13 of 61 Old 12-12-2008, 11:34 AM
 
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I'm up for this. My goal is simply this: To finish my NaNo project. I should have known better to embark on that journey with a then 1.5 month old. I only got to about 7,000 words. I hope to finish so I can start editing it in 2009.

SAHM to DD1 9/18/08 DS 6/11/10 DD2 6/21/12 nocirc.gifcd.gifgreenthumb.gifhang.gif 

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#14 of 61 Old 12-12-2008, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Count me in too!!! I didn't NaNo this year since I was already knee deep in my novel writing...but I'd LOVE to join this group :

I just climaxed! Well, my story did anyway...I started this week off thinking that "I suck" and now, thankfully to some really helpful writing mammas, I pushed myself past that point and bam! I'm all smiles...just have to find time to write!

I think my problem at the beginning was writing more about stuff that isn't going to even be in the finished novel, however it was like working out for a race - kwim? I'm sad to cut it all out, but I don't think that a novel should be more than 500 pages (right now I'm on page 485 and I feel another at least 200 is coming to finish it) so if I cut out 200 from the beginning, then it'll be ok...but I'm not going to touch anything until I'm totally done, read it through once, and THEN I'll start editing...
Wow, how many words is that? 485 pages sounds huge.

And congrats on climaxing! That's an awesome point of the story to reach.

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I'm up for this. My goal is simply this: To finish my NaNo project. I should have known better to embark on that journey with a then 1.5 month old. I only got to about 7,000 words. I hope to finish so I can start editing it in 2009.
You're brave. 7k with an infant sounds like at true miracle. Keep it up and you'll get there.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#15 of 61 Old 12-12-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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Wow, how many words is that? 485 pages sounds huge.
That's about 94K words. My mother thinks 500 pages is way too much, but for the story to develop and go where I want it to go, there's no way to do it in less. There's too much going on mentally for my characters...

I'm writing tonight - I hope...seems I only get to write every 3 days or, if I want to be a horrible mother the following day, I can write all through the night...but the following day I can tell that I wasn't thinking very clearly at o'dark hundred!
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#16 of 61 Old 12-12-2008, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's about 94K words. My mother thinks 500 pages is way too much, but for the story to develop and go where I want it to go, there's no way to do it in less. There's too much going on mentally for my characters...

I'm writing tonight - I hope...seems I only get to write every 3 days or, if I want to be a horrible mother the following day, I can write all through the night...but the following day I can tell that I wasn't thinking very clearly at o'dark hundred!
Looking back at your blog you mentioned it's women's fiction?

I don't know anything about that chunk of the novel market but in my genre (SF/fantasy) 94k would be about average-sized and would "officially" count out at about 375 pages (@ 250 words/page). Most of the major SF publishers don't accept submissions of less than ~80k words. I've got nearly 60k right now so I have to add stuff in revisions. Thankfully I've got 2 underdeveloped subplots to work on.

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#17 of 61 Old 12-13-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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Looking back at your blog you mentioned it's women's fiction?

I don't know anything about that chunk of the novel market but in my genre (SF/fantasy) 94k would be about average-sized and would "officially" count out at about 375 pages (@ 250 words/page).
yep, women's fiction

so maybe I have it formatted incorrectly and I won't have to cut anything out?!? that sounds fantastic! my 200'ish more pages won't hurt 375 at all - oooh, that is getting me excited - thanks!
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#18 of 61 Old 12-13-2008, 04:14 AM
 
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The downside to women's fiction is that its novels tend to be shorter. I've got a book idea in that genre as well, one I've been working on on & off for several years, but when my marriage imploded and ended all of a sudden writing about the end of another woman's marriage (she was widowed, though) didn't seem so appealing. I intend to get back to it, though; I've got friends who will beat me if that story doesn't get told.

So, what are we all writing about? I know there's at least one other person in the same genre as I. So we've two SF/Fantasy & one Women's Fiction. What else?

