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Everything posted by robg213

  1. Certain ethnic ditties aside, I think most understood exactly what I mean.
  2. Research has to be done by hand. Convenience is nice but like any tool, word processing systems/apps are only as good as the user.
  3. I can see where Scrivener works but I have a few thoughts: Research is hard. It is time consuming. One series of books we did involved finding the "best" books on non-Western mythology. Yes, books. The internet can be distracting and while a good starting point for research, it does not beat the kind of in-depth research I've learned how to do. I have to locate factual information quickly so I rely on identified experts from identified sources. I know of few people who write books entirely from front to back. Portions of the middle and toward the end suggest themselves during the creative process. That all gets written down. Then the rest of the book gets done. Sometimes the book almost writes itself or it's a long haul. Other things occur like inventing a plausible way to get a character out of a tight spot. In one case, after struggling with it for a day, I set that aside and finished other things. A few days later, an answer I liked came to me and I dropped it in. Our editor-in-chief usually has to take manuscripts apart and work on them in sections. He covers each section in whatever order he likes and drops in whatever changes need to be made.
  4. And it will still work. No need to complicate what works for you.
  5. Oh I wouldn't say that about Microsoft Word. I think the best cure for repeating words is a good thesaurus. I use online dictionaries and on occasion, an online thesaurus. Saving time is less important than gaining experience and that requires a lot of work and a level of self-discipline. Our head writer was at a convention and was at a panel talk when he was asked: "What is your secret?" His response: A lot of hard work. Followed by: "No, no. What is your secret?" And the response: "You have to work at it, consistently, for a long time." That disappointed a few people who were looking for the "get rich quick" secret.
  6. About the UK: https://jerichowriters.com/festival-of-writing/ Again, making the analysis should occur after all of the ideas are on paper or typed in. Creativity is not manufacturing the same thing the same way every time. I mean, where do those ideas come from? But that's not my point. My point is, when inspired, get that basic idea down. And as more inspiration hits, keep writing those additional ideas down. Keep going. The direction of the story will come out of those ideas. Create characters, make them different enough. There is a good guy, bad guy in every story, and/or a good person struggling to deal with or overcome something bad or a series of bad/challenging things. As these things are overcome, the character does grow and has gained experience. But don't overanalyze. Create a framework that works for you. Unless you're planning a 12 book series with the same characters, odds are you'll switch locations, tackle other situations and invent other characters.
  7. I think adding and inventing terms for writers should be avoided entirely. Every profession has its own jargon but writers would be better off by not hearing more. Simple and clear is best. The story has a beginning, middle and an end. It's the writer's job to create a compelling story filled with interesting characters and good dialogue. The first six pages are key. I've seen this hundreds of times. An author sends in a manuscript. If I'm not hooked by page 10, I won't be reading page 20 or page 100. Oh I have. Just to see what the author does, but those days are over. And of the manuscripts my company gets that are acceptable, a lot of rewriting has to be done and I'm not referring to spelling and grammar. Our head writer still struggles with spelling.
  8. I think inexperienced persons should not offer advice. And those who add confusing terms or invent words should be banned. But back to the subject. When my company has a new book in progress, we announce it in all the usual (for us) places. That is marketing or letting people know to watch out for it. We of course post it in our web store for pre-orders. Good covers sell books. A bad cover is off-putting. Prior to the internet, the amount of books published in the US was the size of the Great Lakes, now it's the size of all the oceans combined. How does anyone find it aside from family and friends? Independent bookstores are doing well in the US while chains are barely holding on. I think the situation with the chains is stabilizing according to the information I have from the book trade. And it is possible to go to the local chain bookstore and convince the manager to carry a handful of copies. And perhaps even set up a small table so the author can meet and talk to buyers. Stores used to make it possible for the author to give a short talk for nonfiction titles. One might think that after all the hard work is done and the book is out, it's up to the publisher to promote it. In the case of a six figure deal (yes, they do happen), the publisher will promote it but in other cases, likely a blurb in Publishers Weekly. Think about it. You are standing in line behind thousands - literally - of other writers who want their manuscript turned into a book. So, what to do? Research. Ask yourself: If I was looking for a book that fell into whatever category, where would I go? How would I find it?
  9. Trying different approaches can work but I find that once a working approach is decided upon, it can stay in place. Of course a writer can polish his dialogue, and better define other aspects of his characters, but a basic starting framework should be simple with additional details being layered on. Good storytelling requires layering. There is the main story followed by side stories, or sub-plots, woven in. These side stories add detail to characters, good and bad, and include insights that show/reveal to the reader that this is why the main character is who they are and where they are today.
