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Jeff Potts

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Jeff Potts last won the day on December 21 2019

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  1. Well I did a rough estimation of first vs. second part of my book. The first part of the book, where the setting is kind of static, is roughly 40,000 words after consolidation. That leaves me 40 - 50,000 words for the adventure part. That I can do, fairly easily. I said that it is a much tighter book, and I'm feeling much better now. I've put in more emphasis in a secondary protagonist, which is a good thing, and there is more tension with less fluff. Even now, as I work my way to the adventure, I'm feeling more confident that it won't be a total snoozer. In a way, I sort of like the challenge this book presents. I have to be cagey in how I present things. I've changed the order of a few events and I think it works much better now. In the end, scaling things back and saying less has really led to a better product. What you're describing is the conundrum of my third book, where the action is more scatter-shot, and mixed in deep with the inner tensions, as you describe them. Book 3 has always been a hand-wringer for me, as the stuff before and after tend to be more action-packed or profound. Letting it sit for a time has given me a ton of ideas that Intend on implementing.
  2. As I have learned the hard way, once the POV changes (character), you start a new paragraph. I write along the lines @Lana Christiancites, but when dialog comes in, that's out the window. New paragraphs also start with a context change. Dialog, with explanation and a little action. Then change paragraphs. Or...just wait until the editor pings you, which is the way I'll probably end up doing it. I'm not a language technician. Style changes over time, and you kinda need to move with the expectations of how things should be formatted. The people I have reading my manuscript haven't had a hard time following it, but the editor will definitely ding you on format.
  3. I do the same thing, except I call it, "ferment." Though I will say, sometimes your first gut feeing is correct. I find that if I am writing and not saying something, or setting something up for a profound point, I'm just babbling via word processor. I have one book on the shelf that has a GREAT point at the end, but I'm struggling with either the main character or the protagonist. So I let it sit until I find a better angle.
  4. So, I'm getting really good feedback on my first book. It's a strong story. My problem is my second book: the follow-up. As some of you know, I'm targeting the Young Adult area: ages 13 - 25. The first book is roughly one-third introduction and background, two-thirds adventure. My follow-up is roughly half-and-half. The first half is in a static location, where the character interacts with several people important to the overall story, as well as receiving several things he will use in the trials to come. Then they set out on the quest. Plus the book is longer. The first one I have at roughly 78,000 words. The second is shaping up to be 90,000. My problem is "half-and-half," vs. "one-third / two-thirds." I'm worried I've set an expectation in the first book, and that a longer wait for the adventure payoff might get my target audience discouraged. I'm trimming stuff like a madman, and I'm actually quite satisfied with the results. It is a much tighter story, and I'm able to put in a lot of narrative tension in each chapter. But, this time the main character isn't crossing the wilds, escaping blood-thirsty foes, and so on. He's stuck in a static location, and I'm laying down elements that will be used as plot twists either in the book, or in subsequent books. The working title I have is, "Secrets, Deceptions, and Lies." So needless to say, there is a lot of non-action elements I need to throw in here, for later reveals. My gut tells me to just write the story, because I lay down a couple of plot twists in this book alone. My head, however, worries about the reader's expectations after book 1. The book is already written, for the most part. I'm essentially trimming and stitching all of the stuff I've written already into a final first draft before I go through and do my polish pass. I just thought I'd lay out some of my anxieties here, and see what some of you think. Am I over-thinking things?
  5. I only watch selected individuals, and even now I'm no longer following any of them...except Terrible Writing Advice. That one I HIGHLY recommend (mainly because of my twisted sense of humor). You can sum up their collective advice into the following bullet items: 1) Some tropes are overused. 2) Show, don't tell. 3) No purple prose. 4) You need a starting chapter that grabs the reader's attention. 5) I don't like <insert disliked fiction here>. 6) Multiple social media platforms for marketing. 7) Lots of vague advice on dialog, action, romance, and so on. Then they promote their works and their member / subscription benefits. I got more and better feedback posting some of my stuff here for critique, then any of those videos. I still recommend Terrible Writing Advice, though.
  6. I say, indulge the impulse for about 15 minutes, then move on. What I generally do is when I start is usually have to read some of the stuff I just wrote before I pick up where I left off. And I almost always revise something. It gets me in the groove before I start pounding out the remainder of the story. But in every instance, don't go back and read what you've written until you've run out of creative juice, or until you've set the piece aside for at least an hour.
  7. The question is: would The Hobbit or A Tale of Two Cities get published today? Or would be they be rejected because the first chapter, "didn't grab the reader's attention?"
  8. I have 3 books in the works. A finished manuscript that I am doing edits on. The follow-up book, and a stand-alone book. And I work on them when I have a drive or need to do them. I should normally dedicate my time to a finished manuscript, but I found a beta reader to look it over. I want their feedback on specific things before I go in and make changes. So that is on hold. The other two I set my focus based on priority. The follow-up has a higher priority than the stand-alone book. However, I will spend a day on the stand-alone if I have strong ideas that I want to put down on paper. I don't statically allocate time on multiple projects. I find that priorities tend to change over time, so I go by that.
  9. When all else fails, then it's Time Travel or the Multiverse to the rescue.
  10. I gotta disagree that Winter Soldier was character-driven. Usually, character-driven stories have this arc of evolution as they react to events in their lives. Steve Rogers is the same character at the end of the movies as he is at the beginning. In fact, the one thing you can say about Captain America is that he is a monolith of virtue. Natasha Romanoff is still the same. The reactions of the main characters are ultimately predictable, The entire point of the story was about how we have gone too far in sacrificing freedom for security, putting away the moral compass for relativism, and how easy it was for the enemy to infiltrate and corrupt all of the things we hold dear because of this. And what made the story great was how it did this in big, bold letters while still remaining nuanced. It's also a complete journey from SHIELD being this massive security apparatus, to it being dismantled, put away into cold storage, and why that is. And I also think it sad that it takes a comic book hero to make a good spy thriller these days. But it was a good movie. I mean, seriously good. I think a better example would be the Iron Man movies. Let's be honest about those: they don't have much of a plot. They focus almost entirely on Tony Stark, and his experiences. It's a story where Tony is constantly changing and evolving. And yeah: lots of action. Another example of plot-driven is the second Avengers movie. An ensemble cast that builds off of the previous movie, and Tony's obsession with protecting earth. It leads to the development of Ultron - the science experiment gone horribly wrong. It ends with the creation of Vision - the thing Tony didn't know he was looking to make. The form of life Tony had started creating with Jarvis, and that took Ultron to ultimately finish. It's a story about unintended consequences, and how when something goes wrong, sometime it ends up righting itself in unpredictable ways.
  11. I'm seeing more and more movies being character-driver, and the plot more or less of an afterthought. A prime example of this was the latest Star Wars movies. No forethought in an overall theme, or point, just Mary Rey Sue and her merry band of freedom fighters going to kill the big, bad dark lord. They even had to resurrect a old "fan favorite" dark lord because they didn't have the imagination to make one of their own. Everything in the script is there to subvert expectations, making every reveal a painful experience when they try to explain the laughable. I personally think a story is far more satisfying then the plot drives the character, and not the other way around.
  12. I have one book published on programming, back in the late 90s.
  13. It's always easier to consolidate after-the-fact, then to have a manuscript that's lacking. So, more that what you need? That's not a bad thing. That's when you go through the process of "killing your darlings."
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