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Your mythology sounds interesting. I know how delighted I was when my magic system started to develop rules that I could actually write down!
I have the rudiments of a magic system in place. I had one of those great moments of stuff just coming together when the heroine got pissed off at the hero and healed him...but his health issues are rather involved, and central to his character, so I can't have her run around & do it all the time.

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Got it. For me the "write like mad" method is great for getting the big picture. It's those subtler motivational details that fall by the wayside until revisions. I can totally see reaching the end of the first round with someone with no reason to do the things that must be done.
I can already see some places where I will have to do some fairly major rewriting. My hero isn't nearly as much of an a*****e as he needs to be at the beginning of the story. He has good reason to be, but he's coming off as more of a tragic hero than I'd intended. It's HARD to keep myself from backtracking & writing it in now.

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That's about 94K words. My mother thinks 500 pages is way too much, but for the story to develop and go where I want it to go, there's no way to do it in less. There's too much going on mentally for my characters...
Meh, don't worry about the length right now. Get it all down and then start shaving away at it ruthlessly. Even chick lit's getting longer.

OK, a question for you ladies. My story is told in the first person. I need to give a good description of my character while avoiding the cliche of looking in the mirror. Thus far I've given only a few details here and there. I've described her somewhat by describing her brothers--"His hair was brown, not black like mine, but Mark's eyes were the same gray I had" sort of thing, but I want to get something more substantial down. Gradual is okay, because I don't go for Ann Rice-style humongous chunks o'description, but I need a better way to get across what she really looks like. Ideas? She's got a date coming up and I can get in a little more that way, but I'm not sure how much.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#19 of 61 Old 12-13-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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I'm trapped at my parents and haven't been able to get anywhere near my goals. Our town was stomped all over by the ice storm and we had to abandon our house (no power = no water and heat as well) until at least Monday. The power restoration is expected to be slow and we are a small town, so we'll be bottom of the list.

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Oooh big time jumps sounds tough. I know I've read books where the time jumps are great, but I wouldn't be sure how to work it.
The larger of the jumps is helped by a the fact that the book is divided into three sections and it is set off by coming during one othe the section breaks (I don't think I'm making any sense, but between restless kids and dog and husband I was up a lot in the night). The first section ends with an escape/rescue; second section picks up with life eight years later.

The first jump, the two years, is much harder. I've debated every possible approach to it, from cutting it to making it a new section, and nothing seems quite right. Grrr.

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For me what seems to have fallen by the wayside is the scene-setting details... especially sensory details.
Just out of curiousity, do you think it is because you are able to have a very clear view of the events in your head, so getting the sensory details doesn't occur to you while writing as they're such a part of the story you're in? Again, probably not making much sense, but it is something i've thought about before.

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That's about 94K words.
I think the 480 pages or so is the format/font. 94K is a lovely size with which to work. Easy to go up or down. I started at 125K and have cut it like a lumberjack.

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So, what are we all writing about? I know there's at least one other person in the same genre as I. So we've two SF/Fantasy & one Women's Fiction. What else?
Put me in the SF/Fantasy camp. Even worse, put me in the SFF-but-with-a-fascination-with-characters camp. Some people, my husband, for example, get into the genetics aspect to it, and the fact that it's a prolonged escape from a really bad guy, but it's all soft science - very low tech and not futuristic. It's really the story of what happens to three people trapped in an intense and isolated existence together.
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#20 of 61 Old 12-13-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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OK, a question for you ladies. My story is told in the first person. I need to give a good description of my character while avoiding the cliche of looking in the mirror. Thus far I've given only a few details here and there. I've described her somewhat by describing her brothers--"His hair was brown, not black like mine, but Mark's eyes were the same gray I had" sort of thing, but I want to get something more substantial down. Gradual is okay, because I don't go for Ann Rice-style humongous chunks o'description, but I need a better way to get across what she really looks like. Ideas? She's got a date coming up and I can get in a little more that way, but I'm not sure how much.
Could her date remark on her in conversations? Is this a new partner? Something like "Beth told me you were exotic but I didn't realize she meant furry and shark-headed."