  10. And thank you for your replies. When creating characters, the main characters need the most detail, followed by the secondary characters. Depending on the scope of the book, from space opera to large-scale military engagements (any era), there may be 4 to 6 main characters and a dozen secondary characters. Of course, main characters include the bad guy and those he most interacts with. Even in small-scale settings that involve a main character and a few others, the characters need to feel three dimensional. The reader should feel he can relate to them and the writer needs to add just the right amount of detail. So, what motivates the main characters? And, what qualities separate them from each other? In heroic settings like Star Wars, the good guys are heroes but Luke Skywalker is not Han Solo. Also, in Christian writing and in all writing, the characters should have a moral compass. Ideally, the good guys should be striving to do the right thing no matter how hard that might be and no matter how physically challenging that might be. That includes overcoming fear with planning. That can also include becoming a leader, even of a small group, because the character finds himself in that position. And it also includes having hope when it looks like things will not go well. Looked at another way, a book should have a starting premise that needs to be fleshed out with a setting and characters. Those who create characters as they go along can try a more formal approach. Age Background Job skills or military skills, plus any personal skills (first aid, computer skills, etc.). How moral? Very, somewhat, depends on the situation, not very, minor criminal, major criminal and up to wants to take over or destroy the world. Criminal can be substituted with being a liar, not trustworthy, not reliable, especially when most needed, and so on. I find that once I set up, or build, a character, I try out some situations on him. I determine how he will react to whatever situations that apply to the main story arc. Like scenes in a stage play, he may travel locally and interact with local situations or go to another country as a soldier or tourist or guest. In all cases, he goes from scene to scene in a way that makes sense and is seamless. The reader thinks, "Of course he has to go here or there because the story is going in that direction."
  11. Having worked with treatments and a finished screenplay, the difference is formatting. There are rules. It is best to get a copy of a recent screenplay or a book about how to do it, with good reviews. It's best to think visually. I doubt George Lucas wrote Star Wars with [insert cool spaceship here] but he had to think about them and how they worked in the story.
  12. Some people develop characters as they go along and seem to do fine, but defining characters first helps to clear things up before the writing starts once you have the basic story plot points and outline done. Others don't even use anything formal, but it does help. If you have snippets of scenes, write those down. Bits and pieces of dialogue, write those down. First. Then: 1) Differences and similarities with other characters. Smarter, more shy, loner, easy to talk to, common interests, flaws. 2) Behaviors. Follows a set pattern. More adventurous than most. Tries to take advantage of certain situations. 3) Moral compass. Does not seem to have one. Very moral. About 50/50. Liar and likely to cheat or get involved in criminal activities. 4) In dramatic stories, while under pressure to do something, the character: gets scared and runs away, stands up and is (plausibly) heroic, or goes to get help. If you saw yourself or was reminded of people you know in the above, then I've conveyed the bulk of what I want to say. Friends and even family members, all have unique to them characteristics, both physical and behaviors. Then there are the 'characters in the background' that appear and disappear in stories. That unknown person who gives you directions or who does something that moves the story along. They can also help link otherwise unrelated events. It could be someone on the radio that sparks a thought or clarifies something going on in the story.
  13. Hello everyone, I'm an editor, writer and Christian. I have been asked to not say who I work for but it's a small publishing company that specializes in family-friendly fiction. My interests include 20th Century military history in general, and World War II aviation history, primarily in the European theater. I hope I can add something to this forum and look forward to any feedback.
  14. The best writer I know listens to soundtracks only. He says music with words distract him. Me, I like it quiet. Not totally quiet, but quiet enough.
  15. I haven't grown up yet. Not really.
  16. Every superhero movie that centers on one character, from Spider-Man to Batman, has the same basic skeleton. Bad guy does something bad, hero hears about it, eventually has first encounter, which doesn't go well, and we learn more about the hero and villain. The next encounter reveals planning on the part of the hero and the second encounter with the bad guy, which goes a little better. The hero knows he must stop the bad guy before he destroys the city, or world, or just kills lots of people. All the while, we gain more information about the hero and villain. There is a third (sometimes a fourth) encounter which is the showdown. The hero and villain square off for an exciting final battle. Interwoven in this is the love interest. The pretty girl has to be there. And the wrap-up at the end is not just about defeating the bad guy but letting viewers see how he and his love interest wrap things up.
  17. This place is for Christian writers and we need to have a set of standards. The standards of the world should not apply. There is a tendency to use vulgar words for certain body parts and bodily functions. Christian writers should avoid using vulgar terms for body parts.
  18. Burnout is usually an emotional state that involves time and pressure. After completing a project, take a break. Plan to do something you like once that book is done. Writer's block can be worked through. I know it. And yes, especially in a constant production setting, you just keep chugging along. There is that long learning curve where everyone goes from better to even better. Some people are too impatient or think certain things can be done quickly. With time and experience, hopefully a happy middle is found between work and rest. Overdoing it, with anything, makes things needlessly harder than it should be. I've seen it with the artists my company works with. Some are faster than others and some are more skilled than others.
  19. EBraten's post points out another difficulty for indie writers: a compelling cover. For each genre, the cover should be compelling and reflect the contents of the book. This requires an art background and I've seen too many book covers that look amateur and usually don't hit the mark as far as compelling. A good cover gets potential buyers/readers to look. Next, the book's description should be a short, does not reveal too much description of what's inside to get people to consider buying.
  20. Well, that was dramatic. I've seen a lot of manuscripts and most of them are not very good. I'm friends with a recently former script editor in Hollywood and he tells me he saw the same. Everyone starts as an amateur. I went through a long learning curve, and it just takes time. Over the years, I've observed that there is no way around it. I encourage everyone to try but I know of no one who will take part of a manuscript. Everyone needs to see the whole thing. I've seen too many examples of the author not giving the reader a good ending.
  21. I would also avoid the use of the word "ass."
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