Or something along those lines.

Or she's bought something to go out and she thinks about why it will look good on her? (I know green brings out the color of my gills.)

Or she thinks about herself in comparison with her date? (Against the brown of his skin I looked like the underbelly of a fish.)

Like I said in my other post, I'm tired
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#21 of 61 Old 12-14-2008, 03:54 AM
 
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Something like "Beth told me you were exotic but I didn't realize she meant furry and shark-headed."
I love it! It would not work, as her date is someone she's known for quite a while. But still a good idea. (He's also a character who came out of nowhere and made himself more important than I'd intended. I hate it when they do that!)

I think I'll go, at least partially, with the idea that she can describe herself when she's getting ready for the date. It'll probably be the easiest.

I wrote for almost two hours today. : Set a timer for 30 minutes and kept writing once it went off, after starting the stopwatch feature on my phone so I could time myself. 1:14:57.07 My hand hurts. I got from page 47 to page 52. I got the hero introduced to the werewolves, decided to make the woman the pack Alpha instead of her husband, and got a lot of info about the main plot worked in. (I've got three plot threads--a case to solve, the hero's magical training, and a small romance plot which might get derailed by my new character.)

I'm feeling a little silly since I just got something very important accomplished. And managed to keep my own voice, even though I've been reading Laurell K Hamilton today.

Here's my favorite bit of dialogue:

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"It's far better than eating you out of hand."

Bellamy arched an eyebrow. Gerry and I gave him blank, serene faces. I was reasonably certain my old friend was joking. Werewolves, he'd told me many years ago, had just as strong a taboo against eating humans as did the Unchanging. The Changing, as they tended to call themselves, typically considered themselves to still be human, something borne out by their ability to have offspring with the Unchanging. But not with Magi, something I could never quite figure out. Perhaps the two mutations were too far apart.

The silence stretched another heartbeat before Bellamy shrugged. "Your loss. I'm precooked and everything."
My hero has a pretty good sense of humor. I'll need to smooth out if not do away with that exposition, but it's a note to myself if nothing else. (The precooked thing, by the way, is a reference to burn injuries.)

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The first jump, the two years, is much harder. I've debated every possible approach to it, from cutting it to making it a new section, and nothing seems quite right. Grrr.
Does it come before or after the kidnapping? I respect your bravery in regards to time-jumping. I'm thinking my novel is going to stretch across only a couple of weeks, because I suck at even minor time jumps.

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Put me in the SF/Fantasy camp. Even worse, put me in the SFF-but-with-a-fascination-with-characters camp. Some people, my husband, for example, get into the genetics aspect to it, and the fact that it's a prolonged escape from a really bad guy, but it's all soft science - very low tech and not futuristic. It's really the story of what happens to three people trapped in an intense and isolated existence together.
I love character-driven fiction. I'm the sort to get lost in technical details. It's taking everything I have not to have the heroine expound too much on the magic system, at least not this early on. I'll get to do that--I'll have to do that--because the hero is actually her apprentice (even though he's older). But I don't want to shovel it on.

I'd be interested in hearing more about how your world fits together. Is it near future, or a totally different world? I'm in a slightly different version of the here-and-now, which makes things much simpler. Haven't had to create a single city yet. I'm always somewhat in awe of people who manage to have even a little bit of hard science in their novels. I'd be at risk of wandering off and spending the next six months researching string theory and never actually getting anything done.

Is anyone having difficulty avoiding cliches? My hero is an Iraq war vet with some serious physical injuries and PTSD, and I am so afraid of making him a cliche. Even some of the most respectful and well-meaning novels cast military characters somewhat one-dimensionally, and I am trying not to do that, in part by having him make fun of the stereotypical things. (He's joked about not being able to flip off other drivers anymore, because he's missing the crucial finger, for instance.) All these things are important to the character, but I don't want him to be a walking stereotype, KWIM?

Also, can we have some main character discussion? I'm curious as to whom everyone is writing about. Someone else has to be willing to share some dialogue, or I'm going to feel all embarrassed.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#22 of 61 Old 12-14-2008, 04:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yep, women's fiction

so maybe I have it formatted incorrectly and I won't have to cut anything out?!? that sounds fantastic! my 200'ish more pages won't hurt 375 at all - oooh, that is getting me excited - thanks!
Your genre/market target might still be different but it just doesn't sound to me quite as enormous as 500 pages. If you look up some big publishers and find the submissions guidelines that relate to women's fiction you should be able to figure it out before you get into chopping too much.

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So, what are we all writing about? I know there's at least one other person in the same genre as I. So we've two SF/Fantasy & one Women's Fiction. What else?
Just to be specific I'm writing a sword-and-sorcery style fantasy at the moment. Actually that's pretty par for the course for me, about half my short stories would fall into the same genre.

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I have the rudiments of a magic system in place. I had one of those great moments of stuff just coming together when the heroine got pissed off at the hero and healed him...but his health issues are rather involved, and central to his character, so I can't have her run around & do it all the time.
Oh yes, that sounds like trouble.

I'm not really sure about describing your characters, since I've failed to do it at all in my novel. I'm pretty sure having anybody else describe my character while he's around is out, at least not early on in the book. Someone suggested is his hair was long enough he could see it himself but I can't stand long hair on men (makes me think of my slimey stepFIL, ugh ugh ugh UGH).


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I'm trapped at my parents and haven't been able to get anywhere near my goals. Our town was stomped all over by the ice storm and we had to abandon our house (no power = no water and heat as well) until at least Monday. The power restoration is expected to be slow and we are a small town, so we'll be bottom of the list.
Yikes, that sounds like no fun. Glad you had someone to run off to.

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Just out of curiousity, do you think it is because you are able to have a very clear view of the events in your head, so getting the sensory details doesn't occur to you while writing as they're such a part of the story you're in? Again, probably not making much sense, but it is something i've thought about before.
I think a little of everything. I'm a very very visual person and I do tend to assume everyone already noticed whatever I've noticed. (You'd think I'd learn otherwise since my DH is the least visual person EVER.) I think it's also because I concentrate on what I consider to be the "meat" of the story, which is all the action, conversation, and decision-making that gets my characters to the ending I'm envisioning.

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Put me in the SF/Fantasy camp. Even worse, put me in the SFF-but-with-a-fascination-with-characters camp.

It's really the story of what happens to three people trapped in an intense and isolated existence together.
Sounds great. I adore character-driven stories. Give me one or two awesome characters facing some interesting personal challenge and I'm good!

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#23 of 61 Old 12-14-2008, 04:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I
I wrote for almost two hours today. :
Go you! I technically sat here at the computer for 3 hours and only wrote 201 words. And what's worse, I think they were mostly bad ones.

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Is anyone having difficulty avoiding cliches? My hero is an Iraq war vet with some serious physical injuries and PTSD, and I am so afraid of making him a cliche. Even some of the most respectful and well-meaning novels cast military characters somewhat one-dimensionally, and I am trying not to do that, in part by having him make fun of the stereotypical things. (He's joked about not being able to flip off other drivers anymore, because he's missing the crucial finger, for instance.) All these things are important to the character, but I don't want him to be a walking stereotype, KWIM?
Is it helpful or not if I mention I had a math teacher in high school who was a Vietnam war veteran and missing a finger, and he used to have 2 or 3 missing-finger gags he'd pull on us that we found quite hilarious. To me, my experience might mesh well with what you've written because my experience makes your character's missing-finger jokes realistic, you know? One thing I recall about this guy, he asked a lot about the Marines, but I only once recall him talking about his personal experience.

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Also, can we have some main character discussion? I'm curious as to whom everyone is writing about. Someone else has to be willing to share some dialogue, or I'm going to feel all embarrassed.
It's past my bedtime but I'll try to answer this bit tomorrow -- I'll have to go trolling for some dialogue to post that doesn't require too much context.

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#24 of 61 Old 12-14-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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I'm game to share some dialogue but it may be a few days. Until I have power (and my own computer) back my story is sleeping peacefully on a cold and very lonely machine.

I love the humor in the sample you shared! I think it's a great coping mechanism for characters. The finger thing you mentioned gives me a sense of who he is right off the bat. I think that cliches come in part from relying on either static emotions or a specific timetable of reactions. If the things your guy does come from the way you know him to be then I doubt they are going to come of a stereotypical.

What to say about my MC? At the start of the story she is fourteen, by the end she is 25. She spent the first chunk of her life living in povery and on the run (with her mother), then is captured and brought to live with her father and sociopathic older brother, then escapes from them after several years and lives with her best friend and the older guy who helps them escape.

Oh yeah, they're all telepathic, in their own ways. It's a trait that's been dying out as the human population has grown (too much mental traffic). The three of them carve out a strange little life for themselves until evil big brother locates them and they have to run again, this time to the protection of another enclave of folks, then onward with a additional companion. Much of the last half of the story involves increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of big brother, a frightening guy with the ability to track them by their emotional debris.

So, MC has never had a normal life. Because of it she's somewhat clingy and confused, and she expresses it by developing an obsessive desire for her gay best friend. She was severely injured during their escape and has an mental injury that is life threatening and worsens without regular care. Part of her journey is to grow into a woman who can see her companions for who they are, as well as see her own strengths.

As for the world, it's now or near future. They physically travel through places that are recognizable, but in a world of events and politics that have nothing to do with ours. No magic, no other creatures, and any unusual landscapes are mental ones. And almost no cities, since they are drawn to less crowded locations.

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I'm a very very visual person and I do tend to assume everyone already noticed whatever I've noticed.
I have a problem with being too selective in the things that interest me. I could describe the trees outside for pages, but come to something like clothes and my characters are left draping themselves in blankets because I didn't give them something to wear.
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#25 of 61 Old 12-14-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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Just to be specific I'm writing a sword-and-sorcery style fantasy at the moment. Actually that's pretty par for the course for me, about half my short stories would fall into the same genre.
I love reading it, but I can't write it. I am just too derivative.

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Someone suggested is his hair was long enough he could see it himself but I can't stand long hair on men (makes me think of my slimey stepFIL, ugh ugh ugh UGH).
I'm glad I'm not the only one who prefers short-haired men. I'm reading A Stroke of Midnight right now, and darn near every. single. man. in that book has AT LEAST waist-length, if not ankle-length hair. Drives me nuts.

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Go you! I technically sat here at the computer for 3 hours and only wrote 201 words. And what's worse, I think they were mostly bad ones.
Hey, even bad words are words! At least they're getting you into the mindset of working on your novel.

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I'm game to share some dialogue but it may be a few days. Until I have power (and my own computer) back my story is sleeping peacefully on a cold and very lonely machine
Not freezing your chichis off is a hugely important thing. More so than writing, frankly. You can, I don't know, write out notes on the plot or something.

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So, MC has never had a normal life. Because of it she's somewhat clingy and confused, and she expresses it by developing an obsessive desire for her gay best friend. She was severely injured during their escape and has an mental injury that is life threatening and worsens without regular care. Part of her journey is to grow into a woman who can see her companions for who they are, as well as see her own strengths.
Sounds fascinating. And complicated. That sort of transformational character growth, IMO, makes for some great reading.

I've gotten a bit of writing done today, but not much. Wrote a little waiting on the bus, a little waiting for the service to start, that sort of thing. Crossed out a lot, too. : But that's OK. I'm learning to live with the occasional mess of that sort.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#26 of 61 Old 12-15-2008, 02:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, MC has never had a normal life. Because of it she's somewhat clingy and confused, and she expresses it by developing an obsessive desire for her gay best friend. She was severely injured during their escape and has an mental injury that is life threatening and worsens without regular care. Part of her journey is to grow into a woman who can see her companions for who they are, as well as see her own strengths.

As for the world, it's now or near future. They physically travel through places that are recognizable, but in a world of events and politics that have nothing to do with ours. No magic, no other creatures, and any unusual landscapes are mental ones. And almost no cities, since they are drawn to less crowded locations.
It does sound interesting! Is she with the same companions throughout?

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who prefers short-haired men. I'm reading A Stroke of Midnight right now, and darn near every. single. man. in that book has AT LEAST waist-length, if not ankle-length hair. Drives me nuts.
Oh no, that is too much hair! That much hair on women even drives me a bit batty, thinking about all the tangles and split ends... though not in the "ugh" way long hair on men does. Really I just don't like much hair on men in general.

And now I'm going to go dig up some excerpt to post!

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#27 of 61 Old 12-15-2008, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So on the topic of talking about main characters. Back when I came up with this story, which was ages upon ages ago, I was in a cliche-busting phase, in which I was going out of my way to come up with things I would not naturally gravitate toward writing. So my main character is a man. He's not book-smart and doesn't care of history or politics, he just wants to do his job and survive. He's not a huge thinker--he's intelligent enough, but physical. And he's definitely not a Nice Guy when the story opens.

Main character: His name is Hulgardt and he's somewhere around 28 or 30 years old. He was born to a dirt-poor, illiterate, starving peasant family somewhere, and when he was maybe 9 or 10, a hedge-witch happened by, noticed he had an innate, wild talent for magic, and bought him from his parents. She sold him to a bitter, scheming young duke who had once been a direct heir to the throne (but there was a coup & he was just lucky to survive, but of course he wants to be king!). The duke himself is a bit of a mage, and he took my MC, taught him just a bit about using his own magical talents, taught him to use a sword, made him literate, and then used spells to make him absolutely, totally loyal. Hulgardt became castellan of the duke's estate & his head Big, Evil, Scary henchman, the kind of bad guy who goes around murdering people in the night on his master's say-so without really even batting an eye.

When the story opens, he's up to his regular no-good business, sent off to dispose of the duke's daughter's governess (who was also up to no good, really) and bring the daughter home so she can be married off to further the duke's plans. Hulgardt does all that, and shortly thereafter he comes in contact with a magical item that zaps him and breaks all those spells that forced him to be perfectly loyal to the duke.

Suddenly he starts to question his life. He's sent off to make a cheating tax collector into a public lesson, and it just doesn't feel right. Then the daughter and the duke start to butt heads, and the duke turns on the daughter. This is a huge big problem for Hulgardt because for years and years the duke has been conditioning him to protect the daughter at all costs. That's the last straw, and Hulgardt turns against the duke, kidnaps the daughter, and sets off to deliver her to safety.

That's the first 30,000 words in a nutshell.

I'm afraid that I couldn't find any dialog to excerpt from the chapters I've reworked that wouldn't require too much context... how about some exposition? The last 4 paragraphs in the first scene in the novel:

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I ate slowly, washing down the food with frequent swallows of ale. I suppressed a yawn. I thought about what Fiona Asgar had said about her stipend being lowered. I was certain the duke would've provided for servants, at least while his daughter was resident at Asgar. The question danced in circles in my mind, but the answer seemed just out of my grasp.

“—Hulgardt—“

My name jerked me halfway out of my thoughts. I blinked slowly and focused on my hand, which rested around my mug; I had been staring aimlessly at the drink. The duke’s daughter had spoken my name, sharply. I raised the mug to look at it, but it wobbled sideways, away from me. The table went with it. Beyond it I saw Edrienne rise from her seat, and Fiona Asgar's hand on her shoulder, pushing her back down.

It occurred to that strong burnt flavor the ale had been more than just the brew. It was hullishroot--a poison barely detectable at deadly levels except by the trained tongue. The burnt flavored occurred if administered in excessive doses. I'd probably had enough of it to kill two or three full-grown men. I had recognized it too late, and I cursed myself for incompetence as I slipped sideways past the table. The last thing I saw was the mug preceding me, shattering as it hit the floor.

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#28 of 61 Old 12-15-2008, 08:18 PM
 
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Aufilia, your MC sounds like fun to write. I enjoy characters with a bit of bite to them. Starting good and staying good with no conflict for 400 pages can try my patience as a reader. I assume he doesn't die of poisoning straight off the bat?

I haven't written anything substantial in first person yet. I'm saving up for the story after I finish this one. Do you enjoy one over the other?

I don't have anything from my finished one but I dragged a snippet out of my (very) rough draft that I've been working on. Same MC, same story environment. Living in an isolated cabin on a lake with her guy. Aware, Monk, access, all are terms having to do with their world.

Did I mention my stories have a lot of bleak elements? There has to be some humor or everyone in them would give up.


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She caught his hand and brought it beneath the blanket, holding it against her abdomen. “Do you feel it?” she asked, but he felt nothing, just a taut bulge at odds with her gauntness, and the heat of her body radiating outward.

He shook his head.

“It tickles, in a weird way. I think it may be a fish in there. It feels like little fins slipping by.”

“You been seeing a merman on the side?”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Yup. I have too much time away from you, you know, when you're out on the other side of the room, or in the outhouse. And I don't get enough action from you, so I invite him in. And he happens to be an Aware merman, a Monkmerman, so you can't access him.”

“I knew it,” he said.
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#29 of 61 Old 12-15-2008, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aufilia, your MC sounds like fun to write. I enjoy characters with a bit of bite to them. Starting good and staying good with no conflict for 400 pages can try my patience as a reader. I assume he doesn't die of poisoning straight off the bat?

I haven't written anything substantial in first person yet. I'm saving up for the story after I finish this one. Do you enjoy one over the other?
It would be an awfully short story if I let him die. Somebody does get killed in chapter 2 but it's not my MC. It actually has been quite fun to write the story. Even though "sword and sorcery" is the subgenre I gravitate to, my characters aren't usually the ones who are doing the magic or fighting the battles.

I typically write in third person but 3rd just wasn't working for this story. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I did at one point take the entire first 2 chapters and change it all to 3rd person, and it just wasn't the same story even though I only changed the pronouns.


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I don't have anything from my finished one but I dragged a snippet out of my (very) rough draft that I've been working on. Same MC, same story environment.
That reads very smoothly, even though I don't know what the world-specific terms refer to. If my dialog read half as well my characters would have more conversations!

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#30 of 61 Old 12-15-2008, 09:48 PM
 
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I typically write in third person but 3rd just wasn't working for this story. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I did at one point take the entire first 2 chapters and change it all to 3rd person, and it just wasn't the same story even though I only changed the pronouns.
I started the first few chapters in first and while it was a painful process to reshape everything in third, it was a great learning experience. I'd have to agree that I couldn't have explained the difference, other than to say it felt like looking at the same character through a distorted mirror.

Based on the bit you posted, my humble readerly opinion is that first was a good call.

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Even though "sword and sorcery" is the subgenre I gravitate to, my characters aren't usually the ones who are doing the magic or fighting the battles.
It's funny - I can't imagine writing high fantasy stuff mainly because I can't see myself with the vision to write the requisite battle scenes. I like the setting but I couldn't pull my weight in it. The violence in mine is quick and simple and often hidden.

Having said that, the last book of my trilogy will be in 1st from multiple perspectives, and will take place during a guerilla war of sorts. I'm half nervous and half excited about trying something so completely different. I'm interested in hearing more about your experience writing this one.

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That reads very smoothly, even though I don't know what the world-specific terms refer to. If my dialog read half as well my characters would have more conversations!
Thanks. I'd be happy to trade you some dialog for some more active characters. Mine like to discuss everything entirely too much.
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